Ladies! Don’t get your panties in a twist! Your saddle may be the cause of your hip pain.
Most women don’t realize that riding isn’t supposed to be painful. We deal with it because we love the sport, and we do whatever we can to overcome the discomfort being in the saddle can cause. We do yoga stretches, live on Tylenol, ibuprophen, and other pain relievers, wear special padded ‘rider’s panties’, and other seat savers, and accept that that’s just the way saddles are. Sure, we compensate for it as best we can typically causing our bodies to contort in such a way that we pull ourselves out of proper riding position, just to find a comfortable position in the saddle.
We experience back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, and yes, even urinary tract, and yeast infections because our saddles don’t fit us properly. We deal with the pain of riding for the love of the horse, the love of our sport, and see it as just part of the price we pay to participate. I’m here to show you that your dedication to the sport shouldn’t have to be measured in pain.
Seriously. What if it didn’t have to be this way? What if we were never taught about saddles beyond their basic anatomy and how to put one on a horse, and just didn’t know? I now know that before I studied and became a certified saddle fitter, even after 48 years in the saddle, I never knew how much I didn’t know about saddles!
If you’re a horsewoman, and you experience hip pain in the saddle, you may be riding in the wrong saddle for you! The seat size might be ideal for your femur length, and your saddle might fit your horse’s back, but if the twist is too wide for your pelvis, you’re going to feel like you’re being torn apart at the crotch! A too narrow twist can feel like you’re straddling a fence post, leaving you sitting on your lady-bits! Saddles are not supposed to be torture devices!
If you’re wondering, the twist is the part of the saddle that is between your inner thighs. When the twist of your saddle is too wide for your pelvis, even if the rest of the saddle is the right size, you’re going to feel like you’re being ripped apart from your upper, inner thighs. This is also likely the source of your hip pain, and if you ride in a saddle with a too wide twist for a long time, you will end up with serious repetitive stress injuries in your hip joints. So serious, that I’ll go as far as to say, having a properly fitting saddle with an appropriate width twist and waist for your anatomy may save you from eventual hip replacement surgery!
Now, twist is not all that matters in saddle fit, and you must keep that in mind when shopping for a new saddle. However, it’s a very important part of a complex puzzle.
If you’re working with a knowledgeable saddle fitter/saddlery agent, be sure they know what the issues are with your current saddle. Let them know what kind of pain you experience when you ride. They’ll help fit both you and your horse! When you’re riding in the right saddle for you, you’ll be astounded how much your riding improves!