When it comes to saddles, the first thing most people want to know is the difference between the English and Western saddles for sale. When looking at saddles for sale, the most obvious difference you will notice between the two will first of all be the horn that is present on the western saddle. The design will also be an obvious difference. The western saddle is a bit heavier than the English saddle.
Which is Better for Riding?
Western saddles are made with the comfort of the horse as well as the rider in mind. They are larger so that the weight is distributed over a larger area of the horse's back. Made originally with the cattle drives in mind and the need for keeping the horse from tiring out too quickly, the western saddle is made of rawhide. There are other materials available today and you can find lighter weight saddles for sale. But the originals were made of leather and the underside was either sheepskin or wool.
If you look at all the available horse saddles for sale, you will find there is also a difference in Western saddles that are made for pleasure or work. The balance of the saddle and the horn may be different depending upon the purpose for which you are buying the saddle. Jumping saddles allow the rider closer contact with the horse. Providing a better seating for the rider during jumps, the English saddle is not as deep as the Western saddle.
The English saddle is lighter than the Western saddle and has steel stirrups. The cinch is elastic and is designed to allow the saddle to stay on the horse but still allow the horse enough give to breathe. There are no fenders to keep the straps from pinching your legs but wearing tall boots will take care of this problem.
The Western saddle has fenders to help keep your legs from being pinched.
Show Riding Vs. Pleasure Riding
Many English saddles are more for show riding than for the hard riding which is done with the Western saddle. Although they can be used for regular riding, there is a choice that can be used for both. The general purpose saddle can be used for show riding and regular riding. Since you will find, when perusing any variety of saddles for sale, that they are not cheap, choosing one or the other is a big decision and will depend upon what you are planning to do.
The difference in saddles for show or for pleasure is the way they are built. Western saddles are normally constructed on wooden trees. They are cover with fiberglass or a ralide, which is a synthetic polymer. They can be covered in rawhide. The lighter saddles are made of synthetic. The seat is covered with suede or split leather. The saddles are often carved with ornate embellishments as well as using silver to decorate.
English saddles are constructed on a steel-reinforced laminated tree or a synthetic tree. The covers are leather or synthetic and are not adorned as the Western saddles. The English saddles used to be stuffed with horse hair but today the stuffing is typically foam.
Shopping for Saddles
Since saddles are so expensive, the temptation may be present to purchase an inexpensive saddle. However, if you expect the saddle you buy to last, do not sacrifice quality for price. The inexpensive saddles will not provide the support that is needed to distribute your weight on the horse's back. This can cause your horse to have behavioral problems. Think about it, if someone was riding on your back and the fit was not comfortable you would likely not be in a very good mood either.
Not only does the saddle have to fit correctly but the materials should be quality so they can last longer than a year or two. The stitching should remain intact and the fit on the horse should be another consideration. The saddle that does not fit well will make the horse's back sore and this can be another cause of crankiness your horse will feel.
Whatever type of saddle you plan on purchasing, make sure it is of the best quality. It will last for many years. Riding will be a pleasure. You will be happier and your horse will be too.