Horseback Riding
Unless you plan to ride bareback, you'll need a saddle to ride a horse. Most recreational stables and riding schools will provide a saddle for you to use. If you own a horse or as you progress in your training and riding, you will want to buy your own saddle. Here are some tips to help you select one:

  • Up until ten years ago, saddles were made primarily of leather. Today, with the advances in fabric technology, you have a variety of choices in saddle material. Many new riders will find that the synthetic saddles are lighter, easier to take care of, and are financially friendly in an expensive sport. Leather saddles, because of their cost, are a true investment for a long term commitment to riding. Both leather and synthetic saddles can be bought ready to ride but can also be custom designed and manufactured.
  • When asked, a layperson will tell you that there are two styles of riding: English and Western. There are actually dozens of saddle styles, each especially designed for disciplines that range from those who actively compete their horses in English-based Saddleseat and Jumpers to Western-based Endurance and Roping & Reining. Even a more relaxed backyard horse owner will own more than one style saddle to suit the amount of time they spend with their equine companion.
  • Saddles are not universal: you'll need to pick a saddle that will fit both you and your horse. An improperly fit saddle will cause a rider discomfort and can severely injure a horse. While there is adjustability and a wider saddle can always be padded for short-term use on a narrower horse, you should buy the saddle with a particular horse in mind.

Like any equipment investment, you will need to decide the likelihood that you will continue with horseback riding and the potential resale value of the used saddle if not. In addition, when buying a saddle for a child, also consider the ability of the saddle to accommodate the child's growth in size as well as skills.

As a service to you, we are experimenting with providing additional product information:
Questions, Comments, Suggestions, & Corrections 2005,2006 CliqueFriends, LLC