Your saddle allows for a direct connection between you and your horse. Injuries and risks could occur if a saddle does not fit your horse or you properly. Fit is extremely important with any saddle but especially for English saddles.
Because an English saddle distributes the rider’s weight over a smaller surface area, you must ensure you get a perfect fit. If you ask yourself, “What is “e English saddle do I need?” allow” his information to guide you.
What Is an English Saddle?
English saddles are smaller and lighter than Western saddles, intended to give riders more intimate contact with their horse for better direction and guidance. English saddles are used in all English riding disciplines, including the following:
- Fox hunting
In English riding, the rider uses the reins to control their horse at all times directly. Because of their size, English saddles allow riders to remain closer to their horses, so they can better give directions and speed in all types of English riding.
Essential Parts of an English Saddle
There are multiple components of English saddles. Knowing the essential parts will help riders better understand how their saddle works with English riding and how they can measure to get the perfect fit.
- The seat is considered the most important part for horse riders. This is where the rider sits while riding their horse. The seat should be comfortable and offer support for all types of English riding events. Measurements must be taken to ensure the rider fits in the seat properly.
- The gullet is the structural support under the saddle seat. Gullets are made according to the measurements of the horse. The gullet is the channel resting directly over the horse’s cantle at the back of the seat. It helps support the rider’s rider pack and keep them comfortably situated.
- The jockey is the small flap of leather that covers the stirrup bar and allows a smooth transition between the seat and the flap.
- The flap hides the saddle and girth.
- The panels provide superior cushioning between the saddle and the horse. The panels are located underneath the seat on both sides of the gullet.
- Billets are used to attach the girth to the saddle. On English saddles, there are three billets on each side.
- The girth is used to hold the saddle in place on the horse. The rider tightens the girth to ensure the saddle is held snugly in place.
- The stirrup is a triangular frame made of metal. Stirrups are where the riders while riding their horse.
Each of these important components helps to ensure a horse is properly saddled and both horse and rider are safe. Proper measurements must be taken of both horse and rider to ensure the right size English saddle is purchased.
How to Measure for an English Saddle
One of the first things you will need to do is measure the seat. This involves measuring your thigh from the hip bone to the knee. To measure accurately, be seated with your feet flat on the floor. The thigh measurement is the seat size you need on your English saddle.
For your horse, you must measure the gullet carefully. It is wise to take a wither tracing to ensure a proper fit. This can be done with the following steps.
- Use a flexible but stable wire and place it two inches from the horse’s blades across the withers. Bend it to fit.
- Next, take the bent wire, lay it over a piece of paper, and trace the shape of the wire with precision.
- If you are unsure of the measurements for the gullet, you can always seek a professional for measures.
Now, you know how to measure yourself and your horse for the perfect fit in an English saddle. If the gullet fits your horse’s withers and the seat is the right size, riding your horse will be comfortable for you both.
English saddles are lighter and smaller than Western saddles, so the right fit is essential for all English riding disciplines. Without a correct fit, using an English saddle for hunting, jumping, or eventing is not safe because you and your horse could become injured.
With the information above, you should now be able to answer your questions regarding what size English saddle you need. Measuring carefully and using the above steps will make it easier for you to purchase an English saddle that will comfortably and securely fit you and your horse, no matter what English riding discipline you practice.