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The Different Types of Horse Saddles and What They're Used For

There are a variety of different types of horse saddles on the market, and each one is designed for a specific purpose. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of horse saddles and what they are used for. We will also provide tips on how to choose the right saddle for your needs. So, whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, read on to learn more about horse saddles!


English Saddles/All-around (General Purpose) Saddles

These saddles are perfect for people who have recently bought their first horse and would like to perform a variety of activities with their horses. They are robust, with flaps that are cut forward and can easily handle basic jumping, dressage, and hacks. Riders are able to balance well on this style of saddle and can allow a lot of people with varying amounts of expertise to ride comfortably, and for this reason, General purpose saddles are typically used in riding schools. General Purpose saddles are sometimes referred to as 'English Saddles'.

View all English Saddles and General Purpose here


Western Saddles

Often times Western saddles are made from quality brown leather and are intricately decorated with 'Western style' designs. There is usually a horn at the front of these saddles, which allows the rider to maintain their balance whilst the other hand holds the reins. These saddles were originally designed to provide more comfort for ranch hands that were required to spend many hours riding horses and potentially carrying heavy loads. There are several distinct varieties of Western saddles that have been modified for various types of Western riding.
View all Western Saddles here


Australian Stock Saddles

This saddle is highly sought after by horse riders of varying skill levels all across the world, including trail riders, endurance riders, cattle ranchers, and more. The Australian saddle was modified from the general-purpose English saddle, but has a considerably deeper seat, a higher pommel (sometimes including a horn), and greater padding, particularly around the knees. These saddles may also feature webbing and padding beneath the saddle for further support, as well as an over girth, which is a strap that runs across the saddle for extra protection and durability. These features make the rider's position more secure and balanced, allowing them to ride longer with less fatigue.


Jumping Saddles

Jumping saddles are utilized to propel the rider slightly forward into the two-point jumping posture when they are going over fences. The seat is flatter than that of a dressage saddle, which resembles a gentler C-shaped curve when viewed from the side. The saddle flaps are larger, providing greater support for the legs and cushioned protection, and more enhanced stability for the lower leg during jumps.
View all Jumping Saddles here


Dressage Saddles

Dressage saddles are intended for experienced riders who compete frequently in flat-work events. The saddles improve on the classic straight-legged and upright dressage posture. They are designed to help the rider achieve better balance, as they have a deeper seat that resembles a U-shaped curve when viewed from the side. Dressage saddles have straight flaps and are constructed of lightweight, thin material, allowing for closer leg contact during precision movements.
View all Dressage Saddles here


Trail Saddles

A saddle for riding out of the ring and off-road is often referred to as a Trail saddle. A Trail saddle is typically made to be lightweight and has extra-wide seats, longer flaps, and a round, short skirt. Trail saddles are often supplied with or include the ability to install saddle strings or numerous rings, such as D-rings which are suitable for securing backpacks, canteens and other items. Some Trail saddles implement a higher cantle for better protection, while others have a low cantle to provide better comfort. Trail saddles come in a variety of designs and features.
View all Trail Saddles here 


Endurance Saddles

Endurance saddles are most commonly used for competitive trail riding and long-distance horseback riding. These saddles come in Western, English, and Australian designs and include plenty of D-rings which are used for a variety of equipment. Western endurance saddles typically have a minimal skirt and a pommel without a horn, as this would likely get in the way of the rider when avoiding obstacles on the trail, or riding up steep hills. A stirrup with a wider platform is typically used on endurance saddles, with the aim of making the rider's feet more comfortable over longer distances.
View all Endurance Saddles here 


Barrel Racing Saddles 

In the event of Barrel Racing, riders will use a Barrel racing specific saddle. These saddles are usually designed with a deep seat and high cantle which aims to grip the rider in, ensuring they remain safe and secure during fast or sharp turns. Barrel racing saddles can also include a tall horn and pommel, providing the rider with a good grip, and further comfort and security. This type of saddle is designed to be lighter and more compact so that the horse does not have to carry too much weight, this way they are able to move faster, more fluidly, and with better direction and control from their rider.
View all Barrel Racing Saddles here


Hunting Saddle

Hunting saddles are great for riders who regularly partake in fox hunting which is a popular activity in the English countryside. Oftentimes, hunts can include jumps over big hedges with steep drops on the other side. The goal of the saddle is to push the rider's weight back into the saddle and their feet forward in the stirrups. This saddle is especially effective When the horse is landing after jumping over a high fence, allowing the rider to maintain a safer position when stabilizing themselves by leaning back. The cantle and pommel of these saddles are low, making jumping more comfortable. They're constructed of long-lasting, quality leather to match the traditional hunting attire and accessories.
View all Hunting Saddles here
We hope this helped you understand the different types of horse saddles and what they're used for! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy riding!


Team HorseClicks
Published on 18-05-2022