The endurance saddle was designed for endurance competition where horse and rider can cover 50 to 100 miles in a single day. To be competitive, a rider needs a saddle that is lighter weight but still sturdy enough to withstand the long miles that can include rugged and steep terrain. Built for close contact with the horse, this saddle minimizes bulk wherever possible.
Typical features of an endurance saddle include:
- Very comfortable, often padded, seat for long hours in the saddle
- Typically, no horn in order to prevent the rider from getting poked in the stomach when posting, standing while trotting, or jumping trail obstacles
- Very short, rounded skirt to lessen weight
- Deep stirrups for comfort
- Single rigging, typically in center-fire position, to prevent the saddle from tipping
- A good number of saddle strings and rigging dees for securing gear
- Smaller and lighter weight
While designed for competition, the endurance saddle is gaining popularity as a general trail saddle. It’s unusual styling, which is influenced by English versions, results in the most “unique” looking of all of the western saddle styles.