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Children's beginner/first saddle recommendations

Hi all,

My son started taking lessons about 2-3 months ago and I am considering getting him his first saddle for an upcoming birthday since the saddles at the lesson barn aren’t the best fit for him. Does anyone have recommended make/models? He’s turning 7 years old and small for his age, so i’m thinking a 14" with a wide tree will likely be the best option to fit him and the beginner level stock-type horses they have at the barn. My preference would be for a high quality, used model (no break-in time that way) that we can re-consign when he outgrows it in a year or two but am open to new if that can’t be found.

Thanks all!

I believe today I would look at the Wintec Children’s saddles … not because they are inexpensive but because we have never had anything break on the ones we have used in competitive trail…and are light weight

It was thirty some years ago that our youngest daughter could not be kept off of a horse, we owned the horses so were able to buy tack that fit both rider and her horse (who was built like a King Ranch Quaterhorse)

I really can not remember the English saddle’s manufacturer she used bit it was a high quality leather saddle that was a wide tree.

for western we had her use an adult western saddle but had her feet on top of the stirrups…all the children western saddles we could find were not sized to fit a wide backed horse (well her Horse was actually a very large pone at 14.1+h )

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I was lucky enough to get my hands on a child’s Pessoa saddle from back when they were very, very well made. I am able to use it on the large pony as well as our full size horses, and the kids are secure and well balanced in it. Good kids saddles tend to get passed along by word of mouth, as there is such a demand for them. Try putting the word out in a barn with lots of kids, or posting a want ad. I don’t see too many for sale ads for the nice, well made and not super expensive little saddles. That being said, the used kids saddles in good shape hold their value so, so well if you care for them, which makes them a super easy resale for essentially whatever you pay for them.



Have you checked with the lesson barn? They may not want to use random saddles on their horses if those horses already have saddles that are fitted to them. Talk first to the barn about how to fit the saddle to the horses he is most likely to ride.


Thanks, all, for the advice. As a note, I have indeed already checked with the lesson barn and they are fine with people bringing their own saddles, especially the little kids. We’ll go with a wide tree so the saddle can be shimmed (I use mattes and thinline shimmable pads myself) to ensure appropriate fit.

Does anyone know if Beval still makes a little kids saddle? I remember that back in the day these were some of the better balanced saddles for the size.

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No idea if you can still find them used but my first saddle was a collegiate Ian Miller. I hung on to that thing until there was no way I could fit into it anymore. It went on to be the favorite of the school pony saddles.

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Pik and Louie have some adorable tiny CWD saddles that would be leadline or 1-step up appropriate.
Heather is awesome to deal with… so you’re in good hands if you want high-end.


Our barn highly, highly recommends Bevals for starter saddles. You have to track them down used though finding them can be tricky. Be prepared to comb all corners of the internet for consignment saddles in the right size. We got lucky and found an amazing deal on one semi-locally, but other barn families have had to pay shipping for several different ones on trial to find something that fit both kid and pony.

Edited to add: Looks like Fine Line Tack has a 14" Beval that’s out on trial; if it comes back I’d take a serious look at that one.

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Lol, funny you should say that- I just picked up a used 15” W on eBay (mis-labeled as a 13.5”) as his step-up from the 14”.

I love it- needed a lot of TLC but no cracks, stitching perfect and balance impeccable!

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Back in the day, my DD’s first saddle was the Pessoa pony. It fit everything and was well made…

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Oh yeah, they are great- I’ve got dibs on a friends 15.75 as the next step up!

Agree about the Pessoa.
Also Stubben makes/used to make a 15.5” Eidelweiss. Great saddle that fit a variety of ponies.

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Lol that’s the exact saddle I had as a teenager myself :rofl:

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You can’t really go wrong with Pessoa, Collegaite, Beval in a wide tree for kids. The balance is good and they aren’t too much saddle for short legs.

Look for a pony Pessoa, a Beval Junior, or a Smith Worthington Mystic pony saddle. All older and used but should help put him in a good balanced spot. Also great saddles to teach him proper leather care.