Superior Saddle Fitting: A Step-by-Step Guide by Editors of Storey Publishing - Read Online
Superior Saddle Fitting
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Since 1973, Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletins have offered practical, hands-on instructions designed to help readers master dozens of country living skills quickly and easily. There are now more than 170 titles in this series, and their remarkable popularity reflects the common desire of country and city dwellers alike to cultivate personal independence in everyday life.
Published: Storey Publishing an imprint of Workman eBooks on
ISBN: 9781603426312
List price: $3.95
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Superior Saddle Fitting - Editors of Storey Publishing

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What Type of Riding Will You Do?

The first factor to consider in choosing a saddle is the type of riding you will do. If you are interested in casual trail riding, there are numerous saddles from which you might choose. If you plan to become a skilled rider in a specific discipline and intend to compete, however, you’ll need to choose a saddle style appropriate for the particular discipline.

Deciding whether you will ride English or Western is a help, but there are so many specialized saddles available for each style of riding, you also need to understand the purpose of the specific saddle and decide how you intend to use it. Specialty saddles are available for all possible purposes, including polo, racing, and trick riding, among others.

Once these preliminaries are taken care of and you know what kind of riding you want to do and the type of saddle you should buy, you will need to refine your choice even further, because most saddle types are available in a broad range of materials, designs, and prices.

English Saddles

English saddles are smaller than Western saddles and have no saddle horn; they also are lighter and easier to lift than traditional-style, leather Western saddles. Close-contact models tend to be extremely light, and synthetic saddles are even lighter, with some weighing as little as 10 pounds. Generally, English saddles are designed to enable the rider to sit close to the horse’s body, to help the rider stay balanced over the horse’s center of balance, and to allow the rider to communicate with the horse easily and directly through seat position and leg aids.

Like Western saddles, English saddles are available in a variety of styles, designs, materials, and prices, and are tailored for specific purposes. Whether your main interest is dressage, eventing, jumping, trail riding, endurance, saddleseat, or sidesaddle riding, there is an English saddle for you.

Design and Rider Position

The form of an English saddle follows its function.

Dressage saddles are designed for balance and communication, with the rider remaining in an upright position with a long leg, similar to the position of a Western equitation rider. Dressage saddles have straight-cut flaps. Many dressage saddles have deep seats, and the stirrups on dressage saddles hang almost directly below the seat. Some dressage saddles are equipped with padded knee rolls that help to keep the rider’s legs in the correct