How to Choose the Best Saddle

After your horse, your most important purchase probably will be your saddle. The choice of a saddle can make or break the riding experience you have with your horse. With a properly-fitting saddle, you and your horse will feel more comfortable when out riding, making the time together more enjoyable. A poorly fitting saddle, on the other hand, can cause your horse extreme discomfort and pain.

"A horse that is being ridden with a saddle that doesn't fit may show his discomfort by inappropriate behavior such as balking, rearing, head tossing, bucking, refusing transitions, head shaking, ear pinning, biting and/or kicking," says Sandy Arledge, a horse trainer and a breeder of American quarter horses in San Diego, CA.

Saddles don't come cheap – at least if you want one that will last for more than a few months. You probably will have to spend a minimum of about $250, or you could spend a couple thousand dollars or more for a top-of-the-line saddle. Because it is a big-ticket item, you should make sure you've chosen the saddle that best suits you before you buy it rather than discover later that you should have bought another one.

If you've visited some tack shops or checked out a mail-order catalog or two, you may feel somewhat overwhelmed at the variety of saddles that are available.

Tips for Buying a Suitable Saddle

Whether you purchase a new saddle or a used one – you can't go wrong with a quality saddle.