When it comes to saddles that are tailor-made for Icelandic horses, there are a large variety of saddles available, but they can differ greatly in quality, design, flexibility, and technology. It is therefore useful (and perhaps essential) to know the basic structure of a saddle, and the main variations that are available.
The saddle tree (the core)
Flexibility & performance. As with horses, the same philosophy applies to saddles: you can have horses with great conformation, but if their movements aren’t flexible and elastic, they won’t be able to perform well. The same philosophy applies to saddles: it is the saddle tree (the core) that limits the flexibility of the saddle.
The Balance and Weight Distribution
The saddle should enhance the balance of the rider, and it should distribute the rider’s weight evenly on the horse’s back. It is often said that BALANCE IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. There are important structural features that have this function:
It should be designed to position the rider near the center of the saddle, so that the weight will be evenly distributed. The design of the seat and knee pads should be such that it enhances the balance of the rider.
They need to retain their shape and distribute the weight well. Good panels allow for very close contact, adjust well to various horses,and are symmetrical.