The weight of the saddle, a criterion of choice?

Here is a very well done article from the excellent blog

Thank you Eugénie for permission to broadcast .


Often, when it comes time to buy a saddle, people ask the question of the weight of the said saddle. And every time I hear it , I wonder why.

Not long ago, I received a message from an endurance rider . She explained to me that the seat she currently uses his stack when sealed in the race ( a kind of shock quite thick and heavy mega that is placed between the saddle and the carpet ) , his horse hurts .

OK then , whether in horse racing or endurance , we have to meet minimum weight , for reasons of fairness between competitors ( the famous system of disability ) , it makes sense to use tricks to play according to the rules . In racing hippodrome , jockey not weigh bin heavy, takes a position where its weight is really cushioned by his legs and passes all break 10 minutes on the back of his horse adaptation of the saddle is a relatively small problem relevant. But endurance over 10 hours in the saddle goes sometimes in a position that relieves much less the horse's back : the adaptation of the saddle is crucial, and the use of carpet that false balance and the lift is to avoid maximum .

However, in the selection criteria for my partner , it is necessary that the seat is slight . Wait ... What? ? Why not buy a heavier saddle in this case ? Certainly he must prove a minimum race weight , but we know roughly how much it weighs , so you can choose and equip the saddle accordingly? I struggled to understand, and I still have it.

Especially since the " weight of a saddle" parameter is not really relevant . Why ? because a conventional saddle weighs about 5 kg , and the rider 10 to 20 times . From the saddle in the total weight of the " package " the horse is negligible. If you want to scratch weight on the saddle for his horse to be less heavy on your back, you better remove the 2 kg of the saddle. In other words, relative to the overall weight : peanuts .

In addition, if the rider moves on the back of the horse , saddle , she does not move (if appropriate , of course) . It is integral with the back of the horse , so the weight is not a moving mass which exerts forces . On the contrary ! it helps to distribute the weight of the rider, and by providing a stable and rigid, allowing it to balance and stabilize for a minimum impact on the horse's back .

We have seen in other articles over the airfoil was important, more pressure is distributed. Stools that have the greatest bearing surfaces to my knowledge are the saddles work, which give rise to the so-called " long-distance " stool ( McLellan type, for example ) . Stools by working I mean the Camargue saddles, Iberian or American . But anyone who has ever been confronted with one of these models saddle know they are NOT light ! a good American saddle leather is at least 15 kg, an Iberian saddle a little less. And saddles hiking / trail / TREC are not light either, not lighter than an English saddle anyway.

This is due in large part to the design of the tree : the pommel are larger , wider pommel bands , so obviously , yes it is heavy. Then a good quality leather tanned and dyed to last, it also weighs heavily . The calf is light, it's pretty, but you use a saddle calf for 10 days of hiking in the branches , dust , mud , rivers or in the rain, how to say ... uhhh your saddle is ruined. If you add to that the other materials that make up the seat ( felt, sheep , wool , foam, steel) , you arrive quickly enough weight to 2 digits.

Traditional upholstery , there are some thirty years, also said that a seat should be 10% of the weight of the rider , which means that from the moment you have a rider who is 60kg , the saddle technically should weigh 6kg , which is more than most English saddles that are found today. These English saddles and their derivatives are lighter because less bulky , the pommel are thinner to provide more proximity to the horse and the skin is also thinner ... but they are not designed to spend hours and hours in the saddle ( which is why you rarely see a hiker in the long term to use ! ) . In conventional disciplines , it is rarely more than 2 hours in the saddle anyway.

The stools have eased over time with the use of new synthetic materials , carbon pommel or resin foam in the panels instead of wool , synthetic coating instead of leather, etc. . All this has significantly reduced the average weight of stools , whether western or traditional . But suddenly, it made ​​it a marketing test, because it is easy to quantify and that the notion of weight ( mass , if I wanted to correct physiciennement ) is known to all, it speaks to all , and that anyway in our society, it is light better ... but NO ! Guichard says himself on his website: "Anyone in their right mind knows that the more lightweight saddle is ... it will be more brittle Otherwise, we all go up with saddles gallopers ! " So it's more or less true ( not sure that pommel carbon is more fragile than wood pommel ), but as I said the other shot Glenn , " quality has a weight," and it this is true . And what is even more true is that this is not so much the weight balance is important. A saddle can be mild, if it is unbalanced , its design will be bad ...

Finally, some figures with a Equimetric study, reported here, thanks to the measures taken to carpet pressure sensors.

A classic saddle perhaps only 7-8 kg would weigh , but the distribution of the rider's weight is less than 3 x that of a western saddle . Thus, the pressure per square inch on the back is three times with a conventional saddle . Conventional stool a bearing 1400-1500 cm2 saddles and western riding over 2000 cm2.

A rider weighs 70kg '' '' about one and half times its weight not , and three times its weight in trot and canter (because of the accelerated pace ... if you jump on your balance , you 'll see what she tells you ) So it is : not a 70g/cm2 in English and 140g/cm at higher speeds , respectively 50g/cm2 100g/cm2 for western / hikes . The horses began to suffer from 130g/cm2 medium pressure .

Note that these values ​​are '' ideal '': this is what you get with a saddle that is perfectly suited to the horse. This is rarely the case ... Also note for comparison that the man begins to make necrosis from 80g/cm2 ( in the case of sick, bedridden and weakened - what about the sports led )

In practice, I often find the 350 650g/cm2 on very inadequate stool ( pressure that is exerted on a small area) and that much of the western , hiking or English .... The English are often too close to the shoulder and / or angles of cushioning not adapted to the back . Very often placed too far forward , squeezing her shoulders. The western is too long '' and '' up at the back at every step of the horse, compressing the area behind the shoulders , an effect accentuated by the fact that the webbing of a western is often placed too far forward .

Are there need to add ? not.


(if in one case : comfort for the rider. This is ALL).

If you want to lighten the back of your horse , do not lighten the saddle. The seat is fixed on his back, his weight has little impact in itself . By cons , you, you move. Your weight in the movement is significant, your mass is found multiplied 10 times to receive a big jump , for example. So if you really want to lighten the horse's back , 1. go on a diet and 2. work to focus your plate to be as still as possible . It's hard, but that's life .

A word hello ! 


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