The Sidesad­dle

Dressage Today - - Tips From Trainers Who Teach -

Used in a rudi­men­tary form at the courts of Europe from the 14th cen­tury on, the sidesad­dle un­der­went sev­eral mod­i­fi­ca­tions since then to make sure the rider has the best pos­si­ble and safest po­si­tion, which even al­lows jump­ing and hunt­ing. To­day, sidesad­dles are still all cus­tom-made, as this is a ne­ces­sity re­gard­ing the length of seat (Photo A) and the po­si­tion of the two horns on the left side (Photo B), which both must take the rider’s in­di­vid­ual anatomy into ac­count.

The seat of a sidesad­dle is formed in a way that the rider will tilt onto the right seat bone to coun­ter­act the weight on the left caused by the rider’s legs and dis­trib­ute her weight as equally as pos­si­ble. The rider puts her right leg over the up­per horn and her left thigh un­der the lower one to make sure she sits safely.

To keep the sad­dle re­li­ably in its po­si­tion on the horse’s back, a bal­ance girth has been used since the be­gin­ning of the 19th cen­tury. It runs from the left front over the horse’s tummy to the end of the other side and ap­plies pres­sure on the op­po­site ends of the sad­dle.

Dif­fer­ent types of safety stir­rups have been known even be­fore the 20th cen­tury; ad­di­tion­ally the whole sus­pen­sion of the stir­rup leather has a se­cu­rity sys­tem, which in case of a fall re­leases the leather and stir­rup (Photo C).

While in the past fe­male rid­ers wore a skirt, the mod­ern sidesad­dle rider wears breeches, an apron over them and a tra­di­tional dres­sage tail­coat.

A

B

C

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