Podcast Episode #5: Best saddle fit secret

Podcast, Uncategorized11 Comments

In this episode of “Horse Mysteries Solved…”

Best saddle fit secret

I hate to say this out loud. But any time a client tells me they have a custom saddle for their horse, I cringe on the inside.


Because they rarely fit.

It’s sad, frustrating, and I hate to tell people bad news. Especially when they’ve spent thousands of dollars.

I share my best saddle fit secret on today’s podcast. I’d love to know if your saddle fitter has ever mentioned checking it.

Here’s to saddle fitting success!


Links Mentioned in Podcast:
The Western Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle Fit Book
The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle Fit Book
Saddle Fit – Where Does My Horse Hurt

Summary by AI:

Dr. Renee Tucker from Tucker University shares her top saddle fitting secret, emphasizing the importance of checking whether the panels of the saddle are contacting the horse’s rib line. She describes how to locate the rib line and warns against the detrimental effects of saddle pressure on this area. Tucker encourages horse owners to be vigilant in ensuring proper saddle fit to prevent discomfort and potential health issues for the horse.

Renee Tucker (00:01)
Hello, my friend. This is Dr. Renee Tucker from Tucker University. Hey. Today I want to tell you about my number one best saddle fit secret.

Renee Tucker (00:11)
Seriously, it’s a secret, but I’m going to tell you. And I think you should tell all your friends just to telling us a speaker because it’s funny that way. Okay. Well, first of all, I’d like to say that when I hear someone tell me, yes, my horse has a custom fit saddle. I actually kind of cringe on the inside because I’m sorry to tell you, but most custom fit saddles that I’ve seen don’t really fit.

Renee Tucker (00:35)
That’s just the facts. I’m sure you guys already know that. Of course, saddle fitters. It just depends on the person. It depends on their experience and their background.

Renee Tucker (00:44)
So I’m not worried. I’ll talk a huge amount about general saddle fitting. I do have an article on my website which we’ll link to. And also my good friend Joyce Harmon wrote two saddle fitting books which are excellent. So it’s Joyce Harmon DVM.

Renee Tucker (00:59)
We can put a link in that, too. Okay, here’s the secret. We know we’re looking for gullet width. We’re looking for the width around the shoulders, clearance of the Withers this kind of stuff. But what very few people are checking is whether or not the panels of the saddle are contacting the rib line.

Renee Tucker (01:22)
And they should not be contacting the rib line. So let me try to explain this. So the panels of the saddle are the part underneath the saddle that contacts the horse. It’s supposed to be touching the horse’s back muscles. English Western side saddle, whatever.

Renee Tucker (01:40)
The panel is supposed to contact the horse on the back muscles. Now there’s this little known area, which is where the ribs come into play. Now I call this the rib line. I sometimes call it the rib ledge. There’s some pictures also on the website page.

Renee Tucker (01:59)
Anyways, let me explain how you feel them because it’s pretty straightforward. I know you can do this even though you’re not looking at a horse. All you do is you put your hands, one hand, two hands doesn’t matter in your fingers right next to midline, and you push down and then you calm down the horse towards the ribs and the barrel. And there’s kind of if you look at the thin horse, there’s a flat part where the back musculature is, and then it turns into the round area where the ribs are. So right at that intersection where the ribs are curving around, and then they curve under the back muscles and attach to the thoracic vertebra.

Renee Tucker (02:36)
Right at that, going under the muscles is where the rib line is. We can feel this pretty easily on a lot of horses, depending on the amount of musculature, the amount of any extra fat you might have pushed down harder, but you can still feel it on any horse. You just have to get used to it. So again, start at the midline come down with your fingers pushing, pushing, pushing. And then you’ll kind of fall onto a ledge.

Renee Tucker (03:02)
You fall off that flat part where the muscles are on this little ledge where the round arch of the rib starts. Okay. That’s what I call the rib ledge, also called the rib line. So what happens is the panels of the saddle, the edge of that panel sometimes, depending on the angle of it, and the width of it, will be jamming right on that rib line. Okay.

Renee Tucker (03:30)
So if you ever had a rib subluxated, or usually people say it’s a rib out of alignment or just a sore spot in your back, it bugs you. Mostly when something is pressing on it, it will Nag you. It will be achieved if you have rib lines out just in general. But then if somebody presses on it, oh, my gosh, it really hurts. So when the saddles, the panels are angled in such a way that they press on the rib line, that is really bad.

Renee Tucker (03:59)
Horses will do whatever they can, including bucking you off to get away from rib line pain. Okay, so I got to do is find the rib line on your horse, and then you can either know where it is by visually or just Mark it with chalk once you feel it and then place your saddle on, there no pad and peek under there and see, does your panels contact the ribbon? That means contacting me on that in any way, shape or fashion. Okay. And I know sometimes people want to say, well, yeah, it’s on there, but I’m going to put this nice fluffy pad and it’ll be fine.

Renee Tucker (04:37)
It’s not going to be fine. If you have pressure on that rib line, it’s going to be a problem. Maybe horse can tolerate it, but they’re going to throw the ribs out of alignment, as they say in chiropractic, because of that constant pressure. So I’ve seen this a lot of times and even lots of times on custom saddles, because people just don’t know about it. So that’s why I’m trying to get the word out.

Renee Tucker (05:02)
So what you want to do is go middle to back one more time, push down pretty firmly. Let’s see how firmly if I was trying to squash an Orange, you know how sometimes if you’re going to squeeze a lemon, you roll it on the counter and you squish it really hard to get the juice all juicy inside there before you cut it? Okay, maybe you never done that, but try to imagine it. You pushed them pretty hard, but we’re just using our fingertips and then not directly straight 90 degree down because anybody poking my fingertips 90 degrees into my back, that’s going to hurt. We’re not trying to hurt here.

Renee Tucker (05:41)
We’re just trying to locate a structure. But you do want to push down hard because you have to go through some muscle. So you push down with your flat fingertips down from the midline towards the ribs and you go bloop right onto a ledge. That’s the ribbon Mark that rib line however you want. Put your saddle on there and make sure the panels of your saddle aren’t touching there.

Renee Tucker (06:06)
Okay? Please send me any questions you have to support Tucker biokinetic.com and we will try to get your questions answered. All right. Have a good day. Bye.

Renee Tucker (06:15)
See you next time.

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11 Comments on “Podcast Episode #5: Best saddle fit secret”

  1. Hi Renee, you probably remember our chats re saddlefitting back in 2020 at Julie’s in the Uk?
    I totally agree with you re custom made 😫 and aliken it to have made to measure shoes or riding boots for a child…… they don’t fit for long, never mind forever….. after all they’re not car seat covers, which just wear out but fit forever!
    I normally explain it that saddles are developed to fit the muscled top line of a horse, and not one that is lacking muscle…. Eg an ex racehorse, or elderly horse coming back into work. Ouch to those rib heads!!

    1. I do remember! I love your analogies. And glad you feel my pain when I hear “custom made”. sad but true. :)

    1. Hello Debbie,

      Here is a link to our saddle fit article, with links to our YouTube body checkup videos.

      Hopefully this helps. :)

    1. Hi Monet!

      Thank you for your kind words about the podcast. :)

      Regarding specific products, what I suggest people do is ask their horse energetic yes/no questions for that specific product. Because each brand of saddle or pad fits some horses really well. But others it won’t work for.

      How would you do that? Well, luckily we have a course coming out shortly, “What does my horse want?” where you learn to do that.

      You’ll receive that since you’re already a part of TBT University.


  2. I love this tip, thank you. I do have a question about a horse I have ridden for 3 years now. In that time, he has often (not always) looked back to the wither area when I’m asking for trot. I have to bear in mind that this is a fairly hefty cob who hasn’t got full motion in the neck, even though he is extremely well cared for. (Masterson, Chiro etc). We have sometimes put it down to an unwillingness to work and ridden him through it. But now I’ve heard this, I do wonder if it could be a saddle and rib problem, although on one side only ?

    1. Hi Julia,

      That’s very interesting that your cob looks toward the wither area. I believe he is definitely trying to tell you something. It could be a saddle/rib problem, but it could also be thoracic vertebrae, or even kidneys (under the saddle).

      We will be launching our What does my horse want? course soon. It is for learning how to ask yes/no questions of your horse, using energy. it’s fun! If you learn that, you could directly ask your horse about this. (not animal communication, just yes/no ?s)


  3. Oh Boy!! I want that too!! How to ask your horse “yes” or “no” questions. I really need that!! Also, I’ve been wondering, and I see you said that is not “animal communicating”, but do you think your work is closely related? What are your thoughts on that?

    1. Hi Emily!

      Glad you are excited about it. It’s pretty fun! :)

      I don’t feel TBT is closely related to animal communicating, no. We connect with the energy field and work at a quantum level. So nothing against animal communication, but that is not what we do.

      It would be fun to work on horses with TBT AND communicate while you’re doing it. Love to hear what they say! :)


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