Riding Saddles - Saddle Types
There are many different types and makes of saddle available that come in different materials, sizes and price tags. The most important consideration when choosing a saddle is whether or not it fits your horse and is it appropriate for the type of riding you want to do. The next consideration is whether it is comfortable for the rider.
Dressage saddles are cut to offer the rider a long and secure lower leg position with a well positioned seat. They do this by being cut very long in the saddle flap with a straight knee roll and often the addition of a thigh roll will help to encourage the riders leg to stay in position in close contact with the horse side.Due to the riders leg being long and needing to stay close to the horses side the girth straps have been designed to extend down further from the underside of the saddle allowing a shorter girth used and keeping the buckles of the girth from interfering with the riders lower leg.
General Purpose Saddle
This saddle is for the rider who wants to do a little bit of everything wether it is dressage, show jumping, cross country or pleasure riding. The reason it is so useful as a saddle is it allows the rider the ability to change their positions by not being to extreme in the way it is made up.therefore the rider can easily go from a dressage position to a jumping position with little more than adjusting the stirrup leathers.Some general purpose saddles now come with attachable knee/thigh pads which can be adjusted,added or removed completely when required from under the saddle flap.
This has been designed to assist the rider with freedom of movement due to the flatness of the seat and the low cantle and no knee roll on the saddle flap.This allows the rider to easily adjust their position when on the polo field.
These are generally similar in the way they are cut to that of a Dressage saddle, the main difference being they usually do not have a knee roll and have a much shorter saddle flap.
This has been designed specifically to allow the rider to remain in position whilst sitting with both legs to one side of the horse. This puts one stirrup and saddle flap for example on the left hand side, with the girth straps coming directly from underneath the saddle flap on the right hand side. The rider is held in position by putting her right leg over the fixed head and her left leg pressed up against the Leaping head with her left foot in the stirrup a whip is carried in the opposite hand to control the right hand side of the horse. The saddle can be designed to have the rider sitting on either the near or off side.
The western saddle has been designed to provide comfort to both horse and rider.Riders are frequently in the saddle for many hours at a time so the saddle needs to allow the riders weight to be evenly distributed, this is achieved by allowing the saddle to have a wide surface area, and this in turn gives the rider a secure seat with the added benefit of the Horn at the front of the saddle which the rider keeps a secure hold on and helps to prevent the rider from being thrown forward.
Treeless Or Part Treed Saddles
This type of saddle is unique because it is currently designed to fit any horse of any shape, and allowing it the freedom of movement, this is particularly useful for horses who do not always fit into regular sized saddles or those who are starting work and may changing shape rapidly or for horses who are not comfortable in conventional saddles. It is currently available in dressage or general purpose with different seat sizes available for the rider. An example of a partly treed saddle is the Fhoenix this has the whole seat and front arch made up of layers of memory foam which gives great depth to the seat to the rider and quickly adapts to each riders individual position and also adapts to the horses back too if required a gel pad can be used in conjunction with this type of saddle.
These are designed with a flat seat,flat cantle, small and short saddle flap with very short stirrup leathers.The saddle itself is light by design and not bulky with the added benefit of the saddle flap being well cut forward to allow the jockey to crouch right up on top of the saddle staying very snugly in place and therefore allowing the horse to go at speed without the rider or saddle,slowing the horse down through wind resistance.