In response to a request from Sara, today we go over the parts of an English saddle.
This is what a saddle, new from the box, looks like:
Although the above saddle is used, it basically shows what a typical hunt seat saddle looks like. The important parts you can see are labeled. Use it as a reference in case you don't understand the rest of the post.
Under the skirt (see above) there is a little bar. It holds the stirrup leathers. Sometimes it has a part that flicks up (with some difficulty) to hold it more securely. With the saddle I took pictures of for this post, it took a bit of coaxing to make it go up. But it finally agreed.
This is the little bar with the piece down, and then a second picture with it up. There are no stirrup leathers in there, though.
The saddle I have here is an old (very old! Thirty years or so!) Stubben Siegfried. The stirrup bars are not recessed as most are today.
Anyway, stirrup bars are pretty darn essential. You don't see them while riding, but they hold the stirrups up. And trust me, you want stirrups!
The next part of the saddle is the tree. The tree is the basic form a saddle is built on. The flaps aren't on the tree but they are attached. The tree determines how wide the saddle is, or how wide a horse it will fit comfortably. I don't have pictures of the tree of a saddle, but it's essential in most saddles.
Stirrups and stirrup leathers are also important. They hold one's feet up and support one while in the saddle. You can ride without them and probably should once in a while for fitness, but in competition stirrups are kind of a must.
Stirrup leathers look like this, but actually on the saddle. I have no pictures of one on a saddle, but if you look them up you'll probably be able to find a picture somewhere.
Now I have to resort to a stock image since I totally forgot to take any and I am SO not uploading pictures at this hour...
Yep, nice and basic. They go on the stirrup leathers, which then loop onto the stirrup bars. Then you put the tail into the stirrup leather keeper (see original image).
It can be a bit confusing to understand at first, but if you go to a tack shop and ask for a little more clarification, or just look over the saddle, you'll find that it's pretty simple.
And now that that's done... the model horse update of the day. I made another new halter with a fleece noseband for my ASB. It looks pretty snazzy on him. Here are a few pictures:
Queen's Gate Saddlery
Take a look!