Choosing The Right Saddle

Choosing the right saddle for our horse is very important but also can be lots of fun. It is essential that all saddlery fits properly, so if you don't have an experienced horseman as a dad like I do, then a saddler would be the next best person to ask.

When I was little younger, I just assumed that any type of saddle could be put on the horse or pony's back, but after doing some very big horse treks I now understand better, that to avoid causing horrible damage to our beloved pony's back. Our choice of tack and saddlery really needs a thorough checking.

  • Like, making sure their is no pressure on it's spine which can cause soreness.
  • Can the shoulder blades move freely.
  • Is your weight evenly distributed over the muscles covering the rib cage.
  • make sure your weight does not fall on the horses loins.
  • Does the cantle move excessively.
  • Check that the pommel is not squashing down on the horses withers. It must rise high enough to avoid pinching and you should be able to get a hand between the pommel and horses spine with the rider mounted.

Each saddle is designed for a specific style of riding and different paces and is good, as long as it is evenly distributed on the horses back muscles and is comfortable for both horse and rider.

Choosing the right saddle can be a daunting task. There's such a wide range of styles available and each one designed for a specific purpose, except maybe the general purpose, which can be used for a variety of equestrian disciplines.

It's important to choose the style that suits the sort of riding you intend to do. The important thing though is that the saddle must not only fit the horse or pony but it must fit you too.


An ill fitting saddle or bridle can cause un-necessary pain and in the long term cause injury or permanent damage to your horse's back.

Some of the styles available are: specialty Western saddles, including models designed especially for reining, roping and barrel racing.

There are also Australian stock saddles, saddle-seat saddles, endurance saddles, treeless saddles, dressage saddles, eventing saddles, hunting saddles and close-contact show-jumping saddles.

Putting on the saddle

a. Place your saddle blanket on your horse's back, it's a warm layer which reduces rubbing and relieves pressure on pressure points.

b. Lift the saddle up and lower into correct position, making sure the flap on opposite side is laying flat.

c. Make sure numnah is not tight over the horse's withers. It should be tucked up to lie snugly under the pommel of the saddle clear of the withers.

d. Do up girth straps.

Check out this great video on correctly fitting a saddle.