Archive for the ‘trail riding’ Category

Trail Riding follow-up #2

Another reason people like a western saddle for trail riding is the deeper seat. While some English saddles have a very flat seat, that is not true of all English saddles, only jumping saddles or Lane Fox style saddles that are intended for high-stepping gaited horses.

A dressage or all purpose saddle has a deeper seat that can give the same security as the deep seat of a western saddle.  These saddles allow the rider to lengthen the stirrup leathers  and ride in a position very similar to that of a western rider.  I also find short stirrups uncomfortable.  And it’s not because I can’t bend my knees.  It’s because I feel unbalanced — like I’m perched up high.  This is a personal preference. I say that if you are comfortable riding that way and feel safe and balanced, then do it.

If you think that the seat of the English saddle just isn’t comfortable, than you have probably only ridden on saddles that don’t fit you.  If you find that your crotch is sore after a while, might be because

a) you are tilting forward slightly and your pubic bone hits the ramp of the seat.

b) the stirrup bars and therefore your feet are out in front of you. This causes you to lean forward to maintain balance and this tilts you pelvis.

c) the seat is too deep for you

d) the working center is not long enough for you.

Any of these things can make you saddle sore…even in a western saddle.

Trail Riding Follow-up #1

A lot of trail riders like the security of the “horn”. They assume that it will be easier to stay on if their horse bucks or shies, with the horn to grab onto. This is a dangerous assumption.  The fingers of one hand will not keep you on your horse. Your balance will. However, a brief touch to the horn might help you regain your balance.  Just like a brief touch to a wall or other stationary object will help you regain your balance while standing on one foot.

Here is a link to the website of Scot Hansen who is somewhat of an expert on trail safety.

He offers for sale an item called a “night latch”. This serves the same purpose as the “grab strap” for English riders. Either one of these items allows you to grip tightly with your hand. Even though you might not stay on the horse, it will improve your odds, making either style of saddle safer.  So, bottom line, safety on the trail has nothing to do with the style of saddle.


Trail Riding

I had a discussion the other day about using an English saddle for trail riding. Some people think they are far safer in a Western saddle. I disagree. I think a competent rider should be able to ride in either. You also need to consider what the horse is used to. I wouldn’t want to put an English saddle on a Western trained horse and take him out on the trail.  Or vice versa. But I am not a Western rider. What are your thoughts about saddle choice for trail riding?