Selecting the right saddle can be a headache. Terms, measurements, your budget, your horse's needs, and your personal taste are all important considerations. How do you wade through the saddle lingo to make a good saddle fit purchase?
HorseSaddleShop.com makes it easy. By arming yourself with a little background knowledge (which you may or may not already possess) and making a few decisions about function and taste, you can easily navigate your way to your new favorite saddle. We break it down into five easy steps:
- Arm yourself with knowledge
- Consider you and your horse
- Narrow down your saddle choices
- Examine your safety net
- Ride into the sunset
Arm yourself with knowledge
That "thingamajig" and "yonder strap" may be terms that your horse understands, but all saddle descriptions use certain terms that you should be familiar with. Knowing the proper names for the parts of the saddle
will eliminate frustration as well as build your confidence.
Consider you and your horse
Measurements are crucial in choosing a well-fitting saddle, both for the sake of you and your horse.
What size seat do you need? Take a look at this chart
and jot down the answer. Do you have a seat that fits well now?
Go ahead and measure it
to double-check. Do you need a breed specific saddle?
These specific horse breeds have saddles intentionally designed to fit their unique shapes.
Most often we get calls about choosing the correct tree size. Does your horse need a semiquarter horse or full quarter horse bar? What's the difference? Feel free to use our downloadable gullet templates
for some hands-on measurements of your horse. The Saddle Expert System will quickly and easily help you to decipher what tree size will be perfect for your horse.
Narrow down your saddle choices
Once you're armed with knowledge and measurements, it's much easier to narrow down what you're looking for.
Are you interested in purchasing a used saddle?
Purchasing a used saddle
lets someone else take the hit of buying new, saving you money. You'll probably get a saddle that's nicely broken in. Unfortunately, you'll be left without the option of returning the saddle, should it not be what you anticipated. You'll also have limited variety to choose from, and if you have a uniquely-shaped horse, you may not find what you're looking for.
What are you willing to spend?
Your budget is one of the most important factors in purchasing a saddle. You'll notice a distinct price difference between saddles that are made of leather and saddles made of cordura. For help deciding which way to go, visit this page
Should I choose one brand over another?
We have the thought that "if it is not good enough for us to buy then it is not good enough for us to sell." That means that none of our saddles aren't worthy to be in our own stables, and we don't have a favorite brand. With that in mind, you might be wondering what the difference between manufacturers is. For more information on a particular brand name, visit this page.
What's the difference between tree materials?
Should you care whether the tree is built out of wood or ralide? What is a flex tree? What's the difference between a fiberglass or rawhide covered tree? We answer those questions here.
What's the difference between rigging options?
Most saddles are rigged for the designated purpose of the saddle. However, you need to know how your saddle is rigged if you have a personal preference and also so that you know exactly what straps you'll need to have to get riding when you purchase your saddle. To study the difference between rigging options, click here.
Examine your safety net
Need further help? You can use our online saddle expert system
to get you pointed in the right direction or confirm the saddle you've already picked out. We'll take a look at all the important detail and call or email you our suggestions. Our expert staff are friendly, professional, and have quite a knack for pleasing hard-to-fit horses.
After you've chosen the saddle you'd like to purchase, make sure you're familiar with our return policy. A saddle is an expensive purchase. Are there hidden costs in the process? What happens if the saddle doesn't fit? Read Chuck's thoughts on this important factor here.
Need a wider range of opinions? Visit our friendly forums
and ask away. We have plenty of equine experts that are more than willing to help beginners.
Ride into the sunset
You've gotten that exciting box on your doorstep. It fits well. Your horse is raring to hit the trail. But wait! Before you break in that new saddle, make sure you've got it placed correctly
--an essential step in ensuring good fit.
And after you've gotten it a little dirty, check back to make sure you know how to care for your new saddle
. Proper care, especially for leather, is necessary to enjoy your saddle's maximum potential.