While some may think saddles are simply there to make horse and rider more comfortable, this essential piece of equestrian kit can take on an almost symbolic status for some riders. Many will have their favourite brand, with some refusing to ride in anything else.
While saddle fit for horse and rider alike is paramount to ensure top performance, you’ll find riders who will use their ‘old faithful’ saddle on anything and everything, adjusting the fit as required with the addition of a half pad, riser or other adaptive numnah. They are simply so wedded to their favourite that they can’t bring themselves to ride in anything else.
Nick Skelton embodied this point in his 2014 guest edited issue of Horse & Hound saying: “The right saddle in our sport makes a massive difference and riders become hugely attached to saddles they know and love. I have a 30-year-old Stubben I still use and dread having to start out with a new one.”
Saddles have come a long way since ancient times when a piece of old sack was tied on to a horse’s back using twine or leather straps. The latest technology has been utilised extensively in saddle design to make horse and rider more comfortable and able to communicate better than ever before. From trees that flex to mimise the horse’s back movement to close contact panels that allow the rider to feel the precise movements of the horse underneath them, saddle design is a constantly evolving area. Horse & Hound will keep you abreast of the latest developments, so keep up to date right here…