Why am I always more sore and tired in an English saddle? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Western Massachusetts
Posts: 330
• Horses: 1
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?
mrstorres2566 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: AZ
Posts: 964
• Horses: 0
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.
EponaLynn is offline  
post #3 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:24 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: May 2012
Location: CT USA an English transplant
Posts: 24,989
• Horses: 3
I am an English rider but have tried western saddles and cant 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
NaeNae87 likes this.
jaydee is offline  
post #4 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Woodinville, Washington
Posts: 1,203
• Horses: 0
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
Northernstar likes this.
TessaMay is offline  
post #5 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: A good place
Posts: 5,996
• Horses: 0
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.
boots is offline  
post #6 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Posts: 9,574
• Horses: 4
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!

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
bsms is offline  
post #7 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 104
• Horses: 1
It may be you're saddle is not the right fit for you or maybe youre 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.
sheenanaginz is offline  
post #8 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 09:51 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 41,070
• Horses: 2
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.
tinyliny is online now  
post #9 of 13 Old 08-22-2013, 11:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
Posts: 16,846
• Horses: 1
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.
Corporal and Northernstar like this.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
Skyseternalangel is offline  
post #10 of 13 Old 08-23-2013, 06:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,613
• Horses: 0
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!
ponyboy is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Saddle Sore Jeffrey B Horse Health 6 05-14-2013 06:07 AM
I think my horse might be saddle sore... Fifty Horse Tack and Equipment 1 10-24-2010 10:29 AM
saddle sore chika1235 Horse Health 2 08-15-2009 03:20 PM
Saddle Sore Small_Town_Girl Horse Talk 0 04-05-2009 11:05 AM
With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept NativeHorse55 Horse Videos 4 03-31-2009 05:08 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome