There are a few key things that you need to know when selecting a saddle. Your saddle will likely be the most expensive piece of equipment you buy for your horse, so you want to choose wisely. Even more importantly, the comfort and health of your horse depends on a good fit. So, what should you know before shopping?
Top 6 things to consider:
Know how to properly saddle your horse
Proper fit for your horse
Proper fit for you
Primary discipline of riding
Know your budget
New versus used – For your convenience, we carry both. In addition, we take trade-ins on quality western saddles!
1. Know how to properly saddle your horse
Before selecting a saddle, make sure you know the right way to saddle a horse. Without this knowledge you won’t be able to determine the right saddle for you and your horse.
2. Proper fit for your horse
A proper fit for your horse is paramount. A saddle that doesn't fit can cause training and health problems for the horse. An uncomfortable saddle isn’t good for your horse or you. If a horse develops behavioral problems, a poorly fit saddle could be the likely culprit.
One of the most important things to consider is the width of the gullet. Horses' backs range from prominent withers (Thoroughbred) to rounded, mutton withers (Arabians and Quarter Horses).
A gullet too wide will press down on the withers. A narrow gullet will pinch.
You want a saddle that clears a horse's withers and allows for free movement in the shoulders.
You also want a balanced saddle. Check if the pommel and cantle are level. An un-level saddle puts uncomfortable pressure on your horse and makes it difficult for you to maintain your position.
3. Proper fit for you
You care about the comfort of your horse, but you need to be comfortable too! A saddle that doesn’t fit will be uncomfortable and won’t put you in the correct riding position.
If you’re not comfortable when you test a saddle, imagine how you’ll feel after you’ve spent hours on the trail! While there may not be a “perfect” saddle, you want to get darn close.
Be Goldilocks! You won’t be comfortable in a saddle that’s too big or too small. When selecting your next saddle, pick from the variety stocked at The Wire Horse. Make sure you visit the store and have a saddle fitting to get the perfect fit!
4. Primary discipline of riding
Another key consideration when selecting a saddle is to ask yourself: What type of riding will I be doing? There are general purpose saddles as well as saddles that are discipline specific.
Dressage, show jumping, western pleasure, and saddleseat classes require a different saddle style. However, if you’re riding your horse on the trails you can go with a general purpose saddle.
Styles saddles include: Western Show, Western Trail, Endurance, English, and Dressage.
English-Type general purpose saddles
Covers the most disciplines, from hacking to jumping. Most leisure riders opt for a general purpose saddle.
Ranch saddles -NO BLING in the show pen- Designed to be a good working saddle,
Ranch saddles are the most versatile of western saddles.
Western showing saddles
Designed to complement your horse’s conformation, western show saddles are typically straight cut and basic in design, but dripping with silver to help you and your horse stand out.
Western trail saddles
These saddles are lighter weight with smaller horns. They are for the rider who wants comfort and security. They feature extra rings to accommodate the stuff you take on the trail...and they generally have more padding and trail stirrups. The Endurance Trail Saddle, manufactured by Tucker, is the perfect choice. Plus Tucker’s patented Gel-Cush shock absorbing seat gives hours of ultimate trail comfort.
For 10-12 hour rides, endurance saddles are light, heavily padded for comfort, and offer more rings, versatile rigging options and strings for hanging supplies you’ll need on the ride.
English saddles originated in Europe and are considered to have the best craftsmanship. Manufacturers often take their leather and have saddles produced in other countries and then import them.
English saddle components:
Also consider which accessories will suit your needs.
Flair saddle panels
Cair saddle panels
Traditional saddle flocking
Made for dressage and flatwork, dressage saddles feature a longer, straighter saddle flap that helps you maintain the correct position.
Jump saddles are more forward cut, allowing you to ride with more forward leg position and shorter stirrups.
Roping saddles have double rigging, large diameter and well-anchored horn that allow for calf roping.
Reining saddles offer forward hung stirrups. This allows for a rider to position themselves farther back during fast starts and stops.
5. Know your budget
In terms of price, saddles range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. You should buy the best you can afford. When it comes to saddles, you pretty much get what you pay for. To cut costs, opt out of fancy details like tooled or stamped leather or silver ornamentation.
Another consideration that affects cost is leather versus synthetic. Leather is classic and beautiful. English saddles have long been famous for fine craftsmanship. Yet synthetics have come a long way since they were introduced on the market and now often can’t be distinguished from leather. Synthetics also cost less, are lighter, and are easier to clean.
Only the best
At The Wire Horse, we strive to offer the best quality products for the money – for ourselves and our customers alike. We feature well-known brands of Western saddles that are made in the U.S.A. – where the best saddles in the world are made. Brands we proudly feature include Tucker, Circle Y, and Dale Chavez to name a few.
Trusted domestic brands:
Saddles made in England provide high-quality choices as well. Brands like M. Toulouse, Wintec, Bates, and Henri De Rival (HDR) are all well-made, stylish, and durable.
Trusted import brands:
Henri De Rival ( HDR)
No matter the origin, saddles come in a variety of price points, with the quality of the leather being a major factor in pricing. At The Wire Horse, we recommend thick leather that’s both soft and able to hold up to daily use.
Buy the best that you can afford and take good care of it. A well-made saddle lasts more than a lifetime! Also, talk toYOURprofessional horse trainer for more information on which saddle is right for you and your horse. Happy riding!