10 Easy Saddle Fitting Tips

If you want a good fit take a few minutes and answer these basic questions.

1. How much does your horse weigh? If a 1000 lbs or more, look to a Full Quarterhorse Bar (FQHB)/wide saddle.

2. What kind of withers does your horse have? Mutton-withered? Look to a FQHB if your horse is anywhere close to a 1000 lbs. i.e. 900 lbs or more.

3. Consider your horse’s back. Is he wide or narrow? Can’t tell? A wide back will require a FQHB. A narrow back will need a semi-quarterhorse bars.

4. Is your horse short backed? Look for a shorter skirt or round skirt saddle. You don’t want the saddle skirts to rub the horse’s hips.

5. Is your horse gaited? Seriously consider a gaited saddle. Gaited saddles have more rock with wider bars in the front and are smaller in the back to allow for the movement of their shoulders.

6. What is your budget? Be reasonable in your expectations. Leather saddles cost more than cordura saddles. You will find few leather saddles for under $500, so be realistic. Most of the time you will get what you pay for.

7. Consider what you are going to do with this saddle. Yes, the trail saddle looks nice, but you won’t rope off of it for long.

8. What seat size do you need to look for?

9. What saddle pad will work? Most horses do not need special pads, but some horses do. Think about what will work, and do the necessary research.

10. Answer all the questions. All these questions need to be considered to insure a good fit. If you don’t answer all the questions you may find a saddle that fits and you might not.

360 Degree Assessments: 10 Benefits to Managers

Without exception, persons in management positions can benefit significantly from a 360 degree assessment conducted by an outside consultant or coach. This type of assessment provides managers with an unfiltered view of their “performance” in the workplace according to a selected group of employees who represent several or all layers of the organization. The hired third party interviews (face to face or by phone) up to ten staffers, using a standardized set of pre-established open-ended questions approved by the manager. After the interviews are completed, the consultant or coach prepares a comprehensive summary of the common themes and trends, carefully protecting each employee’s privacy. The following is a list of the major benefits to such an assessment:1. The manager learns how staff view her daily behaviors.This piece of the final report shows the manager exactly how her know-it-all attitude or inaccessibility affects her employees. It provides her with examples of how her anger problem stifles morale, how her silent treatment creates fear, or how her constant interrupting during conversations shuts people down.2. The manager receives evidence of his strengths.In this section of the report the manager reads a comprehensive list of his strengths according to the staff who were interviewed. In addition, the manager learns what he does better than anyone else his employees have ever known throughout their careers as well as specifically what they count on him for.3. The manager gains insight around her weaknesses.This section reports obvious weaknesses as identified by the staff. This is where a failure to serve as a credible, steady resource to employees shows up. It’s where gossiping or lack of genuine interest in people gets mentioned.4. The manager receives feedback about certain aspects of his professional image.This piece discusses the manager’s body language, speech, dress, approachability, character, integrity, likability, and confidence. Employees have been given the opportunity to weigh in on these components, citing examples of both positive and negative evidence.5. The manager learns how her staff interpret her frame of mind and world view.In this section the manager reads about whether or not her employees see her as emotionally stable, grounded, solid, fair, supportive, optimistic, and/or generally eager to jump into the day. Managers with great talent and skill are sometimes surprised to learn that staff question their emotional stability or motivation or ability to serve as leaders.6. The manager finds out how his staff see him as a human being.Here the manager reads a detailed, collective description of himself. This can be enlightening and humbling. It’s not unusual for employees to know their manager as a good and decent person who is not capable of leading a department to greatness. But the reverse can be true too. Sometimes employees talk about a boss with noteworthy technical skills who is self serving, self absorbed, and disconnected from others.7. The manager gets a peek at how others view her outside of the department.This piece talks about what staff hear outsiders say about her: persons in other departments, individuals in the community, stakeholders, etc. In this section the manager learns about her reputation as “dictator” or “great boss material” or “openminded”.8. The manager receives information about his impact upon others.Here the manager reads about how he makes employees and others feel when he is around them and interacting with them. He finds out if he makes people nervous and upset or if he inspires them to exceed expectations.9. The manager gets clues about her professional and personal development needs.In this section the manager gains insight around the technical and/or soft skills her staff want her to acquire and implement. As she reads this, she has the opportunity to learn specifically how they think she should grow over the next year or so.10. The manager learns how he influences his employees’ attitudes, work performance, and job satisfaction.This piece allows the manager to read an assessment of his degree and type of influence upon his employees. He may now understand that he either de-motivates people or excites them, throws stumbling blocks their way or finds ways to support them, kills their satisfaction or fuels it.

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