MADE FOR WOMEN FAQ
Most women don’t know that a western saddle can be comfortable for them!
It seems 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 summation of female/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 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 muscle on the inside of the thigh as opposed to a man’s located more toward the back. As a result, women’s femurs start 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 spurs 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 in the front such that it causes pressure on the pubic area. Remember, the female pubic bone sits further forward & 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 to make contact with the saddle seat, and 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!
*We can also customize to fit men.
My hip sockets feel like they are going to break off when I sit in the saddle, my private parts are on fire after every ride, and my knees and ankles simply do not like riding. And I’m tired of going to the chiropractor for my back! These are comments we generally hear from women, but guys, we hear you too! Riders come in all shapes and sizes; what works for your friend or your trainer may not work for you. Male or female, big or little booty, lots of natural lower spine curve or very little, etc, etc. we are all different. Finding a saddle that accommodates your body shape and size is important, so you can ride comfortably, especially when out trail riding for long hours and sometimes over many consecutive days.
We start with a tree that is designed for close contact and to accommodate a woman’s pelvis. Then we provide mechanisms for the rider to adjust the seat shape, width, and pocket as well as the position of the stirrups (forward or back).
If your hips hurt, it could be that the saddle is too wide. A shim in the centre of the seat will lift you and make the seat feel narrower. EF saddles are designed to reduce bulk under your leg: narrow “twist” tree, single layer stirrup straps, cable rigging.
If your private parts are on fire, it could be the rise in the seat is too high. A woman’s pubic bone sits lower than a man’s, so she requires a lower seat rise.
If your knees and ankles hurt, you could try changing your stirrup length and/or pre-turned stirrups. Shoulder, hip, heel alignment could also be a factor. EF saddles all come with pre-turned, padded stirrups. Additionally, we have reduced the bulk and stiffness of the fenders, so your knees and ankles aren’t fighting against that constant strain.
A saddle should allow you to align your shoulder, hip, and heal. Many western saddles are built with the stirrups too far ahead to achieve this. When the stirrups are too far ahead it takes a lot more effort to post the trot, and it will cause back strain. It can also encourage bracing against the cantle which in turn puts more weight onto the back tips of the saddle tree bars, causing improper weight distribution and discomfort for your horse. It will also cause you to lock your joints and lose the ability to move with the horse. Stand on the floor with your feet apart; bend your knees; move up and down like you are posting. This is a very balanced stance and is what you are looking to achieve when in your saddle. All of that being said, if you really are more comfortable with your stirrups slightly ahead, you should be able to achieve that too. Easy Fit saddles allow you to move your stirrups forward and back and adjust the shim under the seat, so you can find the perfect position.
Our innovative Women’s Western Saddles are designed to allow female riders to sit comfortably balanced, improving communication between horse and rider. Our saddle features prevent riding-related pain and irritation of the back, hip, knee, or pubic area.
The width of the saddle twist is critical to hip joint comfort. With our seat shimming system, you can make the seat twist feel as wide or narrow as you like. (Men typically like a wider seat, but not necessarily.) A very thin shim can make an incredible difference in the angle of your thigh and how your hips feel when sitting in the saddle seat. Seat shims also allow you to position your pelvis to a neutral position, neither tilted forward nor back.
- Ways we have designed our saddles to accommodate a woman’s pelvis:
- The rise of the seat is low to accommodate a low pubic bone.
- Seat padding and seams are wide in the sit bone area.
- The twist has been kept as narrow as possible without compromising close contact with the horse.
- Saddle rigging & stirrup leathers have been minimized under the leg to reduce bulk and keep the twist narrow.
- You will be out riding more if you feel less strain from sitting in the saddle!
- Aligning your spine, hips, knees, and ankles puts you in a very balanced position on the horse. And, not having to accentuate the angles of your joints any more than necessary when sitting in the saddle, will prevent joint pain.
Feel the importance of alignment – Stand on the ground, with your feet apart. Bend and straighten your knees several times as if you were posting the trot. Now sit on a mid-height stool with your feet apart but not aligned under your hips. Try “posting” from this position. Which feels easier? Most saddles do not allow the rider to adjust, so alignment can be achieved. Alignment is a key component in avoiding stress on joints.