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Trails in an English saddle

This is a discussion on Trails in an English saddle within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Trail riding in an english saddle

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    08-13-2013, 08:52 PM
  #11
Weanling
I ride in an English AP saddle. It's lighter and close contact, which I prefer. I had rings added to it and there are plenty of trail bags intended for English saddles.
     
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    08-14-2013, 10:19 AM
  #12
Foal
I knew I couldn't be the only one! So many people I know that strictly ride hunters and jumpers on a daily basis will borrow western saddles to go on trail rides. I personally just think western saddles are ungodly uncomfortable!
     
    08-14-2013, 10:30 AM
  #13
Showing
I don't find Western saddles uncomfortable, I just find them all wrong for me. I can't feel the horse under me with all those pads, and Western saddles throw me into a position in which I don't normally ride. I'm constantly trying to put myself back into a proper English position, so am fighting the saddle the whole time. It's exhausting!
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    08-14-2013, 11:45 AM
  #14
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
I don't find Western saddles uncomfortable, I just find them all wrong for me. I can't feel the horse under me with all those pads, and Western saddles throw me into a position in which I don't normally ride. I'm constantly trying to put myself back into a proper English position, so am fighting the saddle the whole time. It's exhausting!
There's nothing wrong with using what ever saddle you like for trail rides as long as it works.
The "English" saddle was created by the Hungarian and German Cav to allow more flexability and variations with the things the Cav would be able to do. It initially gave them a desided edge over the Cav of other European nations. Later it was discovered that a major drawback to the design was that during campaign it caused a lot of horses to be out of action from sore backs. It doesn't have a good tree for the best weight displacement across the back. Cav's didn't want to give up the abilities that they gained from this kind of saddle though so it was a big problem during military compaigns trying to keep enough horses fit for duty available.
In the first half of the 1800's the British developed a new saddle design that allowed them to keep the abilities that the "English" saddle (that's not really "English" ) had made possible, but dramatically cut down on the numbers of horses with sore backs during compaigns (you'll always have some). The saddle eventually became known as the Universal Patern (UP). Some model/variation of it has been used by the military of all the English speaking countries except the US since around the 1850's. Today the design is more commonly known as the Trooper.
Now this does not mean that you will sore the back of your horse by riding your English saddle for pleasant weekend of trail riding . Unless you're in the saddle for days riding a hundred miles or more a week for multiple weeks you're unlikely to have a problem (we'll take for granted that you have a well fitting saddle). Most people don't spend as much time riding as mounted troops on campaign. Working cowboys might, but then they'll be using saddles with trees that displace more weight than saddles with the English style tree.

Point being, ride what works for you and your horse. There's no right or wrong saddle if you just having a fun weekend riding trails. A saddle is a tool we use for riding. As long as the tool we are using allows us to do the job we want in the way we want with the results we want then it's what we want.
     
    08-14-2013, 11:49 AM
  #15
Super Moderator
Western really isn't an option here, so yes, I hack out in a GP and even occasionally my dressage saddle.
     
    08-14-2013, 03:19 PM
  #16
Weanling
I like trail riding in English better than western, if I haven't been riding in a western saddle consistently then riding in one for a couple hours hurts my butt. My boyfriend who is still very new to riding prefers English as well, especially on trail rides. Sure it gives you less to hold onto, but I almost think that's better - teaches you quicker
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    08-15-2013, 10:21 PM
  #17
Weanling
I got a wintec dressage for endurance riding. I like it better than any other saddle I've ridden in. I got a stowaway english cantle bag and it carries a lot of crap. I can carry four bottles of water, a first aide kit and snacks.
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    08-16-2013, 06:33 AM
  #18
Foal
I ride multiple saddles depending on the horse and the riding conditions. Australian, English, western, endurance and a trail saddle. I'm often accused of riding English beautifully in my western saddle!
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    08-21-2013, 09:23 AM
  #19
Foal
I always trail ride in an English saddle. I have used a western saddle only a couple of times and found it uncomfortable. I think it just depends on what you're more comfortable with.
     

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