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Western Saddle Buying Tips

If you've been ogling beautiful new western saddles in horse magazines and now it's time to buy one, then it is important to find just the right one to fit you and your horse.

Saddles are one of the most important pieces of riding gear. Each saddle will have its own nuances, so it's vital you take the time to compare each of them and shop around.

Here are some tips to help ensure you are happy with the saddle you ultimately choose:

Tip: Buy a Saddle Made of High-Quality Leather

When the time comes to invest in a western saddle, one of the most important things to look for is the quality of its leather. While high-quality leather is more expensive, it also lasts a long time. In fact, high-quality leather actually gets better with age.

The best saddle leathers feel supple and smooth and are sewn together with well-stitched edges by skilled craftspeople. Alternatively, low-quality leathers are stiff and hard, and instead of improving with age will instead develop damage that higher-quality leathers will not.

Saddles made of lower-grade leather will also tend to squeak as you ride. While this rarely affects horses, it can be seriously annoying for their riders and rarely improves after the saddle is broken in.

Tip: Proper Fit for Western Saddles is Vital

When it comes to western saddles, fit is paramount. If the saddle you choose doesn't fit properly, then it will be dangerous for you and painful for your horse.

For this reason, it is advisable to stick to buying a new saddle instead of a used one. Buying a used saddle is similar to buying used shoes. Used shoes were broken in by someone else and just as their feet may be the same size as yours, they have their own unique shape and weight distribution. When you buy a pre-owned saddle, you are working with something broken in for someone else. 

Before purchasing a new saddle, make sure you thoroughly sit test it. Sit on the saddle and stand in the stirrups. You should feel balanced in the stirrups. Stirrups that are too far backward will tilt you forward and stirrups that are too far forward will tilt you backward. Both are bad for your ride and that of your steed.

Tip: Consider Enlisting the Assistance of a Professional Saddle Fitter

Lastly, when you find a saddle you want to purchase, consider utilizing the services of a professional saddle fitter or saddle maker to ensure proper fit. Rather than wondering if the saddle will work for you and your horse, a professional can check and make sure that it will.

For more information on western saddles, contact a company near you.