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GUIDE TO ENGLISH SADDLES
WHAT KIND OF SADDLE DO YOU RIDE IN?
TYPES OF SADDLES AND THEIR PHYSICS:
ALL PURPOSE SADDLES
Riding in an all purpose saddle puts the rider in a protective or defensive position. The stirrup bar is farther away from the deepest part of the seat of the saddle. This design causes your leg to be out in front of your upper body. By having your leg out in front of your body it makes it more difficult to fall forward off of your horse. In an all-purpose saddle, no matter how hard you try you will not be able to put your leg under you for a proper equitation position. Riders on all-purpose saddles generally ride with shorter stirrups. The flaps on all-purpose saddles are set farther forward in order for your knees to not stick out off of the flaps. Riders compensate for this by leaning a bit more forward to balance. This type of saddle usually has a round cantle, a deeper seat and knee rolls. All-purpose-saddles are used mainly for trail riding, recreational riding, fox hunting and cross-country horseback riding. These kinds of saddles are comfortable for long rides.
CLOSE CONTACT SADDLES
Close contact saddles are designed for classic equitation. The body lines that determine this are: Shoulder – Hip – Heel & Knee – Toe. What this means is that when you are seated in a saddle on a horse, you will be able to draw a straight line from your shoulder through your hip ending at your heel. You will at the same time be able to draw a line from the front of your knee to the tip or your toe. The close contact saddle’s stirrup bars are installed closer to the deepest part of the seat of the saddle to make proper equitation possible.
Dressage saddles have the stirrup bars directly under your seat. This allows your leg to be open at the hip, almost standing while riding. Dressage riders sit far more upright than any other English rider and need to have as much leg as possible against their horses. The flap of the dressage saddle is straight down from the stirrup bar. This style accommodates a longer stirrup length and a straighter leg. Deep seats, round and high cantles, as well as long flaps, characterize dressage saddles.