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What is the Most Appropriate Horse Saddle for Plus-Sized Riders?
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What is the Most Appropriate Horse Saddle for Plus-Sized Riders?

Horse riding exists for everybody to enjoy, whether you are a small person or big-boned. All you need to do is get a horse that fits your body size, have the appropriate riding skills to handle that particular horse, be in a balanced riding position, and finally, ensure that your saddle is well-designed to comfortably suit both you and the horse. In a bid to satisfy the demand for fitting saddles by both English and Western riders according to their respective body sizes and heights, designers have created a wide range of saddle designs and sizes.

Saddle Seat Size

As a rider, your horse’s saddle should be large enough to accommodate you comfortably. While Western saddles have their seat sizes measured between the cantle top and the hole in front of the saddle horn, the size of an English saddle is measured between the pommel and the cantle. With Western saddles, the height of the cantle and the skirt length are also taken into account. Generally, English seats are one inch or two larger than comparable Western saddle seats.

English Saddles

There is a wide variety of English saddles for big-bodied riders to pick from, including general-purpose, flat/jumping, dressage, and others. One other thing big and tall riders should take into account is flap length since it varies among different saddle markers, with longer flaps being generally more secure for bigger riders. If you are a tall or big rider, 17 inches or more for an English saddle is probably the most appropriate for you.

Western Saddles

Western saddles also vary in skirt size, cantle height and seat size. For bigger riders, lower-cantle saddles make the process of mounting and dismounting much easier, with a minimum of 17 inches in saddle seat size also being most suiting for their larger body size.

Getting Used Saddles

Due to the fact that saddle makers tend to make more smaller-size saddles than bigger ones, a big-bodied rider is much more likely to find it difficult to get a used saddle. If you decide to shop for a used saddle, be sure to confirm the good condition of its seams, as well as sticking and girth buckles. You could also get in touch with a plus-sized riding community like Eighteen Hands for further help with finding a suitable used saddle.


Image source: flickr.com

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  1. jst4horses
    We have a program called SIZE TWO Saddle Club, it was started by one of our teen riders who was of course, NOT size two. She was tired of having to ride the draft horses in the BIG BOY saddle. So she went to WW and lost over two hundred pounds. Another large student insisted she could ride one of our regular equine therapy horses. So, I let her get up there. The horses front legs began to quake, and he began to lower to the ground, not in bad horseness, but because she was just too much weight for him. I said get down quick, he must have something wrong with his shoulder. WE all knew he had nothing wrong with his shoulder.........it turned out she, her younger sister and her MOM were all eating as much food each meal as their six foot six father.......None of them was over five four. She lost the weight, they had by then moved to a ranch area, and she went into rodeo and did very well. My suggestion for big size people, unless they ARE six feet six, and weigh maybe two hundred and forty pounds, is to lose weight. I have every single rider I train take a knapsack with at least ten pounds of potatoes and go out running around the arena. I want people to know how much fun it is NOT for your horse. I believe a true horseman is the one who goes beyond thinking a horse is a motorcycle (I wrote the book A Horse is NOT A Motorcycle, it will be published next year) I used it as a work book for people to become horsemen, not sacks of potatoes on the back of a horse beaten into submission enough to not throw them for making the horses life so miserable. Maybe that tv show about a plus size life is making money and soothing people who refuse to lose weight, but I had uterine cancer, and more than EIGHTY hormonal cancers, and followed a VERY strict surgical and diet and exercise program to get small enough to ride again........so I have very little sympathy except for people with pituitary, or other cancers and chemo that blow them up like balloons when they can not eat much and keep it down..........

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