United States Patent 3641739

A saddle which is placed on the top of the back of an animal to provide a seat for a rider thereon, a first girth strap having a front end attached to the front of the saddle on one side and rear end attached to the other side of the saddle at a central point, a second girth strap having a front end attached to a front portion of the saddle on said other side and a rear end attached to the saddle on said one side. The saddle is secured to the animal by passing the straps diagonally beneath the animal so that they cross beneath the animal, and as a result will be less likely to cause saddle galls in the region of the animal's elbows than will girth straps which extend transversely beneath the animal. At least one end of each strap is secured by a girth buckle including means for clamping the strap at any desired position along its length by pulling on the free end of the strap.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
24/170, 54/44.1
International Classes:
B68C1/14; (IPC1-7): B68C1/04
Field of Search:
54/1,44,46,37-43 24
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3266110Seat belt buckle1966-08-16Davis
3253309Buckle assembly1966-05-31Baresch
3096552Stirrup and adjustable suspension means therefor1963-07-09Kreger, Jr.
3084411Buckles for automobile safety belts and the like1963-04-09Lindblad
2608812Automatically releasable flank strap fastener1952-09-02Hutchings
1610989Combination riding and pack saddle1926-12-14Aguilar

Primary Examiner:
Medbery, Aldrich F.
I claim

1. A saddle arrangement comprising, in combination:

2. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said buckle means includes a frame, guide roller means rotatably mounted in the frame about which said girth strap is entrained, said frame including a pressure plate which underlies said girth strap end, clamping means pivotally mounted in the frame including eccentric means for pressing the end of the girth which extends past said guide roller against the pressure plate and for clamping said girth strap more tightly when the strap is pulled back toward the guide roller, and lever means connected to the clamping means for lifting said eccentric means out of engagement with said girth strap part.

3. The combination defined in claim 2 wherein spring means are connected to said girth buckle means for biasing said eccentric means against the pressure plate.

4. The combination defined in claim 3 wherein said frame includes flanges and said guide roller means and said clamping means each include an axle mounted in said flanges.

5. The combination defined in claim 4 wherein said frame has a bore passing therethrough and slots extending from the bore, and said saddle has connected thereto a plate carrying a stud of appropriate dimensions to pass through said frame bore, said stud having projecting means which pass through said slots in one position and which engage the frame to hold it to the saddle in another position.

6. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein each panel has a roll-type thickened padding at its front edge.

7. The combination as defined in claim 1 wherein each panel has a roll-type thickened padding at its rear edge.


1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to riding saddles, and more particularly to a lightweight riding saddle having a girth which can easily be adjusted from the saddle.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Girth straps which are secured to one side of a saddle, and passed beneath the body of the horse and are connected to the other side of the saddle to fasten the saddle securely to the back of the horse pose difficult problems for the saddle designer, particularly in the design of lightweight saddles.

Horses often do not permit the girth strap to be tightened when a saddle is first placed on their back and may keep their chest expanded for a relatively long period of time. Since a loose saddle provides an unsteady seat, the strap must be retightened when the animal relaxes. Whenever possible, girth buckles are arranged at the side of the saddle so they can be tightened by a rider mounted on the horse. However, such buckles must be padded so they will not irritate either horse or rider. Provision of adequate padding is not difficult in the case of conventional saddles but these may make the saddle undesirably heavy.

When lightweight saddles are constructed, saddle padding, skirts and panels are made smaller or eliminated. Consequently, with some lightweight saddles such as racing saddles the girth buckles may be placed beneath the horse. This makes it impossible for a rider to tighten the girth strap. Consequently, the strap must be tightened by some other person, or by a dismounted rider. This makes it difficult to take advantage of opportunities when the horse is relaxed to tighten the girth strap.

Other lightweight saddles provide side girth buckles but have small panels and skirts. These have a disadvantage in that their life span may be shorter than that of conventional riding saddles of heavier construction since the construction material is used so sparingly. The lifespan is particularly shortened when the lightweight saddles are used by heavy riders, who often prefer a light saddle so that the total load carried by the horse will be equivalent to that of a light rider sing a heavy saddle.

With both heavy and light saddles of conventional construction it is usual to attach the girth straps to leather tabs which are secured to the center of the front half of the saddle on each side. The girth straps then pass transversely beneath the horse. The actual connection of the straps to the saddle is often made to leather tabs secured to the bars of the saddle tree. The saddle tree is a skeleton structure positioned within the saddle and is formed of two longitudinal bars which in use are positioned on opposite sides of the horse's backbone. The ends of the bars are joined by curved plates. With this type of girth arrangement, securing the saddle against longitudinal displacement is difficult. This is because the base of the saddle portion to which the girth portion is attached is relatively short.

All known girth arrangements have a disadvantage in that the front edge of the girth may come to lie so far forward that the skin of the horse may be irritated. As a result, galls and sores may develop behind the elbows of the horse. With horses, the elbow is the joint between the trunk and the forelegs since the upper arm bone is enclosed within the trunk. The elbow moves back and forth as the horse trots, gallops, jumps, etc. Hence it may be seen how a tight girth strap may interfere with the movement, or how the skin of the chest regions behind the elbows may be irritated as it rubs against the strap.


It is an object of the present invention to provide a lightweight saddle whose girth may be quickly, easily and simply adjusted by a mounted rider.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a girth strap arrangement which assures a good and secure position of the saddle against longitudinal displacement and which minimizes the occurrence of galls and sores on the body of the horse.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a lightweight saddle which will have a long life span even when continuously subjected to the stress imposed by heavy riders.

It is a still further object of the invention to provide a saddle which surpasses saddles of comparable weight in its ability to provide a good seat for the rider in the saddle.

Briefly stated, these and other objects of the invention are achieved by providing a lightweight riding saddle which corresponds in its construction generally to that of conventional English saddles, except that two independent saddle girths are provided each of which has one end attached to the front of the saddle on one side and its other end attached to the other side of the saddle approximately in its center or somewhat behind its center. The saddle girths pass diagonally beneath the horse and cross at a point below the horse. With such a construction, the girths engage the saddle tree at points which are relatively distant from each other in a longitudinal direction and thus provide a wider base for the engagement of force. The saddle skirts are so small that they just dover the girth buckles, and the saddle panel consists of a padding disposed in a leather cover provided at its front end with a roll-type reinforcement. Such a construction of the saddle makes possible easy tightening and adjustment in its correct position on the back of the horse. The elbows of the horse are free and unhampered in their movement and the girths can easily and effortlessly be tightened from the saddle.


FIG. 1 is a side view of a lightweight riding saddle according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a girth buckle used with the saddle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal section taken on the line 3--3 of FIG. 2.


Referring to FIG. 1, it will be seen that the lightweight riding saddle corresponds in its external shape and in its general construction to the conventional riding saddle of the type called and "English Saddle." The saddle is built about a saddle tree 11 of conventional construction which includes two longitudinal bars 12, one of which will be positioned on each side of the horse's backbone. The front ends of bars 12 are connected by a pommel plate 13 having a downward extension 15. A girth buckle 16 similar to those used in seat belts is attached to downward extension 15 on each side and the front end 17 of a girth strap 21 or 22 is secured to the buckle. The back girth ends 18 of each girth are connected to back girth buckles 19 of similar construction. Buckles 19 are fastened to the saddle tree 11 by means of an intermediate member 20 which is secured to approximately the center of each of the two bars 12.

The two girths 21 and 22 each pass diagonally beneath the animal from a front girth buckle 16 on one side to a rear girth buckle 19 on the other side, and the girths cross each other underneath the animal.

At the crossover point of the two girths a padded leather or felt pad (not shown) may be arranged which is in contact with the belly of the horse and which is provided with loops for passage of the girths. This pad may also bear a leather loop eyelet for fastening the lower end of a martingale which is passed from the girth to the bridle through the forelegs in order to steady the horse's head.

Generally flat saddle skirts 23 are secured to each side of the saddle and extend downwardly for a short distance just sufficient to cover the girth buckles 16 and 19. These saddle skirts are substantially smaller than those generally employed.

Saddle panels 24 are also secured to each side of the saddle and depend therefrom. These panels are located below the girth buckles 16 and 19. These panels are formed of padding within a leather cover. The front edge of the panel has an arcuate shape. Within this front arcuate edge a thickened padding in the form of roll 25 is disposed by appropriate shaping and construction of the padding. Rod 25 extends backward to the forward edge of the region occupied by the front girth ends 17. Behind roll 25 an upper opening 26a and lower opening 26b, located near the bottom edge of the panel, are provided in the panel cover so that the front girth ends 17 may be passed therethrough. A casing may be formed by stitching seams 52 and 54 to a rear panel member to form a casing of appropriate width for passage of part of the front end of the girth strap therethrough. As is clearly shown in FIG. 1, the casing is generally vertical. A rear roll-type reinforcement or thickened padding 56 is secured within the panel cover by a seam 58 which is generally parallel to the rear edge 60 of the panel. In use, the rear end 18 of the girth strap occupies a position on top of the panel cover, i.e., it overlies the panel, and thus press the panel firmly against the body of the horse. In addition to the support provided for the legs, the front roll 25 and the rear roll 56 assist in positioning the girths.

If desired, the two front girth buckels 16 may be omitted and the front girth ends permanently secured to the saddle tree 11, with rivets or threaded fasteners. In that case it is not necessary to pass the front girth ends 17 to the upper side of the panel through the opening 26a.

By providing front and rear girth buckles on each side of the saddle, it becomes possible to tighten both girths by tightening the girth buckles on a single side of the saddle, and furthermore the buckles on either side of the saddle may be used as preferred by the rider.

The girth buckles 16 and 19 are of the type used for tightening seat belts in automobiles and airplanes and the like. The buckles are mounted on the respective strap end 17 or 18 and may be attached to connecting members on the saddle. The belts may be tightened by pulling on the free end 17' or 18' of the girth strap, and the strap will be clamped at any desired position along its length.

A particularly advantageous buckle structure for performing these functions is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

The girth buckles 16 and 19 are provided with a frame 31 having a central bore 32 in its upper end. Slots 33 extend horizontally from each side of the central bore. Frame 31 may be easily attached or removed to a flat plate 36 which is connected with the saddle. Plate 36 carries a stud 34 having a toggle pin 35 secured within an opening passing through the stud at an angle to the horizontal. Stud 34 has an appropriate diameter and the toggle pin 35 has an appropriate length so that central bore 32 and its slots 33 may be fitted over it by rotating the frame 31 to an appropriate position to align the slots 33 with the pin 35, after which the frame 31 is rotated back to the horizontal. The toggle pin 35 then holds the frame to the saddle until it is again rotated to align the toggle pin and the slots.

If desired, frame 31 may be permanently mounted to plate 36 by omitting the slots 33, and making stud 34 with an enlarged head. In that case, the girth buckle could be used for tightening the strap but not for removing it.

Frame 31 is of channel shape and has flanges 31a extending outwardly on each side. A guide roller 37 extends between flanges 31a and is rotatably mounted on an axle 38 which is secured in openings in the flanges. Guide roller 37 is located just below the bore 32. The portion of the base of the frame 31 between the flanges 31a directly beneath the roller 37 is removed to form a slot 61 through which the girth strap ends 17 or 18 may be passed.

The base portion 39 of the channel-shaped frame 31 which is below slot 61 serves as a pressure plate. An axle 40 is mounted in the flanges 31a extending above pressure plate 39 and a clamping device 41 is pivotally mounted around it. Clamping device 41 includes a clamp bar 42 having an eccentric portion 43 extending toward pressure plate 39 and a lifting lever portion 44 which extends away from eccentric 43 toward the rear of frame 31 and then in a direction generally parallel to the pressure plate 39.

A portion 62 in the center of lever portion 44 is cut out from the lever portion 44 on three sides and bent slightly inwardly to form a slot within which the central portion 63 of a wire spring 45 is fitted. The sides 64 of spring 45 are coiled about axle 40 and the free ends 65 are bent so as to project through slots 66 at the rear ends of flanges 31a. Spring 45 is so tensioned that it always presses the eccentric portion 43 against the pressure plate 39.

In use, the free end 17' or 18' of a girth strap is passed through slot 61 about guide roller 37 and then between the eccentric portion 43 and the pressure plate 39. Thereafter pulling on the free end 17' or 18' of the girth strap loosens the eccentric portion 43 so that the strap can be relatively easily tightened but a pull on the strap in the opposite direction tightens the eccentric so that the strap is tightly clamped in any position in which it is fitted and can only be loosened by lifting lever 44 so as to disengage the eccentric portion 43 from the girth strap and the pressure plate 39. It may be seen, accordingly, that the girth straps 21 or 22 are infinitely variable; that is, they may be clamped at any desired position.

It will be understood that the above description of the present invention is susceptible to various modifications, changes and adaptations.