5 Types of Horse Riding Saddles
The saddle may be one of the most distinctive pieces of equipment associated with horse riding and equine sports. However, each horseback riding discipline is associated with its own equipment, and saddles can vary greatly in terms of materials and size.
General Purpose Saddle
Often used in riding schools, this type of saddle is ideal for beginners or intermediate riders. It is sturdy with flaps that are cut forward and can accommodate the rider well for basic jumping, dressage and hacks or hunts in the country with small jumps. There are no pads at the front of the saddle for the knee.
This saddle is designed for advanced riders who are regularly competing in flat-work competitions. It enhances the traditional straight-legged and upright torso dressage position. It has a deeper seat to provide better balance for the rider and straight flaps allowing closer leg contact for precision moves.
It has a relatively flat seat and the saddle flaps are long and fairly straight to accommodate the longer leg position, although more forward than the dressage saddle. One of its key features is that is has little or no padding under the leg, which allows the rider to move freely.
This is a very small and lightweight type of saddle. It is used by jockeys who are galloping and jumping fences on thoroughbred horses. The seat is flatter than those of other saddles as they are not intended for a rider to sit in.
This is the typical cowboy saddle. It is made of leather and can be decorated with colorful Western designs. This type of saddle is designed to be more comfortable and sturdier for people who spent long hours on horseback. Today there are different kinds of Western saddles that have been adapted for several disciplines.
Not every saddle fits every horse. While the type of saddle depends largely on the horseback discipline, you should keep in mind the characteristics of the horse and the needs of the rider.