We can all agree that horses are among the most majestic creatures on earth (Second to unicorns). For this reason, they should be treated delicately. Part of this caring and delicate treatment consists of getting your horse the right gear which includes a fitting saddle.

Being a horse owner, you are aware that horses come in different shapes so obviously, one saddle size doesn’t fit all. So, the big question is, how do you get the right saddle for your horse? We understand that shopping for trail saddles can be very exciting and at the same time very derailing because of how critical it is. You have to get one that not only suits your horse but also your needs as a rider.

TOP
  • Wintec Full Quarter
  • Price: See Here
  • It is very comfortable
  • The material used to make it is genuine Dura-Leather
  • You get a 3-year warranty on purchase
BEST VALUE
  • King Series Synthetic
  • Price: See Here
  • The saddle is scratch-resistant
  • The suede increases grip and pommel boosts lumbar support
  • It is quite light hence convenient
  • Black Inlay Hand Carved
  • Price: See Here
  • It is made of weatherproof cowhide leather hence quite durable and easy to maintain
  • It is decorated with floral patterns and studs all along its edges
  • It is easily adjustable to fit different horses and riders as well

This guide will tackle every little detail on horse saddles especially on how to choose one that suits you. We put important factors like construction, design and the quality of material in the spotlight and tell you what’s important and what’s not.

Also, you are aware that most saddles come with some extra accessories. We will be giving these accessories a look in the attempt to find those that will make your ride much more worthwhile. Buying a horse saddle is as important as buying a horse. You just have to get it right the first time. If you agree, I suggest you saddle up as I am about to help you get the right saddle today.

TOP 5 HORSE SADDLES

WINTEC FULL QUARTER WESTERN SADDLE

FEATURES

Riding horses is always a fun experience. You can ride these amazing animals for fun or sport. Whichever purpose you choose, you require a reliable saddle to help you stay on the horse and make your ride more comfortable. The Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle is an ideal choice to pick. It is made of pure leather ensuring that it is durable and does not wear or tear during any vigorous riding activities.

It is also fully weatherproof. This means that you can ride in the sun, rain or snow without it getting soaked or damaged. This is paired with an equisuede surface on the saddle seat that provides you with superior comfort and good grip as you ride.

The Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle is made with a Cheyenne roll. This is designed in a square skirt form and features double fenders. The buckles on this saddle are designed such that you can change them up easily and quickly. To ensure longevity, its fenders have equileather layers. They are able to withstand hard riding and can last for

 This saddle has full quarter bars designed for long rides on outdoor trails. They are great for maximizing comfort. To top it off, the seat is made of microfiber suede leather infused with polyurethane. Thus, you can ride on it all day long without feeling any discomfort whatsoever.

One of the outstanding features of the Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle is that it is easy to clean and maintain. You only need to use some water and soap to clean off dust, sweat or dirt. The surface of this saddle is made of Dura-Leather. This is a synthetic type of leather that is resistant to scratches and fully waterproof. Hence, it is easy to clean this saddle in between rides. You also do not need to oil or wax it at all.

CONS

The stirrups on this saddle are 16 inches long. Some users prefer them longer and there are no holes to get them long enough. Hence you have to punch them out yourself. This can be inconvenient for the rider.

The Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle can be too long for some horses. The minimum length of 14 inches may be too big for some smaller horses.

PROS

The panels on this saddle are lined with fleece. This is a soft material which ensures the saddle does not chafe your horse. Moreover, it provides a cushion that gives you comfort as you ride.

The Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle is beautifully decorated too. It has silver conchas on its panels and there are intricate patterns on its seat as well.

It is a lightweight saddle that is ideal for your horse and easy to maintain.

The saddle is available in sizes 14 to 17. Moreover, you can get it in black or brown colors. The stirrups have a measurement of 2″ x 7″ and it has a horn height of 3 inches. It can fit on any horse despite its size thanks to its 7 unique adjustment settings.

The weight of the Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle is between 18 to 21 pounds depending on its size. This is a pretty light weight for a saddle making it easy to carry.  

Quality and comfort are maximized in the design of this saddle. For example, it uses a fender system known as the EZ-Fold which allows you to setup the saddle on your horse quickly and efficiently. It also allows you to unstrap it with ease too.

If you are searching for a reliable saddle that can handle daily use, the Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle is a great choice. Its seat is made of genuine, microfiber suede leather. Moreover, its panels are lined with fleece. This adds some cushioning to them and boosts comfort during use. The saddle is available in black or brown colors. Therefore, you can pick an ideal one for your horse. Easy to clean and easy to set up, the Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle is a good saddle for beginner and professional riders as well.

Melissa

Editor, MyCuddlyBuddy

KING SERIES SYNTHETIC TRAIL SADDLE

FEATURES

One of the most comfortable saddles which you can get today is the King Series Synthetic Trail Saddle. It is made of soft suede and padded throughout. This makes it soft and pliable for you. The padding extends from its pommel to the horn. Moreover, it has skirts made of neoprene and stirrups that are sewn. Not only does this make it attractive, it ensures that the saddle will last for a long time.

A saddle should be easy to set up and use. As such, this one is designed such that its fenders, jockey, buckles and skirts are easy to change quickly. Moreover, its tree is covered in rawhide and the saddle has full quarter bars.

Just as you can pick your favorite color of helmet or boots, you can also choose a personal favorite King Series Synthetic Trail Saddle. It is available in various colors such as black, brown, pink and sky-blue. The saddle is also available in a variety of sizes.

While riding your horse at a trotting or galloping speed, you definitely experience some shock as the horse runs. Thankfully, the King Series Synthetic Trail Saddle can keep you comfortable at this high speed. It is made to absorb all the shock as you ride. The padding makes the saddle soft but firm. As such, you can be sure of a comfortable experience as you ride at high speeds. Stays safely secured shut during transport thanks to a safety release latch.

CONS

The seat surface can result in soreness after prolonged use. This results in an uncomfortable ride. The saddle also has quite a wide girth. As such, it may not fit on all horses.

Sometimes, this saddle arrives with some dents or scratches after purchase. These could have been sustained during shipping. Thus, the packaging needs improvement.

PROS

Weighing only 23 pounds this saddle is light enough to give you an easy time when you setting up. Moreover, it will not weigh down your horse giving an overall smooth ride.

The skirt and fenders on this horse are completely scratch-resistant and the stirrups reduce the stress on your joints. To make it appealing and stylish, this saddle has some silver Conchos.

The saddle is designed for long hours of riding. Its pommel provides extra lumbar support. Moreover, its suede surface improves the grip of your riding pants on the saddle. This gives you confidence and ensures that you cannot slip off. The buckles can be changed quite quickly as well.

When you buy this saddle, you get everything that is required for easy setup and use. Its package contains the saddle and a tie strap. In addition to these, you get a string girth and an off billet.

 The saddle is easy to clean. This is because the suede leather only requires gentle wiping to get rid of dirt, debris, and dust. With some water, soap and a cloth, you can clean up effectively.

The King Series Synthetic Saddle is ideal for riding. It can fit on medium to large horses quite comfortably. Moreover, its surface promotes grip as you ride. This ensures you stay on your horse no matter how rough the ride might get. The saddle is available in various colors giving you variation. It has a padded layer throughout its entire surface to keep you comfortable and weighs only 23 pounds. If you are lucky to get it delivered without dents and scratches, then you got yourself an excellent saddle.

Melissa

Editor, MyCuddlyBuddy

BLACK INLAY HAND CARVED WESTERN LEATHER

FEATURES

When riding your horse, comfort is one of the things you want to optimize on. It, therefore, helps to have a comfortable saddle. One of the most comfortable ones available today is the Black Inlay Hand Carved Western Leather Saddle.

This saddle is fully made of premium leather. It also has a barrel-shaped design hence offering support for your back throughout your ride. The saddle is designed for riding through tough terrains as well as in the wilderness. It is therefore well padded with a fleece underside which keeps you and your horse comfortable.

This saddle comes equipped with a track and is beautifully designed floral prints hand-curved onto its surface. The inlay of the saddle is painted by hand as well. To give it proper structure, it is built upon a frame made of wood and fiberglass. This makes it durable and flexible at the same time.

Available in black or brown, its structure and carvings make it able to stand out from all the others.

Its seat is made of suede leather with microfibers that boost your grip as you ride.

CONS

The material used on this Black Inlay Hand Carved Western Leather Saddle is hollow. This means that is can break if tugged on too much. This can be very dangerous for you and your horse too especially on tough terrains.

The suede leather on this saddle requires careful maintenance. You will spend time and money oiling and waxing it every other day hence can be a little inconveniencing.

PROS

It comes with unique hand crafted designs that are beautiful to look at without being too flashy.

Its billet straps have double reinforcement maximizing its durability and optimizing on its overall stability.

An interesting feature of this saddle is that when you buy it, you get a matching breast collar, reins, and headstall for your horse.

The premium leather used to make this saddle is made from pure cowhide. This means that is fully weatherproof, easy to clean and quite durable.

It comes with fully adjustable Blevins buckles allowing it to fit various horses of different sizes.

One of the most authentically designed and constructed horse accessories is the Black Inlay Hand Carved Western Leather Saddle. It is well decorated with floral designs, studs and aluminum stirrups. In addition to that, its main material is suede leather not only giving it a beautiful look but also maximizing on the grip as you ride. Moreover, this ensures that the saddle is weatherproof therefore you can ride it comfortably in any weather condition. With a skirt size of 26 to 27 inches and a weight of 5 lbs (pounds), it is able to fit various horses. If you are okay with putting in a little more effort on maintenance, then the Black Inlay Hand Carved Western Leather Saddle just for you.

Melissa

Editor, MyCuddlyBuddy

TEXAS STAR SILVER WESTERN PLEASURE

FEATURES

The seat on this saddle is padded and soft ensuring you a smooth, comfortable ride. It is available in color brown which is great for minimizing the appearance of dirt and generally appealing.

It comes with a free headstall, some reins, and even a breast collar. As such when you buy it you get all the accessories required to harness your horse in one package.  

The underside of this saddle is covered in soft fleece. As a result, the pressure excreted on your horse is reduced. To further boost its durability, the saddle is made of double reinforced fiberglass.

The Texas Star Silver Western Pleasure Trail Saddle is made of high-quality synthetic Cardura leather. This does not only give it an appealing look but also makes it durable and great for long rides.

With a mere weight of 18 pounds, this saddle is light enough to support you without burdening your horse with extra weight.

CONS

The reins are quite thick. Moreover, the breastplate and bridle do not have a firm construction. As such, the saddle is a bit delicate and restricts use to trails and not fast galloping.

PROS

 The saddle is weatherproof allowing you to use it in any without worrying about it getting destroyed. To add to this, this saddle has a lining of nylon material binding it’s edged hence further enhancing on its durability.

It is easy to clean since you will not need to wax or oil it. A simple wipe using some soap and water will do. To make your work easier, the saddle material is made in such a way that it does not absorb or hold dirt and stains.

It comes with silver corner plates to give it a beautiful finish. You are also availed with Conchos and D-rings that are ideal for attaching accessories.

In addition to that, the saddle’s stirrups are padded and have synthetic fleece on their underside. To further add some strength and durability, the tree on this saddle is double reinforced.

One of the greatest saddles for young riders and beginners is the Texas Star Silver Western Pleasure Trail Saddle. It is available in size 15 to size 17 with a skirt size of between 25 and 27 inches. Its stirrups have a comfortable length of 35 to 37 inches. This means that you rarely have to adjust them for anything. Thus, this is an ideal saddle that you can adjust any measurements that you desire. Made of high-quality synthetic leather, the Texas Star Silver Western Pleasure Trail Saddle is long-lasting and easy to clean. If you are searching for a good saddle to use for light riding, trail exploration or introducing riding to a beginner, this is the one to pick.

Melissa

Editor, MyCuddlyBuddy

TAHOE TACK BASKET WEAVE SYNTHETIC

FEATURES

One of the most comfortable saddles in the market is the Tahoe Tack Basket Weave Synthetic Western Saddle. Made of pure leather, it is an attractive, functional and most importantly comfortable saddle.

Good texture is always a nice addition to any saddle. Not only does it make the unit look beautiful, it adds grip when you sit on it. This one has a basket weave design. It extends all over the seat and also covers the pommel. This weave extends to other parts of the saddle such as the fender, skirt, cantle and stirrups. This ensures a uniform look and maximized grip throughout.

The seat of your saddle needs to be strong and durable. To ensure this, the one on the Tahoe Tack Basket Weave Synthetic Western Saddle is made up of a combination of leather and synthetic material. This allows it to withstand the friction that comes with riding.

This saddle is also weatherproof. As such, you can use it in any weather conditions be it snow, rain, sleet or the scorching sun.

Featuring a 3 1/2 inch horn, 6-inch gullet and 26 x 25-inch skirt, this saddle can easily fit on a quarter horse. Moreover, it weighs only 22lbs (pounds). This makes it a lightweight unit. It is also highly flexible. This is thanks to a Fiber Flex tree.

CONS

 The saddle needs some fabric or soft cover for the seat. This is because it gets hard over time as you ride it. The front cinch is also quite short. This creates a raised spot where the sea jockey and the fender meet. As a result, it can rub on the inner thighs of the riders and cause bruises. As such, the saddle is only ideal for light use on trial rides.

The synthetic material used to make the Tahoe Tack Basket Weave Synthetic Western Saddle is not very durable. It will begin to peel off after only a few rides. Moreover, the stirrups are not as durable as is required. Some users have complained that they broke after a few rides. This can be dangerous for you and your horse too.

PROS

It is light enough to give you an easy time setting up and will not weigh down your horse. For instance, it can fit on a 17HH size quarter horse as well a 15.2 horse too. This shows that the Tahoe Tack Basket Weave Synthetic Western Saddle is a versatile unit.

It is built for trails. This often requires long hours of riding your horse with few stop in-between. Due to this, the pommel is raised high and the stirrups are fully adjustable. Its underside is lined with soft fleece. This provides a cushioned experience for you and your horse. These features maximize overall comfort as you ride. This saddle is also ideal for riding even when you have back problems.

The waterproof feature paired with the leather material make this saddle quite convenient as it can stand the rain without soaking up.

For some light riding on the trails every once in a while, this is the saddle to get. The Tahoe Tack Basket Weave Synthetic Western Saddle is designed with cushioning, textured leather and fully adjustable stirrups. It is weatherproof and easy to clean. A damp towel can eliminate any dust, dirt, scuffs or debris from it. It is a comfortable saddle for you and your horse too. This is because it is lined with some soft fleece on its underside. Capable of fitting on horses of various sizes, the Tahoe Tack Basket Weave Synthetic Western Saddle is a great choice to go with.

Melissa

Editor, MyCuddlyBuddy

HOW TO DISTINGUISH A QUALITY HORSE SADDLE FROM A CHEAP ONE

Different saddles have different price ranges depending on material, durability, and style. Investing in a good saddle is very rewarding in the long run because it will stay for a very long period of time. For safety and maximum comfort, you will need to get the best saddle you can afford and to be honest, saddles don’t come cheap.

If you buy any saddle for less than $500 you can be assured that the quality is generally very poor in terms of material, flexibility, maintenance and ability to fit your horse. To distinguish between a good quality horse saddles from a cheap one you can look out for the following;

A good quality saddle normally has real fittings and the tooling is only done by craftsmen. On the other hand, cheap saddles will be easily identified by the cheap leather and nickel fittings that have been used.

You will know good quality saddles because, for the most part, it has fine grain and feels nice and supple. The pores are also very small. Cheap horse saddle, on the other hand, has leather that feels like a cardboard and its pores are open and course. This will only cause discomfort to your horse and probably lead to bruising.

The cheap horse saddles are covered with a finish that scratches off very easily while a high-quality saddle has a finishing that lasts for years. Most quality saddles are also waterproof so pay close attention to the reviews before buying.

Finally, if you spot a saddle that is straight as opposed to curved, ride as fast as you can away from it. This kind of saddles are usually crafted wrongly and will only hurt your horse. A good saddle is slightly concave shaped to fit the back of your horse. This way, it will feel natural to you and the horse.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING A HORSE SADDLE

Aside from the cost of the horse, this piece of equipment is likely to be the most expensive equipment you buy. I, therefore, cannot emphasize harder the need to get it right. When buying a new saddle for your horse, you need to take into account many factors. In the pursuit of the right saddle, most people use professional saddle fitting services to be sure they are making the right decision. This is how serious it can get!

Since it is not possible to seek professional assistance every time, the following factors should guide you to the right saddle.

Budget

Before purchasing a horse saddle, you need to know how deep your pocket can go. As much as quality matters, you want to stay within the parameters of your budget at the end of the day. You do not need to invest too heavily on a saddle; all you need is make the right decision and you will end up spending for exactly what you need in a saddle. As I said, good saddles should be about $500 and above.

If the saddle is too expensive, you can alternatively cut the cost by buying a saddle that does not have extra details such as decorations, prints, whistles and expensive belts. As long as the saddle comes in the right shape, material and is comfortable for you and your horse, the other features are for luxury.

You can always bank on second-hand saddles when your budget is too tight. This way, you can get quality at a fair price. Just be sure to thoroughly inspect it before buying.  

Intended use

For many horse owners, they definitely know or have heard of the many horseback activities that are out there. This is the key motivation for most people who purchase horses in the first place. Before buying a saddle, you will need to evaluate what type of saddle you will need. The activities you intend to participate in will play a major role in deciding what saddle you will need. There is the general purpose saddle that is very versatile and is a great choice for many people.

If you intend to use your horse on the tracks, make sure your saddle is built with a tree that is not too hollow. This way, it can stand the pressures fast galloping.

Horse saddles for trail riding should have extra accessories such as pockets for storing your belongings while on the road.

After deciding which activity you will do regularly, you can have a saddle designed specifically for that purpose to make it convenient for you.

Horse fit

One of the best things you will ever do for your horse and yourself is finding a saddle that fits perfectly.  This is perhaps the most important consideration when getting a horse saddle. It determines the health and mood of your horse in that, a saddle that does not fit well will definitely cause your horse to act up, or worse, result in injury.

For you to find the right fit, you need to understand that horses change with age. Saddles that fit one year won’t necessarily fit the next, so you do not need to spend tons of money on a custom made saddle. To get the shape of the saddle and gullet size you need, you need to consider the overall size of your horse and know if it has any special characteristics such as a short back or if it is gaited.

Good news is that most saddles shops usually allow for a trial period during which you can test the saddle on your horse. If it doesn’t fit, you can return it for a small fee.

Rider fit

In addition to a fitting horse saddle, you will need a perfect fit for you as the rider too in order to enjoy your ride. You will need something that will make you extremely comfortable so that you are seated in the correct position and to handle all the rocking that comes with horse riding. To ensure that as a rider, you end up choosing the best saddle, make sure you test and sit on as many saddles as you possibly can before purchasing one. Each time you test a saddle, you will gradually realize what size of saddle and what style fits you best. Some of the factors you will need to consider to get the best rider fit are the cantle height, stirrup position, seat size and the overall weight of the saddle. It is important to know that everyone has preferences when it comes to a horse saddle. What are yours?

The quality and materials of the saddle

The material you ultimately decide to use is very crucial. Basically, there are two types of material that the saddle is composed of.  There is the traditional leather material and the synthetic material that one has to consider since both of them have advantages and disadvantages. For the traditional leather material, people normally prefer them because of their durability. If you get a premium material for the leather, then you are assured that the saddle will last a lifetime. You, however, need to keep taking proper care of this saddle by cleaning it and oiling it to ensure it remains supple.

On the other hand, we have the synthetic materials which are very common especially in show rings. They are significantly lighter and very easy to clean and maintain generally. They come in a variety of styles and have many different colors you can choose from.  The synthetic material is ideal for people who are on a strict budget since they are less costly.

Is the saddle new or is it used

When you want to buy a horse saddle, you will have the option of getting a new saddle or a used one. Sometimes your budget can restrict you from getting the new saddle you desire but you can get a used saddle that will serve the same purpose, sometimes even do a better job. For the new saddles, you are guaranteed that it is in good shape since it has never been used before.  The new saddles are definitely safer for the rider since most of the parts have not been worn out already. The flip side of a new saddle is that you need to put in more work when it comes to oiling, conditioning and molding it.  For the used saddles, on the other hand, be sure you will spend less money for its purchase. The breaking in process which involves a lot of oiling and conditioning has been eliminated for you. However, you need to be really cautious and inspect the saddle thoroughly before purchasing it so that you don’t end up disappointed.

Personal preferences and style

When all is said and done, you need something that appeals to your eyes and excites you. Good news is, there are so many horse saddles to choose from. The not so good news is, it may take some time to find the right match. A lot of patience is therefore required.

 BEST HORSE SADDLE BRANDS

Wintec saddles

This is one of the most popular saddle brands in the world mainly because of its exemplary performance.  If you are a new rider and you are looking for something soft, comfortable, easy to mount and safe this should be your obvious choice. Wintec has synthetic saddles that have an edge in the market mainly because they are lightweight and therefore very easy to carry around. This brand will give you the ultimate experience as a rider since it makes riding extremely easy. The innovation and the high-tech materials are unique in every way and are weatherproof and durable taking the ratings a notch higher.

To give the rider an even better experience and performance wintec has combined with CARE cushion systems and easy change. This has improved the performance significantly since it effectively distributes the rider’s weight and cushions the horses back.

They have a comprehensive range of saddles that you can rely on no matter the size of your horse. It has the all-purpose range which includes saddles like wintec 2000 all-purpose, wintec kids and wintec pro all-purpose among many others.

Some of the synthetic materials include the wintec 500 wide dressage saddle which is designed specifically for wider horses and the wintec  Isabell saddle with adjustable.

Wintec

Western saddles

For those looking for class, looks, good price and a saddle that fits well, western saddles delivers. The saddles have been praised for their good quality, beautiful balance, and incredibly good feel. The saddles have been designed by professionals to ensure maximum comfort and balance. With the variety of saddles they have, you will definitely find something that fits your style, personality, and your riding discipline.

Regardless of where you intend to use your horse, whether in the show rings or in the trails the western saddles will do an incredible job for you. Western saddles are also made for particular purposes like roping and trail riding. The saddle pads are normally in a variety of materials, sizes, and shapes.

Some common and excellent examples of Western saddles are;

  • Circle Y

This has been one of the leading saddles manufacturers in the United States for a very long time. It uses leather which has been known for its durability and good feel. Circle Y are very flexible in terms of design since they improve the designs very often. They, however, still uphold the traditional western saddle.

  • Billy Cook

They are very cheap but are one of the world’s renowned saddles since they produce saddles that are very durable.  Their exceptional work has made their clients continuously satisfied and loyal.

circle y

Ryder saddles

This is a well-known brand across the United Kingdom.  It was established in 1985 and has grown gradually and become very popular. The saddles are very comfortable and reliable when it comes to the rider’s experience. With a wide variety of saddles, Ryder has outdone itself when it comes to the range of designs, colors, and sizes. They pride themselves in using traditional craftsmanship and have outstanding workmanship that always guarantees perfection.

They have jump saddles which include Azzurri, Virage, Volante and Coronado. The dressage saddles include Ryder RS 18’’ M Dressage, the Ryder legacy 17.5’’ and the Ryder dressage 17.5’’ M dressage.

ryder

Sabre saddles

With over 40 years of experience in the saddle producing business, sabre has definitely made its unforgettable mark in the market. It provides the best quality when it comes to saddles. Usually, they employ traditional methods hence ensuring that they produce the best products for the rider and the horse. They are very comfortable and well fitted at a very affordable price.

Just like other brands, the sabre saddles pride itself with the wide range of diverse saddles they offer. Some of the well-known saddles include Sabbre GP saddle; sabre 17.5”working hunter saddle VGC, dressage saddle and the general purpose saddle sabre.

HOW TO FIND THE BEST HORSE SADDLE FOR YOUR NEEDS

Choosing the best horse saddle is crucial mainly because of the health of the horse and also because you want to get value for your money and enjoy your ride. The saddles are normally very essential because they are designed to take the rider’s weight off the spine of the horse and distribute that weight to its back muscles. The saddles also allow the horse to be flexible and have freedom of movement.

That said, you need to find a saddle and consider the following when choosing the best horse saddle:

Size

People are increasingly becoming aware that the size of the saddle has a massive impact on both the horse and the rider. It is for this very reason that there is currently a wide variety of sizes produced to accommodate the needs of both the rider and the horse. For size, the below measurements should be considered.

  • Seat size- the seat size is important because it will ensure you are in the best position possible and are very comfortable. Typically, the seat size range from 15’’ to 19’’ and the average human being needs between 17’’ to 18’’ seat size. The size greatly depends on each individual and can differ depending on one’s weight and body size.
  • Tree size- this will basically have a major impact on how the saddle will fit the horse. There are three major tree sizes, medium, narrow and extra wide. A quick measure of your horse will help in deciding what tree size to go with. Better yet, you can seek professional help for this. Just be prepared to pay a little extra.

Different riding styles

For you to choose a saddle for your horse, you need to find one that is suitable for your riding style since they are many types out there. The riding styles usually vary from cross country to show jumping to hacking and endurance. The three types are;

  • All-purpose saddles- these saddles are specifically designed for riders who are jumping and also riding on the flat. These saddles are normally made with shorter flaps and slightly deeper seats to basically allow the rider to be in the correct position.
  • Dressage- these saddles are designed for mainly flatwork since they have straight cup flats and a deep seat.
  • Close-contact saddles-these saddles were manufactured and designed specifically for jumping. Most of these saddles normally have thigh blocks and small knee to position the rider for jumping. They typically allow the rider to feel very close to the horse as the name suggests clearly.

The material used

As I said, you simply need to choose between the leather material and the synthetic material. Choosing the right saddle here will require that you find the perfect material for the horse saddle. You should consider things like durability, the variety of styles, its weight and how clean and easy to maintain the material is. You must pay keen attention to the quality since it is not a guarantee that all leather material or synthetic material is good. Paying keen attention to the finish will save you a great deal of money and time.

 Brand

When you want to get the best saddle in the market, you will need to look into reliable brands. Most of these known brands have had years of experience in making saddles and therefore the chances of getting disappointed are very slim. Buying saddles from well-known brands is less risky and you are well conversant with the pricing and know what exactly to expect. The expertise that is used in manufacturing the saddles is exemplary and with the knowledge they have acquired over the years, they are in a better position to give the best saddles. I will be tackling the best saddle brands in the next segment.

HORSE SADDLE ACCESSORIES AND PARTS

Accessories

  • Saddle tree

This is the part of the saddle that helps distribute the rider’s weight evenly over the horse’s back. It ensures that the horse is more comfortable and hence more efficient when riding. The saddle tree has five basic parts which are; the horn; the cantle, which specifically holds the bars together at the back; the fork whose main purpose is to hold the bars together in the front and two bars that act as the weight bearing surfaces that usually run parallel.

  • Gullet

There is the gullet which is basically the space that is between the bars of the saddle. Its purpose is to provide clearance for the spine of the horse so as to prevent the saddle from placing any pressure on it.

  • Panels

This part provides cushioning between the saddle and the horses back. It also keeps the saddle balanced and allows for any adjustment in fitting the saddle.

  • Stirrup

This is the part where the rider’s feet normally rest. It basically provides leverage and support to the rider. It is composed of three parts which are; the stirrup bar, iron, and leather

For the weight to be distributed evenly on the horse’s back, the length of the bars must always be in even contact with the back of the horse. It is also necessary for the channel between the bars to be wide enough so that there is no pressure inserted to the spine of the horse. In addition, the width and the gullet height should be sufficient enough to also keep any pressure off the shoulders and the withers.

This part of the saddle must be fit for the horses back in order for the horse to function effectively.  The rocker, twist, and the flare are the three curves to the bars which will ultimately determine the fit.

Parts

  • Saddle cover

This is a riding apparel that every rider needs for comfort of the horse and their own comfort. Most of them are designed to be lightweight and have an extremely soft design. Some of the manufacturers have personalized the saddle covers and have made them waterproof so that the cover is ideal even for the rainy seasons.

  • Saddlebag

This accessory is important because it enables you to carry all the extras. When buying a saddle bag, some people go for an eye-catching option while others go for the simple design. The size of the saddle bag will depend on how many things you want to carry around when you are riding. You would also need to go for a weather-proof bag that will protect your belonging. You also definitely want something fitting that will not hideously bulge around.

  • Tush cushion

These cushions are specifically designed to make rides more comfortable and less painful. Most of them are made to fit the saddles used. They are mostly compact, absorb heat and are made thick so that they do collapse at any given point. They have adjustable straps that purposely hold the sit firmly in order to ensure that the rider does not have any sliding or shifting problems.

 TIPS, TRICKS AND ADVICE

Choosing a saddle is not something you do impromptu like you would a pair of shoes or perhaps a shirt. You actually need some expert advice in order to save some money and avoid the endless frustrations that come with making the wrong decisions.

Here are a few tricks and that have been used before:

What type of saddle should you get?

Generally, there are many variables but this heavily depends on whether you are experienced or not. For experienced riders, discipline-specific saddles are ideal because of the regularity in practicing this sport.  For an inexperienced rider, using the general purpose saddle is your best option mainly because as a new rider, you are generally trying out very many things.

Buying saddle from the internet

This is definitely very risky and can go both ways. While buying saddles on the internet can be cheaper, it is very easy to end up with a complete disaster. The internet, for the most part, can be good since you will get a lot of choices but on the flip side, you could easily end up buying a saddle that is not suitable. The trick to buying a saddle is to first go and try it out before you commit financially. Also, it is very easy to get deals that are not legitimate on the internet. Whether you are buying your horse saddle from a physical store or online you need to establish relationship with the seller.

Saddle fitting

For the most comfortable position, there are some few key tips that must be followed and they are as below.

  • The saddle panels and the saddle tree have to be symmetrical
  • Ensure that the saddle’s tree corresponds with the shape of the horses back to avoid causing pain or discomfort to your horse.
  • Ensure that the saddle is correctly balanced.
  • Technically, there should not be any adverse movement  like the saddle moving to either side

Get your trainers opinion

Before buying a saddle, it is important to get an opinion from a professional. These people are registered and qualified and they are in a better position to give advice since they have handled this kind of things for years. It is advisable that your trainer is present during the saddle fitting to give guidance.

Trial and error

For you to increase the chances of finding the best saddle, you need to do a lot of trial and error. The saddles need to be compared side by side. For starters, you may not know exactly what you are looking for; this is the very reason why you need to work with qualified saddle fitters. They have stocks of different saddles which you can try out. Many people use the wrong kind of saddles for years before they finally get the saddles that suit them best. It may take a while before you get a perfect saddle but keep on testing and trying out until you get satisfied with one.

Make sure you provide the right surface

Always ensure that you provide the right surface for the horse to ride. The ideal arena should be flat and hard surface that is well lit to make it easier for the horse to accessed.  If you want to get a saddle for jumping, you need to have access to a fence and make sure it is in place for your horse.

Do the hands test

Generally, if you want to know if the saddle is too big, just try to place both your hands behind you on the seat. If both of them fit, it is too big. If there is no space then it automatically means that the saddle is too small. You want something that is neither too big nor too small for you in order to enjoy your experience.

 Research

Obviously, the last thing you need is a bad outcome after you have invested so much on horse a saddle. It is for this reason that you need to do extensive research before you decide to commit to anything. Normally, all the information you need is usually on the internet. You can go through all the product reviews and take keen interest in the bad reviews so that you know all the flaws of a saddle before you buy one. As has been said many times, you should never rely solely on what your seller tells you about a product research gives you the true description of a product.

For anyone looking to buy a horse, getting a fitting saddle is something that is not only important to your horse but also to you as the rider. With a comprehensive range of saddles from different manufacturers, there is need to do research before you make any purchase. The right saddle is important because it greatly determines the health of your horse and how comfortable you will feel. Many factors will come into play such as style, size and personal preferences that need to be considered. Based on what one intends to use the horse for, the saddles will vary from one person to another. To make the choices easier, there are some tips and tricks for finding the right saddle such as doing research, getting your trainers opinion and doing the fitting before you buy so that it fits. Choosing the right brand will also save you a lot of disappointments and give you the ultimate riding experience.

Melissa

Editor, MyCuddlyBuddy