Saddles are not universal, therefore you’ll need to pick a saddle that will fit both you and your horse. An improperly fit saddle will cause a rider discomfort and can severely injure a horse. While there is adjustability — and a wider saddle can always be padded for short-term use on a narrower horse — you should buy the saddle with a particular horse in mind.
You have a variety of choices in saddle material. Many new riders find that the synthetic saddles are lighter, easier to take care of, and are financially friendly in an expensive sport. Leather saddles, because of their cost, are a true investment for a long-term commitment to riding. Both leather and synthetic saddles can be bought ready to ride but can also be custom designed and manufactured.
There are actually dozens of saddle styles, each especially designed for disciplines that range from those who actively compete their horses in English-based Saddle seat and Jumpers to Western-based Endurance and Roping & Reining. Even a more relaxed backyard horse owner will own more than one style of saddle to suit the amount of time they spend with their equine companion.
Like any equipment investment, you will need to decide the likelihood that you will continue with horseback riding and the potential resale value of the used saddle if not. In addition, when buying a saddle for a child, also consider the ability of the saddle to accommodate the child’s growth in size as well as skills.
A saddle is one of the first pieces of equipment most people buy after they acquire a horse. It is a major investment; selecting and purchasing require much deliberation and knowledge. The life span of most saddles is several times that of a horse, so take great care in selecting one.
The selected saddle should fit the needs of the rider and the type of horse. Supplement personal preference with knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the many different styles and types of saddles.
Used saddles have the advantage of not needing a “break-in” period and the leather, provided it has been well-maintained, will already be soft, supple, and ready for use.
Many tack stores take used saddles on consignment and sell them at very reasonable prices. Price and fit are not the only considerations when selecting a used saddle. You also need to check the condition of the tree, the key stress points, and the condition of the leather.
Do you have a question that you want answered? So do we! But we’re at a loss for the answer to our question. So why don’t you just ask us your question at How Do I? and see if either we can or one of our many viewers can answer it? Maybe…