A saddle is one of the most important and expensive pieces of gear used for horse riding. You don’t just want to buy the first saddle you come across, because saddles differ from one another greatly in their style. If you’re shopping for a saddle, here are a few tips to help guide you to the right one.
Fit For Your Horse & Style
The first consideration is whether a saddle is fit for your horse and the style of riding you’re doing. Start by looking at a saddle’s front bars and make sure that their angle matches your horse’s shoulder shape well. It’s also a good idea to test a saddle out and see whether it settles well on your horse and if it causes your horse any pain or discomfort. After you ride, take the saddle off and check your horse’s back. If the hair down the middle of its back is flattened down, that’s a sign that the saddle was putting pressure on the spine, which is not good for your horse. (You do, however, want your horse’s hair to be laid down evenly on the sides after wearing the saddle.)
Good For Posture
Your horse isn’t the only one affected by which saddle you choose; a good saddle can be the difference between pain and comfort for you as well. If the seat is too large or two small, for example, your weight won’t be distributed properly and that can cause pain for you. Beyond pain, a bad saddle can also affect the quality of your riding, and you want to set yourself up as best you can for success. Finding a saddle that provides the right kind of support and alignment doesn’t have to take you out of your price range; try shopping online for discount horse supplies to see if you can find a deal!
While it’s technically not necessary, buying and using a saddle pad (or saddle blanket) can be helpful for your riding routine. For one thing, saddle pads make things more comfortable for your horse. But they also help to keep your saddle from getting dirty. Using one won’t prevent the need to clean your saddle on a regular basis, of course, but it will make the cleaning process easier.
With these tips, you can turn the process of finding the right saddle for you into an enjoyable experience and enhance the quality of your riding for both your sake and your horse’s.