Knee Rolls & Thigh Rolls
As extra padding for a rider’s leg, knee rolls and thigh rolls offer comfort and support while making it easier to maintain the correct riding position. Not every English saddle includes these rolls, so it’s something you need to explore before deciding on a particular saddle.
Rolls come in a variety of shapes and sizes designed for specific riding disciplines, giving you a wealth of customization options.
Knee rolls add padding to the underside of the front of the saddle flap, where the rider’s knee naturally rests. Some are permanent rolls built into the saddle, but others are detachable through the use of Velcro. They may be thick or thin, and the very thinnest ones have earned their designation as pencil rolls. Padding may be soft foam or hard foam encased in leather, and some knee rolls are made with rough-out leather or suede to provide a better grip.
That grip is important, because one of the knee roll’s purposes is to encourage the proper riding posture for the particular activity. Padding in the wrong place or the lack of padding where it’s needed can cause even experienced riders to fall into awkward or uncomfortable positions. For novices, the appropriate knee rolls can be an important training tool.
Certain riding traditions favor recognizable types of knee rolls. Dressage saddles generally have long knee rolls, and jumping or all-purpose saddles usually have a more pronounced, forward-positioned knee roll.
Thigh rolls give a boost to the back of the saddle flap by providing padding in the area where the rider’s thigh rests. The roll helps to secure the lower leg in its proper place, but not every rider will appreciate this stabilizing effect. For those using stock saddles and jumping saddles, the thigh roll’s tendency to restrict lower leg movements may be welcome, but in other contexts it may be annoying or uncomfortable.
Because of these individual considerations, it’s a good idea to ride in a number of saddles with various types of rolls to determine what works best for you.
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