Posted: 2nd April 2020 | Back to news feed

Event rider and trainer, Harriet Morris-Baumber often has clients attending for lessons that struggle to maintain their position in the saddle, but very few ever consider that it is their saddle that is contributing to the problem.


Developing good balance and an independent seat is not just about keeping your weight down in the stirrups and a secure lower leg; it is about being able to use your whole body effectively.  This is particularly difficult when a rider is using a saddle that could be inhibiting their ability to remain in a secure position.

Said Harriet: “Very often riders come to me, riding in a general purpose saddle that has been sold to them because that is what fitted their horse, but no thought went into whether it was the right fit for the rider.”

Saddles can fit the horse but because of their design may not help the rider. “A saddle that slightly pushes a riders knee back, also adjusts the riders hips and therefore the whole upper body too, for better or worse.”

As a horse owner have you ever considered buying a horse sold with tack without enquiring if the saddle was fitted by a qualified saddle fitter?

“The saddle might have been suitable for the previous owner but not for you. Riders with different lengths of leg will sit differently in the same saddle,” advised Harriet.

When buying a saddle it is advisable to never compromise by buying a cheaper saddle to save money. It is a much more sensible choice to buy the best quality saddle that you can afford and ensure it is properly fitted for both the horse and the performance of the rider.

The difference between a well-designed saddle and a more mediocre one may be the difference between you staying on or coming off.


Photo: The wrong saddle could be inhibiting your ability to remain in a secure position. Photo Credit - Iain B Photography

For event riders that potentially require a dressage and jumping saddle the need to buy more than one saddle could influence their choice. It is far better to do dressage in a jumping saddle than to try and compromise and jump, particularly cross-country, in a general purpose saddle.

When going cross-country a saddle must allow you to lean back for drop fences and must give adequate support to the lower leg or the rider can become vulnerable.

Very often more general purpose saddles have a deeper seat and a higher cantel that can really restrict the riders ability to ‘slide’ to the back of the saddle to achieve the ultimate ‘safety seat’ position

Losing balance in the saddle is a common reason for a rider losing confidence and using her own saddles, Harriet can often demonstrate to riders the difference the correct saddle can make.

“I have had a number of clients that are amazed at the improvement in their lower leg security, their balance and overall position, especially when jumping.

“It is important that riders understand that their saddle might not be helping them as much as it should, particularly for riders who want to progress up the ranks, as security in the saddle is of upmost importance,” added Harriet.

Harriet is available for dressage, show-jumping and cross-country lessons at her base near York.  

To find out more call Harriet on (07795) 562745 or visit  

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