The most often used saddles in the equestrian world for their respective events are the English saddle and the western saddle. In the western world, one saddle type or the other is usually in use for the wide variety of horseback riding competitions. Dressage, polo, horse racing, show jumping, saddle seat and hunt seat competitions are among the events that use the English saddle. Likewise, the Western or “stock” saddle is used for rodeos, trail riding and ranching.
During the 18th century in England the English saddle came into wide use. Used for fox hunting which was a popular sport at that time, the saddles had uncomfortable pommels and cantles that were were too high for the rider. What would later be known as the English saddle, a Frenchman developed in response to the need for a lighter saddle. With a lower pommel and cantle, it looked flatter and gave the rider and horse the abilty to move more freely.
The Western saddle, as a distinctly different type, derived from an Iberian saddle design used by Spanish cattle ranchers in the new world. It is much broader and heavier than the English saddle, but its weight is evenly distributed. With a horn to tie a rope, it also has a higher pommel and cantle, creating a deeper seat to give the rider comfort over long periods on the mount. The horn is a round knob attached to the pommel in front of the rider.
Equestrian events in the English style all use the English saddle or a close relative of it. Among the events that use this saddle are polo, horse racing, show jumping, saddle seat, dressage and hunt seat. bitless bridle The rider’s form while atop the saddle is important in all of these competitions. fly rugs The rider is able to focus on their posture since the English saddle is smaller and allows for more movement. stirrup irons
Also found in Australia and Argentina, the western saddle is most commonly associated with cowboys, cattle ranchers and the American west. Activities that require the western saddle include trail riding and rodeo events. Among private horse enthusiasts in America, the western or stock saddle is most common.
Wherever competitions or other horseback riding events are found, one of these saddles is most surely employed.