How to Choose a Good Saddle for Your Horse

A very commonly asked question, when it comes to choosing saddles, is whether you should consider the horse or the rider? The answer is you should really consider both, perhaps the horse a bit more than the rider but nonetheless both should be comfortable with the device. Generally speaking, you should be able to find an appropriate saddle for your horse designed for your taste.

Appropriate Fit

Horses are great pets but the honest truth is they really do not care what type of saddle you use, whether it is Australian, Western or even and English dressage saddle makes little difference as long as it fits their back well and is in good repair. Saddles vary in gullet width and bar length, and the important thing for you to remember is that these should be compatible with the type of horse you own. For example, Arabian saddles (created for narrower shouldered Arabian horses) are narrower in the gullet and may not fit well on a full size quarter horse.

Appropriate Use

Are you trying to break a horse to ride? Perhaps you are interested in English jumping. Your choice in activities will also have a great deal to do with what type of saddle you purchase. When you are working with a horse that has not been ridden, a lot most people will opt for a western saddle for the extra leg control and the horn to grab in case things go terribly wrong!

Rider Considerations

Each saddle type will come in a variety of seat sizes, from tiny varieties for small children to extremely large seats for full sized adults. Seats are measured in inches, a standard saddle will be approximately 15 inches, this will suit most average size adults however there are saddles in excess of 17 inches for extremely large people. There is a twofold purpose for proper seat size, one for your comfort and two so that your weight is distributed over a wide enough area to prevent pressure points on the horse.

Why Worry?

Only those who have never ridden would wonder what all the fuss is about! An improperly fitted saddle, whether it is on your end or your pets can lead to difficulty staying in the saddle. Some horses will simply take the discomfort and ride as if nothing is wrong, however they may suffer sores or aching muscles later as a result. A less gentile horse will let you know right quick that the saddle or some part of the equipment is not their cup of tea. Snorting, stomping and even bucking can result, none of which is good for you.


Buying the right saddle for your beloved pets is not as difficult as you might imagine. Unless you have a very highbred Arabian or thoroughbred, you likely have a quarter horses or quarter horse mix. These horses will generally take a saddle with full quarter horse bars. If you are in doubt, you can always measure your horse at the withers and compare that figure with the gullet size on a potential saddle. When all else fails have your horse professionally fitted for equipment.

For more information please see