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The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Perfect English Saddle

Saddle Shopping Tips

Saddle shopping can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to the equestrian world. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know which type of saddle is best suited for your horse and your riding needs.

In this article, we will provide you with some essential saddle shopping tips to help make the process easier.

Types of English Saddles

Before we dive into the key considerations when saddle shopping, let’s take a quick look at the different types of English saddles available. 1.

All-Purpose Saddles: These types of saddles are versatile and can be used for a variety of riding activities, including recreational riding and trail riding. 2.

Close Contact Saddles: These saddles are designed for jumping, hunter under saddle, and equitation riding. They have a minimalistic design, allowing the rider to have a closer, more secure contact with the horse.

3. Dressage Saddles: These saddles have a deeper seat and a centrally balanced design, making them great for dressage riding.

Key Considerations

When shopping for a saddle, there are some key considerations you should keep in mind. These include your horse, helmet, and the saddle you choose.


Your Horse: Your horse is the most important consideration when it comes to saddle shopping.

Every horse has a unique shape and size, and you need to make sure that the saddle you choose fits your horse properly. A poorly fitting saddle can cause discomfort and even injury to your horse.


Your Helmet: Your helmet is a crucial piece of safety equipment and should always be worn when riding.

When trying on saddles, make sure you have your helmet with you so you can ensure that the saddle does not hit the back of your helmet when you are in the saddle. 3.

The Saddle You Choose: When choosing a saddle, it is important to keep your riding needs in mind. Consider the type of riding you will be doing and the amount of time you will be spending in the saddle.

A saddle that is comfortable for a short ride may not be suitable for a longer ride. New vs.

Used Saddles

When it comes to choosing a saddle, you have the option of buying a new or a used saddle. There are pros and cons to both options.

1. New Saddles: New saddles are a popular choice because they come with a warranty and are in pristine condition.

However, high-quality new saddles can be expensive. 2.

Used Saddles: Used saddles can be a more affordable option, and you can often find high-quality used saddles. It’s important to make sure you buy from a reputable seller and have the saddle inspected by a saddle fitter before purchasing.

Top English Saddle Brands

When shopping for a saddle, there are many different brands to choose from. Here are some of the top English saddle brands:


Antars: Antars offers a range of high-quality saddles designed for a variety of riding disciplines. 2.

Bates: Bates saddles are known for their innovative designs, such as their adjustable gullet system. 3.

Collegiate: Collegiate saddles are designed for the rider who wants a high-quality saddle without breaking the bank. 4.

Pessoa: Pessoa saddles are known for their comfortable, secure design, making them a popular choice for jumping and eventing. 5.

Herms: Herms saddles are a luxury brand known for their exquisite design and quality craftsmanship.

Role of a Saddle Fitter

A saddle fitter plays an important role in ensuring that your saddle fits your horse properly. Saddle fitters can help you choose the right saddle for your horse’s unique shape and size, make any necessary adjustments to the saddle, and provide advice on saddle appropriateness.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about saddles:

1. Are Wintec saddles any good?

Wintec saddles are a popular choice for riders on a budget, and they often receive good reviews for their quality and affordability. 2.

What are some popular jumping saddle brands? Some popular jumping saddle brands include Bates, Pessoa, and Antars.

3. What are some popular western saddle brands?

Some popular western saddle brands include Circle Y, Billy Cook, and Martin Saddlery. 4.

How expensive are English saddles? The price of an English saddle can vary widely depending on the brand and quality.

A good quality saddle can cost between $1,000 and $4,000.


In conclusion, saddle shopping can be overwhelming, but keeping these key tips in mind can help make the process easier. Remember to consider your horse’s needs, wear a helmet when trying on saddles, and choose the saddle that best fits your riding needs.

Whether you choose a new or used saddle, make sure it is inspected by a saddle fitter and fits your horse properly. And, don’t forget to consider the top English saddle brands when making your final decision.

Happy saddle shopping!

Key Considerations When Choosing Riding Equipment

When it comes to choosing riding equipment, it is essential to consider your horse, helmet, and saddle carefully. Different horses and riders have unique needs, and selecting the right equipment can make all the difference in terms of safety, comfort, and performance.

In this article, we will discuss the key considerations that need to be kept in mind when choosing riding equipment.

Your Horse

Choosing equipment for your horse is an essential consideration when it comes to horse training and riding. Horses have individual body shapes, and it’s important to select equipment that accommodates these differences.

Saddles, bridles, and bits, for example, are all items that need to be chosen with care. Budget is an important factor when it comes to selecting horse equipment, but it’s vital to remember that quality comes at a price.

While it can be tempting to go for cheaper options, investing in good quality equipment can save money in the long run. Low-quality equipment may break easily, resulting in additional expenses for replacement or repair.

In addition to the direct financial costs, poor-quality equipment can cause long-term issues such as discomfort or even injury for your horse. In addition to budget considerations, riders should think about their horse’s training and riding goals when selecting equipment.

For instance, if you’re looking to introduce jumping to your horse, you’ll need to select equipment that is suitable for this activity. Choosing equipment that is compatible with your horse’s needs will help him to perform at his best and achieve optimum results.

Your Helmet

Protective gear such as helmets is essential for the safety of both rider and horse. It is essential that you choose a helmet that is properly fitted for maximum safety and comfort.

Wearing a helmet that is too loose or too tight can cause discomfort, headaches, and even injury. While many equine equipment suppliers sell helmets in a variety of sizes, it’s advisable to have your helmet custom fitted for the best results.

Your helmet should also be comfortable to wear. This is particularly important as riders often spend extended periods wearing their helmet.

The helmet’s padding should be thick, soft, and made of high-quality materials to provide comfort during longer riding sessions. When shopping for a helmet, another key factor to consider is ventilation.

A well-ventilated helmet will keep you cool and comfortable during hot weather and longer rides. Proper ventilation will also help reduce the risk of overheating, which can be dangerous, particularly for younger or older riders.

Your Saddle

Your saddle is another critical piece of equipment as it provides the rider with a comfortable seat and also has a significant impact on the horse’s performance. A well-fitting saddle is essential in avoiding long-term issues such as saddle sores and back pain that can arise from poor saddle fit.

When choosing a saddle, comfort should be a priority for the rider. Many riders spend extended periods in their saddle, and a lack of comfort can lead to a poor riding experience that can affect both performance and enjoyment.

Ensuring your chosen saddle is the correct size and shape for your body type can make a big difference in terms of comfort. It’s also important to keep in mind that the level of padding and flexibility will affect the level of comfort provided by the saddle.

Performance is the other critical factor when choosing a saddle. Different saddles are designed for various riding styles, and it’s necessary to select a saddle that meets your needs.

A jumping saddle, for example, will have a flatter tree and forward flap, while a dressage saddle will have a longer and straighter flap. Choosing the right saddle for your riding style can significantly impact your performance and your horse’s potential.

New vs. Used Saddles

When choosing a saddle, a critical decision you’ll need to make is whether to purchase a new or used saddle.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Advantages of a High-Quality New Saddle:

A high-quality new saddle is a good investment that will last for several years.

New saddles often come with a warranty and will be made of durable materials that will withstand heavy use. This durability is particularly important in high-intensity riding disciplines like eventing and rodeo, which require high-quality, long-lasting equipment.

A new saddle will also allow you to select your preferred brand and style and ensure that the saddle fits your riding needs and your horse’s body perfectly. Investing in a high-quality new saddle is a great way to ensure a long-lasting investment in your riding equipment.

Advantages and Risks of Buying a Used Saddle:

Buying a used saddle can be an economical alternative, but it does present some risks. Used saddles may have been subjected to irreparable damage, through wear and tear or unskilled adjustment.

In some cases, damage may only be visible after a period of use, making it essential to inspect and evaluate the saddle carefully before making a purchase. On the other hand, purchasing a used saddle can also be beneficial as you may be able to acquire a high-quality saddle at a discounted price.

This is particularly true if the saddle is from a reputable brand or has an established history in the field.


Choosing the right riding equipment is essential for the safety, comfort, and performance of both you and your horse. While budget may be a factor in your decision-making process, don’t be tempted to skimp on quality for the sake of price.

Keep in mind your horse’s unique needs and select equipment that accommodates these differences. Choose a helmet that is properly fitted for maximum safety and comfort, and select a saddle that provides both comfort and performance benefits.

Finally, consider the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing new or used equipment carefully to ensure you find the best option available.

Top English Saddle Brands and the

Importance of Saddle Fitting

When it comes to selecting the right English saddle, choosing one from a reputed brand can make a significant impact on the comfort and performance of both horse and rider. In this article, we will discuss some of the top English saddle brands and the importance of proper saddle fitting.

Top English Saddle Brands

When searching for the perfect English saddle, it’s essential to choose a brand that is renowned for its quality, innovation, and excellence. Here are five of the top English saddle brands to consider:


Antars: Antars produces hand-made saddles that are customizable to fit the unique shape and size of both horse and rider. They create saddles suited to jumping, dressage, and eventing disciplines.

2. Bates: Bates is known for its innovation, offering saddles that are optimized for performance.

They also offer a revolutionary fit solution that allows riders to tailor saddles to their horse’s specific needs. 3.

Collegiate: Collegiate offers a range of saddles, including their Opti-Fit line, which is designed to accommodate the different needs of horses and riders. Collegiate saddles come with a warranty and are a great value for riders on a budget.

4. Pessoa: Pessoa’s saddles prioritize balance, and they have patented their gullet system, which has earned them a reputation for creating saddles that fit like a glove.

The tree material used in their saddles is designed to provide the utmost comfort for both horse and rider. 5.

Herms: Herms is a luxury saddle brand that offers custom saddles. They approach saddle design as a partnership between horse and rider, ensuring a luxurious, high-quality product that is made to last.


Role of a Saddle Fitter

A key factor in achieving the best results from your chosen English saddle is getting the fit right. A poorly fitting saddle can cause both short- and long-term problems.

Proper saddle fitting requires not only the correct sizing but also the correct shape and design. This is where a saddle fitter comes in.

A saddle fitter can provide expert advice on saddle appropriateness, making sure that the saddle selected works well with your horse’s physical shape and size. They can also make adjustments to the saddle to accommodate all the unique features of your horse and rider body.

Importance of Saddle Fit

A well-fitted saddle is essential for both horse and rider comfort and performance. Saddles that don’t fit properly can cause behavioral indicators in horses such as bucking, moving rapidly forwards, or resistance in training.

An ill-fitting saddle can also cause pain, discomfort, or skin abrasions that can affect the horse in lasting ways. For the rider, an ill-fitting saddle may cause unsteadiness or even accidents, leading to injuries.

As the rider is in direct contact with the saddle, even minor discomfort can eventually cause long-term pain or even physical injury.

How Saddle Fitters Can Help

A saddle fitter can provide expert advice on the most suitable saddle type for your horse’s body type and your riding discipline. They can also recommend saddles based on the needs of the rider, such as style preferences or budget considerations.

A saddle fitter will take into account the unique features of your horse and rider and will spend time observing horse movement and behavior to determine the most appropriate saddle fit. They may also identify any pre-existing conditions that could affect the saddle fit, and recommend adjustments to provide the best results.

Benefits of Consulting a Saddle Fitter

By working with a saddle fitter, you are gaining expert advice to ensure that your purchased saddle is well-suited to your horse and you. A saddle fitter can provide guidance on saddle selection, adjustments, and maintenance.

By ensuring that the saddle is well-suited to both horse and rider, you are ensuring maximum horse performance, rider comfort, and guaranteeing a successful buying experience.


Selecting the perfect English saddle should always be done with the help of expert advice. The top English saddle brands mentioned above Antars, Bates, Collegiate, Pessoa, and Herms offer a variety of options to suit different horse sizes, riding disciplines, and personal preferences.

Additionally, consulting with a saddle fitter can ensure that the saddle you select provides optimal comfort, performance, and safety for both horse and rider. By investing in a high-quality saddle and working with a saddle fitter, you are making a long-term investment in your horse, yourself, and your mutual success.

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