How to Pick the Best Saddle for Your Horse and You

November 11, 2016 by Linda


The saddle you choose for your horse needs to be comfortable both your horse and you! However, with the endless saddles types and styles available to buy, it can get overwhelming as to which one you should get. Read these tips for some help on buying the right kind for you and your horse!

Type of Saddle

The type of saddle you pick needs to be appropriate to what you’re using it for. There are several kinds that are specific for use in dressage, cross-country or show jumping, English pleasure, western pleasure, and saddle seat show classes. If you will be doing primarily endurance or long distance or trail riding, there are many types of saddles for those activities as well.  If you plan to work with cattle or ride in western games, such as barrel racing, there are advantages to having a saddle specific to these types of riding.  All riding activities can require a specific saddle which can make the choice even more difficult! However, once you determine what type you’ll need, the process will be a lot easier. A general purpose English saddle or western saddle, or treeless distance, endurance or plantation saddle will work for when you just riding your horse on trails. There is a lot of information online about suitable saddles and how to fit them to the rider and horse.  But if in doubt, ask a knowledgeable tack shop owner or a professional trainer for their input.  You can even purchase saddle fitting kits.  Some tack shop operators will allow you to bring your horse to the store for a saddle fitting and selection, and we highly recommend that you do this.  Be sure, though, that the saddle fits you and that it is comfortable for your body type and size.  Also carefully consider the type of pad you will use with the saddle. Consider if you will need a breast collar, or double cinch rigging versus single rigging.  If the saddle is used, be sure the cinch or girth and leather straps are strong and in excellent condition.

Leather or Synthetic

With new designs and materials, the market for saddles has increased tenfold! Deciding between leather or synthetic is just a personal preference. Synthetic is usually lightweight and easy to clean. You can also get a wide variety of colors, patterns, and styles if you choose a synthetic saddle. Leather is more traditional and durable if cleaned regularly and cared for properly. Saddles having wooden trees are heavier, but will generally last much longer than those with synthetic trees. Look carefully at the buckles and fittings to be sure they are in good condition and no short cuts have been taken on quality that could later affect your safety.  Ask your saddle dealer about the quality of the brand of the saddle.  If the saddle is new, read the guarantee or warranty.


This is the most important thing you must determine before buying a saddle. If the saddle does not fit your horse correctly, it can lead to health and training issues. The saddle will hurt your horse making it uncomfortable and upset.  Some minor issues can be corrected with a therapeutic saddle pad and that is also something to ask your saddle dealer about.  Any saddle you are considering, must fit you as well as the horse, otherwise it can throw off your positioning and bring you discomfort while you ride.

To learn more tips on selecting the best saddle for you, please refer to our next blog!

If you need high quality horse insurance for your horse, trust in the experts at Ark Agency! Learn about our horse trainer insurance, horse mortality insurance, and other insurance plans today by calling us at 320.243.7250 or 800.328.8894.

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