A Quick Guide to Choosing Pony Saddles

Just like horse saddles, pony saddles come in a variety of configurations designed for different uses. Meant to fit horses up to about 14 hands high, pony saddles are usually made to fit children and small statured adults. With shorter stirrup leathers or fenders, smaller stirrups, and of course, smaller seats, they look like diminutive versions of their larger, horse-sized counterparts.

Popular Styles in Pony Saddles

The most common types of pony saddles are English and Western. English pony saddles are extremely lightweight, so it is very easy for kids to saddle up by themselves after they learn how to do the job correctly! The skirting on English pony saddles is minimal, so the rider has better contact with the animal’s sides. On the other hand, there’s no horn to hang onto so be certain that young children with very little experience are closely supervised whenever they ride. English saddles are popular all over the world.

Western pony saddles come in an exciting array of colors and finishes. And just like bigger western saddles for full-sized horses, they feature a horn at the front, and a high cantle at the back, both of which can help an unsteady rider keep his or her seat. These saddles usually have deep seats with a little padding for comfort, and their wide stirrups sometimes have protective covers on the toes to prevent the feet from slipping through. This feature is an excellent one for teaching young riders to keep the balls of their feet in contact with the stirrups while pointing their heels down. Western saddles are very popular in the United States and Canada, and their popularity is growing elsewhere, too.

We have yet to find good Australian pony saddles. As this saddle style is becoming more and more common, especially in North America, it is likely that pony-size “Aussie” saddles will become available at some point.

Last but not least, and not really a saddle type, comes the bareback pad. A bareback pad is an excellent tool for teaching riders how to balance on a horse, as it is easy to feel every movement the animal makes. Use caution when introducing a rider to a bareback pad! They are prone to slipping sideways when stirrups are used for mounting, and if the pony bucks, the rider is likely to come off. We recommend using bareback pads only on calm ponies.

What to Look for In Pony Saddles

Be sure to look for good construction and if you’re considering a secondhand pony saddle, inspect it well to ensure that all the stitching is tight and in good condition. Be sure that the saddle will be a good fit for the rider by checking our sizing chart, and ensure that you measure the pony too, to be sure that the saddle will fit.

Look for a comfortable saddle pad to cushion the saddle, since a comfortable pony is one that’s less likely to buck or rear while carrying a young rider.

Finally, look for a great deal! At SaddleOnline, you’ll find complete tack sets with pony saddles, bridles, and matching breast collars. They’re ideal for any young rider, and they make fantastic gifts at Christmas or anytime.