If you’re new to the horseback-riding world, welcome! There are some important things to know about saddle equipment—how to shop for it and how it benefits horse and rider, helping evenly disperse the rider’s weight and keep your horse happy and comfortable. And we’re here to help you find the ideal model for your riding style and preference.
Buying Guide for Horse Saddles
Why buy a horse saddle?
Saddles, by nature, are beneficial for horse and rider, as long as they fit correctly and are properly constructed. This means a quality build, material, stitching, and hardware. In turn, a sturdy saddle will keep you upright, balanced, and in control, and it’ll leave your horse stable, pressure- and pain-free, and happy.
What should you know when shopping for a saddle?
- Trees: It’s recommended your saddle is built with a “tree,” which is a base that provides extra durability, strength, and balance—all of these things also affect your horse’s comfort level. It’s what ensures a saddle will properly fit your horse. To make your shopping experience easier, we’ve only included saddles with trees.
- Stirrups: Stirrups are also incredibly important for balance; they’re your anchor to the horse, allowing you to balance your saddle and keep the horse happy. For example, if your saddle shifts to the left, just step on your right stirrup to adjust. Each of these top-rated saddles includes stirrups.
- Comfort: Humans and horses sweat, and comfortable saddles (with properly fitted saddle pads) will help absorb the sweat and dirt, helping prevent painful saddle sores on your horse’s skin and keeping you comfortable during the ride, too.
What are the different types of saddles?
There are more than 10 saddle types to choose from, but we’ve kept it simple and straightforward for you with these popular designs and functions. You can choose between general-purpose English saddles, which are popular and great for beginner and intermediate riders and jumpers; youth saddles, which are designed for young children on small to medium ponies; or even classic Western saddles featuring real (or faux) leather, intricate designs, and a front horn for balance. Depending on your rider, horse, and routine, there’s a saddle that will do the trick.
Our Picks for the Best Horse Saddles
Acerugs Western Pleasure Trail Saddle with Tree
This saddle is lightweight, easy to maintain, and budget-friendly.
Pros: These popular, durable Acerugs Western saddles are constructed from beautiful cordura, a blend of synthetic fibers used in tons of strength-promising products, like military wear and luggage. You’ll ride comfortably on a thickly padded, memory-foam seat and will have no issues tacking up a horse, as the equipment is lightweight and easy to maneuver. This makes it especially effective for young horses or horses new to riding. Its double-reinforced fiberglass tree helps ensure proper balance and fit. Your saddle set also includes adjustable Blevins buckles, padded stirrups, and a faux fleece underside for added shock absorption.
Cons: This Western saddle doesn’t include the girth and back cinch or horse bit, so plan to purchase these items separately.
Bottom Line: It’s a stylish, comfortable, and functional (not to mention affordable) saddle, making it a quality choice for you and your horse. Equip your larger-than-life friend with this Acerugs saddle and hit the trails or your next big show.
Acerugs Leather English Saddle with Medium Tree Starter Kit
A quality leather saddle kit with English saddle essentials.
Pros: Acerugs does it again with this traditional-style saddle starter kit, with a 100% premium leather seat. For more than half the price of other, similar sets, this lightweight saddle offers a secure, balanced riding experience with concealed knee rolls, padded flaps, and a comfy, medium-deep padded seat, perfect for equestrians and their horses to practice riding, gaiting, and jumping. Its lower-pummel design makes it a great starter jumping saddle. You’ll also receive a free starter tack set to help you get started, including bridle, reins, girth, and stirrup leathers and irons.
Cons: Be sure to double-check the rider’s and horse’s measurements to ensure you choose the perfect saddle.
Bottom Line: Here’s another simple, high-quality set from Acerugs designed for horses and riders to practice multiple English disciplines without breaking the bank. Plus, they’re comfortable and stylish.
Wintec General Purpose Saddle with Handle and Adjustable Tree
An easy and flexible saddle with adjustable panels fit for horses or ponies.
Pros: Younger, smaller riders need the right levels of support and comfort to help establish healthy, proper horseback-riding habits from day one, and this Wintec kids’ saddle is designed to do exactly that. Plus, it’s fitted for lead-line horse and pony shows. The traditional-style faux leather saddle is adjustable to your horse, extra-safe, simple to clean, and easy for kids to handle, allowing you to confidently stand back and let little riders shine.
Cons: The saddle is only available in one size, and though it’s adjustable for horses, most kids probably will outgrow it by the time they’re 12 or 13.
Bottom Line: When it comes to kids on horses, it takes a safe, comfortable saddle to help them (and their parents) feel more confident, and this model is a great buy. It’s well-built and designed for kids to comfortably get the hang of riding their horse or pony.
Y&Z Enterprises Kids Crystal-Studded Pleasure Trail Saddle
A fun, crystal-embellished Western saddle for kids.
Pros: Another great, sturdy starter for kids as young as 4 years old. This colorful (choose from four bright colors), basket-woven leather saddle set from Y&Z, with matching pommel, stirrups, cantle, skirt, and fender, is playful in appearance and excellent in function. It’s soft, with a cushioned, faux-suede seat, low-maintenance, and extra safe, including a molded security handle for kids, helping the child and parent feel more comfortable. This Western-style saddle fits ponies and weighs less than 13 pounds, making it easy to clean and carry.
Cons: Leather saddles can arrive stiff, requiring you to break it in before it feels more natural for you and your horse.
Bottom Line: This starter equipment designed for kids is well worth the money. It provides the comfort and security required for kids (and their horses) to learn how to ride safely and properly from the get-go.
Do some research, click “Add to Cart,” and saddle up! Whether you’re a horse-loving youngin’ or adult, one of these saddles could be the perfect solution for you and your horse friend to use for years to come.