Ringoes, NJ – Kara Somerville knows a thing or two about saddle fitting. As an FEI dressage rider and professional trainer with more than twenty years of riding and competing in dressage under her shadbelly, she knows the importance of perfect saddle fit.
Somerville is a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist with a hard-to-fit Arabian gelding, thirteen-year-old Psymbad VF, who she brought up the levels to Intermediaire I herself. In the process of finding a saddle to fit her horse, Somerville’s own understanding of horse-and-rider biomechanics led her to become interested in being a professional saddle fitter. After more than 350 hours of training and earning multiple certifications, she began working at Skylands Saddlery in New Jersey in 2013.
“I know how important a subtle shift in balance or tree size can be,” Somerville explains. “It can be the difference in whether or not your horse can train up the levels. I’m always looking for the right interface between horse and rider to best serve different equine body types and rider needs.”
As Somerville helped riders find their perfect saddle fit through Skylands Saddlery, she also began to learn more about Custom Saddlery, the Official Saddle of the United States Dressage Team. “So many upper level dressage riders want to be in a Custom, and we want to provide that saddle for them,” she said. “I became interested in working with the Custom Saddlery saddles because they are really exciting products. They are extremely rider-friendly and wonderful for a variety of horses. A lot of riders respond very positively to the Custom seat. They see an immediate improvement in their position and in their ability to use their aids effectively.”
Skylands Saddlery soon decided to offer Custom Saddlery saddles in their line-up. Somerville is now Skylands Saddlery’s Custom Saddlery fitter in New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Somerville is looking forward to helping riders find the perfect fit in one of the many Custom Saddlery models. Not only does Custom make exceptionally designed saddles for both dressage and jumping, the company also offers a range of quality saddle accessories including girths, dressage pads, and stirrup leathers.