Considering the Rider
The steps in finding a saddle that fits both you and your horse will be unique to you. Results are usually the same, a saddle that almost fits you both. With the Evolutionary Saddle, we've considered the horse and with that, the rider's ideal saddle too.
I talk a lot about fitting the horse here on my site. How the panels will conform to the horse's back in a balanced way.
Now it's time to talk about the rider.
What is a rider's ideal saddle?
They desire to be comfortable and close to their horses, so they may apply the aids effectively.
In some disciplines the horses are large and broad and the riders are slim and petite. This obviously causes issues fitting both the horse and rider simultaneously.
Because naturally a wide and broad horse will require a wider and flatter tree, where a seat to fit the rider will need to be built up above it. Depending on how that is done will greatly affect the rider's comfort in the saddle.
The Saddle's Tree
I'll start with English trees, they are small which means most of an English saddle is flocking and leather.
While this can make an English saddle a better fitting saddle overall. Even if you have to re-flock your saddle once or twice a year depending on your horse.
Depending on how a saddle is flocked, all of this material can raise a rider above a horse almost two inches!
Western trees come with their own benefits and drawbacks when fitting a horse.
The main parts of the saddle that rest along either side of the spine are called bars. They extend from just before the pommel to where the cantle ends.
Saddle tree manufacturers consider the horse's shoulders and back in their sculpting. Providing flare at the front and rear of the bars on either side of the tree.
In the middle where the rocker is, a twist along the bar is sculpted in to help conform to the horse's back, attempting to evenly disperse the rider's weight.
I could go on about saddle trees and the horse but this is about the rider.
The Rider's Physiology
Let's start by considering the rider and their physiology. A small petite person is still going to have to reach their legs around a wide horse, no amount of twist will fix the wideness of the animal they are riding.
What sculpting the waist and twist will do is help support the upper thigh and leg as well as provide a balanced seat to sit on. It is about supporting the individual rider's physiology so they can ride as comfortably as possible.
What I hear most as a saddler and rider from other riders, they want comfort. So they can ride better and longer and not have pain either while riding or the time that follows.
As many of you that have been riding for a couple of decades already know, you just don't bounce back like you used to.
This is why it is so important for a saddle to fit the rider as much as it fits the horse. Neither can perform if the saddle they are using causes them pain physically.
How to Choose a Seat
The wide variety of different shaped riders require different combinations of width of twist, waist and seat. Which will vary depending on gender, height, weight, and personal shape.
When I refer to these terms, I am referring to those parts of the saddle as shown in the photo above.
In general women will prefer a narrower twist a wider waist and a wider seat. This is due to their pelvis and how it is shaped.
When it comes to comfort though, there is even more. As you're riding, your saddle's seat pocket will determine how much you can move around in your saddle.
What I mean by that is, the deep seat pocket of a Western saddle can 'lock in' a rider's butt so much that it can cause the rider pain as soon as they dismount.
This isn't because of poor saddle fit to the rider, but incorrect choice in trees and seats for that rider.
When the saddle holds a rider like this in a seat, the lower back isn't allowed the same range of motion that other saddle styles provide.
It is this same reason that a saddle that might feel great in the store on a stand, but when put on the horse and ridden in, it is nothing like what you felt in the store.
This could mean that the saddle doesn't fit the horse, but it could also mean that the saddle doesn't fit you on that horse.
Back to the saddle quest you go.
Final Considerations for the Rider's Ideal Saddle
There is only one way to know for sure if a saddle will fit both you and your horse, which is to ride in it.
There is no shortcut to this which is why I offer the 30 day money back guarantee. Both you and your horse need to ride in a saddle to determine if it is correct for the two of you.
So let's break it down, as I covered a lot of ground here. What are the basics that a rider should consider when choosing a saddle.
- Don't choose a saddle with too narrow of a twist, it is there to support your upper thigh and leg. What you may really be seeking is a narrower waist and maybe a lower rise.
- If you'd like more room to move around in your saddle then you'll stay away from saddles that can lock you in the seat pocket.
- Make sure you have a seat that supports you under both seat-bones.
- Don't compromise fit for either you or your horse, neither of you will be able to perform your best if there is an issue with the saddle.