Riding Comfortably – For Rider and Horse

Riding in Comfort

After years of riding, most riders start to dream of riding in comfort and without pain.

I get calls every day from various people wanting to know various things about the saddles.  Starting with questions of how it will fit their horse then many times, looking for something that fits them better too.

I listen to stories about youthful antics catching up as a rider ages.  As well as other issues due to surgeries and other injuries in their lives.

All of them have one thing in common, they all want to continue riding as long as they comfortably can.

This presents several problems when someone is on the hunt for a new saddle for themselves and their horse or horses. 

Saddlers like myself can provide options while building the saddle to help relieve the discomfort that some riders experience.

Choices for Knee and Ankle Comfort

Let’s start with the stirrups along with their leathers or fenders. 

These can be configured to reduce knee strain.  For instance, when you ‘turn’ a western stirrup and fender after wetting the leather then allowing to dry in the more ergonomic shape for the rider.  This helps with the knee and ankle discomfort, it does not eliminate it.

1" leathers or the 2” biothane leathers are an alternative.  They go a long way to relieve the stresses put on the ankle and knee. Used with stirrups that turn or that are strung so that the iron is turned provides even more relief.

The choices eventually boil down to the individual and what they want and need from their saddle.

What Seat is Best for You?

Choosing a saddle determines the type of seat that you’ll end up with.  While some changes can be made, different seats allow for different movement within them. 

Each saddle for each discipline has been designed to be optimal for performance in that discipline. 

This doesn’t mean that you can’t find comfort in the discipline of your choice.  You just need to be aware that there will be limits due to the shape of the bones of the saddle, the tree.  

For example, you’ve had a lower back injury and you have been riding in a western saddle all of your life, now it has become painful for you to ride in it.  You may want to entertain the idea of using a saddle that is built on an English tree. 

Not because you need to change disciplines, you may just find it a much more comfortable saddle to ride in.  

The English style tree and seat allow for increased lower back movement so that it is not held as still as it is in a western saddle.  It took me riding in both style saddles back and forth at my more advanced age to realize the difference that it makes.

The same can be said for someone that is looking for a more secure seat, with a deep pocket like many western and endurance saddles.  Maybe even with some blocking to add to that feeling of security.

Riding in Comfort is Possible

I believe that as many horses suffer in silence with back pain from ill-fitting saddles.  The same number of riders suffer from as many aches and pains as their riders from injury and ill-fitting saddles.

I’m here to tell all of you there is light at the end of that tunnel and a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.  Working with a saddler like myself, discussing what you and your horse’s needs are where we start. 

After that we bring your dream saddle to life.  I will work with you to make the most informed decision about your choices for your perfect saddle.

Let's Talk About YOUR Dream Saddle! I Can't Wait To Hear About It!

2 Responses

  1. Karen Valente
    I have had 2 saddle fitters tell me I only have 19” from behind shoulder to last rib on both my gaited horses. The panels appear to measure well over that and therefore I expect too long for my horses and going beyond the last rib. Do the panels come any shorter or will these just not work?
    • I'm sorry that it took me so long to see this comment and respond. I will also send you an email with this response just in case you didn't have it set to contact you when I replied. The panels are designed to be able to overlap the scapula by up to 3" depending on the horse. with the way the panels flex, move and can be positioned forward like that, even on the short-backed horses there is enough flexibility at the ends of the panes both front and back so as to not cause the common conditions for short-backed horses, such as the bumps before the croup as the back rises to the haunches. In fact my riding buddy, had a DeSoto, beautiful saddle that she used on her horses. It fit adequately on most of them, except her new gelding, it gave him fluid filled bumps just behind the saddle, causing him soreness. It was just his the shape of his back and his current topline at the time. She also purchased an Evolutionary saddle when it was being retailed by Hill View Farms and not only did that bump stop showing up after every single ride Since he was able to move underneath the saddle so much better, that his topline developed as did his rear end as he was able to freely and without pain use his haunches effectively to carry himself. The panels are designed both in length and size to support the rider that is sitting the rigid tree above. They will flex both in front and back in a way that it will not interfere in the way that you sound like you're worried about because there isn't a rigid tree touching the horse but the flexible panel. Please, if you have more questions about how this works, call me or we can set up a Zoom meeting or Skype and I can do virtual demo for you to show you what I am describing above. If you are near Wisconsin, I would love to have you to the shop and I can show you in person maybe even take you for a ride in one, on one of my own horses. Or better yet if possible, bring one of your own and I'll provide a saddle for you to try for the ride. Regards, Lara K.

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