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Saddle Up: Best English Saddles for Thoroughbreds and OTTBs

Saddle Selection for Thoroughbreds

As proud horse owners, riders, and trainers, we understand that selecting the right saddle for your horse is an essential step towards enjoying safe, comfortable, and memorable rides. However, when it comes to Thoroughbreds, choosing a saddle can be a bit of a challenge.

Thoroughbreds are athletic, intelligent, and elegant horses that have unique anatomy, including high withers and broad shoulders. Therefore, a good saddle for a Thoroughbred must have specific features that cater to their needs.

In this article, we will explore the critical saddle features for Thoroughbreds, English saddle options, and tips for correct saddle fit.

Saddle Features for Thoroughbreds

When selecting a saddle for a Thoroughbred, some key features will cater to their anatomy. One of these features is adjustability.

Adjustable saddles are ideal for Thoroughbreds because they provide versatility throughout different stages of their development. A saddle with adjustable trees, gussets, and panels will ensure a snug and secure fit as the horse develops muscles.

Another essential feature is comfort. A comfortable saddle will ensure your horse is happy, and as a result, they will be inclined to perform better.

For Thoroughbreds, this means finding a saddle that gives ample withers clearance. Thoroughbreds have prominent withers, which require a saddle with a high gullet to provide clearance and prevent pressure points.

Lastly, the Thoroughbred is an all-around athlete. They excel in different competitions such as show jumping, dressage, and cross country, and therefore, an ideal saddle should have a level of versatility.

A multi-purpose saddle that can perform across different disciplines is an excellent option for Thoroughbreds.

English Saddle Options

Now that we know what features to look for in a Thoroughbred saddle, let us explore some English saddle options that cater to these features. Arena High Wither AP Saddle: This saddle is designed with high wither clearance, broad shoulder clearance, and adjustable trees to fit various Thoroughbred shapes and sizes.

HDR Synergy Close Contact: The

HDR Synergy Close Contact saddle is fitted with an adjustable tree and a deep supportive seat to help with balance.

HDR Vegan X All Purpose: The HDR Vegan X All-Purpose saddle is animal-friendly but still delivers on the essential features of a good Thoroughbred saddle. It has an adjustable tree, high withers clearance, and is suitable for a variety of disciplines.

Wintec 500 series: The Wintec 500 series saddles are lightweight, low maintenance, and come with changeable gullets and interchangeable panels. This saddle is affordable and a great value-for-money option for Thoroughbred owners.

Collegiate Integrity Mono Dress Saddle: The Collegiate Integrity Mono Dress saddle is perfect for riders who prefer a close contact and very supportive seat. This saddle is designed especially for high withered horses, making it a great choice for Thoroughbreds.

Collegiate Lectern Dressage Saddle: This saddle is specifically designed for Thoroughbred dressage riders who prefer a deeper supportive seat. It is adjustable and has a long girth, making it perfect for high withered horses.

Tips for Correct Saddle Fit

Even with a wide range of Thoroughbred saddles available in the market, it is crucial to achieve the correct saddle fit. These tips will be useful in ensuring your Thoroughbred has an excellent saddle fit:

Saddle Fitting Assessment for Horse Fit

– Balance: Ensure the saddle is centered and balanced on the horse’s back

– Wither clearance: Ensure there is adequate clearance for your horse’s prominent withers, preventing pressure points

– Channel width: Ensure the horse’s spine has enough room in the channel to prevent pinching

– Panel contact: Ensure the panels contour the horse’s back and provide even distribution of weight

– Billet placement: Ensure the billet placement is correct and provides maximum stability

– Length: Ensure the saddle’s length is proportionate to your horse’s back length

– Tree angle: Ensure the tree angle matches your Thoroughbred’s shoulder width

– Tree width: Ensure the tree width is appropriate for your horse’s overall shape

Saddle Fitting Assessment for Rider Fit

– Seat size: Ensure the seat size is suitable for your body type

– Balance: Ensure the saddle provides a stable platform for the rider

– Stability: Ensure the saddle provides enough grip for the rider

– Leg position: Ensure the saddle allows the leg to stay aligned and centered beneath the rider’s body

Additional Considerations

– Rider height: Ensure the saddle is proportionate to the rider’s height

– Flap length: Ensure the flaps are appropriate for the rider’s leg length

– Twist width: Ensure the saddle’s twist allows for a comfortable and natural leg position

In conclusion, Thoroughbreds are unique horses that require the proper saddle fit to ensure an enjoyable and safe riding experience. Therefore, selecting an English saddle that caters to specific Thoroughbred features is crucial, and ensuring the correct saddle fit is imperative.

Remember to seek professional assistance if you need help determining the proper saddle fit for your horse, and always prioritize your horse’s comfort and safety.

Best English Saddles for OTTBs

Off-the-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) are former racehorses that have retired from racing and can embark on a new career in eventing, jumping, or dressage. OTTBs can be daunting to train and ride as they require time and patience to adjust to new routines and environments.

Additionally, they have unique anatomy that requires a saddle that can fit their high withers and narrow back. In this article, we will explore the best English saddles for OTTBs that cater to their needs.

Arena High Wither AP Saddle with HART

One of the best saddles for OTTBs is the Arena High Wither AP with HART. This comfortable saddle is specifically designed for high-withered horses, making it perfect for OTTBs. The saddle is versatile, which means it can be used across different disciplines, including dressage, jumping, and eventing.

The Arena High Wither saddle features synthetic leather and an ample channel that provides enough room for the horse’s spine. It also comes with an adjustable gullet, which makes it easy to change the saddle’s fit as your horse develops muscles.

The HART technology in the saddle ensures maximum performance and a comfortable ride.

HDR Synergy Close Contact


HDR Synergy Close Contact saddle is another fantastic option for OTTBs. This saddle is designed for tall riders and comes with a forward flap that provides enough room for long legs. The HDR Synergy also features a gullet system that allows the rider to change the saddle’s fit as necessary.

The foam panels provide extra padding and comfort, and the saddle also comes with a lifetime warranty, making it a worthwhile investment.

HDR Vegan X All Purpose

If you’re looking for an animal product-free saddle, the

HDR Vegan X All Purpose is an excellent option. This saddle is made of synthetic wool and is an affordable option for horse owners on a budget.


HDR Vegan X All Purpose provides a comfortable ride for the horse and the rider and has a cutback pommel that helps with clearance for high withers.

Wintec 500 All Purpose


Wintec 500 All Purpose is a synthetic leather saddle that is perfect for daily riding. This saddle is versatile, durable, and easy to adjust with its changeable gullet system.

Additionally, the

Wintec 500 All Purpose is available in two versions: flocked or CAIR. Flocked versions have wool stuffing, whereas the CAIR versions feature air cushions that distribute pressure evenly for optimal comfort.

Collegiate Integrity Mono Dress Saddle


Collegiate Integrity Mono Dress Saddle is designed for riders who prefer a close contact, secure seat. This saddle features a monoflap design that provides extra rider comfort and is fitted with large knee blocks for added stability.

The saddle is made of all leather and has white stitching, making it an elegant option for riders.

Collegiate Lectern Dressage Saddle

Lastly, the

Collegiate Lectern Dressage Saddle is an excellent option for OTTBs that specialize in dressage. This saddle features a Y-girthing system that provides stability and a wide channel that ensures all-day comfort for the horse.

The saddle’s knee blocks provide excellent support for riders, and the saddle comes with a quick-changeable gullet system that makes saddle adjustments easy and quick.

Frequently Asked Questions

Use of Riser Pads

Riser pads are correction pads that go underneath the saddle to help with saddle fit. A common issue with OTTBs is their high withers.

Riser pads can be used to raise the saddle to accommodate the horse’s high withers and provide wither clearance.

Feed for Hot OTTBs

Some OTTBs can be hot and anxious. Therefore, they require a feed that helps calm them down while providing optimum nutrition.

In addition to a balanced diet, calming supplements that contain magnesium can help reduce anxiety levels. Additionally, gut health is essential, so feed that prevents ulcers and fecal water syndrome can be beneficial.

Need for Breast Collar

Some OTTBs have mutton withers, which means their shoulders are wider than their withers. When saddling these horses, the saddle can slip towards the back.

Therefore, a breast collar can be used to stabilize the saddle and prevent it from slipping.

Quick Change Gullet

Quick change gullets are often found in saddles that cater to Thoroughbreds. These gullets allow the rider to adjust the saddle’s fit to accommodate the horse’s developing muscles.

Quick change gullets make saddle adjustments easy and quick, particularly for those who ride multiple horses with different builds and shapes. In conclusion, selecting the right English saddle for an OTTB is crucial for both the horse’s comfort and the rider’s performance.

The most suitable saddles for OTTBs are those that cater to their unique anatomy, including high withers and narrow backs. The best English saddles for OTTBs are the Arena High Wither AP Saddle, the

HDR Synergy Close Contact, the

HDR Vegan X All Purpose, the Wintec 500 All-Purpose, the

Collegiate Integrity Mono Dress Saddle, and the

Collegiate Lectern Dressage Saddle.

Additionally, we provided answers to common questions regarding the use of riser pads, feed for hot OTTBs, the need for a breast collar, and quick change gullets for saddle adjustment. Remember always to prioritize your horse’s comfort and safety when selecting a saddle and to seek professional assistance if necessary.

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