It’s a good idea to know why different saddles exist and what makes each one useful for specific situations. A few weeks ago, we covered four common saddle types including general purpose, dressage, jumping, and kids saddles.
If you missed that post, use this link to check it out. This week we’ll finish up and cover four more types!
Unless you go fox-hunting in the English countryside, a hunting saddle probably isn’t for you. These hunts involve jumps over large hedges with very steep drops on the other side. For this reason, the saddle is shaped to push the riders weight back in the saddle and their feet forwards in the stirrups. This allows the rider to remain in a safer positioning leaning backwards when they are landing over large fences. The saddles have low cantle and pommel which makes jumps more comfortable. They are made from durable leather to match the traditional hunting attire.
Cowboys ride these saddles! They are made from brown leather and can be intricately decorated with colorful Western designs. There is a horn at the front of the saddle which aids balance while the other hand holds the reigns. The saddles are designed to be more comfortable and sturdy for ranch hands who spent long hours on horse-back often performing sharp turns. There are now around a dozen different types of Western saddle that have been adapted for the various disciplines of Western riding.
When women started riding horses in European countries in the middle ages, it was not deemed proper for them to straddle a horse – particularly because they would be wearing skirts. Hence the side-saddle was developed as a way to sit aside a horse with their legs crossed. This was very lady like and allowed them to keep their fine clothes clean. The saddles have two pommels, or horns, that hold a rider’s legs in place.The right leg rests on top of the top pommel and the left thigh goes under the lower pommel. This two pommel design can be secure enough for women to jump fences and gallop.
Racing saddles are very small and lightweight because they are made specifically for jockeys who are galloping and jumping fences on thoroughbred horses. The saddles have only one girth strap and the stirrups are very short. The seat is flatter than other saddles as they are not intended for a rider to sit in but for them to hover over while crouching in the stirrups. Saddles for flat racing have much smaller flaps than steeplechase saddles which have larger flaps to give the jockey a more secure lower leg over fences.
Know any other saddle types? Tell us in the comments!