Can a western saddle be comfortable for women?
Can a western saddle be comfortable for women? Most women don’t know that a western saddle can be comfortable for them! It seems like an obvious statement, but women are built differently from men. That being said, why is it that women have been riding in saddles built by men, for men, for so long? We have saddles built for women, and yes, a western saddle can be comfortable for women!
A brief summary of female-to-male pelvic differences
A woman’s pelvis is designed to allow for childbirth, so it is larger and broader than a man’s. Her pin bones (ischium) are further forward and wider apart than a man’s, and the pubic bone (pubic symphysis) at the front of the pelvis is further forward and sits lower. The portion of bone that joins these 2 points (inferior pubic ramus) is closer to the horizontal than a man’s and so makes more contact when sitting. Also, the placement of her hip socket (acetabulum), where the femurs are attached, is wider than a man’s, and women have more muscles on the inside of the thigh as compared to men, which are located more toward the back. As a result, women’s femurs start out wider at the pelvis and angle inward at the knees (Q angle).
A woman in a man’s saddle
A woman sitting in a man’s saddle will often find the twist to be too wide. (When looking at the saddle from above, it’s the narrow part of the seat just behind the swell.) This will cause her knees, and hence her toes, to stick out (and potentially spur in). A woman may also be inclined to sit in more of a chair position to find a comfortable position for her hip joints, putting her out of alignment for a balanced ride. Additionally, she may find that the seat rises up in the front such that it causes pressure on the pubic area. Remember, the female pubic bone sits further forward and lower than a man’s. Seams in the saddle seat may be situated right where her pelvic bones make contact with the saddle, as a man’s pelvic contact is much narrower.
A seat built for women
Easy Fit Saddles have taken all of these physical characteristics into consideration and built a saddle seat for women. It is wide where it needs to be wide and narrow where it needs to be narrow. Padding and relief points have been carefully considered. It is comfortable for all. The pelvic bones make contact with the saddle seat, and the hip sockets will not be strained. Bulk has been minimized under the leg to keep the twist narrow and allow for close contact.
That being said, not all women are built the same, and they come from a variety of riding backgrounds, so some customization is required. With this in mind, we have incorporated a few more features to further enhance comfort. The first is a variety of shim pads available to place under the seat cover. These pads can be moved to change the shape of the seat until the rider finds their optimum comfort and balance point. Second, fenders can easily be moved forward or back so that the leg and foot are at the most optimal angle for comfort and alignment.
Our saddles have one more feature that most women love—our saddles are lightweight. With stirrups and girth, they weigh in at just over 20 pounds. No more struggling to heft a saddle up onto your horse.
Easy Fit Saddles have built a saddle that is comfortable for women. We have used modern materials providing our riders with a strong, durable product that is innovative on the inside with a traditional look on the outside, and we think you are going to love it!