narrow twist, anyone know


Well-Known Member
21 July 2005
Malton, N yorkshire
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The twist of the saddle, viewed from above, is the narrowest portion of the seat, located just behind the pommel. Saddles can be broadly categorized into narrow twist and broad twist, with great variation possible within each category. The general type of twist you need depends upon the conformation of your pelvis and the way the femur is attached to it as well as the shape of the inner thigh muscle.

Let's begin by separating the boys from the girls. Figure 3 illustrates the basic skeletal differences between men and women with regard to the shape of the pelvis. As you can see, women's seat bones tend to be further apart than those of men. This can cause a problem if the twist of the saddle is too narrow. In such a case, the seat bones are not correctly positioned on top of the saddle but fit down around the saddle - a very uncomfortable position! However this is a very rare situation since the seatbones do not sit on the saddle close to the pommel, but considerably further back, where the saddle begins to broaden. In fact, the crotch pain that many riders, especially women, experience rarely has anything to do with the width between the seatbones. Instead it has everything to do with the positioning of the femur in relation to the pelvis and the shape of the muscle of the inner thigh. Female

Figure 3
Left: Female
Right: Male

The shafts of the two femurs are separated by the diameter of the pelvis and the shafts slope downward and inward to bring the knee joints near the line of gravity of the body. Owing to the female pelvis' being shallower and wider than that of men, this inward slope tends to be greater in women (left illustration) than it is in men (right illustration) though there is considerable variation between individuals. The more knock-kneed an individual is the more the inner thigh muscle tends to be relatively round. The more nearly perpendicular the shafts of the pelvis hang, the flatter the inner thigh muscle (the reason that most men have much flatter inner thigh muscles than women and thus much less difficulty getting the thigh to lie flat against the saddle).

What has all this to do with crotch pain, you ask?

When the rider sits correctly in the saddle he (or she) will be supported by his seatbones, the pubic crest (crotch) and the muscles of the inner thigh. The two generalized saddle shapes are illustrated in Figure 5. The left illustration corresponds to a broad twist saddle and the right to one with a narrow twist. The narrower the twist, the more the saddle tends to be concave on either side of the pommel. The concavity of narrow twist saddle very nicely accommodates the greater mass of a rounded thigh muscle and allows the rider to receive the proper amount of support from the thigh. A flat thigh muscle would not provide the rider of saddle Figure 5-right with any measurable amount of support until several inches down from either side of the pommel. This would result in such a rider bearing too much weight on the pubic crest and would result in much discomfort. The broader twist illustrated in Figure 5-left would support the flat inner thigh very nicely and would correctly and comfortably distribute the rider's weight.

Figure 5
Left = wide twist
Right = narrow twist

While men tend to have the flatter inner thigh muscles associated with the need for a broader twist, because of the narrower pelvis, there is usually less distance between the shafts of the femur and thus few men will be comfortable riding a really broad twist saddle but will tend to prefer something with a more moderate twist.



Well-Known Member
27 October 2005
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ummm, thanks. I couldn`t get it up on the web site. But thank you Pixie. I was asking because I had a Jessica dressage saddle for a week and while riding in it, my inner thighs and crotch were hurting and aching as if my legs were too wide. I just wondered if a narrow twist would help. If it were that the narrow twist meant a narrower seat! If you know what I mean. Anyone else found this in any saddle or is a dressage saddle meant to feel like this? I am asking as i still want a dressage saddle and the albion fitted too, so I am after a med albion, but I don`t want to be in pain when I ride. Is it just the jessica that is probably too wide for me?