Step into any saddlery and you’ll find a vast array of styles, fabrics and prices. But, not all saddles will be suitable for you and your horse. Choosing a saddle is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a horse owner as it’ll influence every ride.
In this article, we discuss the three key things to consider when choosing a saddle.
Above all, the most important consideration when choosing a saddle is the correct fit for horse and rider. With time, incorrect saddle fit will lead to health and behavioural problems for your horse; not to mention, a saddle that is too big or too small will also affect your own riding position.
In addition to correct fit, you’ll need to consider the riding activities you have planned for your horse. If you intend to compete, your choice of the saddle will be dictated by discipline. However, if you’re a leisure rider, a general all-purpose English or Western saddle will usually suffice.
While saddles have traditionally been made of leather, synthetic saddles are also very popular. The choice between leather and synthetic is often a personal preference. Regardless of the style you select, always check the finish, stitching and fittings carefully before buying. Cheap saddles often don’t last, especially in Australian weather.
New or Used?
A saddle is one of the most expensive items you’ll need in your tack room. However, fit, comfort and quality should never be compromised for a bargain price. While you may save a few dollars initially, a cheap saddle could end up costing you more in veterinary and therapy bills.
Thankfully, many saddleries offer secondhand saddles. If you’re on a budget, this may be the best option for you. A reputable saddlery will assist you in checking the condition of the tree, stress points and wear to ensure the saddle is fit for purpose and guaranteed to last.
Any saddle you buy should be purchased with the assistance of a qualified and respected saddle fitter. They will remove the guesswork, and help you select the right saddle for you and your horse that meets your requirements for correct fit, comfort and quality.