SaddlesMany kinds of saddles are available on the market today. Major saddle categories are English saddles, Western saddles, racing saddles, and Australian stock saddles.
English saddles are further divided into dressage saddles, jumping saddles, eventing saddles, sidesaddles, and show saddles. Dressage saddles have a deep seat and a straight cut flap, encouraging a long leg position and close contact between the rider's seat and the horse's back. Jumping saddles have a forward cut flap, catering to the two-point position used while riding over fences. Eventing saddles are a compromise between jumping and dressage saddles, allowing for stadium jumping and cross-country events as well as riding dressage tests. Sidesaddles used to be in much greater use when it was socially considered inproper for ladies to ride astride. Show saddles are used by saddleseat riders and have a rather flat seat. This type of saddle attempts to show off the front of the horse and causes a chair-seat position in the rider.
Western saddles are characterized by a horn on the pommel and wide fenders, which protect the rider's leg against the horse's hair and sweat. Western saddles may be categorized as cutting saddles, roping saddles, barrel racing saddles, reining saddles, or pleasure saddles. Roping saddles may be recognized by their sturdy horns, which provide a strong anchor for a cowboy's lasso while roping cattle. Barrel racing saddles are designed for lightness and speed, while cutting and reining saddles are designed to help the rider balance during advanced movements.
Racing saddles are lightweight and small, providing just enough stability for a jockey. Australian stock saddles are similar to western saddles, designed for long rides and safety, but the horn on the stockman's saddle is not used for roping cattle.
Please visit O Horse Saddle Makers for a directory of saddle makers and manufacturers of other equestrian products.