The Parts of a Saddle
If you’re in the market for a new saddle or are just interested in knowing more about the one you have, it pays to understand the parts of a saddle. Not only do the individual components influence saddle sizing, but they’re also crucial for safety and rider comfort.
The pommel, seat, and cantle are the main saddle parts that come into contact with the horse’s back. They can be padded or unpadded, depending on the type of saddle. The seat is where the rider sits while riding, and it’s usually padded to help with balance and comfort. The pommel and cantle are shaped to distribute the weight of the saddle evenly over the horse’s back.
Underneath the saddle flap, three straps hold the perimeter in place. The rim may be a single flap or a double flap, and there’s often a knee roll to add extra support for the rider’s legs. If the perimeter isn’t sized correctly, it can cause muscle atrophy and pinched nerves, both of which are dangerous for both horse and rider.
The fenders are two leather loops that attach to either side of the saddle to provide a place for you to rest your feet while you ride. They can be adjusted to change the length of your stirrups, which will affect how far forward you ride and the ease with which you maintain control over your horse. The fenders also provide extra padding to reduce the friction that can chafe your inner thighs and upset your horse’s flanks.