A short Tour through the History of Riding Saddles
Beginning of nowadays riding saddles was the pack-saddle. It was not developed for horses, but for donkeys and camels – the favoured pack-animals 2000 years ago.
Primarily form is the so called Bocksattel. It is made of two shelfs, lying against the horse on left and right side and fixed by girths fore and aft. Padded with cushions it is useable as riding saddle.
Starting from 800 B. C. the first, very simple constructed saddles were designed, similar to our modern saddles. But the first saddles with saddle tree came in the 18th century. These saddle trees were made from wood (ash or beech tree), reinforced by iron rails and head iron. Later versions were made from spring steel, upholstered and corded with leather, till the modern technology made manufacturing of synthetic saddle trees possible.
re-construction of a roman horn-saddle
Saddler about 1568
officer-saddle from 17th centuary
Configuration of Riding Saddles
The saddle tree forms the basic structure. It is the core of all saddles and doesn‘t differ in its basically function, but is different in construction from manufacturer to manufacturer.
The remarkable of dt saddle trees is the integrated elastic membrane in the seat that cushions and provides shock absorbance. It is able to minimise pain in the back and prevents excoriation.
The saddle tree is fully assembled, including stirrup bar, saddle straps and seat, and defines length and width of the saddle as well as gullet size and depth of the seat.
To achieve a complete saddle now follow the leather of the seat with the piped skirts, clamped above the saddle tree, the saddle cushions and the gullet leather. The saddle cushions include the flaps, the strap bag under the flap provides fraying by buckles.
Basic requirement for durability and therefore safety is the usage of high quality materials in combination with traditional handcraft. At this point the saddler is in charge.
The quality of the stirrup bar is highly significant as it must bear high loads whilst fulfilling adequate safety standards. Especially at jumping the load is extreme – during the landing after a jump the double of riders weight affect on the stirrup bar.
dt stirrup bars are of high quality and need no maintenance. Under normal use we give a lifelong guarantee against breakage and rust. Because of the newly developed design dt stirrup bars need no trigger, the half-round form offers perfect hold for the stirrup leathers.
dt saddles are equipped with LEMICOTM saddle straps – it offers a breaking strenght of 500 kg, is breathable, easy to care for, stays soft and will not perish. That is why dt saddlery also produces stirrup leathers from LEMICOTM. In this connection the buckles must be mentioned, too. dt saddlery bestows great care on it, only stainless steel is used for the production. Roller buckles make girthing very easy.
The choice of stirrups should be effected also under safety aspects and last, but not least the quality of the saddle girth is of great importance. Beside an ergonomic shape the used quality of material is deciding.
All Purpose Saddle
It is a compromise of jumping and dressage saddle, the twist is in the middle of the seat and the knee rolls are individually designed according to the requirements. It is the most common saddle at riding schools.
All purpose saddles are perfectly suitable for rides, it keeps grounded and the long flaps allows effect by the rider.Our All Purpose Saddle
The twist is a bit before the middle of the seat, the flaps are large and straight for riding with ”long leg”, essential for riding with differentiated aims.
To meet the requirements of the modern sporthorse, dressage saddles continue to be developed. The breeding of large framed horses made an enlargement of the bearing surface neccessary, possible by lengthening of the saddle cushions.Our Dressage Saddle
The twist is a bit behind the middle of the seat, the long front panel, knee rolls and blocks provides support for the legs. Due to the wide gullet and enlarged bearing surface the horse enjoys even more freedom of movement over the fence.Our Jumping Saddle
Beside that much more types of saddles exist, for example side saddles, military saddles, western saddles and special lightweight racing saddles of 350 gram till 2 kilogramme.
With every saddle dt saddlery create a masterpiece, that provides rider and horse the very best, a modern and innovative saddlery can offer. dt saddlery only use rich leather, naturally tanned, to produce high quality saddles for dressage, jumping and all purpose.
All dt saddles are equipped with an innovative saddle tree with integrated shock absorbing membrane and continously adjustable head iron. To the horses back the cushions offer 10 mm shock absorbing MEMOFORMTM. Because of safety aspects the saddle straps are made from LEMICOTM, the saddle flaps are designed either in tough, hard wearing one layer leather or soft double layer leather. The wide gullet aids spine’s free mobility.
Leather – a very special Material
Not even the quality, but also the processing of the leather is of great importance. Colour fastness, abrasion and many other details need to be checked. Also the tanning is a sensitive process, should be naturally, without using chrome, AZU-colours and PCP preservatives
Some sorts of leather at a glance:
Vachette Leather (calf leather): 1,8 - 2,1 mm thick, available as hide, solid-coloured. Used for saddle cushion and seat, knee rolls etc.
Sleek Leather (calf leather): 3,5 - 4 mm thick, but not hard, solidcoloured, abrasion-resistant. Used for saddle flaps, stirrup leather straps, small bags, knee rolls etc.
Suede: for saddle production mostly from deers and elks, used for seat and knee position.
Let us talk about care
The correct leather care decides the beauty and durability.
Leather is a natural product and it’s characteristics have to be preserved by the correct storage and care. For storage a constant, middle temperature with medium air humidity is ideal. If the temperature is too high and the air too damp this will attract mildew, if the temperature is too low and the air too dry this will lead to dehydration which will cause the leather to crack.
Ideally, the leather saddle needs to be cleaned after each use. The influence of sweat puts stress on the leather therefore it should be cleaned on the underside as well as the surface with a especial leather soap. Afterwards the leather should be treated with saddle fat, saddle wax or special saddle oil. This avoids the saddle from drying up and keeps its flexibility
Please use only recommended quality products to care for your saddle.
The saddle must fit perfectly for rider and horse. The size guide will assist.
Size 1 = 15 inch for children,
Size 2 = 16 inch for a rider weight up to 50 kg,
Size 3 = 17 inch for a rider weight up to 70 kg,
Size 4 = 18 inch for a rider weight over 70 kg.
Only if you feel comfortable in the saddle from the start, can you ensure a correct riding position and this combined with an optimal seat will lessen the impact to the horse. dt-saddles have been developed with these key areas in mind using decades of experience in building saddles and these improvements are the basis for an ergonomic fit, which provides the most comfortable seat for the rider and horse.
The consequences of a wrong saddle can be easily recognized by the saddle pressure. An incorrectly fitted saddle can create painful pressure marks, which cause loss of hair and in the worst cases the concerned area becomes inflamed and ulcerated. If this happens your horse may require veterinary assistance and you will be unable to ride your horse until the wound heals. Even so, the coat will often not grow back in the original colour, but white through irreversible damage of the skin.
You have to keep that in mind when buying a new horse, because ill-fitting equipment can not cause only superficial wounds but do damage to the musculoskeletal system as well.
Furthermore using a poorly fitting saddle can cause the horse to develop tension and defective positions and even behavioural problems which can be very difficult or impossible to treat and in the worst cases can leave the horse unrideable.
You can of course compensate small inaccuracies with a saddle pad, but this does not replace a perfect fitting saddle!
As your horses training program develops improved muscle tone, your saddle will require adjustment to retain the quality of fit, especially so, in the young horse as they will be growing at the same time.
This is why it is absolutely important to exercise care when the saddle is bought and to check the fit of the saddle regularly.
This is self-evident for any horse, as build up of the muscle will require saddle alteration, for any form of work, whether the horse is required for leisure or for competition riding.
In this respect all dt saddles are equipped with a continuously variable head iron. As soon as you make the choice for you and your horse of the optimal dt-saddle, your saddle fitter can accurately adjust this to your horse’s current anatomical situation. Through easy adjustment you can ensure – at any time – to achieve optimal comfort for your horse.
Why is the perfect fitting and the spine’s free mobility so important?
The horse’s anatomy is not designed to carry huge burdens. To carry the rider’s weight loose back muscles and suppleness are essential.
For a young or uneducated horse a free walk with a relaxed swinging back is the objective for a training’s session, this will form the correct base for more advanced work. The ongoing improvement of the back’s carrying capacity avoids damage to the spine and should achieved with correct training. However, this is only achievable if the horse is not restricted in the back and the spine can swing loose to allow the back muscles a relaxed free movement. This is why all dt-saddles are equipped with a wide gullet and large contact surface area in the cushion, which aids mobility.
How to mount correctly
To avoid to burdening the horse’s back more than necessary a mounting block is the best solution. If there is none available one should not cling to the cantle and pull up, because under certain circumstances the saddle tree will be bend. Always seize with your right hand over the saddle.
dt Saddle – Pure Passion!
dt-saddles match the requirement for traditional handcrafted saddlery with the growing needs of modern riding. We combine the advantage of high quality, naturally tanned leather, with innovative materials in an excellent finish. The result is a unique sitting experience giving maximum comfort for both you and your horse.
Pure passion means with every saddle the creation of a masterpiece, that provides rider and horse the very best, a modern and innovative saddlery can offer – a dt saddle.