In this blog post I would like to use some pictures to outline the basic differences in the male and female pelvis and how it relates to the saddle. This is why it is important to have a skilled and experienced saddle fitter help you choose your new saddle. A bad choice for your build could result in an uncomfortable result! Also, just to make it unfair, a man can comfortably ride in a saddle made for a woman but most women have trouble sitting in a saddle made specifically for men. Let’s explore why!
This first image is to show the difference in the profile view of the pelvis. I have specifically chosen a western saddle here because I wanted to show that regardless of discipline this is a universal saddle fit consideration. Women’s pelvis tip is different than a men’s The tailbone sits higher and the pubic symphosis sits lower. What this means is that if the saddle doesn’t fit properly the woman can rock back onto her but pulling the pelvis further from the front of the saddle. While this may be okay for pleasure or trail riding as Western Dressage becomes more and more popular it is very important to get proper pelvis alignment on the saddle!
This next image highlights both the difference in the pubic symphosis height and the width in the riders seat bones. Because women have a birthing channel their seat bones are typically wider than a man’s. This means that id the seaming in the seat is not in the right place it can cause a lot rubbing on the seat bones of the rider. Also if the seat is too peaked or narrow a rider runs into the risk of being hit by the front of the saddle and being rubbed at the pubic symphosis.
Our last image is a bottom view of the male and female pelvis compared on the same saddle seat. You can clearly see how the male’s seat bones are much narrower. This allows him to be more comfortable in a narrower or “roofier” saddle. I often get the complaint from women that they feel like they are sitting on a 2×4 when seated properly in their saddle. When I hear that this is often the case.
I hope you have learned a little more about fitting the male and female rider!
For more information please watch these video links: