The world of saddles

Throughout history different cultures have been greatly impacted by horses and their uses. Today horseback riding is still a very popular sport, and though it is more dangerous than other forms of transportation, such as motorcycle riding, horseback riding is still used in entertainment, occupational, and leisure activities. Saddles have long been an important piece of equipment for riding. As the horse became a mode of transportation, many cultures had their own saddle style, but today there are two prominent saddle styles, the western and English styles. The western saddle style is used more for leisure, occupational, and rodeo riding. The research makes it clear that riders can be affected by injury from this riding style. This paper will look at different variables such as: gender, saddle, type of riding, and training and compare how each can affect the injuries riders may sustain.

The varying nature of saddles

The most common type is the equestrian saddle designed for a horse. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other creatures. The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider or other load, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. It is not known precisely when riders first began to use some sort of padding or protection, but a blanket attached by some form of surcingle or girth was probably the first saddles, followed later by more elaborate padded designs. The solid saddle tree was a later invention, and though early stirrup designs predated the invention of the solid tree.

The paired stirrup, which attached to the tree, was the last element of the saddle to reach the basic form that is still used today. Today, modern saddles come in a wide variety of styles; each designed for a specific equestrianism discipline, and requires careful fit to both the rider and the horse. Proper saddle care can extend the useful life of a saddle, often for decades. The saddle was a crucial step in the increased use of domesticated animals, during the Classical Era.

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