Ghost Fitting Guide
Educational Video's for Ghost Treeless Saddles
GHOST SADDLE FITTING GUIDELINES
AND CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Ghost saddles are the perfect choice for pleasure riders, and for those who school, train and participate in longer trail rides. We recommend a rider weight limit of 80kg. However, good rider-balance and supplementary padding may compensate a few extra kilos. Although we have several Endurance Riders using the Ghost saddle, we recommend a suitable endurance numnah and regular saddle-checking for this discipline, particularly for distances over 40km.
The Ghost range are treeless saddles with no rigid parts, therefore incomparable in many ways with standard treed English or Western saddles.
The Ghost is designed differently from most other treeless saddles, only connecting with the horse’s back on the long back muscles, via the underside of the panels. The construction of these panels allows freedom of movement of the horse’s limbs and uninhibited muscular contraction, particularly in the shoulder and loin region, essential to the horse’s balance and development. The seat does not interfere with the horse.
Ideally, all saddles should sit behind the slope of the withers and not exceed the 18th vertebrae (behind this point, the horse’s back is too weak to take any weight). Equally so, the shape and width of the saddle should not restrict the shoulder action. Unfortunately, many horses are short-backed, making it difficult to accommodate these length restrictions. Treeless saddles are more sympathetic to this problem, and the Ghost is the most forgiving of all; the area under the cantle is non-weight-bearing, while the front of the saddle is designed to give space for the large (up to 15cm) upward and backward movement of the scapula (shoulder blade).
A further advantage of the Ghost range is their positioning; similar to a Western Saddle. This helps find the optimal position, increasing the horse and rider’s balance and comfort.
Fitting guidelines and care instructions specific to Ghost Saddles
Please note, this is a basic guide. On purchasing our Ghost Saddles, we offer all customers an in-depth and personalised fitting consultation.
Always use an appropriate saddle-pad or numnah under your Ghost Saddle, even during fitting. This ensures the best adjustment for your horse, and
protects the underside of the saddle.
Panels and pad foam
Layers of crushed foam and specialist material in the Ghost panels ensure the form does not compress when hot or become rigid and unforgiving when cold. It absorbs shock and mirrors your horse, synchronising with his fluctuations, rather than offering an uncoordinated rebound. With the expert team at Ghost aiming for ongoing improvement, they test new materials regularly.
Adjust the panels for complete spinal clearance, and Velcro securely into this optimum position. Panels of different thicknesses are available for separate purchase.
Narrow the gap (gullet) between the panels at the front, to raise the saddle and rebalance it for a downhill horse. Adjust similarly for a horse with prominent with withers. Conversely, to lower the front of the saddle, widen the gap between the panels at the wither end. Take care with either adjustment to avoid dropping the base onto the spine or a pinching effect on the withers. After making an adjustment, glide the hand under both sides of the saddle to check that the evenness of panel contact and freedom of movement have not been undermined. Adjustments must be symmetrical. If small adjustments aren't enough, adding shims inside a correction numnah is preferable. Wool felt is an excellent material; simply cut to a wedge shape.
Ensure the seat is in place with the front Velcro strap centred between the stitch lines on bottom of saddle-base. To exchange the seat, follow this link to the instruction video on the website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz7zNAsyRuo
It is easy to adjust the sliding V to fix the girth-straps in the correct position, towards the horse’s natural girth groove. Simply draw the V into alignment with the girth groove, let the girth straps hang perpendicular to the ground and attach the girth. Once fastened, gravity and pressure work together and the saddle will stay in position. Do not over tighten the girth; the horse needs room to expand his heart and lungs during exercise, particularly in the faster paces. To put this in perspective, his lungs can expand to accommodate 15 litres of air. Your lung capacity is 6 litres. And while your heart is the size of a fist, your horse’s heart at rest is about the size (and weight!) of a large, full handbag. Both organs need mobile ribs to function effectively. To leave this area unrestricted, we highly recommend the Ghost Westip elastic girth or the Banana/Moon girth, particularly for horses with a more forward girth groove. It allows the girth to sit in the groove whilst the saddle sits slightly behind, in its optimum position. This curved girth helps prevent a forward drag on the saddle.
Be prepared to try different saddle-pads/numnahs with your Ghost saddle to find the best for your horse. He may need a saddle-pad/numnah that accommodates additional shims, or a different type of backing/ thickness. Be patient, and discover what is the best for you and your horse.
Occasionally it may be necessary to improve the fit of the saddle by adding shims to the saddle-pad/numnah. This is most common in horses with uneven muscle development or horses whose natural conformation makes fitting saddles difficult. Shimming the saddle-pads and/or numnah will help prevent sores from uneven pressure on these types of horse.
Experiment with the thickness and positioning of the shims to discover the optimum fit. Seek assistance to either a) check the saddle stays centred whilst riding the three paces or b) film for verification after. The best environment for this is an arena. If in any doubt, seek the advice of a professional saddle-fitter.
Your new saddle will settle after a few rides, as it adapts to your seat and the horse’s shape. Thereafter, the saddle will easily adapt to different horse and rider combinations.
Saddle care instructions:
The care of your saddle is material-specific. Protect Nubuck with a Nubuck-leather protection spray, available at the most shoe stores. Clean it with a special Nubuck sponge or brush then spray with the protector.
Clean greased/oiled leather and normal leather with a simple Glycerine leather soap, squeezing excess water from the sponge. For leather that is dry, occasionally use a beeswax infused leather cream (or pure bee’s wax for leather from the bee-keeper)! Oiled leather is sensitive to scratches; clean it and use a drop of oil or leather balm to touch up the affected areas.
Please note; leather is a natural product. Each batch can differ slightly in texture and colour, especially brown. Colours may look different on the computer screen from reality.
Wash Lorica or other synthetic materials with a sponge and lukewarm water. They do not need oil or spray.
Try to keep the Velcro clean – most household shops stock special Velcro cleaning tools to remove hairs, hay and straw.
Do not dry a wet saddle near heating, in the full sun or a camp-fire as extremes of temperature undermine the integrity of natural products.
Check your saddle regularly, preferably each time you use it. All nails and screws must be tight. Straps and billets must show no signs of wear and tear. Please contact us about any damage, it is easy to replace affected parts. Do not use the saddle until the relevant replacement arrives.
Wishing you and your horse hours of pleasure with your Ghost Saddle.