English Jumping SaddlesBritish Jumping Saddles
When there is cushioning on the lid, it should not bother your capacity to hold your foot where it needs to be for what you are doing, be it working on the plane, cantering, or jumping and land. Your long stapes during the training stage allow your legs to extend downwards and your sitting bone to lie low and near the knob where the centre of gravity of a training pad should be.
When your stapes length is shortened and your leg is up, your seated bone moves further back in the calf. Most of the off-road riding you do not do in the back of your hand (when your stapes are the shortest), you will want to ride nearer to the edge if you have to, than in the game.
Drivers on the higher stages of versatility, where the difference in temple length is greatest for each stage, need a seat that has been specifically developed for each stage; I will be demonstrating this in a second. However, at the lower stages of versatility (where the majority of horsemen love the sport), a combination of a training caliper and a dual-purpose jumping caliper will work well if its styling doesn't affect your riding posture.
To drastically illustrate how the optimal temple length of a sport affects the rider's posture and the seat designs needed to assist it, let's first look at the extreme of saddles #1 and #6. No. 1 is a wooden seat (not something I would ever ask you to ride in - it is intended for obstacle racing).
There is a dramatic front door in front of the knob (note the almost 90-degree corner where the door hits the top of the saddle), because that's where your knuckle is when your temples are the right length for race use. Reduces the thickness of the valve to keep your lower legs in touch with your horses, despite the shorter handle.
Balancing point is pretty far back, about 18 inch behind the nail head on the knob. There are no upper legs, footstocks, or other paddings that affect the posture; there is only genuine grain between your legs and the horses. The No. 6 semitrailer is a classic training semitrailer.
There is almost no corner between the knob and the rag, which descends downwards in a gently running line, because in training the thigh descends almost exactly from the thigh. About twice as deep as the wooden leaf, your stirrups - and your legs - will be so much longer, your knees so much lower.
Less than a metre behind the knob is the seat's centre of gravity, where your sitting bone wants to relax when riding with a long stapes, your crooked legs and your ankle and ankle are in a line with the ears, shoulders and hips. Rolling the femur at the front of the valve will help keep your legs in the right posture for this game.
Upholstery is not an obstacle because the foot does not move much indoors. To really make my point, just think, you are seated in each of these saddles, but with your stapes set accordingly for the other one. When you try to race in the wooden horse seat training to get your foot behind the valve hangs.
You will find that it is not possible to hold a proper training posture, and your sitting bone will look for the centre of gravity that will get you far behind the knob. When you set your stapes to gallop and jump length in the training pad, your knuckle protrudes beyond the front of the valve (whose upper pulley also pushes your knuckle away from the horses, making your lower limb slide back).
This gives you a "kick in the pants" at every railing, pushes your torso forward and sends you ahead of the movement. Both of these scenarios are excessive instances of how you can have a nut that takes you proactively to the right place for a particular sport, even though it suits your particular riding style.
Let's now look at four saddles (like the first two, from my own box at Fox Covert Farm) that drop between the two extremes. At first sight, the No. 2 looks like a cross-country semi-trailer; its centre of gravity is only a few centimetres further forward than the more extremely wooden semi-trailer - but the form of the lid is almost upright.
There' s no room for your knuckle to slip when you are riding in shorts; and when you are riding in it with stapes brief enough for large terrain railings, the knuckle under the hatch (you can see its almost perpendicular line in the shade under the knob) will push your foot back completely when you land. What is more, you will be able to see your knees in the shade under the knob.
But before I found out what was not right with this seat, I took on some very odd forms in the breeze over large droplets - my hips back over the mantle and my legs pushed forward right from the hips - to endure the blow of docking. Eventually it became clear to me that if there was cushioning in front of my legs, it should not go lower than the tip of my keel - so that my keel can slip under it when I arrive after a leap.
The No. 3 is a " Close-Contact " jumping saddle, which went with me around the globe. From the knob, the key tilts forward to take up a bracket that has been reduced to the length of the pitch. You can easily see the center of gravity of the chair because my sitting bone has a slightly lighter point on the skin; note that it is further forward from the cape than the center of gravity of No. 2.
The main critique of this nut is the form of the lower lip of the key, which I would like to see rounded and cut to bring more lower legs of the horseman into touch with the horses. Even though old-fashioned, this is an example of a semitrailer in which you can easily master both the off-road and arena stages of a beginner or training level competition.
However, if you make your stapes shorter enough to allow you to go off-road at higher versatility heights, your leg will jump out in front of the tail. Sattel Nr. 4 is a contactless, jumping seat. To the front, the valve stretches at the same angles (approx. 45 degrees) as No. 3.
Again, the centre of gravity is where it is needed for jumping, and the cantle is up to one centimetre higher than number 3, which makes the overall fit slightly lower. Although the additional deepness does not increase the rider's safety, it defines the centre of gravity of the bike by making the lower part of the chair more visible when sitting in it.
Though I like the way the lower lip of the lid has been cut and folded (compared to No. 3), I don't like the swollen suede kneecaps stuffed with sponge. They seem like a fibula pad behind your legs, promising to keep you in a safe posture - but their real effect is to keep you from following your horse's jumping movements at all.
No matter what your riding style, the best way to be safe in a jumping harness is to use a tight fitting harness with a small upper leg section over the tip of your hip, so that your leg and knees can descend behind the tips of the harness boom. Apart from the up and down directed form of the femoral roller this could be a double function (attention, I am not saying "universal") of the jumping saddle for the beginner class versatility riding.
However, cut its stapes to the length you need for prelim or higher grade terrain and two things will happen: Their knees are in front of the valve (and are pressed away from your horses by the cushioning foam), and since the short straps cause your waists to glide back in a natural way into the fit, your sitting bone is placed about two centimetres away from the cape.
It has a light femoral castor, but it is tilted forwards rather than downwards, so when landing over a railing you will sense some relief directly above your own bend, but will be able to hold your legs in place. Your lower legs will remain in touch with your horses (you want about 15 cm between the underside of the lid and the top of your boots to prevent your boots from sticking to the lid).
There is no calf pad, because there are periods in the terrain when the lower legs actually have to be reset: The use of a seat for more than one event is always associated with compromises. If, for example, we create a jumping seat and start to modify it for use in other stages of versatility, its ability to jump will be impaired - and the more events we try to integrate, the less it will be suited to everything.
Therefore, some saddles sold as "all-purpose" are actually "not earmarked". "So, what's this nut like? If you are trying to evaluate an existing or a new nut, place it on a safe, flat "hobbyhorse" or nut rack and get inside. Shut your eye, let your leg dangle of course and shake around until you have the feeling that you are in the "bag": the deepest point in the fit where the nut will hold you most natural and comfortable.
If you open your eye and look down, the femoral roller of the valve (if any) should be in front - not under the leg - and it should slightly touch to hold your position in the center of gravity. Now, shut your eye again, visualize yourself walking across fields and lift your legs a few centimeters more while mental shortening your temples another two holes or two.
If you look down, you want to see that the nutwood lets your sitting bone slip back a little to take up your short handle. When your knuckle now protrudes in front of the femoral roller, the nut disturbs your lower position over hedges. Otherwise, this is probably a bike in which you can go for stadiums and cross-country skiing.
The last, cheap way to see how your latest seat will affect your jump shape is to ask a good friend about your size and body type, who will practice your sports in a different seat than yours to make it possible for you. If, for example, you have ridden in a highly cushioned "all-purpose" seat, see if you have a rider who uses a shallower, less cushioned seamed seat.
Order to horseback riding in him for your next jumping class and see if you are feeling safer. Excerpt from "Saddle Design=Position" by Jim Wofford, in the October 2003 edition of Practical Horseman journal.