6 Best Horse Saddles (A Buyer's Guide)

best horse saddle

One of the most expensive pieces of tack is the saddle. Choosing the right horse saddle for you and your horse is an important decision.

A poorly fitted saddle makes your horse uncomfortable and causes behavioral problems. A well-fitting saddle, on the other hand, doesn’t interfere with your horse’s natural movement.

For you, the rider, a saddle helps you stay balanced by evenly distributing your weight.

Horse saddles that are too small can damage your horse’s back and you won’t have an enjoyable ride, no matter what riding style you practice.

You may be overwhelmed by all the choices on offer. We show you our 6 best horse saddle options to help you find the right fit for you and your horse. Our detailed buyer’s guide has all the information you need to find which style you need.

Top 6 Saddles for Horses (Our Top Picks)

Henri de Rivel Memor-X Close Contact Saddle (Best Overall)

Henri de Rivel Memor-X Close Contact Saddle

Our choice for the best horse saddle overall is the Henri de Rivel Memor-X Close Contact Saddle. It is a general practice (GP) saddle you can use in a variety of horse riding styles, so it’s ideal for beginner riders.

The saddle is also suitable for shows as the signature stitching gives it an elegant look.

In an Australian nut color, this horse saddle was designed with comfort in mind. The seat is deep, and the supportive knee blocks help you ride with better support and stability. These blocks and padded forward flaps ensure you can land jumps on your horse with ease.

The high-density foam panels ensure the saddle is comfortable for you and your horse.

This close contact saddle is also a durable saddle with reinforced billet straps ensuring further longevity.

Pros

  • All-purpose saddle for beginner to experienced riders
  • Made from high-quality leather featuring nylon reinforced billet straps and high-density foam panels
  • Available in a range of sizes, from 14”-19”
  • Comes in 3 shapes (Regular, wide, and x-wide)

Cons

  • It’s our recommendation to get a wider tree unless you have high withered horses.
  • The saddle is suitable for a warmblood and not a quarter horse

Acerugs Western Pleasure Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle (Best Budget)

Acerugs Beautiful Western Pleasure Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle Free TACK Set PAD Silver Crystals (Turquoise, 15")
  • Saddles Will Come With A Signature Required For Delivery
  • Synthetic Cordura Material
  • Soft Padded Seat
  • Soft Synthetic Fleece Underside
  • Double Reinforced Fiberglass Tree

Our pick for the best horse saddle on a budget is the Acerugs Western Pleasure Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle. It is a lightweight saddle. It is easier to handle than other saddles when you need to carry it around, lift it, and place it on top of your horse.

The saddle has a soft padded seat, silver Texas star conchos, padded stirrups, and adjustable blevins buckles.

Made from synthetic Cordura, the saddle is easy to clean; simply wipe it down when needed. The seat is comfortable. It is padded with memory foam, so you can go horseback riding for long hours.

The synthetic underside fleece is soft so it is kind on your horse’s spine, keeping your horse comfortable.

The saddle features adjustable padded stirrups, a reinforced fiberglass tree, and double corner plates. All of these elements make for a comfortable saddle and a comfy ride for your horse.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to handle and clean
  • Included with the saddle are matching reins, headstall, breast collar, and pad
  • Available in a range of sizes (14”-17”)
  • Comes in a variety of colors

Cons

  • The breast collar has rough edges that may irritate your horse’s skin
  • Silver conchos look flimsy and can cause fitting issues so measure your horse before ordering

Manaal Enterprises Premium Western Leather Saddle (Best Western Saddle)

Manaal Enterprises Premium Leather Horse Wade Tree Western Leather Ranch Roping Work Horse Saddle All Accessory Included
  • The saddle's leather construction offers a timeless rustic appeal while also providing a durable and long-lasting build. The leather is made up of premium quality hides that have been treated and vegetable tanned to ensure it can endure the elements and rigorous use.
  • The use of leather also makes the saddle easy to clean and maintain, providing you with the peace of mind knowing that your saddle is not only comfortable but also easy to take care of.
  • This Western Wade Ranch Roping leather horse Saddle comes with a full quarter horse bar and gullet design that provides ample clearance for the withers of most horses.
  • The saddle is also equipped with multiple cinches that provide extra security for the saddle on the horse's back. This design enables the saddle to sit correctly on the horse's back, preventing it from slipping during rigorous activities.
  • The saddle features a deep seat with a wide swell and cantle that provides excellent support and comfort to the rider regardless of the riding terrain. The padded seat and soft leather lining ensure that the rider remains comfortable and can maintain good posture during prolonged riding activities. The rider can also adjust the stirrup length, providing them with customizable comfort and control.

The Manaal Enterprises Premium Western Leather Saddle is made from high-quality, thick cowhide that has been treated with Italian pigments and dyes to give it a stylish design.

The saddle has been treated with various AZO dyes, moisture repellent creams, and antifungal gels, ensuring no moisture-related problems.

To ensure the saddle is durable and to improve stability, the wide pie horn has been reinforced and wrapped with mule hide. For your horse’s comfort and to prevent slippage, the saddle underside is padded with soft fleece.

Pros

  • Comes in a variety of sizes (10”-18” seat)
  • Available in different colors and 4 finishes (rough out, antique oil, walnut oil, and chestnut)
  • Included with the saddle are matching reins, breast collar, and headstall
  • Tree is fiberglass-wrapped and wood-based

Cons

  • It’s a pricey Western saddle but worth the quality

Wintec 500 Flocked All Purpose Saddle (Best English Saddle)

Wintec 500 Flocked All Purpose Saddle

For the best in English saddles, the Wintec 500 Flocked All Purpose Saddle is the winner. The supportive, deep seat helps you feel stable and secure while sitting on your horse.

This English saddle features performance panel technology so the weight-bearing surface on your horse’s back is maximized to reduce pressure.

The easy-change gullet system ensures the saddle fits just about any horse.

Simply choose the best gullet width for your horse’s shape and muscling. If need be, you can also buy individual gullets, from narrow to extra-wide.

For your horse’s comfort, the flocked panels are super-soft, so they mold around your horse’s muscles while ensuring freedom of movement.

For your comfort, the ergonomic stirrup bar is placed in a recessed position so there isn’t so much bulk under your thighs. This means you are in closer contact with your horse.

Pros

  • Made from synthetic leather so it’s environmentally friendly
  • Has a quick-change girth point system
  • Elastiflex tree is durable and lightweight, ensuring enough space over your horse’s withers
  • Available in black or brown
  • Comes in sizes 16.5”-18”

Cons

  • Changeable gullet only changes the width, not the channel
  • Seat may force you into a chair seat position (keep your leg back for optimal seating)

Australian Outrider Stock Saddle with Horn (Best Australian Stock Saddle)

Australian Outrider Stock Saddle with Horn

The Australian Outrider Stock Saddle with Horn is suited for long rides. You can do Western riding, trail riding, as well as ranch work riding with this horse saddle.

The saddle has rose print details, and this makes a visually appealing contrast with dark leather knee rolls and seat.

This Australian stock saddle features an air tunnel comfort tree, which comes with a two-year warranty. The four-inch deep saddle reinforces knee pads, and supple leather ensures you sit comfortably in the correct riding position.

The trimmings of the saddle are brass plated.

Fittings are included with this horse saddle. This includes a pair of fender-style stirrup leather, a built-in leather over girth, an adjustable web girth (36”), and a pair of brass four-bar stirrup irons (5”).

Pros

  • Deep seat for comfort
  • Air tunnel comfort tree with warranty
  • Available in various sizes (16”-19”)
  • Comes in black and brown color options

Cons

  • Some users feel the stirrups are too long
  • Leather is stiff but loosens up with use

Acerugs Western Comfy Barrel Racing Pleasure Trail Horse Leather Saddle (Best Horse Saddle for Trail Riding)

The is a stylish 100% premium cowhide genuine leather horse saddle that has an antique finish and black inlay. The finish features basket weave and floral tooling that is hand-carved into the natural leather.

This saddle, which has a deep seat, is great for hours on the trail, Western riding, or if you race the barrels. You are fully supported by the high cantle.

The padded, black suede seat ensures you sit comfortably, and the quilt stitching adds extra grip.

There are also a few ties on the saddle to which you can add saddlebags and other tack.

To ensure your horse is comfortable, the underside of the seat is well-padded with synthetic fleece. The stirrup leathers are adjustable and padded.

Pros

  • Made from premium leather
  • Fiberglass-wrapped, wood base tree
  • Includes matching reins, headstall, and breast collar
  • Available in sizes 14”-18”

Cons

  • Chinches and horse bit aren’t included
  • Stirrups are heavy

Horse Saddles Buyer’s Guide

horse saddle guide

The Type of Horse Saddle

The type of horse saddle you choose should match the type of riding you do. There are three main types of saddles:

General Purpose (GP) Saddles

Also called all-purpose saddles, these horse saddles can be used in all riding disciplines. In general, these saddles offer you the closest fit and lightness you’d find in English saddles with the flexibility and comfort to do Western and trail rides.

GP saddles are ideal for beginner riders, horse riders who prefer a variety of riding styles, and endurance riders.

English Saddles

An English saddle is lightweight and looks a lot simpler than a Western saddle. Used for eventing and dressage, the horse rider can feel how their horse moves underneath this type of saddle.

The rider’s legs are in close contact with their horse. This allows the horse to feel subtle cues as the rider directs them for collection and lead changes. In an English saddle, the rider sits in a more upright position.

Western Saddles

Referred to as working saddles, Western saddles are meant to be comfortable. Riders generally spend longer hours in these saddles when they go trail riding, barrel racing, and roping or take part in Western pleasure riding events.

The deeper seat provides the horse rider with more stability when the horse runs at speed. The Western saddle comes with maximum utility so the rider can carry supplies.

Your Seat Size

Seat sizes are linked to the saddle type. For example, a Western saddle’s seat size starts at 12”, but adult sizes range from 14”-17”.

It would be great if you can just click buy according to the size, but you also need to consider the fork width, depth, and slope. These all affect how comfortable and secure your saddle will feel.

Keep in mind that you need to fit a hand width between the front of your body and the saddle pommel or horn. Your tailbone should rest comfortably on the cantle.

With an English saddle, the seat sizes are bigger because of the seat position. If you are used to a Western saddle but need to buy an English saddle, then you’d increase your seat size by two inches. So if you buy a Western saddle in a 15”, then your English saddle would be a 17”.

English saddles come in sizes 14”-19”.

To find what size your English saddle needs to be, sit in a chair with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Measure the length of your thighs from your knees to your hip bone.

The Gullet Size

The gullet size is a key factor in how well the saddle you choose fits your horse. A too narrow gullet means the saddle will pinch your horse and press uncomfortably into their spine. Even a gullet that is too wide can press down on your horse’s spine.

Both a too wide and too narrow gullet is uncomfortable, and over time, it can lead to health issues.

In terms of the gullet, there are eight sizes. Starting at 5.75” wide, small gullets are ideal for small quarter horses. The largest gullet at 8” is best for draft horses. Consult with a saddle fitter if you need help with the gullet size for your horse.

The Tree Size

The tree size affects how snuggly the saddle fits on either side of your horse’s spine. You get narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide tree sizes.

For the perfect saddle fit, insert two to four fingers between the gullet and your horse’s withers.

Saddle Material

Horse saddles are generally made from genuine leather, synthetic leather, or a synthetic material like Cordura. All of these materials make for durable saddles.

A synthetic saddle (not leather) is lightweight. These saddles are easy to transport and place on your horse’s back. They are also available at a more affordable price point.

On the other hand, leather saddles are heavier and pricier. However, these saddles are more durable and they look very elegant.

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