The Wrong Saddle Can Cause Your Horse To Misbehave: Picking The Right Horse Saddle

Picking the right horse saddle isn’t easy. There are many factors that you need to consider when making the purchase. These factors range from how comfortable the saddle is to the material that it was made from. However, there’s one other crucial factor that you’ll have to consider. This involves how comfortable the saddle will be to your horse.

A saddle that doesn’t fit your horse correctly can cause it to start misbehaving. To avoid this, here are some tips on the best way to pick your horse saddle.

We asked our experts from what they could say about picking a proper saddle. The answer was more then enough, so we needed to create a bullet-point list of things to remember while shopping for the equipment. Keep in mind Dicks are known for being expert in all things related to horses.

1. Purpose Of The Saddle

One important factor that you should consider is the purpose of the saddle. There are generally four types of saddles: general purpose saddles, jump saddles, dressage saddles and showing saddles. Each type of saddle has its own specific purpose.

A close contact jumping saddle with extra cushioning for impact absorption.
A close contact jumping saddle with extra cushioning for impact absorption.

A. General Purpose Saddles

These saddles are generally used for all disciplines. They are great for leisure riders because it gives them the ability to do anything with their horse. However, if you’ll be using the horse for something specific, like racing, you are better off having a saddle that has been designed for it.

B. Jump Saddles

These saddles are for race riders. They have security features such as knee and thigh blocks which help you stay firmly on the horse while jumping hurdles. They are great for riders who usually race cross-country.

C. Dressage Saddles

These saddles are great for dressage and flatwork. They have long and straighter saddle flaps when compared to the rest and allow for a longer leg position. They also have deeper seats.

D. Showing Saddles

These saddles are used to showcase you horse’s best structure by not limiting its comfort. They are designed to give the horse total freedom when moving about.

2. The Material Of The Saddle

A beautiful multi-colored leather saddle.
A beautiful multi-colored leather saddle.

Once you’ve identified the type of saddle that you need, the next step is to choose the material that you want for your saddle. There are different things that you should consider when choosing your saddle, such as the cost of the saddle and its comfort. There are generally two types of material that you can choose from: synthetic material and leather.

Leather is the best material for making saddles. Not only is it comfortable but it also gives you and your horse a more refined look. However, just like any other item made from pure leather, you will have to take care of it well enough for it to last. Furthermore, leather saddles can be quite expensive as well.

Synthetic saddles are much cheaper than leather. They have improved in look and feel over the years such that they can be easily be mistaken for leather. They are also much easier to clean and tend to be lighter than their counterparts.

3. Width Of The Gullet

A gullet gauge can be used to measure your horse's fit.
A gullet gauge can be used to measure your horse’s fit.

The gullet is the main part which dictates whether the saddle fits your horse or not. It is also an important factor when it comes to your own comfort. You need to consider the back type of your horse when selecting the perfect gullet for it. If the gullet is too narrow for your horse, it will make your horse feel uncomfortable and if the gullet is too wide, it might be uncomfortable for the rider. You must choose a suitable solution that won’t cause any discomfort to either of you.

4. Balance Of The Saddle

You need to ensure that the saddle fits your horse completely. A saddle that tips forward or backward can be very uncomfortable for the rider. You also should consider whether the pommel and cantle are level. A saddle that is not level will lead to a lot of pressure on your horse that can be very uncomfortable for it.


You need to consider both your comfort and that of your horse when buying a saddle. You can also consider a used saddle if the expenses are quite high for a new one, if it is well maintained and fits your horse correctly.

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