Instructions and WHY to use balance Shims. The CorrecTOR with
Front Balance Shims and Envelope Pad make a "COMPLETE SADDLE-FITTING SYSTEM ". The
horse's shoulder rotation (or body bending) bends the front shields, that act as a flexible lever against
the saddle tree---that leverage positions the saddle & keeps the tree from damaging
190 sq. inches of front protective shields spread the weight over the shoulders and withers where
the most damage from tree bars occur.
Front Balance shims are
used to lift the saddle for: the rump-high horse, thin or small horse, the too-wide saddle. They also help
hold the saddle back through better contact where the bars have too much flare
in front (as is seen in many saddles coming out of the Southeastern U.S.)
Almost everyone asks me how to use the Balance Shims.
I tell them to remove them and ride your animal 15 minutes at a walk & slow trot or gait; notice
the way you feel & sit in the saddle. Then unsaddle and put 2 front shims in
on each side, ride again the same way comparing how comfortable you are from one extreme to the other.
Occasionally you need 3 shims, some horse saddle combos only 1, others none! By trying the differing combos in one session
you'll know what is best for you and therefore your horse. In one session, a few minutes each ride, you can
remember what you felt like moments ago. It doesn't work to try & remember the feel one day to
What is a balanced
Saddle? > When balanced you should be sitting relaxed with little pressure in the stirrup
at a walk & slow trot, not "tilted forward" (too low in front). when you feel it you'll have
a "BFO"! (blinding flash of the obvious!)
in front is like riding down a hill all day long and will sore withers even through an Ortho-Flex
delrin panels,any saddle,or even the Corrector.
Balance of the rider is important the
more you ride. It holds true with any saddle. NOTE: You can't adjust the balance of a rider
in TREELESS SADDLES,in the extremely flexible "Flex-tree" saddles,or in the FLEX-PANEL SADDLES.
No room for shims in an Ortho-Flex or any other panel saddle. The mechanically adjustable systems I made were good until they
started adjusting themselves. John Lyons would bring Zip and his ORTHO-FLEX by every few months TO GET IT TUNED UP AND
ADJUSED FOR BALANCE ETC.
should feel what your horse is doing as he does it, not be behind the movement of the horse (that's too high
in front). If you need shims at all, you'll usually need 2 on each side in front. YOU
ARE NOT FITTING THE HORSE WITH THE SHIMS! They go on top of the shields and adjust the way your saddle sits
you and as a result, work for the horse & you.
if REAR shims are needed; First balance your saddle from the front
as described above. After getting yourself + your saddle properly balanced, reach back and
feel up under your bars in the rear while riding at a walk.If it's a western saddle have
someone walk beside you and put there hand up under the skirts. If they can slip their fingers up under the tree bar,
above the pad, 2" or more,YOU NEED BOTH REAR SHIMS! You are filling in the gap and taking pressure off the center of your horse's back!
He will collect, round, stop, drop his head and relax more while listening to you better.
All this is
because he's NOT FIGHTING the curved bars trying to HOLD HIS BACK DOWN! Many horses are forced into
this un-natural position with the Tree chinched front and rear. That's why, after getting sore in the center
of the back and vertebral column; They become pissy, won't reach with the hindquarters..etc.etc.
RIDING,most trees on a good back will have 2" or 3" of no contact at
the rear of the bars. Those same bars will be digging into the loin while the animal
is standing still and you are sitting in the saddle. That's why I keep telling people you can't
fit a saddle while the horse is standing still.
You have to be riding the animal with the bare tree, then you
can see what's going on. Chiropractors can't say the back is out while looking at the horse
standing. Vet's can't determine one shoulder is larger than another while the horse is standing!
The above can only be determined while the horse is moving because he never stands with even pressure on all
The back is always "OUT" 1.5" or more on every horse while standing. (FRONT
TO REAR,SIDE TO SIDE".) To check your horse's confirmation, have someone lead your horse
as you walk behind looking
over the croup.You'll be surprised at how even he is in movement! Few horses are "OUT", and the ones that are
have developed that way as explained on Pg. 11 of this site. Read the story of Victoria and
her Arab SHAMIR at the bottom of page 11. She was sure her horse was so much larger in one shoulder than the
other because of a trailering accident where the horse was physically scarred. After nine months of the Corrector and
instructions on page 11, she has a different horse!
For saddles with too
much curve in the bars (as happens with many trees that are custom-fitted while the horse is standing)
you can correct them with front and rear balance shims described above.
For the horse with one shoulder larger than the other,
the horse that won't hold one lead or bend one direction: Go to my page listed on the navigation bar upper
left, pg. 6 "Saddlefit by the man that started it all".
tell you how to use the shims and why your horse is like that. Plus you'll learn how to fix it in short order. You've
got to have the shims and a just a little technique. "You will find it's fun when it's
more comfortable for you both." Len