Source: flickr.com Author: Adam Korbuly
Sport means health and pleasure, which is why it is good to encourage children to do it. Horse riding is a very attractive form of physical activity even for the youngest. It teaches responsibility (horse - even if it is not your own, requires your care), patience, empathy, shapes character... we could go on for days on end. But it's not what we want to talk about today. Today we want to touch upon another important topic, which are saddles - saddles for the youngest riders. If your child becomes interested in horse riding, which means that he or she doesn't just ride one round, but a thought-through and planned rides on a proper-sized horse, it's good to think about buying a saddle, even if you are not a lucky owner of a pony.
Saddles designed for children, namely HAPPY PONY, LUCKY DRESSAGE and JOY JUMPER (these are PRESTIGE ITALIA's models) are constructed accordingly to the youngest riders' anatomical shapes. First, these models have narrow saddlebow offsets, which is proper for children's hips and pelvis. Second, these saddles have deep and soft seat, which provides comfort and proper seat of little riders, thus efficient work with the horse. Third, these models are equipped with shorter flaps and attached with velcro fastenings knee blocks, which allows kids to properly position their legs. Depending on needs, it is easy to change the blocks' position, so the child's legs won't be too far to the front. PRESTIGE ITALIA's junior saddles are made on woolen panels, which provides them with maximal fit, so the saddle can be "growing up" with your child until it's time for a 17-inch or 16-inch adult saddle.
When a child rides in a saddle that's too big he or she takes wrong posture and most exercises might be performed improperly. In bigger saddles, e.g. 18-inch the point of sitting is more to the back, because that's where a person weighing about 80 kg should sit. A child seated in this place won't be able to position his or her body in such a way that the heel, hip and arm form one straight line to the ground. You kid will either lean forward, raising the leg towards the horse's croup, or if the child wants to keep the heel in its proper position, he or she will lean backwards. Both positions are uncomfortable and unhealthy for the child. Spine, pelvis and hip joints are too heavily burdened and that may lead to back pain, or even faulty posture. Children riding in big saddles are more prone to take part in accidents, and consequences of these might be fatal.
We would like to encourage parents of little riders to invest in junior saddles, because sport should be both pleasurable and healthy, and if you are using wrong equipment, its effect may be the exact opposite.