I just returned from Equitana Asia Pacific in Melbourne, Australia
and wanted to introduce you to a friend and business associate.
Peter Horobin and I have known each other for a couple of years
and find that our thinking and our vision for the female rider
are following similar tracks. I got a chance to see all of Peter's
new saddles and to sit in the specifically female designed "Amazone."
The Amazone was being premiered at this show and Peter was anxious
to get my feedback.
I sat in
the saddle and in several others for comparison and was impressed
at how the Amazone contours to my pelvic support needs. Peter
continues to study the female biomechanics and the pressure
points of the pelvic structure in the saddle and has designed
a soft giving crotch panel along with an upper thigh cushion
instead of a stiff leather skirt. He is on the right track and
I think all girls and women will benefit from this design consideration.
I am looking forward to trying the saddle in motion on a horse
and will let you know my thoughts when I get this opportunity.
I thought you would enjoy Peter's most recent article on the
subject of the female rider's seat and saddle fit.
Mary (December 2001)
- - - - -
A Woman Rider's Seat
by Peter Horobin,
horses has for years been a pastime where both sexes are able
to compete on equal ground, although many women have been disadvantaged
when it came to the saddle. Since women began to ride astride
at the turn of the century, not a lot of design changes have
been made specifically for the woman rider. Men design saddles,
and then when saddles are made, men mostly make them. Research
into the design of saddles, and the experience of women riders,
show that the majority of saddles are not designed to suit the
female pelvic area. This problem is that the average measurement
between seat bones on a male pelvis is 100 mm, whereas the average
female seat bones are 130 mm apart.
things a little further, an intensive study was done of the
rider's discomfort. Data was taken from 71 sportswomen, including
riders, and non-riders such as dancers, cyclists, and martial
arts experts. Amazingly, 93% had uneven weight distribution
and found that riding caused more pain than any other sport,
including cycling and martial arts. With some of the non-riders,
excruciating pain was felt in the seat bones, some also suffering
from chaffing around the pubic bone area because of a relatively
high or broad pommel and a deep and narrow seat.
the other hand, some of the experienced riders seemed to be
immune to this type of discomfort. As a result, many had seemed
to acquire awkward positions and tended to get pain higher up
in their backs, probably from trying to get a little more comfortable.
sure a lot of women have been introduced to riding, and after
riding in the wrong saddle, not suited to the width of their
seat bones and coming up against the pommel, have soon after
decided to give this "pleasure" sport a big miss!
other downside is that if the rider is uncomfortable, she will
compensate by shifting her weight. This will then have a direct
effect on the horse which will have to adjust accordingly.
obvious solution is to design a saddle specifically for women.
In the past I have modified saddles, but now I make a saddle
designed with the female pelvis in mind and providing the appropriate
width seat and comfort for the pubic bone.
riders would tell me that they felt like they were sitting on
a fence rather than a saddle. If the female rider has wider
seat bones and she is sitting in a saddle that is too narrow,
she will be forced to sit on her crotch and not her seat bones.
changes are in the design of the tree and when the saddle is
finished it just looks like any other saddle. The rider is not
forced into a deep seat, wedged between a pommel and cantle.
With the rider sitting more comfortably, she will find herself
falling into a more natural, elegant and effective position
- without using force. In a saddle that is actually built for
a woman, then riding really will be a pleasure.
Horobin Saddlery has over 50 years of combined custom saddlemaking
experience. He specializes in Pony Club, eventer, show jumper
and dressage saddles but also features a racing saddle line.
Horobin is a master saddler and can be reached at 106 Watt Road,
Mornington, Victoria 3931 Australia. Phone (03) 5975 1055 or
1057, FAX (03) 5975 0401, e-mail
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