Top 10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Saddle

                Buying a saddle can be tuff and frustrating at times. Figuring out how to buy the right saddle, and what to look for, can be tricky for a first time rider or a less experienced rider. With all the different types, models, and sizes within the saddle world, it can get a little overwhelming when trying to purchase the perfect saddle for both you and your horse.  But fear no more! With these ten easy questions, you will be buying saddles like a pro!

               1.   What is your budget?

                It is always good to set a nice price budget when looking into purchasing a saddle. Having a budget can make it easier to narrow down the saddle search and help you find something that you will love, without braking you bank account!

    2.     Where is the saddle made?

           When looking at saddles, the first thing you want to do is figure out where the saddle was made. Knowing where the saddle was made/comes from can help to determine the quality of the saddle.

     3.    What is the saddle made of?

           This question goes along with where did the saddle come from. Knowing what material the saddle is made out of will also depict the quality level of the saddle. The two most common materials that make up a saddle are leather or synthetic material. When looking at leather saddles, make sure the grade of leather is premium quality. You want it to be strong and be able to withstand tough use. This way it will last a long time. Synthetic saddles are going to be a little bit cheaper than leather saddles. Synthetic saddles tend to be a little bit of a lesser quality and may not last as long as leather. But, synthetic saddles weigh a lot less than leather saddles and are great for both horse and rider.

                4.    How do I know what size to get?

                When looking to buy a saddle, you want to make sure that the saddle will fit both you and your horse. The first thing to do is figure out your “seat” size. Your seat size will normally go by your weight and will differ between English and Western.


  90 lbs

  15” Seat

  90-130 lbs

  16” Seat

 131-175 lbs

  17” Seat

 176-225 lbs

  18” Seat

 225 + lbs

  19” Seat


  90-130 lbs

  15” Seat

 131-170 lbs

  16” Seat

 171-200 lbs

  17” Seat

 200 + lbs

  18” Seat

          Once you find out your seat size, the next step it to fit your horse. Horses are fitted for saddles by “gullet” sizes. The gullet refers to the deep groove that is found on the underbelly of the saddle and is the part that will sit on top of your horse. There are two different ways to measure the gullet size. First, you can do a wither tracing to see what size saddle gullet you will need for your horse. Second, you can measure the saddles gullet by measuring Concho to Concho on the front of the saddle (the Concho is where the saddle leather ties attach to the saddle in the front).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Here is an average gullet sizing table to help you out!

  5.5” Gullet

 Standard pony size

  6” gullet

 Standard narrow size

  6.5” gullet

 Semi-Quarter horse bars = The average Quarter Horse Size

  7” gullet

 Full-Quarter Horse bars = Wider stockier “bull dog” Size

  8” gullet

 Draft Horse


Once you find the right gullet size, you will be all set to properly fit your horse for the right saddle!

                  5.      What is the saddle made for?

            You want to make sure that the saddle is built for the purpose that you are wanting to use it for. For example, you wouldn’t want to purchase a ranch work saddle if you were looking for a barrel racing saddle. Make sure that whatever type of saddle you are looking for, trail/pleasure, show, or work, is the saddle that you end up purchasing.


                    6.      How much is the shipping going to cost?

                It is always good to figure out the shipping cost when buying online or having the store ship it to your house. You don’t want to end up paying almost the same amount of the saddle, just for shipping expenses! So make sure that the shipping cost is going to be adequate to your shipping needs.

                    7.       What is the return policy?

                You ALWAYS want to find out what the return policy will be for the saddle that you are going to purchase! You don’t want to end up spending a bunch of money on a saddle that doesn’t end up fitting! And then you find out that you are stuck with that saddle and can’t return/exchange it. Always ask about the return policy!

                       8.     Dose the saddle store provide good customer service?

                You always want to purchase from a store that has great customer service! Good customer service means that the employees know what they are talking about and are always willing to help you in any way possible. If the store doesn’t have good service, it might make you rethink their reliability and quality of the products they are selling. It is always good to purchase from someone who knows a thing or two about horses and is always able to answer your questions.  

                       9.      Can the saddle be adjusted to fit your needs?

                Sometimes you might need to adjust a saddle to fit your needs/wants. Example, say a saddle’s stirrups may be too long to fit your legs and height measurements. Can the stirrups be adjusted to fit you? Or say you want some extra saddle details added, are they able to add it on for you? You always want to make sure that this is a possibility when thinking about purchasing, just in case you are thinking about altering the saddle for whatever reason.   


If Buying a Used Saddle


        10.      How much has the saddle been used?   


        When looking to purchase a used saddle, always find out how much the saddle has been used. If the saddle has been used a lot, and has a lot of wear and tear, then the saddle might not last you very long. You also want to ask and see how well they took care of the saddle. Did they oil it enough/properly, did they clean it, what is the condition of the leather, and is there any damage to the saddle? These are great thing to ask/look for if you are looking to buy a used saddle.

         Buying a saddle does not have to be stressful anymore! With just knowing what to look for and how to ask the right questions, you will be buying saddles like a pro! And not just any kind of saddle, but a saddle that is going to fit both you and your horse.