Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting GAZETTE NEWS to 80360, or email
Tack - A real seat of learning
3:27pm Friday 17th September 2010 in June
ARE you sitting comfortably? It's no wonder horsemen through time devised soft pads and supportive saddles to make riding more of a pleasure and less of a pain for man and beast.
The first saddles appeared more than 4,000 years ago, but were nothing more than a patch of animal hide or a piece of cloth.
These early models offered little in the way of support or security, but they served as a buffer between horse and rider during bareback treks and battles.
As this novel concept caught on, the hides and cloths became more elaborate.
About 700 BC in the Middle East,Assyrian warriors went on campaigns seated atop decorative saddle cloths.
Some had straps that resembled girths.
Saddles in the styles seen today date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Today, the modern saddle comes in a wide variety of styles, each designed for a specific equestrian discipline, and require careful fit to both the rider and the horse.
Proper saddle care can extend the useful life of a saddle, often for decades.
A saddle, regardless of type, must fit both horse and rider.
Saddle fitting is an art, and in ideal circumstances it is performed by a professional saddlemaker or saddle fitter.
Custom-made saddles designed for an individual horse and rider will fit the best.