Choosing The Right Saddle

Your saddle is perhaps the most important piece of tack or equipment that you will purchase, so it is important to make sure that you are purchasing the right one for both you and your horse. There are many important factors to consider, and there are numerous different options to choose from, which can become quite confusing and overwhelming. With the proper amount of planning and critical thinking, the purchase of a new saddle can be a relatively simple and enjoyable experience. Continue reading for more information and pointers on how to make this important purchase.

Needs And Wants

While there are two main disciplines that divide the type of saddles that are available for purchase (Western and English), there are many different variations that can make the process of purchasing a saddle rather confusing. The best way to go about it is to break down your needs and wants for your saddle and find one that best fits these needs and wants.

First, consider what you will be using the saddle for. If you really only do pleasure riding, you won’t need to invest in a fancy show jumping or dressage saddle. Alternatively, if you do plan to do any sort of concentrated work with your horse in this new saddle, narrow your search down to a saddle that is specifically made for your intended use.


Many saddle companies offer the option of having representatives make a trip out to barns and stables to do a “demo”, in which they will help interested individuals find the perfect fit for their horse. This is one of the best ways to determine which size saddle will be the best fit for your horse. It is extremely important to make sure that you purchase a saddle that fits your horse correctly; an ill-fitting saddle has the potential to cause numerous behavioral and health problems.

Leather vs Synthetic

As compared with previous generations, our modern market for tack and other horse equipment is extremely diverse, with different options to cater to different riders and their horses all around this world. This is especially true when it comes to saddles.

While the classic leather saddle remains a staple and favorite for many equestrians, synthetic leather saddles have gained considerable popularity in the past decade or so. The first synthetic models made available to the public were a bit “cheap” looking and did not exactly resemble real leather saddles. For this reason, riders usually did not invest in synthetic saddles, as they could not use them to show.

The modern synthetic saddle so closely resembles traditional leather that at times, it can be difficult to determine which saddle is real leather, and which is synthetic leather. This is extremely beneficial for riders who do not have the money to invest in an expensive leather saddle but still wish to get that classic, beautiful leather look. Synthetic saddles are available for both Western and English disciplines, in various styles for different riding classes.


It is no secret that horse equipment and tack can be extremely expensive. For this reason, price often plays a large role in the purchase of any tack or equipment, and this is especially true when an individual is looking to invest in a new saddle.

Saddles are an essential part of riding and perhaps the most important investment that a rider will make when it comes to their equipment and tack. For this reason, it is important to consider that while a low price tag may be enticing, the saddle may not live up to your expectations, and it may not perform as well as a more expensive saddle. It is also important to keep in mind that while a higher price may be daunting, it may sometimes make more sense to invest in a saddle that will last you a long time, so you will not have to invest more money into another saddle in just a few years.

New vs Used

There are many advantages to both buying a new saddle and buying a used saddle. If you are torn between buying new or buying used, it is important to take into consideration a few different factors.

For most people, purchasing a new saddle is beneficial because it ensures that the saddle will last a considerable amount of time, making it an effective investment. For others, buying a used saddle is a better option, as used saddles are already broken in and do not require a break-in period, and are generally much cheaper than a new saddle. Of course, when purchasing a used saddle, there is always the risk of the saddle not lasting as long as you may need it to, and in the end, it may end up making more sense to invest in a brand new saddle.

Test It Out

Never purchase a saddle without first trying it out in person with your horse. While a saddle may look gorgeous in the store window or online, it may not be a good fit for you and your horse.

Your saddle is a massive investment, so it is important to make sure that it is right for you before you purchase it. Much like how you would not purchase a car without test driving it, you should not purchase a saddle without doing a test ride. If you are interested in purchasing a new saddle, arrange for a representative to come out to your barn to try out different saddles and get a professional sizing done.

While there are many different aspects and things to keep in mind when purchasing a new saddle, it is important to keep your thoughts and priorities organized, and the rest will fall into place. Remember that a gorgeous and very expensive saddle is just no good if it is not a good match for you and your horse; always consider what is best for you, your horse, and what you intend to use your new saddle for.

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