Saddle style may be personal preference, but safety should never be optional. Routine maintenance and observation can mean the difference between a good day and one that ends in a wreck due to tack failure.
Before every ride, turn your saddle upside down and give it a quick visual inspection. Pay close attention to places where hardware connects with leather, looking for cracks or signs of wear. Look at both sides of the latigo and if you find any cracks in a leather latigo, don’t take a chance. Replace it immediately. A nylon latigo will last longer than leather, but be careful you don’t overtighten it when cinching up the saddle.
And consider that while the saddle has to fit you, it also has to fit your horse. A horse suffering from back pain will often drop his back while raising his head and neck. If your horse shows these signs, this is a red flag that you may need a different saddle with a better fit for that particular horse.
Click here for more tips from AQHA on tack maintenance and safety
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