All you need to know about Saddles


  • Author Colleen Wallace
  • Published April 17, 2020
  • Word count 1,104

The first thing a new equestrian needs to know about is the different tack pieces. They need bridle, girth, horse halter, saddle pads, and, most importantly, the saddle.

The horse and the rider both need to listen to each other. The horse must understand the commands, and the rider must feel the slightest movements of their partner.

Saddles are designed to ensure close contact and perfect balance for the rider and let the horse move comfortably. Before you pick a saddle for you and your horse, you need to gather proper knowledge about saddles. You need to know about saddle types, their functions, whether they fit you and your horse, leather types, brands, qualities, and many more.

It is essential to have thorough knowledge about saddle types before you buy a saddle for your horse. So let's talk about it first.

Types of Saddle:

General Purpose Saddle:

Beginner and intermediate riders usually use general-purpose or All-purpose Saddles. Riders who have just bought their horses and practicing different kinds of riding will find it perfect.

These saddles can be used for most disciplines and is an excellent choice if you prefer to purchase just one saddle for different riding activities.

General-purpose saddles are sturdy. They have flaps that are cut forward. It can be used for basic jumping, dressage and hacks, and even for hunts with small jumps.

It provides the right balance for the rider, but these saddles have no pads at the front for the knee. Training schools prefer to use this saddle as they can be used for different types of riding and riders of different skills.

But you must remember that these saddles are not perfect for competing in all disciplines, and the rider cannot shorten up stirrups as needed for showjumping and evening. Although you may use it for dressage, it won't be very comfortable as it pushes the rider's position forward.

Dressage Saddle

Dressage saddles are for advanced riders who regularly take part in competitions and need to ride for long hours.

These saddles have a deeper seat with a U-shaped curve. It provides a better balance for the rider. They have straight flaps, and they are made from lightweight, thin material. The rider gets closer leg contact and makes more precision moves.

Jumping Saddle

Jumping saddles or close contact saddles are used for jumping and hunt seat equitation. Jumping saddles have forward flaps, with ranging degrees of rotation. It can ease a rider's leg position in the shorter stirrup length, which is essential for the jumping position.

The Padded knee rolls make the two-point or half-seat position more comfortable. The seats are relatively flat compared to dressage or all-purpose saddles. Jumping saddles push the rider slightly forward into the two-point jumping position to help him while jumping over fences.

It has a flatter seat, and saddle flaps are much more significant. It can give the rider more support. The extra padding in front of the flaps provides stability and protects during jumps.

Hunting Saddle

Hunting saddles are used by riders who regularly go hunting in the countryside. Hunters might need to jump over large hedges—that’s why these saddles are designed to push the rider's weight back in the saddle.

Made from durable leather, these saddles have low cantle and pommel, which makes jumping more comfortable during hunting.

Western Saddle

Cowboys usually use these saddles. It has horns at the front of the saddle to balance when the other hand of the rider holds the reigns. It is comfortable and sturdy for riders who spent long hours on horseback and need to perform sharp turns.

Treeless Saddles

If you have horses that have backs difficult to fit saddles, you can use a treeless saddle. Riders who are uncomfortable with a full saddle can also use this.

These saddles provide the rider closer contact with the horse. The saddles are made from leather and foam padding. It has a smaller pommel and cantle, which is made from lightweight fiberglass.

But the saddles are not as secured as others. So the riders must also use a breastplate.

Do I need a dressage saddle?

You can use a dressage saddle if you think you are getting marked down for the position. Otherwise, you can use a general-purpose saddle.

Saddle Fitting

Different measurements have to be taken care of to find the right saddle for both you and your horse.

First of all, the rider needs to decide on the type of saddle he wants to buy. Then you need to take the appropriate measurements of the horse-his withers, back length, etc. you need to consider the body structure of the horse as well.

How to Measure the Withers:

To measure your horse's withers, you will need a wire, paper, or cardboard and a marker.

Once you have the tools, Bend the wire over the horse's withers. Lay the cable 2" behind the horse's shoulder blade and bend it so that it lays over the withers against its skin.

After that, remove the wire and lay the wire onto the paper and trace it around the inside section of the cable.

After tracing the, you will get the measurement for the withers. It will also give you the gullet measurement. Every saddle comes with a specific gullet size, and it will help you to find a saddle that fits your horse correctly.

Measure Back Length:

The saddle should be perfect for the horse's back. Saddles are usually made to fit the majority of horses.

But if your horse has shorter back, it may require a specialized saddle. In that case, measure from its withers to the last rib bone.

Any saddle that is shorter than its back measurements will also fit.

Just make sure that it is not too long for its back. Otherwise, it will cause annoyance and discomfort to your horse.

Body Structure of the Horse:

You will need to consider both wither measurements and body structure of the horse to determine the gullet size you need.

Gullets of different sizes are designed for different horse body types. For example, for Pony gullet size is 5" – 5.5", for narrow Build 6", for average Build 6.5", for Wide Build 7" and for Draft horse, its 8".

Saddle Size for the Rider

At first, decide the style of riding, and then you need to measure yourself.

One way is to measure your weight. There are diagrams to find the correct saddle size according to your body weight. You can also find the saddle size by measuring your leg length. Start measuring from your hip joint, down to your knee. Then you can match it with the diagrams available.

Hey, I am Colleen Wallace. I am glad to welcome you to my profile. I am a freelance writer by profession. This article is about the saddle that you may need to know.

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