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 highs- 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.
Heat and moisture can cause leather to crack or stretch and can fade or weaken synthetic materials over time. Buying the right one is very important because there are many types of saddles that are designed for specific things.
In this guide, we will answer some questions that people often ask when purchasing a horse saddle. There have been some comments made about a distressed appearance that has the occasional blemish, but this does not affect the overall quality of the saddle.
Made from quality Buffalo harness leather Free tack set Or Fiber Tree Fully hand carved It can be used for most traditional uses, but it does have a lower pommel and slightly forward flaps that are designed for rides that want to jump.
It is designed for horse barrel racing, and it is accented with stainless steel fittings. It has a nylon reinforcement on the leather stirrups that help provide extra safety, while riding, and this saddle has made several bestseller lists, like Sports & Outdoors and Equestrian Saddles.
Although this saddle has an attractive floral design that is meant to draw attention in a racing competition ring, it is also suitable for trail riding. It is designed to be lightweight, which gives the horse more freedom when running and competing, and it comes with a matching headstall breast collar.
It can be purchased in seven colors: green, blue, brown, red, pink, black, and purple. Some customers have found that the stirrups are placed in an awkward position, but if you are looking for a beginner saddle, this might be the best choice for your needs.
Not enough holes preached in the Latino straps Awkward stirrup positioning The color is that of antique oil, which gives it a rustic and natural look, and it comes with a breast collar, headstall, and reins.
The floral design is hand carved with basket weaved tooling, and it has been named in a few bestseller lists, like Equestrian Saddles and Sports & Outdoors. The underside of the saddle is padded with a soft fleece that helps to make sure that it is comfortable against the horse.
SADDLE MEASUREMENTS Stirrup length: 28-35" Gullet: 6.5" She Swell: 12" Weight: Approximately 28-30 pounds You want to look for some sort of guarantee or backing of the saddle by the manufacturer to ensure that you are covered if you receive the item and something is not to your liking.
Most quality saddles are made out of some sort of leather, fiberglass, and fleece. So, if you receive a saddle and something looks a little different in coloring than in the picture, this does not mean that the leather used was defective in any way.
It is important that you ensure the undercarriage of the saddle has a soft material, like fleece, that is designed for the comfort of the horse. For anyone that has ever ridden a horse, they can tell you that if you ride for long periods of time it can be uncomfortable.
You need to ensure that the saddle you purchase will do its job, but will also provide comfort to your horse's back. Ensure that the saddle has a good reputation for being comfortable for both the rider and the horse.
Not only is this saddle beautiful, it is lightweight, and it provides a comfortable ride for both the rider and the horse. It is made out of quality buffalo harness leather, and it comes with a free tack, as an extra bonus.
The saddles are designed with flaps that will help with jumping, hunts, and dressage. This is also a common saddle you'll find at a riding school since they can accommodate riders of different sizes easily.
Jumping to saddle : This type of saddle has a flatter seat that will push the person riding the horse forward to help them maintain the ideal position for jumping over a fence on their horse. The design features a deep, U-shaped seat that can help the rider maintain his or her balance.
They have a horn at the front to help with balancing and are designed to be more comfortable to ride for extended periods of time. There should be space for you to stick two fingers between the horse's withers and the saddle gullet to ensure a proper fit that is not too tight.
If your saddle isn't the right size, it could pose a safety risk or make you uncomfortable as you ride. If you slide around and the saddle makes you feel unsafe, it is probably a sign that it is too big.
Another indication that your saddle isn't the right size for you can be your legs hanging off the front of the flaps. You want to feel like you are sitting in a secure and natural position when you're riding.
Finally, if you end the day with back or body aches after riding, it can be a sign that your saddle isn't a good fit for you. You may be adjusting your riding position to make the saddle 'fit' and contorting your body in such a way that it is leaving you in pain.
Whereas a saddle helps filter out some of your movements and jolts, this buffer won't be there. Some horses won't like the feeling of giving you a ride without a saddle and may be resistant, or even buck you off.
You need to research some things yourself to make sure that it is the best fit for you and your horse, prior to purchasing it. Your friend might have one saddle that is perfect for them, but it might be the worst purchase of your life, based on your riding needs.
Always keep this in mind and remember to make an informed purchasing decision based on your needs and wants and not of someone else.