Monday, January 6, 2014

Fitting Assessment Photos and Conformation Shots (Throw Me a Bone)

When I'm doing long-distance fitting, I require quite a bit of information from you, my customers.  Since I can't get my hands on the horse and saddle, you have to provide a lot of input and answer dozens of questions.  You also have to provide clear, informative photos so I can see the horse I'm trying to fit, the way the saddle fits the horse and the way the saddle fits the rider.

However, it's come to my attention that there without being able to see exactly the photos I require, a lot is left open to interpretation, and I sometimes get some fairly useless (though sometimes quite interesting) photos.  So in an effort to provide clear, concise guidelines, here are the photos I require ... and a sampling of the photos I don't.

First, a conformation shot of your horse.  All I need to see is the whole horse, weight on all 4 legs, on level ground, head in a normal, relaxed position (no Drama Llama photos, please!) against a fairly plain, contrasting background (no fleabitten greys against dirty snowbanks, and no dark bays against the opening of the run-in shed).

Here are some examples of useful conformation shots:

If I'm assessing saddle fit, I also need a conformation shot of your horse, but with the saddle on:

And a photo of the tree point in relation to your horse's back:

I'll also need to see the same photos, but with the rider up:

Pretty easy.  Remember that it's best to take photos outside when possible, and if the day is overcast, even better - you won't have to worry about shadows obscuring some vital bit of information.  Choose a time when your horse won't be fretting about being fed or being turned out, and when you aren't stressing about getting to work on time or getting home to help the kids with homework. If they aren't exact matches, don't worry - I can probably get the info I need from them as long as you come pretty close.

Now, here are some photos that are of absolutely no help whatsoever.  Please don't send photos like these.  Please, just ... don't.

It's a horse's back.  That's about all I can tell.

"Against a contrasting background" also means no dark bays, blacks or liver chestnuts in dark indoor arenas.

Is this horse standing downhill, is the camera tilted, or is s/he very croup-high?

The Red Menace in her "Drama Llama" guise, standing hip-shot, making her back look even more dropped than it really is.

The pommel clears the withers, but since I can't see the tree point in relation to the horse's back, I can't tell whether the tree width is correct or not.

It's a saddle.  On a horse.  With a white pad under it.  That's all I got.

Remember, all you have to do is come close.  If you send me the info I need, the saddle fitting process will be a lot less time consuming, expensive and frustrating.  And as an added bonus, your photo will never be featured in a rogue's gallery like this!


Nikki Newcombe said...

so so true Kitt! You CAN do a lot with photos but they have to be correct, otherwise they are pointless.

saddlefitter said...

Exactly, Nikki! I've been doing long-distance fitting for over a decade, and getting the correct photos is essential. Otherwise, there's too much guess work involved, and I inevitably ask the customer to try again ... and sometimes, again.