Both an art and a science, saddle fitting balances the saddle to an asymmetrical horse and/or rider. If a horse is patterned unevenly, (and they/we all have asymmetries), it is impossible to function evenly in both directions. Being that they have four balance points, unlike us with two, they have an amazing ability to compensate for pain and injuries. These compensatory issues can lead to lameness issues. Studies have shown that back related pain and issues create a pattern in the horse where they begin to compensate through their hind end, prematurely breaking down the hocks and stifles which do their best to assist in this uneven loading of the body. It is written that 70-80% of hind end lameness stems from the back.
Because everything in the body is connected, what affects one piece will inevitably affect another. The more we can bring balance, symmetry , and comfort to the horses back, the greater chance we have in encouraging even development, a sound, comfortable, and happy horse, and develop a better relationship with them as well.
The Society of Master Saddlers recommend saddles should be checked for fit every six months as a routine checkup, no different than the regular body maintenance like being floated or trimmed or shod.
The body is CONSTANTLY changing. The goal for saddle fitting is to accommodate these changes in order to encourage new changes that enable to horse to continually progress in its training and development. If we are not facilitating change and progress in a positive manner, we are we are affecting it negatively. Each change made helps enable the next physical change and progression.
Never put limits on your horses' ability when you find the pieces of the puzzle that make them comfortable. It IS possible for even older equines to develop more correct muscle when allowed to be comfortable. Don't ever let anyone tell you "your horse will never develop any more than they are right now". Forward Motion Equine, LLC can prove them wrong.