Weight of the saddle should also be taken into consideration when purchasing it; typical saddles typically weigh 10 to 60 pounds.
Studies show that saddle weight can have serious repercussions for horses. Studies show that when saddle and rider exceed 15% of bodyweight, physical signs of stress appear.
Western saddles usually weigh 10 to 60 lbs depending on the type of saddle chosen, with weight distributed over a larger area of a horse’s back to make riding more comfortable for both rider and horse alike. Furthermore, most western saddles feature wider seats to provide optimal comfort regardless of rider size.
Western saddle riders generally embark on two or three hour rides, so it is imperative that their saddle remains comfortable throughout. Luckily, some saddle manufacturers make lightweight western saddles. Circle Y saddles boast models weighing less than 23 pounds – perfect for barrel racing riders who rely heavily on rapid turns from their horse.
Fitting the saddle perfectly to a horse is key in order to prevent high pressure points in certain areas, particularly around its front bar tips which may carry too much weight if its tree fails to conform to their back shape. Bottom edges that rest on withers also tend to cause high levels of tension.
There are seventeen parts that comprise a saddle, though these can differ depending on its model. Certain components are always present such as its saddle horn, seat rise, cantle, back housing, girth straps, billet straps, cinch hobble front girth and fender.
English saddles tend to be lighter weight than their Western counterparts and come in various styles designed with specific activities in mind, including dressage, hunter, saddle seat and polo riding disciplines. Their weight typically falls within 10-25 lbs range.
An English saddle typically comprises a wooden tree to which leather and padding materials are adhered, as well as its bars (known as points) which vary greatly between saddles; their shape determines both pressure applied to a horse as well as how well its fit; points may concentrate pressure onto areas sensitive to pressure like withers. Finally, width of the gullet (the gap between front and rear bars) plays a factor.
Design and materials will have an effect on a saddle’s weight; however, other factors can have an even bigger impact, including discipline type and rider weight. While saddles specifically designed for activities such as jumping or roping may weigh more due to additional hardware required for these activities; endurance or barrel racing saddles tend to weigh less as they must provide comfort during extended rides – using synthetic materials that weigh less.
Dressage saddles are specifically designed to ensure rider comfort during long sessions of sitting trot and collected movements. These saddles prioritize wither clearance, saddle tree size, panel shape and length as well as flap/fender size/design to ensure optimal horse comfort.
Western saddles tend to be heavier than English ones due to their design as working saddles created for long hours roping cattle or carrying equipment. Western saddles were created to withstand hard work by evenly dispersing rider weight across their horse’s back, thus helping it handle stress from hard labor.
Depending on the discipline, saddles may feature deep seats with longer flaps for increased weight, yet still provide sufficient room to allow gullets to clear withers and channel clearance on horses.
A good way to assess saddle fit on any horse is using a saddle fitting tool to assess their wither clearance and gullet width. A saddle that’s too wide could put pressure on its withers and cause pain for your horse. In contrast, one that’s too narrow could impede with proper movement of their scapula and cause muscle soreness and discomfort in turn.
Racing saddles typically weigh 10-25 pounds. Designed to be lightweight and offer comfort on long rides, racing saddles also make good choices for young or senior horses as their lightweight construction can accommodate heavier amounts of weight than would a full tree horse saddle would allow.
Most racing saddles feature a half tree made of leather on all sides. Some come equipped with a gullet plate and spring steel while others do not; more recently however, saddle makers have started using various synthetic materials in place of wood to produce synthetic molded trees (some even featuring integrated spring steel and gullet plates). Their quality can differ significantly; padding may include cowhide, pigskin or another leather surface to further increase comfort levels.
No matter which style saddle you select, it is crucial to ensure it fits your horse correctly. A saddle that is too large may shift forward into an unbalanced position and cause contact between rider and pommel as well as excessive strain on wither ligaments resulting in bruises, sores, and even bald spots in the horse. If it becomes uncomfortable while sitting, attempt moving about while mounted – if this doesn’t help then perhaps its too small and you should opt for larger model instead.