What saddle should I buy?

I am looking to buy my first saddle. I’m on a budget, but I will be looking at all of the suggestions. I don’t know whether to buy a CC, an AP or a jumping saddle. I’m new to all the saddle brands so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have been looking at a Wintec 500 close contact, wintec 500 jump, Eric Thomas (new wave and advance models) and also at a really cheap Norton Rexine Close Contact. If any of you have had any experience with those saddles please do tell me about them! And if you have any suggestions for other saddle brands please let me know. Thank you!

P.S If you guys have any tips for buying a saddle please share them with me. Thanks!

I have the Wintec 500 close contact. I bought it for my 4yo tb because I wanted a cheap saddle that was adjustable while she was still growing, now she has filled out and has finished growing (just turned 6yo) I am looking for a nicer saddle to replace that one.

It is good because it is easy to clean and due to not having suede in photos it looks leather. It took me quite a while to get used to it as the seat is quite flat and pretty slippery due to the material at first I would barely even canter. Now I am used to it I am fine even on cross country.

I would say just find a good saddle fitter, tell them your budget and they can tell you what would work best for you and your horse. I also think it is better to buy a better brand second hand than a cheap brand new saddle.

Yes, I also would suggest working with a saddle fitter to buy a second-hand better quality saddle. I know lots of people love their synthetic saddles, and sometimes they are the best choice for a particular horse’s back, but they are not high-quality.

For the choice of style of saddle, CC, jump, or AP: ask your trainer/coach. This will depend on what kind of riding you are doing. In general, no one who is really strongly based in a discipline seems to like most AP saddles, IME.

For the model, you will need to work with a saddle fitter to see what brand best fits your horse. You buy the saddle that fits the horse best.

You’re better off buying a mid-end saddle used rather than any of the saddles you mentioned brand new

Find a saddle fitter to work with. :slight_smile: Buy the saddle that is in your budget and fits you AND your horse.

Buying a saddle should be something really fun, but somehow it turns out being so stressful. It’s such a big ticket item that’s pretty dang important!

I am pretty new so I don’t know much about brands, etc., but I will second the above about looking for something used. I bought a couple of used saddles online (Facebook group called English Tack Trader). I was able to try them out and return them. Of course I had to pay shipping both ways to do that, but I was still able to get a much nicer saddle for my money.

That whole process is a lot easier if you have an idea of what works for your horse though. Are they any saddles you can borrow just to check fit? That will help you narrow things down a lot. There are SO many choices!

Do you have a horse? If you don’t have a horse then I wouldn’t buy a saddle. Most riding schools would not allow a student’s own saddle on their horses because the good schools have saddles that are fitted for their horses.

If you do have a horse, then find an independent saddle fitter to help you. Or go to a consignment tack shop and sit in all the saddles. Find a few that feel good to you. Then bring them home and put them on your horse and see which one looks good. Then ride in them and see which one your horse likes better.

General fitting is that you want room under the gullet for the withers and all the way down the back so that no part of the saddle is touching the spine (and the gullet should be wide enough as well). You want the shape and curve of the panels to match the shape and curve of the horse’s back. Some panels are what we call “banana panels” - meaning they have more curve. Some panels are straight. You don’t want the saddle to rock (too much curve in the panels) or bridge (panels are too straight) on your horse’s back. You want the angle of the panels to match the angle of your horse’s back.

You can do a back map of your horse’s back and then cut out tracings to take with you to a tack store to get an idea of what might fit. You’ll need a flexi-curve sort of thing to mold to your horse’s back in a few places (up by the withers/behind the shoulder where the tree points are, middle of the back, toward the end of the back where the cantle of the saddle will be). Trace that shape onto cardboard, cut out the cardboard pieces, label them accordingly, take them to tack store and flip the saddle over and try to match them up.

If this is your first time, though, you should really get some help to do it right.

This is bizarre because every riding school I have ever gone to have saddles in different sizes to fit the rider. Not one saddle is for a specific horse. Usually the school uses the same brand though. I always bring my saddle with me when I was horseless, because it fits me. I never had a problem with it fitting any other horse. It is a high quality Antares though.

The saddle has to fit the rider too. No way someone is going to ride well in a saddle that is too small or too large.

[QUOTE=PonyPenny;8831386]This is bizarre because every riding school I have ever gone to have saddles in different sizes to fit the rider. Not one saddle is for a specific horse. Usually the school uses the same brand though. I always bring my saddle with me when I was horseless, because it fits me. I never had a problem with it fitting any other horse. It is a high quality Antares though.

The saddle has to fit the rider too. No way someone is going to ride well in a saddle that is too small or too large.[/QUOTE]

Interesting. This is not the case as I’ve experienced it. IME, riding schools tend to have a saddle for each horse that fits as well as they can manage on the cheap :slight_smile: which might involve shims or bump-up pads. And if the saddle that fits that horse doesn’t fit you, well, you just ride in it anyhow.

If the school also wanted to have multiple size seats, then they would have to have several saddles per horse.

I’ve never seen a riding school that has all the same brand, either. First, unless the horses all had almost similar conformation, one brand wouldn’t fit all of them. Second, if you are collecting old saddles on the cheap, then you take what you can get, when you find it.

I could imagine a really well-funded riding school, with a string of very similar horses, maybe all Haflingers or all TBs (but even they vary a lot) that could buy the same brand of saddle for all. But IME riding schools tend to deliberately have a bunch of different types of horses, the ponies for the kids, maybe some older draft crosses for adult beginners, some TBs for starting over fences, etc. No way could these horses share saddles. Again, a lesson string is usually built horse by horse, and is always in fluctuation, rather than being assembled as a fixed team.

So I’m thinking either you’ve been very very lucky in your riding schools (they are all doing well enough to have multiple saddles fitted for each horse) or maybe a bit unlucky . . . and the schools don’t care that much if the saddle fits the horse, as long as the rider is happy.

As far as an Antares fitting every horse . . . it won’t. No saddle will.

This has been my experience also. The saddle is assigned to the horse by fit, not the rider. OP, if you work with a fitter, you can get one that fits your horse AND you.