Choosing The Right Saddle For Horse Riding
Horses and their owners need the right gear. While finding the perfect saddle for your riding style and ability is one thing, you may also want to try and stand out from the crowd, offering a designer style to even the most mundane of mares, while still choosing an affordable product that doesn’t break the bank. After all, a saddle can be one of the most expensive pieces of horse riding equipment you will buy and with no saddle, or horse, created equal, quite a bit goes in to finding the perfect saddle for horse riding.
The use of the horse is the most important factor for determining which saddle you choose. Whether you use your horse for outrides, dressage, show jumping or racing will determine which type of saddle is right for you. All different types of riding have distinctly different saddle styles and unfortunately a one-size-fits-all approach could leave both rider and horse very uncomfortable at the end of the day.
Your specific horse will also determine the style and size of the saddle with the width of the gullet needing to be adjusted according to the size of your horse. A saddle that fits an Arabian is not very likely to work on a Thoroughbred. You also need to check the saddle is the right fit for you as the rider. While you can get some adjustment with saddle correction pads, an ill-fitting saddle will lead to a painful and difficult experience when riding.
The next factor you need to consider when buying a saddle is what type of material you will go for. While leather saddles were the be all and end all just a few years ago, synthetic horse saddles have come a long way since the days they were first introduced. These are now made of synthetic suede or leatherette style materials and can be just as long wearing as more expensive full leather options, while being lighter and easier to clean.
If you opt for leather, also be sure to look for a good quality variant as just like saddle style, not all leathers are the same. A soft leather with poor stitching and finishing won’t last very long. Always opt for the very best quality material that you can afford to avoid having to buy a new saddle in a few years’ time.
There can be an advantage to buying a used saddle as you don’t have to break it in, like you do with a new one (much the same as with a new pair of shoes). A well-maintained second hand saddle will be supple and ready to ride.
However be sure to do your research on all of the above before buying a used saddle because a saddle that is too big for you or your horse, is not the right style for the type of riding you will be doing, or is worn through, especially at the key stress points, will just be a waste of money.