The invention relates to horse riding saddles, and in particular to
such saddles which are of European style and are readily adjustable in terms of
their fit to the horse at the head of the saddle.
Conventionally European saddles are manufactured and sold in a range
of styles and sizes. The different styles are intended to be suitable both for different
uses, such as dressage, show-jumping or general purpose, and for different kinds
of breed of horse which have very different conformations, e.g. thoroughbred, warmblood
and cob. The different sizes are in particular in respect of the width of the gullet
below the head of the saddle across the horse's withers (e.g. narrow, medium, wide,
extra wide) and the length of the saddle from front to back (e.g. 430mm, 460mm,
It is extremely important that a saddle fits the horse wearing it
correctly as badly fitting saddles can cause a wide range of problems such as lameness,
a build up of scar tissue, and muscle wastage. Ideally saddles should be professionally
fitted, but in many cases this is not practical for one reason or another. In addition
horses often change their condition during the year as they are rested, brought
into competitive condition, or are unwell, and thus a saddle which fits properly
at one time may not fit properly at another, whether professionally fitted or not.
The size of the saddle at the head, i.e. the portion which fits across
the horses withers and onto the shoulders, is determined by the tree and gullet
insert (often called the gullet bar) around which the saddle is constructed. The
tree is generally formed of relatively rigid material(s), e.g. wood, metal or plastics,
and has points extending downwardly on either side at the front. The points may
be rigid or slightly more flexible than the rest of the tree, and in some cases
there are rigid points and additional flexible points. In any event it is the points
which form the angle of the head of the saddle below the pommel.
The gullet insert is generally formed of steel and is secured underneath
the front of the tree extending at least part of the way down the points thereof
in order to maintain the arch of the pommel correctly. The combination of tree and
gullet insert, in combination with the rest of the saddle constructed around them
and the degree of padding included, establish the fit of saddle (e.g. narrow, medium,
wide, extra wide).
Saddles have been produced in which the front of the saddle beneath
the pommel can be opened to expose the underside of the front of the tree and the
gullet insert and, as the gullet insert is screwed in place on the underside of
the tree rather than riveted, the gullet insert can readily be changed to alter
the fit of the saddle. This can be undertaken by the retailer in order to provide
a customer with the fit of saddle they require, or the owner in order to allow for
changes in condition of their horse. However, tools are required to accomplish the
change of fit.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an alternative
form of adjustable saddle.
According to the present invention there is provided a horse riding
saddle including a tree with a downwardly depending point on each side adjacent
the front thereof wherein there is provided on an outer accessible surface on each
side of the saddle a pocket extending behind the respective point of the tree with
an opening for receipt of an insert.
The invention provides the advantage that the fit of the saddle can
be altered in a matter of moments without the need for any tools.
The pocket may conveniently be upwardly extending with a downward
facing opening, alternatively the pocket may be rearwardly extending with a forward
facing opening or forwardly extending with a rearward facing opening.
Preferably the opening to the pocket is provided with a closure to
retain the insert in the pocket as required. Ideally, the closure does not require
any tools to be opened and closed and this may be provided by hook and loop fastener.
Preferably a selection of inserts of different thickness' is provided.
The inserts are preferably formed from a substantially incompressible
material, but this might also be slightly flexible. This may conveniently be a plastics
Conveniently the inserts are of a generally oval shape with greatest
thickness in a middle portion and tapering towards their edges.
In use the middle portion of the inserts is located directly beneath
the points of the tree.
The inserts may be provided with a formation at the lower end thereof
to assist in removing it from the pocket. The formations on the inserts may take
the form of loops formed integrally with a main portion of the inserts. Alternatively
the formations on the inserts may take the form of loops secured to the main portion
of the inserts, in which case they may be formed of flexible fabric.
An embodiment of a horse riding saddle according to the present invention
will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying
drawings in which:
- Figure 1 is a simplified side view of a saddle according to the present invention,
with the saddle flaps, seat cushioning and covering omitted;
- Figure 2 is a section through one side of the saddle along line A-A of Figure
1 without any insert in the upwardly extending pocket;
- Figure 3 is a section through one side of the saddle along line A-A of Figure
1 with an insert in the upwardly extending pocket;
- Figure 4 is a plan view of an insert for the saddle of Figures 1 to 3, and
- Figure 5 & 6 are end views of different thickness inserts for the saddle
of Figures 1 to 3.
Referring now to the figures, in which a European style horse riding
saddle 10 according to the invention is illustrated in simplified form (with saddle
flaps, seat cushioning and covering and other parts which will not be affected by
the invention having been omitted for clarity), the invention will be explained.
The saddle 10 includes a conventional tree 12 having a downwardly extending point
14 on either side at the front thereof and a seat portion 16. Underneath the front
of the tree 12 is a gullet insert 18. The tree 12 is conveniently formed of plastics
material, and the points 14 may be thinner than the rest of the tree 12 so that
they have a degree of flexibility which the rest of the tree 12 does not have. The
gullet insert 18 is generally formed of steel and helps to determine the width of
the gullet (the arch under the pommel 20 of the saddle 10).
Beneath the tree 12 are located conventional stuffed panels 22 which
are the parts of the saddle 10 which contact the horse's back when the saddle is
in use. The points 14 of the tree 12 are located in downwardly extending pockets
24 which each have an upwardly facing opening 26, and which are located on the stuffed
panels 22. It should be noted that seat cushioning and covering (known in the trade
as seaming) attached to the top of the tree 12, such that the tree 12 is retained
in its correct position with the points 14 in the pockets 24, have been omitted
from the figures for clarity.
The saddle 10 also has upwardly extending pockets 28 which each have
an upwardly facing opening 30. These upwardly extending pockets 28 are located beneath
the downwardly extending pockets 24, but on the outer side of the stuffed panels
22. The openings 30 may conveniently be provided with a closure, such as hook and
loop fastener, to retain the pockets closed when the saddle is in use.
Inserts 32, such as those illustrated in Figures 4 to 6 are provided
for insertion into the upwardly extending pockets 28. Each insert 32 is of a generally
oval shape, as shown in Figure 4, and has a greatest thickness along a middle portion
thereof as best seen in Figure 5 and 6, with the thickness tapering towards the
edges. Preferably a number of inserts 32 of different thickness' is provided, for
example a thinner one 32a and a thicker one 32b. The inserts 32 may
be formed from any appropriate substantially incompressible material, which may
for example be a slightly flexible plastics material.
The inserts 32a, 32b may, for example, be of the order
of 160mm long and 70mm wide with thickness' in their middle portions of 7mm and
15mm respectively. Clearly, however, the dimensions of the inserts 32 will depend
on the exact design and size of saddle with which they are intended to be used and
the changes in fit which they are designed to achieve.
It will be appreciated that many other general shapes of inserts may
also be used. For example, they may be generally rectangular in shape rather than
oval. They may also or additionally be generally flat, rather than tapering towards
the edges, with radiused comers to avoid any hard edges. In another alternative
the inserts may be generally flat on one side (intended in use to be adjacent the
underside of the tree point) and tapering on the other side (intended in use to
be towards the underside of the saddle).
The inserts are conveniently (although not necessarily) provided with
a formation, for example a loop type formation 34, which may be formed integrally
with the main part of the insert 32 as shown in Figure 4, or added to it later.
In the latter case the loop type formation may for example be formed of a flexible
fabric material, such as webbing. The purpose of the loop type formation 34 is to
assist in removing the inserts 32 from the upwardly extending pockets 28 when required.
In Figure 2 the upwardly extending pocket 28 is empty and the width
of the gullet can be seen to be "x". In Figure 3 an insert 32 has been placed into
the upwardly extending pocket 28, and is thus located between the tree point 14
and the stuffed panel 22. As a result the padding in the stuffed panels 22 has been
pushed inwardly with respect to the tree point 14 and the width of the gullet is
now "y", which is significantly smaller in magnitude that "x". The fit of the saddle
10 has thus been altered from, for example a wide to a medium, depending on the
thickness of insert used.
It will be quite clear that multiple inserts may be used together
in place of single inserts 32, however, if this is intended then the degree of tapering
towards the edges of the inserts would be reduced to ensure a large contact area
between them and to prevent them rocking with relation to each other.
The pockets 28 are upwardly extending and have downwardly facing openings
30, but all that is required is that it is readily possible to insert and remove
the inserts 32 from the pockets 28. Thus the pocket 28 could extend rearwardly from
a forward facing opening, or forwardly from a rearward facing opening.
The pockets 28 are provided on a surface of the saddle 10 which is
accessible when the saddle 10 is in use on a horse, hence it is on an outer accessible
surface of the saddle. This ensures that the surface of the saddle 10 which is against
the horse in use has no openings that could cause abrasions, and means that inserts
32 can be changed while the saddle 10 remains on the horse.
It should be appreciated that the present invention is not thought
to be suitable for use in Western style saddles, but rather only in European style
In the present specification "comprises" means "includes or consists
of" and "comprising" means "including or consisting of".
The features disclosed in the foregoing description, or the following
claims, or the accompanying drawings, expressed in their specific forms or in terms
of a means for performing the disclosed function, or a method or process for attaining
the disclosed result, as appropriate, may, separately, or in any combination of
such features, be utilised for realising the invention in diverse forms thereof.