Made from luxuriously soft calfskin leather, the saddle gives the rider an instant feeling of comfort, safety and close contact with the horse and is the ideal option for those riders who are looking for a saddle that fits the bill both for dressage and jumping. The super soft knee roll provides support but also allows for a relaxed, free but efficient leg position.
The K2 GP is a high quality, super comfortable all-round saddle, that is suitable for jumping, pleasure riding and showing. This Leather saddle is suitable for a variety of disciplines including hacking, flatworm and some jumping.
The saddle features the Cairo Cushion System for maximum comfort and weight distribution. The saddle offers a cut back head and tree shape that suits a horse with medium withers.
An open and comfortable seat allows the rider to accurately adopt a range of positions. The very comfortable and balanced seat has a generous flap, which supports the rider jumping or on the flat.
This saddle has an open head and front gusset in the panel, making it suitable for a horse with an average height wither. This saddle is manufactured in Wassail in luxury full grain English leather.
The saddle is built on a traditional laminate wooden tree with wool flocked, lined panels. Features include a padded seat for added comfort, stylish flap design, extra soft knee pads and large Velcro mounted knee and thigh blocks.
The saddle has a short military birthing system, a deep seat with a round castle, Velcro knee blocks, a Y shaped tree with lateral flexion for freedom of movement and a double stirrup bar with two stirrup positions. Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.
An important first step is to understand how barrel racing saddles actually assist and protect both horse and rider. Your saddle should enhance your position, and your horse’s ability, to reach and pull through tight turns and flat runs.
Some roots of barrel racing can be traced to women looking for an entertaining challenge to enjoy following men’s roping, ranch and rodeo events. What historically began as a simple pastime has evolved today into a highly specialized contest, offering multiple skill levels for both horses and riders with some serious prize money and awards.
As barrel racers’ needs changed over time, a certain type of saddle was developed to address particular issues and enhance their performance. Today’s barrel racers and their equine partners make use of some distinct features built into the saddle that enhance performance and showcase their skills.
Whether you compete in barrels or other gaming classes as a professional, amateur or beginner, you no doubt know that every second counts! Subtle saddle changes can make a substantial difference in how you and your horse work in concert with each other as you run the pattern against the clock.
In order to “lighten the load” many manufacturers of barrel racing saddles use a fiberglass and wood tree. It must be strong enough to absorb the shock from sudden stops, turns, and accelerations while at the same time being flexible enough to not interfere with the horse and rider executing the fast movements that most gaming patterns require.
In these seconds the horse has to push outwards which results in an inwardly directed force at the ground and concurrent acceleration. The thinning of the leathers allows for greater free movement or “swing” of the rider’s legs.
In addition to the better feel, the rough-out design typically offers a single piece of leather which translates into no seams at the jockeys. Some riders opt for a hybrid of the previous two options which consists of a padded suede seat in combination with rough-out jockeys and fenders.
This arrangement makes the horn easy to grasp during acceleration on straight lines, or to push into during a turn or sudden stop. Some barrel racers also use this high-rise horn to facilitate locking their arm into their hip during sharp turns for added stability.
This configuration enables a rider to lock their thighs into the front of the saddle for additional position security. Check out this video from 3-Time World Champion Barrel Racer Sherry Cervix, explaining the use of shims and proper saddle placement.
To have the right equipment for the job, the purchase of a new or used barrel saddle and tack is largely a matter of personal choice. They feel that the smaller size facilitates them in keeping their balance and position in the saddle in relation to the sudden movements of their horse when they execute that money turn or gaming pattern.
Just remember, even if a smaller sized seat might be your choice, still allow for some “wiggle room” while riding. Also keep in mind if you use certain materials for aesthetics, for example different colored leathers, you might have to reach deeper into your pocket for additional costs.
No matter what brands of barrel racing saddles you try out, you’ll also have additional choices to make such as: type of rigging, the style and size of the stirrups, the composition and size of the tree, and the type of seat coverings you require. 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.