Requirements of a good saddle.—A good saddle should satisfactorily meet the following requirements:
(1) The padding should be done in a way to secure perfect balance of the saddle. Too high behind, the saddle will throw the whole weight of the rider into the stirrups. Too high in front, it will throw him back and diminish the grip of the thighs and prevent proper set of the knees.
(2) The pommel arch should be wide enough to allow the saddle to be used on nearly all horses and to be set far enough back.
(3) The seat should not be too flat and the rider should not feel the outer edges of the bars of the tree under his thighs.
(4) The straps for the girth should be set well forward. If the line of traction of the girth were too far to the rear the saddle would rock and, rising in front, would work up toward the withers.
How a horse should be saddled.—The saddle should be placed far enough back, but it is impossible to give any fixed rule. Its proper place depends upon the conformation of the horse. A horse with a good back and a well-marked girth place is easy to saddle; it is the reverse in the case of one with short ribs or big belly or hollow shoulders.
The matter of saddling, although often neglected, is of great importance. Everything in riding hinges on balance, and balance will be handicapped from the start if the rider is seated too close to the withers and is unduly overloading the forehand.