In this article we will discuss all about lightweight saddles, and their ever increasing popularity within many different saddle brands. This blog should help give you a broader understanding of lightweight saddles and whether one might be suitable for you and your horse.
With the equestrian industry continuously expanding, there becomes more research and development. Saddles are no exception, with every leading brand working rigorously to keep up to date with the ever changing standards and expectations of their customers.
Lightweight saddles aren't a relatively new invention, saddlers understood that many horses and riders would benefit from saddles which are lighter. With modern technologies, research and materials now; there is a whole section on lightweight saddles coming up for you here! Of course, in some disciplines, such as racing where weight is so important, these saddles have always been lightweight, this is not a new idea. However, there are a lot more reasons why lightweight saddles are so effective.
If you are still a bit confused about which saddle or any saddle related product is best for you why not get in touch with our friendly customer support team. Via phone on 01733 301 488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our lovely team are always happy to help as much as they can and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for you and your horse.
What makes a saddle lightweight?
There are several reasons on how a saddle can be classed as being ‘lightweight’. An average saddle weighs around 6-10kg. Western saddles are lot heavier, and stock saddles are the in-between.
To make a saddle lightweight, they will have some of of the following adaptations:
Monoflap saddles are lighter in weight than the standard double flap saddles, this is simply because there is less leather and material. If you are interested in a Monoflap dressage saddle or Monoflap Jump saddle, take a look at the selection available at The Saddle Bank.
Synthetic, plastic or carbon tree
If a saddle has a synthetic or plastic tree, (which now a days a lot do) this means the saddle is a lot lighter and more flexible than a saddle which has a wooden tree. There are many different types of trees, for example, the Spring Tree which is made out of laminated wood (often beech, or birch) is also known to be lighter in weight than the full wooden tree,
Saddles which the panels are made out of lightweight foam instead of the traditional flocking are more lighter. If your saddle has CAIR system, this is a very light alternative to traditional wool, CAIR replaces wool with air, to find out more about the CAIR system, check out this link.
Synthetic rather than leather
The saddles which have had the most development in, synthetic saddles, are lighter than real leather and cheaper than the leather saddle too!
Why might a lightweight saddle be useful for you?
Perhaps you have never given lightweight saddles much thought before this blog. However these saddles are very useful and the have a wide range of uses. We have already touched upon the racing industry. Without race saddles riders would find it harder to get into their weight category. Also, due to the weight on the horses back horses would not be able to get up to such a high speed. Another discipline which is very important is the endurance racing, horses have to perform for an extended amount of time in endurance. Endurance riders also have to take essentials with them, water, for example. Additional weight will fatigue the horse, therefore this is why there are specific endurance saddles, as these are lightweight.
Why else might you want to use a lightweight saddle?
- Less saddle = Less leather. Therefore monoflap saddles give riders a more close-contact feel to their horse. Communication and feel is key in this sport. Therefore with a closer feeling the rider can react quicker.
- Young horses - if you have ever had the delightful experience of breaking in a young horse, you will understand this. At first, horses may not be happy to have something on their back. Therefore, a lighter saddle will have less of an impact, in this circumstance it can be safer to have a lightweight saddle. This is so your horse gets used to having a small weight on their back before placing a heavier more traditional saddle on your horse. If you get an adjustable saddle, when your horse changes shape it can be easily changed to match - bonus!
- Horses with back injuries - there are a lot of horses this could cover, from the dreaded kissing spine, to perhaps your horse having some time off. Strength is important in this sport, and it cannot be ‘made’ it has to be built up. If your horse has had a back injury, or perhaps gets sore where the saddle sits, consider changing your traditional saddle to a lightweight one.
- Cold backed horses - horses that resist a rider when you first mount them can benefit from having a lighter saddle. After all, the less weight on the horses back the better!
- There are many lightweight saddles for young riders too. Saddles are a heavy piece of equipment, for the young rider it can be impossible to carry! For tacking up, a lightweight saddle can make all the difference. It can help enable the young jockey to become more independent. Ponies particularly benefit from having lighter saddles, after all they are smaller!
What saddle brands are lightweight?
There are many brands which offer lightweight saddles for all different reasons.
- Wintec - The leading synthetic saddle brand, the synthetic materials used plus the CAIR panels make them great lightweight saddles.
- Thorowgood - The synthetic materials used in both the T4 and T8 ranges make these saddles more lightweight than their leather equivalents.
- Arena - The CAIR panels and Elastiflex tree help these leather saddles be lightweight for you and your horse.
- Bates - With the Elastiflex tree, CAIR Panels and the ranges of different leather Bates saddles are pioneers in the lightweight saddle industry.
- Equipe - Their E-Carbon tree is a ultra light weight carbon fibre tree. The Theoreme and Emporio range are a lightweight synthetic tree.
- Amerigo - The Vega range is on a lightweight flexible synthetic tree.
- Prestige - All three of the Prestige trees; CPS, X-Technology and X- Breath are a lightweight synthetic tree.
There are also new additions coming out, with some brands they have developed a ‘lite’ version which is a lightweight saddle. So its always worth checking with The Saddle Bank to see which saddle is best for you and your steed!
To see our opinion on the best synthetic saddles check out this previous blog.
Want to try one?
Are you looking for your next lightweight saddle? Why not trial one via The Saddle Bank
The Saddle Bank offer 5 Day Trials on all Quality Used saddles to UK Mainland customers. Therefore, you can try the saddle before committing to keeping it.
Full details on our trial policy can be found here.
Are you from outside of the UK? No problem. The Saddle Bank offers international shipping. The Saddle Bank can deliver your new saddles direct to your door.