For me, I love riding English because western kills my knees, but long rides in an English saddle kills my lower back. The saddles I have researched are Down under Long reach Endurance, Kimberly Lite Rider and the Syd Hill endurance for the high-end saddles.
Should I settle for the mid-range $500-$900 range or save up and wait for a high-end saddle ? One of my friends has an Australian Stock Saddle Company Muster Master and LOVES it.
Colin offered to sell me a saddle from their “scratch and dent” room on payments AND fit it to my gelding. It's hornless and uses a dressage style girth (no over girth).
The Aussie is definitely more secure than the English and not as heavy as a western. I'm pretty sure I'll get a second one at some point and in the meantime, I toss back and forth leather vs synthetic for that one (today, synthetic is winning).
It has some issues that are easily fixable (didn't have stirrups and was converted to western rigging), but it's the most comfortable thing I've ever sat in. I have come across the Australian Connection in my search and I plan to do the fitting.
The Australian endurance saddle I am borrowing is a 16" seat and my thigh is NOT the 1/4-1 inch distance from the knee roll that they suggest. Now that I've gained weight, I don't have that gap between my thigh and the pole.
When I called Colin, I told him that I wasn't sure what size seat I needed. I honestly have never measured my saddle to see what size seat it has.
Winter Pro Stock Junior Air Saddle Starting at: $600.00 Australian endurance saddles appeal to riders for trail riding or racing because of their close contact feel.
We carry top Australian saddle brand names like Winter, Tough-1, or Australian Outrider. Australian endurance saddles appeal to riders for trail riding or racing because of their close contact feel.
We carry top Australian saddle brand names like Winter, Tough-1, or Australian Outrider. You’ll also want to consider key features like gender suitability, tree type, weight, and materials.
Your personal preferences, budget, and riding style will all play a role in your choice of saddle. Our buying guide outlines the key factors that set different saddles apart.
Don’t forget to check out our top picks for the best horse saddles when you’re ready to buy. That said, if you are a competitive rider or want to highly specialized, you may decide to purchase more than one saddle to best meet your needs.
Western: Western saddles are working saddles meant to provide maximum comfort for horse and rider with maximum utility (lots of places to hang ropes and carry supplies). The seat of a Western saddle is deeper, for more stability at higher speeds.
They’re commonly used for dressage and evening since it’s easier for the rider to feel the horse’s movements underneath the saddle. English saddles keep the rider more upright, with the legs very close to the horse for subtle cues.
The gullet is the tunnel that runs the length of the saddle and sits atop the highest part of the horse’s back. Gullet width is a crucially important factor in determining how well a saddle fits a horse.
If the gullet is too narrow, it can pinch and dig into the muscles on either side of the horse’s spine. Both scenarios are uncomfortable for the horse and can lead to training problems and even health issues over time.
If you aren’t sure which gullet size your horse needs or whether your steed’s back is considered narrow, in between, or wide, consult a trainer for guidance. Tree size determines how snugly the sides of the saddle sit against a horse’s flanks.
The tree width is determined by the amount of space between the two sides of the saddle at the bottom of the three points. Keep in mind that size isn’t particularly straightforward, since the depth, slope, and fork width all influence how secure and comfortable a particular saddle will feel.
If properly cared for, leather lasts a long time, is extremely durable, and looks great. You’ll now find a number of high-end synthetic saddles that are lightweight, easy to maintain and clean, and built to last.
If you opt for a treeless saddle, be sure you’re choosing a properly engineered option that will distribute weight without pressing on the horse’s spine. Saddle weight can make a difference in how much wear a horse’s joints sustain, particularly during long rides.
Take lessons from a horse trainer or stable and ask to try out different saddle types to learn which one feels most natural and comfortable. These entry-level saddles are typically constructed from synthetic materials, but you’ll find some leather options.
The majority of budget saddles are English (since their simpler and require fewer materials), but you’ll find a few Western and all-purpose options as well. A saddle that seems like a steal but doesn’t last very long isn’t a good investment.
Inexpensive saddles tend to have limited gullet sizes and fixed trees, so if you have a hard-to-fit horse you may need to tier up. From $300 to $500, you’ll find English, Western, and all-purpose saddles with higher-quality craftsmanship, more options for customization and fit, and better durability.
In this price tier, you can find a number of high-quality smaller saddles meant for youth riders. The majority of riders looking for a basic, quality saddle should be able to find a solid option in this price range.
For upward of $500, you can expect the highest quality craftsmanship, a wide variety of seat and gullet sizes, excellent craftsmanship in ornamentation and metal buckles, and saddles crafted specifically for different disciplines like jumping or barrel racing. Pricey saddles put the comfort of both horse and rider at a premium and commonly offer styles suited specifically for men and women.
If you specialize in high-level equestrian sports, it’s worth it to pay more for a saddle that’s made just for your discipline. A properly fitted saddle shouldn’t tip forward or backward when you tighten the girth.
The horn of a Western saddle isn’t meant to be a handle for riders. If you can maintain your center of balance well without pitching forward or sliding around, it’s a positive sign you have a proper fit.