What is the weight bearing surface area of a saddle

What is the weight bearing surface area of a saddle

I get this question a lot. What is the weight bearing surface area of the saddle?

So lets add physics to this question. 

  • If you add a Smaller rider you will decrease, or larger rider you will increase the pressure on the tree and panels, thus affecting the weight distribution area.
  • Higher Mass (area + weight) will squish the panels flatter making more contact. Where a heavy smaller person will impact more weight in a smaller area. 
  • If the rider position pushes in their stirrups and braces back to the cantle area, then they will increase the surface area of contact of the panels.
  • If the horse has more curve then the saddle will make more contact with the horse than on a flat backed horse.
  • Length of the panels & Saddle affects the distribution area. 
  • Width of panels & Saddle affects the distribution area
  • Shape of panels and Saddle affects the distribution area
  • Saddle pad, half pads, shims, all affect the distribution area. 
  • Density (compression and material) of the flocking in the panels. Wool and foam and leather and sheep skin all have different densities that will affect impact area.

There is no actual number that can be given for the weight distribution area of the saddle. with out putting a sensor pad on the horse, with the rider and the saddle to apply the physics to that pairing. 

So there is no actual number to give to a person without putting a sensor pad on the horse with the rider with the saddle that they plan to use. The only way to give a solid number that applies to a saddle is to use a stature of a horse and use a set size static (non moving) "rider" with a set weight. Then that number can be reported with the parameters of the test.  

Panels are added to a saddle to distribute impact and weight so they need to be soft, shock absorbing, but at the same time rigid enough to not collapse. The rigid portion usually comes in place with the tree. Leather tree, Flex Tree, Wood tree. they all add stability to the panels to help with the impact of the rider. Treeless saddles may or may not have a support system which is why fitting is crucial with treeless saddles. 

Sensor pad for saddle weight distribution

This is why saddle fitting appointments and quality saddles are important for the comfort and longevity of your horse. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.