Buford Saddle's Horse Saddle Buyers Guide Modern saddles come in a wide variety of styles serving different uses, depending on the kind of riding done with the horse. There are general purpose saddles, hunt-seat saddles, western saddles, dressage saddles, show saddles and a lot more. Oftentimes, the sport or activity in which the rider and the horse engages with dictates the kind of saddle to be used. Presently, there are two popular types of horse saddles being used by owners and riders: the Western Saddle and the English Saddle.
The Western Saddle
Western Saddles were originally used on horses on working cattle ranches in the United States. They were designed to provide security and comfort to the rider when spending long hours on a horse, traveling over rugged terrain. They are the so-called “cowboy saddles” used today in various western riding activities such as cutting, reining, barrel racing, team roping, equitation and western pleasure.
Western Saddles are of many types, some are general purpose models, while some are specialized for specific western horse sports. The most common variations include:
* Roping saddle
* Cutting saddle
* Barrel racing saddle
* Endurance saddle
* Trail saddle
* Show saddle
* "Equitation" saddle
The English Saddle
English Saddles are used to ride horses in English riding throughout the world. They are the saddles used in all of the Olympic equestrian disciplines. These saddles have light weights and were primarily designed to allow the horse freedom of movement, whether jumping, running, or moving quickly across rugged, broken country with fences. Like the Western Saddle, the English Saddle also comes in many variations depending on the kind of event the rider and the horse participates in. The most common styles of the English Saddles are:
* All-Purpose or Eventing saddle
* The Jumping saddle
* Dressage saddle
* The Saddle seat saddle
* Endurance saddle
* English showing saddle
* Racing saddle
Polo saddleThings to Consider when Buying a Horse Saddle After acquiring a horse, a saddle is one of the first pieces of equipment most people buy. It is a major investment considering its importance in providing comfort and security to the rider. For this reason, selecting and buying a saddle requires much knowledge and deliberation.
Horse Riding Style or Activity
First and foremost, it is important to consider the kind of activity the horse would be engaging into.
This usually determines what type of horse saddle an owner would be required to purchase for his horse. The owner must decide whether what style of riding is he mostly inclined to do. Does the Western style appeal to him? Or does he see himself performing English riding? There are many specific types of Western and English saddles available which cater to different riding activities.
Basically, saddles are made up of either leather or synthetic materials. Leather is the traditional material from which saddles are made. But nowadays, synthetic saddles that are just as durable and high quality as leather ones are also available. Many new riders find that saddles made of synthetic materials are lighter, easier to clean and maintain, and are less expensive than ones made of leather. However, older horsemen will assert that leather is better. There is really no difference in quality and durability, it all comes down to preference. If one enjoys caring for leather, owning a good-quality leather saddle that is well-cared for can last for many years.
Horse Saddle Fit
After you have chosen the type of saddle you'll be needing for your horse, the fit is the next important thing to consider. Unfortunately, saddles are not one size fits all, as horses do not have the same body measurements. Horse owners should be careful enough to pick a saddle which decently fits their horse in order to provide maximum comfort and ensure excellent performance. A saddle that fits poorly can give rise to all sorts of training and health problems, not only for the horse, but also for the rider. Aside from the saddle fitting the horse, it is necessary that it fits the rider as well. If the seat does not fit the rider properly, it may bring about discomfort and cause the rider some difficulties in maintaining his position with the horse.