The anatomica philosophy:

freedom of movement + optimal weight distribution = relaxation and better performance

The idea behind the Anatomica dressage saddle concept is simple: a relaxed horse will enjoy riding more, resulting in better performance. Relaxation can only be achieved by relieving the horse as much as possible.

The way to achieve this is a bit more complicated. A horse can only relax when it can move without enduring any kind of pain. With this relaxation, your horse can move more freely, creating gaits with so called ‘schwung’.

In order to make pain-free movement possible, it is necessary to study the anatomy of the horse and to look into technological development in dressage saddle making.

When we take a closer look at the muscles involved in the movement of the horse, we see that the following muscles are very important:

The trapezius muscle attaches the neck (cervical) and the mid back vertebrae (thoracic) to the shoulder blade (scapula). The trapezius muscle enables the horse to move its shoulder forward and to raise its leg.



Due to the open-cut tree in the Anatomica saddles, the trapezius muscle has enough room to move freely. The shoulder blade can easily rotate under this tree. This shape also ensures that the neck muscles are kept free of pressure, enabling the horse to bend more easily.

The iliocostalis muscle is the muscle that goes from the 4th cervical vertebra to the 15th rib. This muscle fixates the loins and ribs, and enables the lateral movements of the spine. Due to the open-cut tree in the Anatomica saddles, this muscle can function freely.

Anatomica offers a range of different panels for the Anatomica saddles, suitable for differnt types of horses. The saddle pictures on the left side in the picture above is a saddle with relatively short saddle panels. These panels are very suitable for horses with a weaker of shorter back. The saddle pictured in the middle shows the saddle panels of a mono-flap saddle. These saddles only have one saddleflap, ensuring optimal contact between horse and rider. These panels are a bit wider than those of saddles with a double saddleflap. The saddle picured on the right side of the picture above shows a saddle with a double saddleflap. These saddle panels are very suitable for horses with a lot of muscle on the back and flank. This makes these panels very suitable for stallions too.

These different options in saddle panels allow Anatomica to produce a perfect saddle for any horse. These saddles are designed to make sure that the horse’s back is always relieved of presure as much as possible.


The broad back muscle (latissimus dorsi) is connected to the upper leg from the back. This muscle causes bending of the shoulder joint, causing the leg to move back. Because the flank panels in Anatomica saddles are extra wide, this muscle can be completely relieved from pressure. Because the front girth tab goes through the panel, the horse’s front leg can move more freely, which allows for a bigger and wider movement.


The muscle that lies on either side of the spine is called the long back muscle (longissimus). This muscle is not built to carry weight, but to enable movement in the back of the horse. This muscle connects the forehand with the hindquarters. It fixates and extends the spine. This allows the upper body and neck to bend and move freely.

When this muscle is bothered, the horse is limited strongly in its movement. This will result in a more hollow back and more trouble for the hind legs to move under the horse’s body. Decontraction and balance will be very difficult for the horse when this muscle cannot properly move and work. The hollow back may also result in back problems, or worsen pre existing back problems.


Due to the large panel surface, the trapezius muscle and the broad and long back muscles are relieved more, and the pressure per square centimetre is lower. This enables the horse to bring its hind legs more under the horse’s body. This allows for the back muscles to become stronger, which will result in better performances. In addition, this makes longitudinal flexure easier.


A horse’s cutaneous muscle (musculus cutaneus trunci) can be 1 to 4 centimetres thick in some areas of the body (depending on breed and inheritance). This muscle can get irritated by a panel that is not filled smoothly and evenly.


The wide panel channel provides the spinal cord and neck muscles with optimal freedom of movement. For most horses, this channel is four fingers wide, but this may vary according to breed and inheritance.


By using three fastening points for the girth tabs, a perfectly stable saddle position is obtained. The front tab ensures that the front of the saddle is securely kept in place. The second tab is attached to a V-system. This V-system tightens the girth in two places, while only using one girth tab. These three fastening points distribute the pressure over the horse’s back and give the saddle a more stable position. As a result, all of the muscles mentioned above are loaded in an even way that benefits muscle function.

The girth tabs can be attached to the Anatomica saddle in two ways. The first way (A) ensures that the saddle is secure and stable on the horse’s back. The second way (B) enables the horse to move its shoulder more freely. Your saddler will make sure that your girth and girth tabs are properly attached.