Tue. Jan 21st, 2020

Saddle Up: How to Choose a Horse Saddle

Woman rider adjusting the length of her stirrups on her saddle as her horse stands ready in an indoor equestrian school


If you have a horse, the saddle is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can buy.

To find the perfect horse saddle, there are lots of things you’ll need to take into account before you make a purchase.

Read on to learn more about what qualities to look for in a good saddle so that you and your equine friend will be happy and ready to hit the trail.


Choosing the Right Saddle Type

Every Horse Saddle serves a different purpose depending on the rider’s needs. For example, if you participate in dressage or show jumping, the type of saddle you choose will be different than that of a casual rider.

Each saddle has its own distinctive look and style designed to serve a specific purpose. A general-purpose saddle works well for everyday riding, while a Western trail saddle might be better if you ride your horse for long treks.

Make sure that the saddle you choose is comfortable not just for you, but for your horse. Take it for a “test drive” if possible so you can be sure it will serve your needs.

Workhorses and show horses serve different purposes, so the saddle should, too. One key thing to remember is that if you plan to ride your horse a lot or do a lot of rigorous activity, you’ll need a saddle that can handle the task.

Durability and design should be the starting point on your saddle shopping journey. 


Horse Saddle Materials

Today’s saddles come in a wider range of materials than ever before. The casual rider might prefer something simple covered in a nylon fabric.

The nylon saddles come in a range of colors, giving you a bit of flexibility when it comes to style. On the other hand, while fairly durable, nylon still might not hold up as well as leather.

If you prefer not to buy a leather saddle but you still want the look, consider synthetic leather as an alternative. These saddles look like traditional saddles, they’re just made of faux leather instead of real leather.

Synthetic leather saddles are very easy to clean, and they’re also quite lightweight. Weigh the pros and cons of synthetic vs real leather saddles before you make a decision.

And speaking of leather, it’s still the most popular choice for most riders. Leather not only looks beautiful, but it also holds up quite well to rigorous activity.

You can choose a beautifully tooled leather saddle, or purchase one in a custom design. Make sure you select a leather saddle that is crafted in the United States whenever possible.

Imported leather is not always high-quality, and it could wear out much sooner than you anticipated. Pay close attention to things like the stitching of the leather and fittings like the billet straps. A well-made leather saddle should last for years.


Getting a Proper Fit

Once you’ve nailed down the style and material of the Horse Saddle you want, it’s time to ensure that you get a saddle that fits. Any saddle that doesn’t properly fit your horse can cause discomfort and even some health issues.

Not only will an ill-fitting saddle be uncomfortable for your horse, but it will also be extremely uncomfortable for you. If you get thrown out of position while riding, you may fall off the horse and become injured.

Take the width of the gullet into account when getting your saddle fitted. Some horses have different backs depending on the breed, so widths will vary greatly between horses.

Gullets that are too wide can push down onto the horse. Those that are too narrow can pinch your horse’s back. Measure this carefully when you are fitting your new saddle.

The balance of the saddle is also key. If it tends to tip backward or forward when you ride, it will create an uncomfortable feeling of pressure on your horse. A saddle that tips will also make it much more difficult for you to maintain your balance.

Ensure that your saddle fits you just right when you sit on it. Anything that’s too small can make riding or jumping wildly uncomfortable. You want to select something with a snug fit that’s not too tight or too loose on the horse as well as yourself.


Buying New or Used

When purchasing a saddle, you can opt for a used one to save money. If you go this route, just be sure the saddle is in good condition and will fit you and your horse properly.

You can go high-end and try custom made saddles that offer you luxury, style, and quality in one. These saddles are a beautiful addition to your horse equipment and will definitely make a lasting first impression.

The bottom line when choosing between new and used is what’s most important to you. If cost is the biggest deciding factor, used saddles might be a better way to go.


Saddle Up

From the right material to the right fit, shopping for Horse Saddles can be easy if you know what to look for. Weigh the pros and cons of the variety of materials available as well as the differences between a new and used saddle.

Once you find the perfect saddle, you’ll have something that will make riding a comfortable experience for yourself and your horse.

Keep browsing our website for lots of great information about pets, pet care, and much more. 


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