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Help for a Rider Who Gets Sore Seat Bones and Poor Circulation During Long Rides

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  • Help for a Rider Who Gets Sore Seat Bones and Poor Circulation During Long Rides

    Does anyone have suggestions for my hubby who gets sore seat bones and possibly poor circulation during longish trail rides? (anything over an hour usually). He rides in an a/p english saddle and gets very tired when riding - possibly a circulation issue, as well a sore butt and sore ankles.

    I've ordered a gel seat saver and hope that helps. I've looked online at some english style trail saddles and they are outrageously expensive. Any ideas as to what might be the cause of someone feeling completely exhausted and sore? Could this be orthostatic intolerance?

    What is the most comfy english style trail saddle out there? Maybe we could find a used one.


  • #2
    The most comfortable English type trail saddle is a treeless. The "sore butt/sore ankles" are a result of a hard tree, and stirrups that are too narrow to support the foot. Get him endurance stirrups and his leg/foot problems will disappear. Get him a treeless and his sore backside will be history as well.

    Suggestions: Sensation treeless ($1K), Bob Marshall Sports Saddle($1K+), Barefoot ($700)

    Find a distributor and have them send you a demo saddle to try out. Some distributors will have used saddles, or your can check the treeless saddle group on yahoo for saddle suggestions.
    Last edited by gothedistance; Apr. 14, 2009, 12:03 AM.


    • #3
      "Treeless" saddles are a bad idea for reasons stated many times.

      The best practice is to dismount every hour or so and walk for 10-15 min. Every other hour or so add 10 min. of rest for the rider and grazing (if available) for the horse.

      Cushions, pads, stirrup hanging systems, etc. can help, but getting down and walking out the stiffness will work better than any device.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • #4
        The wide endurance stirrups will definitely help with the legs falling asleep.


        • #5
          Okay, here are my thoughts.

          First of all, make sure the saddle *fits* the rider (I've gotten sore from riding in ill-fitting saddles before). Make sure he is riding with his stirrups at an appropriate length.

          A saddle cushion can be helpful for individuals who are somewhat lacking in, ahem, natural cushioning.

          Also, this could simply be a rider fitness issue. How much does he ride?
          Manes And Tales


          • #6
            This could be a position issue, if the saddle seat is too small or too large he will not be in the neutral pelvis position needed to be comfortable- if you took away the horse and saddle he should be in a standing position, with legs spread slightly but evenly.
            Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


            • #7
              Could be lots of things, but an option to try is an Australian stock saddle. I only get sore seat bones the first couple of rides after I haven't ridden for months. I don't even use a seat pad, but you can get them for extra cush. The fenders/leather are thin enough to keep my knees from getting sore, and I put EZ Ride endurance stirrups on. It might not help, but it might put him in just enough of a different position that it helps. Mine is a little big for me, so I have room to switch position. Lots of times you can find cheap used models at tack stores. If you found one he could trial it and buy a better quality one if it worked.

              As far as circulation, that could be an issue of his position, how much weight he has in the stirrups maybe, or as someone suggested, he needs to dismount and walk some.


              • #8
                For the seat bone issue you can try a sheepskin saddle pad, I love mine even though I never had trouble before. I used one for 30 minutes and totally missed it when I had to take it off so I bought a full seat one.

                I also think I am the only person in the world that hates those flat, padded endurance stirrups, they make my feet go numb. It must be something to do with the angle of my ankles but only the edge of the ball of my foot by my little toe touches (because they are flat!, not rounded) and everything goes numb, I have to turn my ankles at a totally unatural angle to make the whole ball of my foot touch. I use a slightly rounded western stirrup and the weight bearing is even then.

                But I know I am totally not normal in that regard.


                • #9
                  An excellent seat in a well fitting saddle with wide stirrups and a cushy sheepskin cover are all good steps in the right direction. But as long as the rider stays mounted they are in a relatively constant, restricted position and it is that constant position that is the culprit.

                  Dismounting every hour removes the rider from that restricted position and will permit a "working out" of any stiffness.

                  Historically, cavalry forces dismounted periodically on routine marches. Even the Mongols did so.

                  This is also a Rx to ease soreness in a horse's back (even with a well fitting saddle ).

                  I think a major reason people don't do this is that they fear inability to remount if there's no "mounting block" available. If the rider has issues on mounting then they should address those issues (improve technique, carry a portable mounting aid, etc.).

                  Take care of yourself and you take care of your horse!!!!

                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                  • #10

                    I rode English all my life and when I broke my ankle, I needed something with more security for the interim while I built up again. I bought a cheapo Abetta Endurance. It fits the horse better and it sure is comfy to ride in...I put the English saddle up for sale at my local tack store...It's Abetta all the way now!
                    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
                    One of our horsey bumper stickers! www.horsehollowpress.com
                    Add Very Funny Horse Bumper Stickers on facebook


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                      "Treeless" saddles are a bad idea for reasons stated many times.
                      NO, they're not. You may have your opinion but you have no facts. You don't ride treeless - never did - never will. So what makes you qualified to say anything yay or nay about them?

                      I agree with GTD to try a treeless. They are absolutely heavenly for both horse and rider, IF you have the right model that works for both horse and rider. I went through a few before arriving at the Bob Marshall. Not every treeless will work for every horse and rider. There's a learning curve, and a trial and error period, just like with a treed saddle. I won't go back to a treed. I used to have terrible seat bone pain and sore knees. I don't have any of that anymore. I always felt like I needed to get off and walk or stretch or something. Seriously, look into the treeless as another option. They are great.

                      Lots of endurance riders go treeless, even heavyweight riders. Lots of people have been riding in them for years and love them. You do need a good pad designed for a treeless saddle. They are made of special foam that disperses pressure evenly across the pad. I also agree with the wide plastic endurance stirrups with the cushions on them. They are wonderful!

                      And you don't have to dismount to change your position up and stretch. Every 20 min. or so, I drop my stirrups and swing my legs back and forth. I switch up between sitting the trot and posting, cantering and trotting, etc.


                      • #12
                        Before this turns into a trainwreck about treeless saddles , I would suggest you check both saddle fit (for the rider, not the horse!), stirrup length and position, and his body position. It could be just a little bit of tweaking (rider re-training) could solve quite a bit of his problems.

                        That said, I agree that getting off occasionally and walking is a good idea. If he truly does have circulation issues -- no amount of tweaking or a new saddle will work more than helping his circulation through a bit of walking.

                        I have knee issues, and try to walk every hour and a half or so. It makes all the difference in how I feel through and after a long ride!
                        "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                        <>< I.I.


                        • #13
                          I think treeless would be a good idea to try. If money is an issue, you can find some relatively cheap ones on ebay, like $200-$300. If your hubby just rides every once in awhile, a cheapo would be fine, I would think. Or even just try any other saddle you can get your hands on- I've found some saddles work great for me, others not as well and you never really know til you try.

                          I also think getting off and walking is good. I definitely feel better if I walk a little every few hours or so on endurance rides. Also, can he do some trotting and cantering, if all he is doing is walking. If I go on rides where I just walk my butt gets sore after a few hours.


                          • #14
                            My feelings on "treeless" rigs is well known. So's the favorable opinion of others. If they can recommend, must I stand silent? Does their door only swing one way?

                            Dismounting and walking is most assuredly not a temporary solution. It's a practical and long practiced method for easing the stress on horse and rider. Of course if horse and rider are being stressed by an hour in the saddle then you've got some real problems, someplace. And it's unlikely that these problems will be solved by addition of some device to the saddles.

                            So get down and walk every now and then. Your horse will thank you for it. Naturally if you don't give a damn about the horse, ride on.

                            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                            • #15
                              I'm a disabled rider and need the padding as someone mentioned because I don't have much 'natural padding'. I can't get off and walk (I would if I could!). I use a supracore pad AND a wool pad, and still I get sore on long rides (20+ miles). If I get really sore I will put my legs up on the cantle for awhile, that seems to help a lot while I am still riding in a balanced way. I never get sore knees or ankles, though. Just my ol' bunions

                              I did have a treeless, and I did not get sore with that, but my horse was getting white hair where my seatbones went, so it didn't work for us. Now we are in a Timberline.



                              • #16
                                I echo the suggestion of wide platform stirrups like the Easy Rides. I actually did better however with the MDC stirrups which allows you to adjust the stirrup angle. They made it easy on my bum knee to rest comfortably against the horse without fighting the stirrup position.

                                Also, if your hubby is not interested in going the new saddle route, perhaps a seat saver made of a tempurpedic type foam, topped with a sheepskin cover, would do the the trick. Sounds like a bit of a perch but I did use this for a time when I rode a treed saddle and it was relatively comfy.

                                FWIW, I cannot live without my Freeform *gasp* treeless saddle. I like this brand as it has more twist and structure than some of the treeless and worked best for me and my horse. Sensation has a good reputation as well.

                                That said, your husband really would need to be balanced to transition comfortably to a treeless saddle IMO. AND, some of the cheaper brands out there may not have the same quality of workmanship that one may want, just like treed saddles.

                                Furthermore, finding and correctly fitting a treeless saddle can be just as frustrating as its treed counterpart. I was lucky and hit on the first one tried but that is unusual in my experience. Frankly, I would go with the cheaper fixes first before looking at switching saddles.

                                Guilherme, I fail to see how continually warning against treeless saddles without any true experience with them, is really an opinion that should hold any weight. It directly contradicts the thousands of successful hours logged in them by endurance riders--you know, folks with many miles and hours in the saddle at various speeds? Hey, party on Wayne. Whatever floats your boat.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by pandorasboxx View Post
                                  Guilherme, I fail to see how continually warning against treeless saddles without any true experience with them, is really an opinion that should hold any weight. It directly contradicts the thousands of successful hours logged in them by endurance riders--you know, folks with many miles and hours in the saddle at various speeds? Hey, party on Wayne. Whatever floats your boat.
                                  How do you know I don't have any "true" experience with them?

                                  They were suggested as an alternative; I disagree and said so. I don't demand that all "treeless" be burned in the town square. I don't understand why the "treeless" advocates get their collective panties in such a wad when somebody says they're not such a good idea.

                                  In any event, the dismount and walk option is optimal. It has been used by millions of horse soldiers since the time of Xenophon. Oh, and Xenophon rode a "treeless" saddle because trees had not yet been invented.

                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by saratoga View Post
                                    If I go on rides where I just walk my butt gets sore after a few hours.
                                    Exactly! I had knee surgery last year and had to just walk for a while afterwards (after 6 weeks off, gasp!) and I would get kind of sore. Trotting or cantering gets everything moving and feeling good again.


                                    • #19
                                      I am not an endurance rider, but I do ride many hours per week and have had similar issues. In addition to all the above good advice I would also consider the padded lycra shorts made for bicyclers. Their weight is concentrated on an even smaller "saddle" than horseback riders and numbness is very much an issue for them. The shorts have sort of butterfly shaped pads, gel or cushion. Not a lot where you don't need it, but good pads where you do need it.


                                      • #20
                                        While dismounting and walking a bit, isn't a bad idea, I prefer to drop stirrups and let my legs hang naturally. That gives them a deep stretch and relieves that tension that comes from being continually in "position". My riding boots aren't really comfy for a walkabout and besides, I get a better stretch from just dropping the stirrups and maybe a few twist exercises to relieve back aches.