Saddle Seat - Tack


See also: English saddle and Double bridle

Saddle seat riders use a special saddle not seen in other English riding disciplines. These saddles have a cut-back pommel, which is set back several inches (usually four) to allow for the higher withers and neck set of the horse. The saddle has little padding, a very flat seat, and is placed further back on the horse to allow the extravagant front end movement of the horse. This saddle also deliberately places the rider slightly "behind the motion," which makes it easier to influence both the headset of the horse and the animal's gaits.

Due to the cutback pommel, these saddles are usually a few inches longer than other English saddles. Even a properly balanced saddle seat saddle is quite flat and places the rider in a position that feels less secure. However, good riders that ride a balanced saddle seat with long stirrups in a "classical" position (legs balanced under the rider, not sitting too far back on the horse's loins), are able to properly ride their horses, encouraging the animals to step under themselves and collect, raising their backs, elevating their necks, and working off their hindquarters. Poorly made saddles of this style can be unbalanced and an improper seat leads to a hollow-backed horse who does not have properly engaged hindquarters, with a superficially correct front-end position that is achieved by improperly forcing the horse's head and neck up and in, usually by means of leveraged training aids.

The saddle seat horse traditionally wears a double bridle (full bridle), with both a curb bit and a bradoon. A pelham bit is also legal for pleasure classes, though not common. The double bridle is preferred (and mandatory in most equitation classes) because it allows more fine-tuning of the horse's head and neck position, though a pelham can be used in a few specialized classes such as Saddlebred Pleasure Equitation. A single curb bit is used for gaited horses such as the Tennessee Walker and Missouri Fox Trotter. The shanks of the curb bit are often longer than those found on the Weymouth style double bridle used in dressage, often 7 inches in overall length (some breeds have length limits in the rules). The browband is commonly brightly colored leather or vinyl, red being the most common color. The cavesson is sometimes plain leather, and sometimes colored to match the browband, depending on breed and fashion trends in tack.

Junior classes, limited to horses under four or five years old, may allow horses to wear a snaffle bit. Running martingales are also sometimes used in training but not in the show ring.

Read more about this topic:  Saddle Seat

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Famous quotes containing the word tack:

    For hours, in fall days, I watched the ducks cunningly tack and veer and hold the middle of the pond, far from the sportsman;... but what beside safety they got by sailing in the middle of Walden I do not know, unless they love its water for the same reason that I do.
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