Everything You Need to Know About Horse Saddles

Understanding the saddle?

The structure that you put on an animal’s back to support the rider or other types of load is called a saddle. When one speaks of saddles, it is commonly associated with horses. But any kind of animal that could be ridden on its back has its own corresponding type of saddle. Horse saddles are a crucial piece of equipment for anyone serious about horse training.

There are two main types of saddles – the English saddle and Western saddle. These are the two types of saddle primarily used in the equestrian world, although there are many types of horse saddles used worldwide. In other nations, saddles of different designs exist. Saddles differ greatly among various ethnic groups and nationalities. It can be fun to learn about how each one is utilized.

Ordinarily, choosing what saddle to use should depend on the kind of riding you intend to do with your horse. Even narrowing it down to English or Western riding, saddles can still be broken up in many categories such as for dressage and show, endurance, pleasure or general purpose. Some common horse saddle terms you should familiarize yourself with are pommel, cantle, horn and cinch.

The English Horse Saddle

In Olympic equestrian events, the English saddle is the main type of saddle used. As the name suggests, this is the favored type among the majority of English riders. However, the English saddle can still be categorized into several more specific styles depending on the kind of event that is involved. Whether it is for show jumping, hunter jumper, eventing, dressage, horse racing, saddle seat, or polo, an appropriate type of saddle is consequently used.

The Western Horse Saddle

The Stock saddle or Western saddle is the most commonly used variety in the United States. This is the type of saddle you will see used by cowboys on cattle ranches. Today, it is used in a variety of western riding activities. Distinctively, western saddles don’t have as much padding underneath and must be used with saddle blankets or pads so that they can be comfortable for the horse. They do provide much more support for the rider.

Western saddles have stirrups that are sturdier and can utilize numerous cinches depending on what they are being used for. The horn present on the front is one major factor that distinguishes this type of saddle from its English counterpart. The horn is originally used to tie a lariat when roping cattle.

Finding the Right Size

The tree of the saddle, is the frame on which the saddle is constructed. It is usually made of wood or sometimes fiberglass and then covered with leather. The frame is made to fit both the rider and the horse.

Finding the saddle that fits may require more work than you may think. An ill-fitting saddle can cause injuries to both the horse and rider. Bruising and sores may result on your horse’s back muscles if you do not choose a saddle that fits properly. It is important to have a trial period before actually buying your saddle. Think of it as a piece of sports equipment for a human, it varies greatly from each individual horse. Be sure to always keep your tack clean and well oiled to prevent breakage or unnecessary discomfort to your horse.

Tips for an English Saddle

-Without a pad, put the saddle on the horse and tighten the girth.

-Have a person sit in the saddle. Their feet should be in the stirrups.

-Slide your fingers underneath the pommel. Make sure that you can comfortably get three fingers in between the arch below the pommel and the horse’s withers.

-The saddle should not get in the way of the horse’s shoulder movement by having someone lift the horse’s foreleg and pull it to the front. While doing this, your fingers should be between the top of the horse’s shoulder blade and the pommel. This must be done on both sides.

-Standing behind the horse and looking under the saddle, some light should be seen when the horse’s head is down.

-Make sure the saddle isn’t too long. It shouldn’t reach back onto the horse’s loins.

Tips for a Western Saddle

-At least an inch thick of pad should be underneath the saddle.

-The stock saddle should be placed on the horse’s back and the cinch tightened so a set of fingers can be placed comfortably between the girth and the animal.

-With someone on the saddle, make sure you can fit three fingers between the arch of the pommel and the horse’s withers.

-Make sure that the width of the saddle tree is fitting for the horse. Put three fingers with a flat hand sideways between the saddle and the top of the horse’s withers. If the fit is loose, the tree is too narrow, if it is too tight and you have to squeeze in your fingers, then the tree is too wide

Author Bio: *Attention Readers* If you thought this article was helpful, wait ’till we send you our FREE Horse Training DVD It’s got many videos on horse saddles, horse training tips, techniques, and more of EasyHorseTraining.com’s acclaimed training methods.

Category: Pets
Keywords: Horse trail riding, Horse riding tips, Horse tips, Horse training, horse training tips, Trail riding

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