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-   -   Plus size weight distribution: bareback pad vs too small saddle? (

anndankev 09-09-2013 01:17 PM

Plus size weight distribution: bareback pad vs too small saddle?
A while ago bsms posted a picture of the underside of three saddles to demonstrate the greater weight distribution of a larger, heavier saddle as opposed to smaller, lighter saddles with less areas of contact to effectively distribute weight. (I hope I took your intention correctly, bsms.)

At the same time I have been thinking about plus size riders who are thick (read fat) in the middle, but relatively short (ie: me) and how it was pointed out that weight extending beyond the cantle, horn, both, or nearly so causes the saddle to press down at the edges/points of the tree, and is very bad for the horse. And I agree.

So I am wondering if riding on a bareback pad would provide better weight distribution than a saddle that is too small for the rider?

If three people of various sizes were to bend over and allow a picture to be taken of their backsides. Wouldn't it be evident that the weight distribution would be better with the greater area of contact of the plus size rider?

I greatly enjoy riding on a bareback pad, relax more so than with a saddle, and feel in return that my horse is also more relaxed. Is this due to relief from the saddle pressing at the edges, or feedback from my greater relaxation.

It is often said bareback riding should not be done to excess because it hurts the horses back due to not having any weight distribution. So does this apply mostly to skinny, bony rear ends. Am I not providing my own weight distribution?

Does my rationalization make any sense?

Golden Horse 09-09-2013 01:32 PM

I can see your argument, but I believe that the issue is pressure on the spine.

Think about back packs for humans, for light loads we are happy enough to carry a soft sack/bag slung on our back. If you were going out seriously hiking carrying all your equipment you would want a back pack with a frame to make sure that you weren't carrying the weight on your spine, but hoping to be bearing it on your muscle pads, for those that have muscle that is, fat for the likes of me.

Same with saddles, an English saddle gives spine clearance, but a small weight bearing area. A Western saddle gives spine clearance and a bigger weight bearing area. A bareback pad gives you clean jeans:lol::lol: but no spine clearance, and not much weight spread. If you have a backside like mine, the weight spread is already there, but the spinal clearance would be my worry.

anndankev 09-09-2013 01:42 PM

Thanks for the input, more food for thought.

I do have 2 bareback pads, one is a single piece of wool felt but the other is 2 pieces with a nylon strip in the center, thinner than the felt. Both are nicely shaped, I prefer the 2nd one; however, it has english rigging and my daughter has appropriated it.

Now maybe an excuse to get it back?

xdressage 09-09-2013 02:59 PM

I don't know which is better, but neither is ideal. A saddle is made to distribute the weight right(IF the rider fits in the saddle), our butts are not :P If one does not fit in the saddle that fits the horse, then one can not ride the horse. Simple as that!

anndankev 09-10-2013 12:08 AM

Thank you for your reply, I will take your advice to heart and redouble my efforts to trim down.

I will take your advice to heart and redouble my efforts to trim down.

I will take your advice to heart and redouble my efforts to trim down.

Will it be okay if I use your post as authorization to re-start shopping for the perfect saddle. :)

tinyliny 09-10-2013 01:14 AM

the thing about bareback riding is that you can move around on the back, and that helps keep all the weight from pressing down on the same spot, so although you have the same amount of weight bearing down on a smaller area (your buttock and seat bones) as opposed to a tree, your being able to shift and move around should counter that. If your hose is comfy and happy, that should be all the proof you need.

calicokatt 09-10-2013 01:28 AM

I'm a larger woman (much larger than I'd like to be, but not larger than the effort I've put forth to make myself smaller) and I ride bareback a LOT. The last two days I've ridden entirely bareback and soaked both pairs of jeans in sweat (horse's, not mine). The sweat was evenly distributed along my thighs, butt and crotch, less so on my calves, but calves were wet too. This leads me to believe that my crotch DOES make weight bearing contact with my mare's spine, however the area near my seat bones and the insides of my thighs were by FAR the wettest areas of my jeans. This leads me to believe that while there is a lot of weight being put on a small area (near my seat bones, which are WAY too cushioned) there is also a lot of my weight being distributed across my thighs, which extend forward on the horse, not back towards the flank (of course). When riding bareback, I actively use my thighs to hold myself in place, which means that I'm intentionally exerting pressure across an area of her sides that correlates to several ribs, distributing weight across multiple vertebrae. I honestly don't know if this is better than my saddle (english) but I can tell you that more of the length of my horse's back is sweaty when I ride bareback than when I ride in my saddle....

anndankev 09-10-2013 03:24 AM

You mentioned the sweat pattern on the horse in length, what about across the back? Especially directly over the spine compared with and inch or so away from it.

The replies have also got me thinking about a good wool pad with spine relief, made into a bareback pad like smrobs has done. But then my black English pad already has some spine relief.

These are both very good quality dense wool and suede topped, so with half chaps there is basically a good wool pad, leather skirt and fenders, and a layer of natural padding between my horse and my thin inner-self.

On the other hand I may get the Billy Cook Pro Reiner down and see how I fit in it anymore, it fit Elwood well and was my main saddle for him until I got my first Abetta.

And I know Uncle Cecil's old comfort seat saddle is plenty roomy for me, but don't know how it will fit Elwood.

Seems I can do some saddle shopping right here at home :smile:

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