Which saddle do I buy?

Saddles were not a priority in the early days of riding. Most riders used to attend events without a saddle. But ride at your own risk especially if you do not have the balance. Saddles are very important during riding events. You therefore have to get one for yourself to make the whole riding process smooth and comfortable. But which saddle do you buy?

Saddles come in different styles according to an equestrian sporting event. Here are some of the types of saddles you can buy:

General purpose saddles

These saddles are basically meant for first time riders or ones attending riding lessons. They are the best to begin with if you have never ridden a horse. They are sturdy with flaps cut forward to accommodate the rider well. With this kind of a saddle falling is not easy.

Dressage saddle

Dressage saddles are for professional riders. They are used by riders who regularly attend riding competitions. They are the best if you want to take up riding as a profession. They are made to give the rider comfort throughout the events. They have a deeper seat that provides better balance. They are light in weight and its flaps are straight. It’s made of thin material and its length measured according to the rider for better leg contact.

Western saddles

These are traditional saddles made from leather. This type can be customized according to the rider’s desire. It is fitted with a horn at the front for enhancement of balance. They are designed to create comfort for the riders. They are mostly worn by cowboys. There are many saddles categorized to be western. These types vary according to intended use, fork style, tree type and the breed. If you go looking for a western type of saddle, your head will spin. You better identify the specific one and go for it.

Treeless saddles

Treeless saddles are meant to give the rider a closer contact with the horse. Most of them are made using the leather material. They are compacted with a padding to promote some comfort. However they are not very secure .They are meant for horses whose backs are difficult to fit a tree saddle. If you are just getting started with riding, this is not the kind to use.

Australian stock saddle

This is the most popular saddle known by riders. Its seat is deeper with a higher pommel. It has a horn with some extra padding. The extra padding is meant for extra support along with an over girth. This is one of the safest saddles to ride with since they provide a good balance. You can ride so many times using this saddle without getting tired.

Side saddle

This is a saddle meant for women who are fond of skirts. Women can sit aside the horse with legs crossed during riding. This saddle has two pommels to hold the riders legs. This makes it possible for women to ride even through the roughest landscapes without falling.

Now that you have knowledge on different kinds of saddles you must be sure of what kind you need. Ensure you get a comfortable saddle to ride with.

How to wear a saddle

A saddle is one of the equipment required in horse riding. However not all riders wear a saddle. There are some who feel experienced enough not to wear a saddle during riding. It’s assumed that riding without the saddle improves a rider’s skill. They learn to maintain their balance and learn a horse movement very fast. They therefore find no reason as to why they should fit a saddle while they have all the skills. These riders would possibly not know how a saddle is even worn.

Regardless of this theory, every rider needs to have a saddle. A saddle is important in such a way that it prevents a rider from falling when a horse goes crazy. It’s one of the safety equipments that enhance comfort and balance to the rider. A good saddle will keep calm your horse and your riding activities will become more interesting. Now you understand why your horse needs to wear a saddle just as you do.

Best saddles are made by saddle fitters. The chances of you getting a good saddle are high instead of going to a vendor. However you can still take your measurements and ask the vendor to assist you. But note that you will need to make some adjustments for a perfect fit. How do you know that you have got a perfect fit? Of course you will need to wear it.

Here are tips to observe when wearing your saddle:

Test the saddle

Before you mount the saddle on your horse test it for tightness. Try pulling the stitches to see if they are tight enough and that they won’t slip when riding. Ensure the cinch is tight enough for you and your horse.

Let the horse take a few steps

One can never be completely sure if the saddle is tight enough. Mount the saddle on the horse and let it take a few steps forward. If the horse moves without loosening the cinch then you are good to go.

Check the girth path

There is nothing more annoying to a horse than a girth path full of mud and dirt. The common reason why your horse will go crazy is riding its hooves through dirt. Clean the girth path and ensure its free from dirt and mud.

Clean your horse

Remove the dirt and loose hair that your horse hooves might have captured. They are likely to cause irritation or tripping of the horse. Brush the hooves and ensure they are dirt free. Your final step is to check and see if everything is in order before you ride.

Take note of the following things while saddling your horse.

  • Place the saddle gently on your horse. Dropping it down with might strength may irritate the horse.
  • Ensure your saddle has a strap that you will use to connect the rear cinch to the front cinch to avoid sliding and discomfort.
  • Ensure you have properly tied the saddle to your horse.

Factors to consider before buying a saddle

Horse riders understand how wired it can be to have a saddle that is depressing. Saddles contribute a lot to the way riders perform in a show. Take a scenario where your saddle does not balance well. You will keep moving backwards and forward up to the horses neck creating discomfort and can result to injuries.

Here are factors to consider before you get a saddle:

Saddle fitting

Having an ill-fitting saddle is the worst thing to do especially when you are preparing for an equestrian event. Do not rush to buy a saddle that will make you fall down from your horse. Take down your measurements and your horses. You must get a saddle that fits the both of you. The most important thing to note of is the width of the gullet. Also a saddle that is too small will not fit the horse since a horse back is quite large. A lengthy saddle too will not keep the legs of the rider firm. Consider the balance of the saddle. A rider should be comfortable enough otherwise poor balance might lead to serious injuries.

Type of saddle style

There are different saddle styles fitted for appropriate sports. The equestrian sport you will engage in dictates the style of saddle to buy. Some of the equestrian events include the dressage, show jumping, western pleasure and saddle seat classes. All these sports require different styles of saddles for the rider to be comfortable. As a horse rider you can either pick on English saddles or western depending on your activities. If you find yourself in a fix, seek advice from your saddle maker.

Type of material

Riders can really get confused when it comes to selecting the right material for your saddle. A saddle can either be made of leather or synthetic material. Synthetic saddles are light in weight therefore easy to carry. Getting this kind of saddle will save you a lot of time in cleaning. Besides that, they are available in different styles and colors.

Picking a leather saddle may be tricky. There are some that are made of low quality leather .contact your saddle fitter and let him assist in picking the right leather material for your saddle. Good quality leather saddles will take you throughout your riding life. The best part is that you can repair them.

Price

It’s for a fact that if you want to get a good saddle you must be willing to spend. Good saddles are quite expensive but be sure to work with it for many years. However you can still find affordable saddles from saddle fitters. These saddles will take you one season before you think about getting another one.

Now that you have tips on how to buy a good comfortable saddle, you will need to buy girth stirrups pads and leather pads. They make the horse feel comfortable same as the rider. Pick on the same colors as your saddle to complete your match. Ensure you leave with a full package from your saddle fitter.

How to take clean and good care of your saddle

Besides your riding boots and your horse, the saddle is probably the most expensive equipment you acquired for your equestrian event. Most saddles are made from leather material. Leather material is one of the best since one can clean, repair and maintain it. It’s therefore important to invest your time in taking good care of your saddle.

The first step to cleaning your saddle is selecting a sponge along with kind of soap to use. Saddles are not cleaned with ordinary detergents made of ordinary substances. Do not use bathing soaps and showering gels; they are not good for the leather material. There are available saddle soaps and conditioners specially manufactured for cleaning saddles. Apply saddle soap to the sponge you will use for cleaning then follow with a moisturizing product. The purpose of the moisturizing product is to enable saddle maintain the natural oils back into the leather. Rub the damp sponge thoroughly on you saddle to capture all the dirt. Clean underneath the saddle and its tack. Ensure you capture all the hidden dirt underneath your saddle.

Once you are done cleaning, apply conditioner that will restore moisture removed during the cleaning process. However when your saddle is not very dirty, you do not need to reach all the arsenal products used to make it. Simply dust your saddle and expose it to fresh air instead of direct sunlight.

After the cleaning process, storage is vital. You definitely are not going to leave your saddle directly on the sun for the whole day. Properly stored saddles take many seasons before they ware out. Once your saddle is exposed to fresh air, find an undercover storage for it. It should be free from dust, sun and unfavorable weather conditions. This helps to maintain the leather material from misshaping and therefore takes many years. Storing the saddle in cool temperatures also help them regain moisture.

When to clean your equestrian saddle

The duration to take before you clean your saddle depends on the amount of usage. If you use your saddle for professional riding events, clean it on a weekly basis. This is because of the much dirt and dust it is exposed to. It is difficult to remove dirt that has accumulated for a long period of time. All the same do not apply so much pressure when cleaning to prevent leather from wearing off. It will be much easier to place your saddle on a movable rack. Your saddle will be free from any imprints if you had cleaned it on rough surfaces.

If using a saddle for recreational purposes, it’s likely not to get dirt and dust easily. You can choose to clean it once a month according to how you go out with it.

Before your next riding event, be sure to clean your saddle and polish all metallic parts. A clean saddle promotes some sense of comfort and thereby increasing your chances of winning in a show.

Tips on how to pick a fitting saddle

A saddle is a supportive structure for riders. The most popular saddle is the equestrian type. Ask every rider what is a saddle and they will tell you its very important.  Riders know that it is impossible to ride without a saddle. They use the saddle to fasten to a horse back using a girth. Getting a comfortable saddle both for the rider and the horse means more comfort. And for that comfort a saddle has to be fit perfectly.

Here are some great tips to help to picking the right saddle fitting

Consider yourself and your horse

To get the perfect fit, you will need to consider your horse and yourself as the rider. Here, measurements are therefore very critical. Ask yourself what size of a saddle would be perfect for you. The measurements you take should be based on whether you and your horse will be comfortable. Regardless of the type a saddle must fit you and our horse. Approach a saddle maker along with your measurements. Saddle makers are professional and will produce a saddle that exactly fits. However you can still get a fitting saddle from the shop but you will need to do minor adjustments.

Familiarize yourself with different kinds of saddles

Just like equestrian helmets, saddles too come in different designs. Identify different kinds of saddle designs, materials, styles and their names. This knowledge will help reduce frustrations to face when you go looking for a saddle maker. Besides, it is an added advantage since you will not be misled to getting the wrong one.

Have few saddle choices

Since you have complete knowledge on saddles, finding your choice will be simpler. Provide your saddle fitter with the type of saddle you need for your riding activities. Sometimes having very many choices can spoil everything.

Fitting the horse

One saddle cannot possibly fit all the horses. Horses have different kinds of bodies and some tend to increase weight and change body change. To get a perfect saddle for a horse, you will have to try fitting it different kinds of saddles. The width of the saddle is the one to use when determining the perfect fit. Another thing to consider is the length of the tree and proper balance. Measure the horses back to get the right size and shape.

Fitting the rider

Riders have to fit saddles for the purposes of comfort. Here a rider focuses on the length of the seat and the position of the legs. The length should be favorable and not too short or long. The position of a rider’s leg is very important and any cause of discomfort makes the whole horse riding activity boring. Accurate balance must also be achieved by the saddle you pick. A saddle that keeps on sliding back and forth is not a perfect fit.

Buying a fitting saddle can be quite a task. However there are things you can do to make the whole exercise easier. Follow the few guides below.

  • Make sure you try a saddle on before purchasing
  • Make sure your horse can move underneath the saddle perfectly
  • Make sure that you are comfortable with a saddle you purchase
  • Test your saddle under the conditions that you expect to use it e.g. equestrian event.

Facts about equestrian riding helmets you should know

Have you ever heard of stories of professional riders who are currently healing their injuries? How would a pro rider even get to hospital? Perhaps they assumed they are experienced enough to ride without a helmet. But you can never guarantee your safety if you are in a horse riding profession. You can never know what a horse can do if it is moody. The best thing you can do is to ensure you are armed with safety kits. One of the safety kits is the equestrian helmet. You need to buy one before we see your injury story goes viral.

Riders who go out to race are at a high risk of encountering injuries. Horse riding in itself is a quite dangerous activity. Only the riders have gotten used to the nervous and moody horses. If you are thinking of joining horse riding lessons, you will have to go a long way. For a start, never leave your helmet at home this means never ride without a helmet. It should not just be a helmet but an approved one. It should be certified by the appropriate safety agency.

Riding helmets just come in at the right time when a horse trips. Dealing with a moody or nervous horse is very difficult. It happens that you have no idea of what is behind the horse violent reaction. You might be the one causing the reaction perhaps but you have no slightest idea. If you are wearing a helmet it helps to prevent injuries that your horse can cause. You will prevent head damage since you are wearing a helmet.try to think about a scenario where you are thrown in a rocky landscape by your horse. You will hit your head and everything will be spinning for you. A head injury results to a brain damage.try to imagine how you will be like when each and every time you have a migraine. It’s therefore for a fact that a riding helmet is essential for safety.

Speaking about injuries, the most common admission cases attached to riders are head injuries. This is because they tend to ride without a helmet. The equestrian rider’s cases are the most popular. This tells you that horse riding is very dangerous. It becomes even worse when riders choose to do horseback riding. Do not try this when you are new to riding and without a helmet.

The current statistics shows that experienced riders are exposed to more head injuries rather than amateurs. This is because of the type of horses they ride and the way they ride them. They tend to assume they have ridden lots of horses and have become pros. A nervous horse does not spare anyone. Being experienced does not mean you do not have to wear a riding helmet.

The next time you go for an equestrian event, carry your helmet with you. The fact that you keep yourself safe will motivate you to ride any horse you wish.

How to maintain and clean your riding helmet

Riding helmets are part of a rider’s kit. They are essential for every riding activity. Riding helmets are with no doubt affordable. But you do not want to buy a helmet season after season. Invest that money in something else and start maintaining your helmet.

Here are some of the guides to cleaning and maintain your equestrian helmet. The next time you attend an equestrian event, your helmet will be as good as new.

Equestrian helmets are made of different material and texture. There are some made of soft, hard and velvet. You find that there are helmets that are easy to clean. The soft material type of helmets can be cleaned using soft clothing. This is because of the smooth plastic nature of the material. Cleaning them with a damp cloth takes a few seconds. Hard material riding helmets on the other hand need extreme care. This is a helmet that should not be cleaned using any solvents you come across. Solvents are made of different chemical substances which might react with the helmet material. They can lead to the breakdown of materials. This definitely leaves your helmet useless. If you want to maintain the color and shine your helmet has, stretchy helmet covers are the best alternatives.

Velvet material helmets are best cleaned with a soft brush .If you have a vacuum cleaner the better. Use its soft brush to blow up the dust from the vents of your velvet material helmet. Using a hard brush will remove the whole material off. Take note that the velvet material does not require frequent cleaning. The material will ware off quickly.

Helmets should not be kept in the hot sun. You may forget your equestrian helmet in the sun for a few days. The next day you go pick it you will realize a fermented and funky smell. You will definitely not want to put on a smelling helmet on your head. The best way is to clean your helmet and leave it in fresh air for a while. Do not let it stay in the hot sun. Once your helmet is dried, deodorize with baking soda. Sprinkle the baking soda into your helmet carrier.

A tip to note

Never leave your helmet in the dry sun as it contributes to its weakening. Warm water is not quite good since some helmets are made from foam. Avoid cleaning helmets with hard substances.

Helmet storage

How you store your helmet is very important. Proper storage prevents damage of your helmet reduces damage. When shopping for your equestrian helmets remember to look for its bag. A helmet bag limits the number of scratches and other problems. Additionally proper storage ensures your helmet is safe and indeed can take you four to five years. Besides a helmet bag, store your helmet in a dry, well-ventilated place away from direct light.

Following these tips should ensure your helmet is in proper condition. You will remember to shop for a helmet again after so many years.

Top reasons why you need to wear an equestrian helmet

Do you wear a riding helmet during races? The answer should automatically be yes. For a rider helmets usually are never far from them. Anytime they attend a racing event, helmets must be in their kit. But just why will you spot a rider with a helmet? The significance attached to a helmet is much than you thought. The thought of going for equestrian sports without a helmet is impossible.

Here are top reasons why an equestrian helmet must always be close to you:

An equestrian helmet is cheaper than paying hospital bills

You only got one brain and sure enough you do not want to regret why you never took that helmet. Horse riding exposes riders to many dangerous things especially when the horse is nervous or angry. Chances of you getting brain damage are high. Worst of all is that a brain damage can never be undone. What would you prefer to do? , getting a helmet for cheap or simply taking risks. You will end up paying many bills and the worst part is that you will never be completely well.

Safety

Having your helmet with you is one rule observed in racing events. The reason why you need to wear a helmet during horse riding is for safety purposes. Like earlier said, you only have one brain and you don’t need to take risks. Helmets protect a rider from a variety of damages he is exposed to during riding.

Equestrian Helmets come in different designs and styles

In the past people have refused to wear helmets because of their boring designs. But currently, helmets have been designed and styled to fit the new changes. There are helmets with unique styles that come with different colors. Riders can now look more sporty and trendy. Riders do not have to look out of place whenever they have their helmets on. Moreover you can get a perfect fit just for your head. Besides the safety factor, helmets help to add some style and fashion to riders.

Helps you to relax

If you are wearing a helmet then you have less to worry about. When racing, you will have nothing to distract your mind. Therefore your concentration level increases and definitely increases your chances of taking the first position. Helmets add some comfort and courage to every rider.

Wearing a helmet speaks a lot apart from protecting yourself. In the past some of the reasons riders have given for not wearing a helmet is due to their experience. But this should not be it; you never know when the horse strikes. There are no helmets defined for experienced or the less experienced. An accident is an accident and will not spare you especially in horse riding. The question you need to begin asking is what type of helmet is perfect for you.

You can get helmet for both your recreation activities and professional if you are a rider. Get used to riding with a equestrian helmet and reduce exposure to brain and other injuries.

Fitting helmets

Helmets are just not helmets. There are helmets that fit perfectly well while there are others that are loose. When you are looking for an equestrian helmet, right measurements are very vital. You definitely do not want to buy a helmet that is too tight or loose for your head. An appropriate helmet should simply be tight enough for it to not move when you shake your head.

Here are tips for finding a equestrian helmet that is meant for you:

Try lots of helmets

The helmet that fits your friend may necessarily not fit you. Even if you take the exact size, it may not possibly look good on you. Try fitting lots of different helmets until you find the perfect one. Helmets come in different designs and there just might be one for your head.

Put on the hair you will have when going for horse riding

Sometimes the style of the hair we put on tends to affect the fitting of a helmet. Probably you tried a helmet without having any style. The next time you put in on with a pony tail it is likely to give you a hard time. The style we put on therefore helps to determine the correct fit. Go fitting your helmet with a style you intend to keep for a good amount of time. To be specific go with a style you will put on during horse riding.

Shake your head

The reason why you should insist on a fitting equestrian helmet is for comfort purposes. Shake your head to see if there is motion. If there is some form of motion then that is not the right helmet for you. A helmet should comfortably fit and not produce any movements. Any form of movements is a sign of it falling during your riding events. Too tight helmets will cause discomfort. Try on helmet that fits well and covers your forehead.

Wear your helmet around the store

Test the comfort your helmet will give you by walking around the store. If you notice some discomfort, take it off and try another one. As soon as you fit a helmet and you get totally lost in it, then you are comfortable.

Do not shop for next year

Do not buy a helmet that is too big thinking that it will fit you the next season. You can never be guaranteed on your weight and the shape of your head. A helmet needs to fit perfectly. Your helmet should not easily roll over forward or backward. This is how discomfort begins. A perfectly fitting helmet should move the skin around your eyebrows. If the skin does not move, it is too large for you. Always remember to carry out this procedure before buying a helmet.

Horse riding is a very important activity. But remember it’s not about competition. You have to be safe to ensure your racing is also top notch. Once you attain this, chances of you riding number one increase.

Top features to look for in an equestrian helmet

A helmet is equipment that people pay less attention to. Not so many of them however understand its importance and this is why someone tends to be shocked when you tell them you are buying a helmet. Whether you are buying a helmet for your riding horse events, cycling among others, there are important things you have to consider. Unless you want to be surprised when asked the type of helmet you want to buy.

Safety features

Horse riding is an activity where you cannot guarantee the riders safety. The horses tend to jump up and about which may lead to the rider falling. You might hit your head on a stone or on the bare ground .the injuries you will get are enormous and definitely something that you should not look forward to experiencing. But wearing a helmet on the other hand can prevent all these damages. If you are shopping for a helmet, ensure its safety features are top notch. Helmets safety features vary according to the purpose intended. For instance safety features you find in a bike helmet will not be similar to those of an equestrian helmet. When looking for a equestrian helmet ensure you get the one certified by the American society for testing and materials and the safety equipment institute. You will get a certified helmet proven to reduce serious injuries you face during horse riding.

Actual fitting

If your equestrian helmet does not fit correctly then it becomes useless. It is most likely going to move up and about during riding. It may end up falling as you ride. Therefore correct helmet fitting is essential to safety. Remember to measure your head size before you go picking helmets. Ask the helmet vendor to take down your measurements in order to find the correct fit. The assumption that you have on helmets should not lead you to taking an oversize one. You will still be exposed to injuries as long as you are wearing an incorrect fit of your helmet.

Purpose of your helmet

There are different styles of helmets that serve different purpose. For instance a bike helmet is not the same as an equestrian helmet. Therefore identify the purpose intended then get the helmet. When shopping for an equestrian helmet, riders are required to use specific helmets. Since not all equestrian helmets are certified to fit all races. For instance only English helmets are required to be worn during an English dressage event. All riders with helmets different from an English type get disqualified immediately. To be on the safe side, pick a helmet for professional purpose and one to go out with during practice or other recreational events.

Venting features

A ventilation feature promotes comfort when wearing your helmet. Full coverage helmets are fitted with excellent vents. Ventilation feature helps to prevent riders face from fogging. However vents are not very good as they tend to capture lots of noise from the surrounding.Try two helmets and settle on the one you feel comfortable while riding your horse.