YQA - Equestrian Tack & Saddles Around the World
Learn about what kinds of saddles and equestrian tack you may try on your riding vacation
One of the challenges of traveling around the world riding horses with the locals is adjusting to different riding styles and different tack.
Just as there are different horse breeds, there are different types of horse riding saddles. Here are some of the more interesting saddles that I've tried horseback riding around the world. You may have seen these saddles in Equitrekking episodes. Here's a closer look.
Saddles in Uruguay were, for the most part, covered in sheepskin, like this one. Many of them felt very wide to me, almost like I was sitting on a table. You really need to be balanced in the saddle, so you don't slide off! At a few estancias, I found myself riding in round stirrups, which were an adjustment and then these thinner triangular stirrups.
Gauchos used the sheepskin because it was comfortable for long days in the saddle. The sheepskin could also be used as a pillow or blanket when spending nights outside.
The saddles in many parts of Spain were similiar to the Uruguayan saddles.
Below is a photo of the saddle that I used in Donana National Park in Spain. It was the most comfortable saddle that I've ever tried. My horse was also really smooth.
Notice the interesting stirrups. The saddle is fashioned to mould to the horse’s back and has large, rectangular steel stirrups that protect the rider’s feet from bulls’ horns and the brush that one may encounter when working on ranches in Andalusia.
Icelandic saddles similiar to English style saddles, but the seat is a bit flatter and the Icelanders ride with long stirrups. I felt like I was losing my stirrups every once in a while, as I tried to adjust to their gaits or ways of moving.
Here's a photo from a local riding competition. Notice the close contact with the reins.
In Turkey, we rode again on sheepskin covered saddles, which put you a little higher off the horse's back. Our host had purchased these unusual saddles in Kyrgyzstan.