What Are the Four Parts of a Saddle?
- The saddle tree forms the basic structure that the saddle is built on. The tree can be made from a variety of different materials, including rawhide, fiberglass and even metal or wood in some older saddles. The saddle tree determines how the saddle fits the horse and comes in several different sizes to accommodate different widths and builds of horses. If the tree does not fit the horse properly, it can cause pain, and the rider can expect to have problems riding and controlling the horse.
- The seat of the saddle is where you sit when you are riding in it. The seat is positioned over the saddle and may be made from different grains of leather to improve rider's grip on the saddle. The seat of the saddle stretches between the pommel, at the front of the saddle and the cantle, which is the rear of the seat.
- The stirrups are designed to give riders a place to set their feet while riding. Stirrups help keep riders in the proper riding position and aid with maintaining proper balance while riding. English and western stirrup design vary slightly but perform the same basic function.
Girths and Rigging
- Both English and western saddles require the use of a girth to stay on the horse. The girth is attached to the the saddle by Dee rings and cinch straps in western saddles, or by billets in English saddles. Without some kind of rigging equipment, the girth would have nothing to attach to and the saddle could not be secured to the horse.