How to Buy A Saddle

Buying a New or Used Saddle

 

              The horse, there is a saying, “don't put the saddle before the horse”. Well take it literally. The saddle is what holds you to the horses back. It must fit the horses back for it to safely and effectively hold you on. That being said, horses are NOT just one size fits all. There are wide backs, narrow backs, long and short. In short, horses come in all shapes and sizes. To fit a saddle well you need to know a few things about your horses back. A wither tracing can help determine the first question of what size.

              Measure the gullet of a saddle you are currently using or borrow a friends saddle that works well on your horse and measure that. With the gullet measurement you will find your overall tree style. Western saddles have full quarter horse bars, draft bars, pony bars and everything in between. The English saddle is defined as narrow, regular, wide extra wide. One, you have determined the size of gullet and type of tree needed you can look for a saddle in your style with the right dimensions. Next is your seat size.

 

              Saddles always come in a seat size as well. Know the seat size you prefer. These sizes run in inches. Usually anything under 14” in Western, 15” in English is considered a youth size saddle. Our English saddles run 16”-18” and western 10”(mini size)-18” full size seat. We carry Australian saddles as well those sizes run 18”-20”. See the size reference below for cross sizes, English to Western to Australian.

 

 







Seat Size in inches

ENGLISH

Seat Size in inches

WESTERN

Weight or age of Rider

Seat Size in inches

AUSTRALIAN

 

 

10

X

3-5 years old

 

 

13

x(kids lead-line size)

12

X

6-8 years old

 

 

14

x(kids size)

13

X

8-10 years old

 

 

15

x(youth size)

14

X

10 years to 90 lbs

 

 

16

X

15

X

90-130 lbs

 

 

17

X

16

X

131-170 lbs

18

X

18

X

17

X

171-200 lbs

19

X

19

x(cutback only)

18

X

200 lbs +

20

X

20

x(cutback only)

 

 

 

 

 

21

x(cutback only)

 

 

 

 

 

22

x(cutback only)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know how a good saddle f its or doesn't fit the horse. Here is how to make sure your saddle fits the horse: Western and  English  .  An ill fitting saddle hurts the horse and the rider. Making sure you have a proper fitting saddle is key.

 

So you know what size gullet and seat but now what color or pattern? Silver or none? The look of the saddle has a lot to do with why we buy it. The leather has to be the color you prefer and should be a good quality saddle. Keep in mind any light color leather, or rough out leather will darken with wear and oiling. You can add your own silver to a saddle to make it show ready or you can buy a pre- blinged out saddle. Don't just settle for looks however, the saddle must fit you and your horse and be able to hold up to your riding style.

 

Keep in mind how you plan on storing your new purchase, stands, saddle carry bags. Also think on what you need to buy in addition to the saddle. Girth/ cinches often do not come with the saddle. Saddle pads, bridles, leather care items. Having these a head of time will make it easier once you get your new saddle.

 

With a new saddle it will take some time to “break in the saddle”. It will eventually conform to your body as well as the horses. Remember to regularly clean the saddle and maintain it. For western saddles you may need to “turn” the stirrups.

 

For used saddles you need to remember a few things to keep you and your investment safe. Most of these are none refundable purchases if coming from a person. A good tack shop will do consignment and allow you to bring the saddle to your horse to try it out. Check all the leather on the saddle for signs of wear, or replacement. Place the saddle on a stand and apply pressure to it in various places to make sure it doesn’t have any soft spots or give that would indicate a broken tree. Nothing should rattle around inside the saddle, and all screws and bolts should be tight. Sometimes you can really get a good deal shopping for a used saddle, make sure you take a second opinion with you.

 

Buying a new saddle is a fun and should be exciting event. Make sure you do your homework to ensure you get a saddle that will fit both you and your horse well. Care for you new leather products to keep the looking good and lasting with out fail for years.

 

 

 

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