Why am I always more sore and tired in an English saddle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Why am I always more sore and tired in an English saddle?

When I ride Western (I'm more comfortable this way) I feel like I can ride longer and harder. I have recently decided to try my hand at English. Every time, at about 30-45 minutes, I start to get SO sore and exhausted. We did a calm trail ride today for an hour or so, and I was pouring down sweat and as sore as can be. Why I am more tired and sore in the English saddle?
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:10 PM
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Myabe it's the saddle. I find the opposite, I rode english for years, showing HUS and more and changed to western after many years. Those huge western saddles just don't seem too comfortable to me and I can't feel the horse the same way. I have very short legs so that might be it.

Recently I rode in an Imus something or other on a TWH and it was very comfortable.
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:24 PM
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I am an English rider but have tried western saddles and can't say that I found them any more comfortable so maybe it is the saddle you have that's not right for you or just as likely that you're still adjusting to sitting in a slightly different position
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:44 PM
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Everything is a little more of a workout in an English saddle, even walking. It uses your legs more because of the shorter stirrups and the fact that your heels are pointed down farther (for most people at least). The English saddle also encourages most people to sit up straighter, which works your back muscles. If you are in a posting trot it is more of a workout than a sitting trot. Even balancing can take more effort

Now with that being said, I ride both English and western, but prefer English and I find that if I have not been riding western regularly that it makes my butt sore
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:45 PM
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Some English saddles can be uncomfortable, just as some Western can be. I like the suggestions to try another. If that isn't it, it may be a case of adjusting to the difference.

I sometimes ride my hunt seat or my polo saddle while working cattle if I don't want to rope with a particular crew. I can go for 6-8 hours easy, and I'm not special in any way.
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:47 PM
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It may depend on your riding style. The frame of a western saddle extends well behind the cantle, so a balanced position in it is when you are 'on your pockets'. As long as you have the flexibility to move with the horse, it works just fine - while allowing more of your weight to rest on the saddle.

In an English saddle, that position puts most of your weight in the rear of the saddle frame and causes it to dig into the horse's back. You need to ride either more vertical (dressage-style) or with more weight in your thighs and leaning slightly forward (forward seat). Either one is going to use muscles in your back and thighs that might not be getting used in a western saddle.

Given the saddle design, this guy is not 'wrong':



From a great website: Erwin E. Smith Collection Guide | Collection Guide

But he would be wrong if he was riding in an English saddle.

I know nothing about how you ride. But if you are used to western, 'on your pockets' riding, then riding well in an English saddle will use and stretch muscles that you were not using.

When I started riding at 50, I thought 40 years of jogging meant I was in shape. And I was - for jogging. At 49, I did 1.5 miles in 9:10, which wasn't bad at all. But riding uses a different muscle set, and needs my legs and hip to stretch where they were tight, and to tighten where they were stretched. And I'll be honest with you. Five years later, I can ride my horse for 45 minutes working on things like turns & changing speeds within the same gait...and crawl off feeling every one of my 55 years!

... Energy is an admirable thing, but the energy of stupidity seldom avails much..." - On Seats and Saddles (1868), Francis Dwyer, Major of Hussars (light cavalry)
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 08:37 PM
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It may be you're saddle is not the right fit for you or maybe you're just not used to it. I have ridden english for 9 years and a couple months ago I put a western saddle on my horse. After the ride my knees, ankles, and especially my butt were soooo sore! I think I was trying to ride "english style" in the western saddle, so I doubt my position was correct. Maybe you are still trying to position yourself like a western rider when you use an english saddle.
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 09:51 PM
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it is that the saddle does not fit you. It may have a twist that is much narrower than what you are used to, and you may be rolling too far forward, too much arch in your lower back. You can get a lot more answered by posting a video of yourself riding.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 11:34 PM
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It could be a number of things.

If could be that the saddle doesn't fit your body type. Not all are created equally and some will compliment you better than others.

It could be that since you are NEW to English, you are utilizing different muscles. Since there is a lot less leather, no horn, tiny tiny seat, and you can feel every movement.. your body may be adjusting more so than usual and so it's like trying 100 crunches when you haven't done any in months. It will burn and you will be tired!

Do you feel this sore/exhausted if you ride bareback? If you do.. then you know it's because it's a new concept and not because of bad saddle fitting to you. However.. that could also contribute.
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-23-2013, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TessaMay View Post
If you are in a posting trot it is more of a workout than a sitting trot.
Speak for yourself lol. I hate sitting trot!
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