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How Saddle Fit Impacts Performance, Movement & Shoeing

Perhaps the most obvious, yet overlooked area of horse care is saddle fit. Over the course of my time working with horse owners, I have seen saddle fit enter the conversation on nearly every horse I have come into contact with.

I believe part of the challenge for horse owners is a lack of consistent resources paired with old saddle fit myths that have been passed down from generation to generation. There is no industry standard for tree measurements, making saddle shopping a challenge for even experienced horsemen. Then there is the matter of an overall misconception that a saddle is a saddle is a saddle and any one will do.

Saddle fit undoubtedly effects the horse's ability to extend and move his body. It has a major role in overall horse performance, and it saddle fit even effects the shoeing of the horse -- or rather, his hooves!

Perhaps one of the most thorough and comprehensive educational videos I have ever seen on this broad and important topic is this seminar video produced by the veterinary extension of Cornell University and Steve Kraus, a renowned farrier and accomplished horseman. Learn more here:

Steve Kraus is an American Farriers Association Certified Journeyman Farrier who has been head of farrier services, senior lecturer of large animal surgery and instructor of the farrier school at Cornell since 2010. Before coming to Cornell, Kraus worked for over 40 years in his own farrier business in central New York. He is known for troubleshooting lame, injured and underperforming horses, and has shod horses of practically every breed and discipline. He has lectured to farriers, veterinarians and horse owners all over the U.S., Canada, South America and Europe. He has been a featured speaker at the International Hoof Care Summit, the Laminitis Conference, Equine Affaire and the American Farriers Association Convention. Kraus has published many articles in the American Farriers Journal, The Horse Journal and The Professional Farrier. In 2016, he was inducted into the International Farriers Hall of Fame. Cornell's Equine Hospital, the New York State 4-H Horse Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension are proud to host the Equine Seminar Series.


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