For a saddle to fit properly and allow an equine to perform to its fullest potential, that saddle must conform to both equine and rider. Equines communicate discomfort through body language and behavior. Like people, they vary in their tolerance of pain and irritation, making detection of poor saddle fit more difficult.
Use of an EQUImeasure Kit can minimize the risk of riding in a saddle uncomfortable or even harmful to your equine, thereby increasing the safety, performance and pleasure of your riding time together.
What is the EQUImeasure Kit?
The EQUImeasure Kit is a patented product for accurately modeling an equine back (horse, mule, pony, donkey, burro) for saddle fit. All you need to use an EQUImeasure Kit is an equine, an oven, and oven mitts. You will have approximately twenty (regular Kit) or forty (super-insulated Kit) minutes transport time between when you heat the sheet and apply it to the equine.
How did the EQUImeasure Kit evolve?
The owners of EQUImeasure Incorporated struggled to find saddles that properly fit their three very different horses. Their remote location prohibited easy trailering to a saddle fitter or saddler and the cost to insure and ship “demonstration” saddles was terribly expensive. Tape measures, flexible rulers, fabric tracings, books, and videos did not provide measurements accurate enough to confidently order saddles via telephone or Internet. The EQUImeasure Kit evolved from this quest for an accurate, inexpensive, and convenient way to model and measure an equine back.
Why use an EQUImeasure Kit?
Properly fitting tack is one of the most important investments you can make in your equine’s health and performance. An EQUImeasure Kit will allow you to accurately model your equine’s back in 3-D to:
- Assess the fit of an existing saddle
- Assist in the selection or creation of a properly fitting new saddle
- Evaluate the equine’s back conformation and condition for signs of asymmetry and injury
A poorly fitting saddle can cause your equine to move differently in order to avoid pain. Certain muscles may atrophy (go unused and become very weak) while other muscles may become over-developed. Disparities and asymmetry in the equine back are much easier to view in a molded EQUImeasure sheet.
What does an EQUImeasure Kit contain?
Each EQUImeasure Kit is comprised of four components:
- One package, 19″ x 22″ x 2″ (48 x 56 x 5 cm)
- One EQUImeasure sheet, 17″ x 20″ x 1/8″ (43 x 51 x .31 cm)
- One insulated heating tray, 17″ x 20″ x 1/8″ (43 x 51 x .31 cm)
- Product directions and label
How much does the EQUImeasure Kit weigh?
An entire new EQUImeasure Kit weighs only 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg). A formed EQUImeasure sheet weighs two (2) pounds (.75 kg). A Western Extension weights one-half (1/2) pound (.19 kg).
Who needs an EQUImeasure Kit?
Anyone who wants to be sure an equine is healthy, comfortable, and able to perform to its fullest potential under saddle. Regardless if you ride in a traditional rigid tree saddle, an adjustable tree saddle, a hinged panel saddle, or a “soft” flexible tree saddle, you need to know how that saddle fits your equine’s back. Ill-fitting saddles can lead to equine behavior, performance, and/or health problems over time.
How much time will it take to use the EQUImeasure Kit?
The Kit will take less than 30 minutes of your time to use. It will take approximately ten minutes to warm the proprietary EQUImeasure sheet, time to transport the sheet to the equine, and approximately five minutes to drape the sheet over the equine back and have it hard-set to an accurate model.
How much does an EQUImeasure Kit cost?
EQUImeasure Kits are available for only $145.00 plus shipping (WY residents add sales tax).
How does the EQUImeasure Kit compare to other saddle fitting methods?
The patented EQUImeasure Kit creates a three-dimensional model of an equine back, making it superior to other saddle fitting products on the market. The EQUImeasure Kit is not only unequaled in modeling accuracy, but in ease of use, convenience, and value.
Why three-dimensional modeling instead of two-dimensional tracings?
- The EQUImeasure Kit more accurately represents the equine’s back, illustrating convex and concave areas that other measurement methods may miss.
- Using the EQUImeasure Kit means no more two-dimensional representations of a three-dimensional animal, so there is less chance of measurement error.
- Saddles can be fit directly to the EQUImeasure model, unlike two-dimensional methods.
Why the EQUImeasure Kit instead of other three-dimensional saddle fit methods?
- The EQUImeasure Kit is far easier and faster to use.
- The EQUImeasure Kit will not break in cold temperatures, during shipping, or when placed under a saddle on a saddle stand.
- The 1/8″ (.32 centimeter) thick EQUImeasure Kit acts as both a positive and negative model of the equine back, allowing for saddles to be fit directly to the model.
- The EQUImeasure Kit is lightweight and easy to transport, unlike shipping “demonstration” saddles or bringing an equine to a saddle fitter.
- The EQUImeasure Kit is purchased, not rented.
- The EQUImeasure Kit models the entire back and reveals even minor convexities and concavities.
- The EQUImeasure Kit can be used to evaluate the conformation and condition of the equine back. Asymmetry in structure and muscling that is difficult to see when looking at the animal is more easily identified with the three-dimensional EQUImeasure sheet model.
Won’t a saddle pad solve my saddle fit problems?
No saddle pad or blanket can compensate for an ill-fitting saddle. In most cases an extra-thick, shimmed, or contoured pad will only exacerbate a poor fit. Saddle pads are intended to protect the saddle from sweat and grime and to cushion the equine from the impact of the rider on the saddle.
Saddles are built with a certain “equilibrium” in their structure. Alter this structure through too much padding and you alter the way rider weight is distributed over the equine back, thus possibly creating new and unforeseen saddle fit problems.
Using a saddle pad as “filler” between a wide saddle tree and slender-withered equine will make the saddle unstable, hinder the close contact a rider has with an equine, and hamper the equine’s natural movement. Overly thick pads and double pads often lead to saddle slippage and unsafe riding conditions.
No pad can eliminate the pressure points of a saddle that is too narrow for an equine back. Air-filled and gel-filled pads tend to have their contents “squeezed” to gaps between the saddle and equine’s back. This offers little, if any, padding of pressure point areas. Space-age foam pads can add bulk to places where the saddle is tightest against the back, often intensifying pressure points rather than alleviating them.
Shimmed and contoured pads may create a more acceptable saddle fit for the equine, but may place the rider out of balance in the saddle, compromising position, comfort, and rider security.
Will the EQUImeasure Kit hurt me or my equine?
No. The components of the EQUImeasure Kit have been safely tested on humans and large animals worldwide for over 25 years. The EQUImeasure sheet is non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, latex-free, and non-stick, so you can be sure it is safe for use on your equine companion.
Equines truly enjoy the therapeutic warmth of the EQUImeasure sheet laid across their backs. They tend to sigh, close their eyes, and doze off – behaviors that indicate comfort and contentment.
Finally, use common sense – do not use the EQUImeasure Kit on a wild, “unbroken”, or “ungentled” equine that is unaccustomed to objects placed across its back. Make sure your equine stands quietly for placement and removal of a saddle blanket or pad before using the EQUImeasure Kit.
Will the EQUImeasure sheet damage my oven?
No. The specialized material of the EQUImeasure sheet becomes pliable, but will not drip or liquefy when warmed in a low heat oven, even if left in the oven for a long period of time. The EQUImeasure sheet is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, non-stick, and emits no fumes or chemicals, so there is no need to clean the interior of your oven before again using it to cook.
Is the EQUImeasure Kit safe for the environment?
Yes. The EQUImeasure sheet is made of a specialized proprietary material that is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, non-stick, and emits no fumes or chemicals when heated or frozen. Although the sheet cannot currently be recycled with PETE 1 and 2 plastics (as milk jugs, shampoo containers, soda bottles, etc), it is considered “neutral” solid waste, meaning it will not leach (be carried by precipitation) into the soil and water. We are currently working with a recycling company to establish an EQUImeasure sheet recycling program.
Other components of the EQUImeasure Kit can be recycled and/or re-used. Remove the foil insulation from the corrugated packaging before recycling the corrugated box. Re-use the insulation as wrapping for temperature-sensitive or fragile items. Similarly, remove the foil insulation from the heating tray before recycling the corrugated insert. Re-use the foil insulation. Product directions and packing sheets are printed with soy inks on non-clay based paper, and are fully recyclable.
Will the EQUImeasure Kit fit my very small or very large equine?
Yes. The dimensions of the EQUImeasure sheet are appropriately sized to model any equine back for a saddle tree of any riding discipline. While the equines we ride vary greatly in size and shape, the surface area that any saddle tree occupies on an equine back varies relatively little in comparison.
Our Western Extension is available for those seeking additional modeling coverage.
Is it really that important to accurately find my equine’s shoulder blade (scapulae)?
Yes. If the saddle does not sit adequately behind the shoulder bones (about 2 inches, or 5 cm), that saddle will interfere with your equine’s movement as you ride. Proper saddle placement for mules, which have a different underlying conformation than horses, is typically four to six (4-6) inches (10-15 cm) behind the scapulae. Improper placement may compromise equine performance and health.
One of the most common saddling and saddle fitting errors is to place the saddle too far forward on an equine’s back.
What if I can’t find my equine’s shoulder blade (scapulae)?
Most people can easily find their equine’s shoulder bones by placing their hand on the animal’s shoulder area and then walking alongside that animal. You may wish to have someone lead the equine slowly as you walk alongside, watching the shoulder movement and feeling for the scapulae.
Finally, you can saddle the equine without a blanket or pad, making sure to slide the saddle back from the withers until it seems to stop in a “sweet spot” on your equine’s back. Feel in front of the saddle about two (2) inches (5 cm) for the shoulder bones, and mark where they end with masking tape, chalk, or livestock marking crayon.
Many people find that marking the “end” of the shoulder bones makes it easier to use the EQUImeasure Kit.
Why place the EQUImeasure sheet directly behind my equine’s shoulder blades?
Because equines differ in their conformation and saddles differ in their structures (saddle trees) and function, it is best to create a model starting from directly behind the scapulae. This will “standardize” your measurements to create a 3-D model that is easy to understand and can be used universally by saddle makers, fitters, and retailers.
What if my oven is smaller than the 17″ x 20″ dimensions of the EQUImeasure sheet?
Almost all ovens are wide enough although some newer ovens may not be deep enough. Using a utility knife you can cut up to an inch off off the right and left sides if you need to.
What happens if I make a mistake or my equine moves after I place the EQUImeasure sheet on its back?
Equines should not be expected to stand perfectly still during the use of the EQUImeasure sheet, but they should be standing squarely, facing forward, and restrained from pawing or head tossing.
Restraining movement during the first two (2) minutes of placement over the equine is most important, as this is when the EQUImeasure sheet best forms to the contours of the equine’s back.
If you need to reposition the EQUImeasure sheet on the equine, you will be able to do so for approximately one (1) minute after the sheet has been placed on the equine back. If you need to reposition the EQUImeasure sheet after this time and the sheet has cooled to become too rigid, it can be removed, reheated, and then reapplied to the equine. Please refer to the question below.
Is the EQUImeasure Kit re-usable?
Yes, customers report they reheat and re-use their EQUImeasure sheet an average of three to five times, although we cannot guarantee subsequent uses. The components of the sheet that make it such an accurate and easy-to-use modeling tool allow stretch (tenths of an inch) as the sheet forms to the equine’s back. After multiple uses, this stretch could thin the sheet, making the cooled form slightly less sturdy as a 3-D model.
Will the ambient air temperature affect how quickly my EQUImeasure sheet cools?
Yes. An EQUImeasure sheet used on an equine in a Minnesota winter will cool slightly faster than one placed on an equine living in Florida. However, the EQUImeasure sheet can be used successfully in all types of stabling situations, climates, and weather.
What do I do with my EQUImeasure model once I’ve created it?
- Compare your equine’s back to an existing saddle to check for proper spinal protection and gaps/pressure points. Click here for instructions.
- Bring the EQUImeasure model with you to a saddle maker, retailer, saddle fit appointment, or saddle fitting clinic. Use the model to compare potential fits of various saddles.
- Ship the EQUImeasure model to a saddle maker, retailer, or fitter. Be sure to speak with the professional before sending the model, as they will need information about your equestrian activities and the history of the equine for which the saddle is intended. Remember to arrange how the model will be returned to you.
- Assess the conformation and condition of your equine by looking for asymmetry in the model. Click here for instructions.
How strong is a formed EQUImeasure sheet?
An EQUImeasure model is rigid and strong enough to be placed on a saddle stand and have a saddle placed upon it to check fit although turning the saddle upside down and placing the mold into it gives you a much better view.
Will my formed EQUImeasure sheet break easily?
No. Your EQUImeasure sheet is virtually unbreakable, even in the coldest of temperatures. A formed EQUImeasure sheet will not crack, shatter, or lose its shape when dropped.
Does the EQUImeasure Kit eliminate all need for a professional saddler or saddle fitter?
Riders experienced in and comfortable with saddle fit evaluation may use an EQUImeasure model themselves.
However, we highly recommend that you share your EQUImeasure model with a professional saddle maker, seller, or fitter. These professionals can offer their experience and knowledge not only in saddle fit for your equine, but in matching your physical stature, your riding discipline, your equestrian goals, and any special riding needs you may have.
Can an equine’s back conformation and condition change?
Yes. Equine bodies, just like human bodies, can and do change over time. Age, activity type, conditioning level, nutrition and calorie intake, and injury history all affect how a saddle fits an equine back. For most equines, the back will change most between the ages of one through five (1-5), when an equine is growing and developing a training and conditioning base, and after age fifteen, when daily wear and tear on the equine body can begin to show.
If you have changed the discipline(s) your equine participates in, and/or if you have altered your conditioning regime for that equine, it is likely your equine’s back conditioning will change. The change may or may not be enough to affect how your current saddle fits. Master saddlers usually suggest you check a saddle’s fit at least once at the beginning of your activity’s season and once in the middle of the season.
What are some typical outward signs of poor saddle fit?
Equines are different in their tolerance of discomfort and pain. It is important to remember that no outward display of discomfort is necessary for a poorly fitting saddle to affect an equine’s health and performance. That said, some of the most common outward signs of poor saddle fit include:
- Rubbing or chafing along the equine withers, the elbow, and the hips
- White hairs and/or calluses on the back caused by saddle pressure points
- Hypersensitivity of the back and withers (twitching or “sinking” away from touch)
- Temporary swelling in the withers or back after riding and/or on humid days
- Noticeable muscle atrophy (weakness) on one side of the back more than the other
- Shying or “bracing” (rounding the back) when saddled
- Pinned ears, tail swishing, head tossing, or teeth grinding during saddling, mounting, or a ride
- Poor attitude and stiff movement during warm up
“Squirming” or sideways movement when asked to move forward under saddle
Will my formed EQUImeasure sheet lose shape during shipping or transport?
No, the sheet is unaffected by freezing temperatures and as long as it is protected from temperatures over 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Placing the sheet in a simple corrugated box with crumpled newspaper or foam pellets will keep the product cool and rigid, even when shipped in extremely warm weather.
Do not leave an EQUImeasure sheet exposed to the sun in the passenger compartment or trunk of a vehicle. When temperatures outside range from 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 38 degrees Celsius), the temperature inside a vehicle parked in the sunlight can climb above 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) — warm enough to soften the EQUImeasure sheet.
Do saddle makers and retailers use formed EQUImeasure sheets?
Yes. Top U.S. saddle makers, saddler fitters, and saddle retailers are highly recommending use of the EQUImeasure Kit to their clientele, and willingly accept formed EQUImeasure Kits to assist them in the saddle fit process.
Before you use your EQUImeasure Kit, ask your saddler if there are additional instructions they have for your use of the Kit. Some of the most common requests include marking the cool rigid EQUImeasure sheet while it remains on the equine:
Drawing a horizontal “level line” along both sides of the EQUImeasure sheet
Marking the lowest point of the back on the EQUImeasure sheet
Marking your desired locations for stirrup fenders/leathers and riggings
We welcome professional inquiries and will be happy to answer any questions your saddler may have about the EQUImeasure Kit.