Choosing Horse Saddles: Three Types to Consider

Horse saddles come in an astonishing array of shapes, sizes and colors. Some, such as dressage saddles, show saddles and barrel racing saddles, are designed for very special purposes but can be used for other things, while others, such as all-purpose English, Australian, and Western trail saddles are designed for versatility and comfort, and are useful for a wide array of equestrian activities.

Australian Stock Saddles

Affectionately known as “Aussies” or “Poleys,” Australian stock saddles come with and without front horns. These saddles are deep-seated and comfortable, with blocks below the pommel that help keep you feeling secure even when riding up or down hills. These saddles feature wide, comfortable irons that support the feet and legs during long trail rides, and once broken in, conform beautifully to your horse’s back. If you plan to do mostly trail riding, consider an Australian stock saddle. It’s got a blend of some of the best features of English and Western saddles and tends to be very easy to adapt to. Australian saddles offer an attractive appearance that appeals to most people, and the ones available at SaddleOnline are provided with full rigging for your convenience.

Western Saddles

Western saddles are made for a few different purposes, such as barrel racing, roping, and showing. Most, though, are well suited to use during different activities such as gymkhana and trail riding! A western saddle offers lots of support to the rider, and because of its wide fenders, helps keep clothing clean during riding. Wide stirrups support the feet, and a padded seat lets you enjoy long rides without discomfort. For general riding, you’ll find a huge array of western saddles in sizes to fit you and your horse comfortably. Be sure to look beyond pretty colors and shiny extras though; some of the most comfortable saddles are purposely plain. Endurance saddles offer western styling both with and without the horn, and are usually a bit lighter than old-fashioned models. If you want the convenience of a saddle horn but prefer a lightweight, inexpensive saddle, consider a synthetic western saddle. While synthetic material doesn’t last as long as leather, it’s easy to care for and offers plenty of comfort.

English All-Purpose Saddles

The all-purpose English saddle features shorter billet straps than a dressage saddle, and because it is generously cut forward, it’s ideal for riders who like to take the occasional jump. This type of saddle offers a basic, streamlined appearance and best of all, it is available in a huge range of sizes and shapes to fit a variety of different horses and riders. If you plan to ride some trails, show your horse in English classes (mostly on the flat) and practice your riding skills in the arena, then this is a great saddle to consider. Many of the English all-purpose saddles offered at SaddleOnline come with extra accessories such as a matching bridle. Some even come with saddle pads! Like other common horse saddles, these are available in leather as well as in synthetic material.