12 Best Horse Saddles Actually Worth the Money (2023)

There’s a saying, “no hoof, no horse,” but an equally true one may be, “no saddle, no quality ride.”

You need a good saddle to be a better rider, support you and the horse, and stay comfortable throughout an adventurous day.

The best horse saddles seamlessly connect the horse and rider and power them through any task.

We Recommend

horse saddle

Best Horse Saddle
Martin Saddlery

horse saddle

Australian/English
Bates Outback

horse saddle

Best Money Can Get
Circle Y Diamond

Best Horse Saddles

1. Martin Saddlery Working Cowhorse Saddle

horse saddle

The Martin Working Cowhorse Saddle is the best horse saddle for a variety of purposes, whether it’s cutting, ranch work, or a trail ride.

It features a narrow twist and raised ground seat, both of which offer more comfort and security.

The saddle can be used for roping when called for with the Texas dally horn, and the Hamley twist stirrups keep your feet and legs in the right position no matter what. 

These features, the durability, along with the high quality of the Martin brand make this the best horse saddle for men, too, especially those working long days.

The one thing we would improve is that cleaning the pop stitching and snowflake design is tedious.

What We Liked 

  • The narrow twist adds an extra level of comfort and security
  • Hamley twist stirrups keep your feet in the right position 
  • This saddle includes Martin’s patented adjustable rigging for a better fit on your horse
  • The cutout skirt allows closer contact with the horse
  • It can be used for roping too, because of the Texas dally horn

What Can Be Improved 

  • It has a shorter cantle at only three inches
  • The pop-stitched border and snowflake tooling require more time to clean
  • The engraved aluminum stirrups are beautiful but can get beat up

Type: Cutting Saddle
Weight: 36 lbs
Seat Size: 15’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 7’’

2. Bates Outback Heritage with Swinging Fender CAIR

horse saddle

Australian saddles are popular throughout the world for their comfort and workman-like qualities, and the Bates Outback Heritage incorporates all the best features of an Australian saddle in an elegant and seamless design.

This is the best saddle for a horse that’s on long trail rides, going through undulating terrain, or working on a ranch.

It’s a comfortable saddle for the rider too; just be sure to get the correct seat size as the measurements are slightly different.

Riders fall in love with the swinging fenders and sculpted seat, many claiming that it’s a hybrid of the best features from both English and western saddles.

What We Liked 

  • You have balance and flexibility in any terrain with the swinging fenders
  • The seat is sculpted and provides plenty of support on long rides
  • It’s a lightweight saddle and easier for the horse to carry over long distances
  • The girthing system is in a Y-shape and is adjustable 
  • Uses include trail riding or working on the ranch 

What Can Be Improved 

  • You need to be careful to get the right seat measurement because of the conversion
  • Only one gullet size is included with the saddle
  • The poleys, or front knee blocks, take some getting used to

Type: Australian/English Saddle
Weight: 18.7 lbs
Seat Size: 15’’ to 16.5’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

3. Circle Y Vintage Diamond Show Saddle

horse saddle

The Circle Y Vintage Diamond Show saddle is the most expensive horse saddle because it was designed to jog you into the show ring and make you stand out from the rest of the class.

Circle Y is synonymous with quality saddles that are built to last and built to win.

This one features an equitation design to give riders a balanced and secure seat while also being a beautiful saddle. 

Riders will feel tighter and closer to their horse in the ring with the close contact and grip features.

It’s an expensive and exquisitely made saddle and that means that it must be kept in climate-controlled conditions and well cared for. 

What We Liked 

  • Effortlessly gives the rider a balanced equitation position
  • There are customization features available with this saddle, especially the silver placement
  • The butterfly cutout skirt gives close contact with the horse
  • It has a suede seat that keeps the rider tighter and closer in the saddle
  • The in-skirt J-rig means there is less bulk under the fenders

What Can Be Improved

  • It should be kept in climate-controlled conditions
  • There isn’t a 15-inch seat size
  • This is a beautiful horse saddle, and you won’t want to practice in it or use it in bad weather

Type: Show Saddle
Weight: 40 lbs
Seat Size: 14.5”, 16’’, 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

4. Arena Jump Saddle 

horse saddle

The Arena Jump Saddle is the best saddle for an English rider that wants to jump a course of fences.

This riding saddle keeps the rider poised and balanced with a deep seat, close contact through the short stirrup bar and flap, and forward panels that let the rider adjust their position.

Riders can adjust the gullet and use the same saddle on many horses.

The beautiful European leather is exquisite to touch and sit in, although you may be reluctant to school in this saddle because it’s so nice.

Although riders still need to learn the basics of jumping, this saddle definitely helps improve your ride.

What We Liked 

  • The rider easily acquires a deep, balanced seat 
  • Exquisite European leather adds to the overall appeal of the saddle
  • It fits many horses thanks to the HART technology and an adjustable gullet
  • Includes forward panels so the rider can adjust their position
  • Features a shorter stirrup bar and flap for close contact and cueing

What Can Be Improved 

  • There are only four seat sizes, from 16.5 inches to 18 inches
  • Many are reluctant to use it for schooling because it’s so nice
  • Stirrups, leathers, and girth need to be purchased 

Type: Jump Saddle
Weight: 13 lbs
Seat Size: 16.5’’ to 18’’
Gullet With: 8.3” to 9.6”

5. Dakota Hard Seat Ranch A-Fork Saddle

horse saddle

The Dakota Hard Seat Ranch A-Fork Saddle is a classic and we all know you can’t beat the classics.

The hard seat keeps you in the saddle, so you feel like you’re sitting on the horse, not perched there as a padded seat sometimes feels.

The A-Fork design never went out of style and is perfect for ranch work.

Some consider this a cheap horse saddle but it’s just a working ranch saddle and doesn’t have any unnecessary frills.

The 16-inch seat is standard, and you will need to call and special order the 15 or 17-inch seat if one of those is needed.

What We Liked 

  • A five-inch high cantle offers the rider more security and support
  • The horn is wrapped and reinforced for ranch work
  • The D-rings are made with double stainless steel so they will last a long time
  • The ⅞ rigging provides a maximum range of motion for horse and rider
  • The tree comes with a five-year warranty 

What Can Be Improved 

  • It’s a working saddle, not a show saddle
  • The stirrups are secured with Blevins buckles which can be more cumbersome to adjust
  • The 15-inch and 17-inch seats need to be specially ordered

Type: Ranch Saddle
Weight: 35 lbs
Seat Size: 15’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 7’’

6. Double J Hi-Tech Roper

horse saddle

The Double J Hi-Tech Roper is the best horse saddle for the money, with its high-quality materials, attention to detail, and one-of-a-kind and innovative design.

It’s designed to work, but Double J doesn’t sacrifice appearance or comfort. It can easily be your favorite roping saddle at home or in the show arena.

The saddle is flexible enough in design that it can be used in other pursuits as well, from reining to cutting. 

One thing we would change is a wider stirrup footbed for a little more support, but the good news is the stirrups hang straight and keep your foot and leg in the correct position.

Roughout helps keep the rider quiet in the saddle.

What We Liked 

  • Roughout on the seat, skirt, and jockey provide extra grip 
  • Double J horse saddle brand custom designs their stainless steel hardware
  • This saddle is carefully designed to make the rider look good and ride better
  • An array of seat sizes are available, including half-inch seat sizes
  • This saddle is built to work just as hard as you do

What Can Be Improved 

  • The stirrup bed is thin and doesn’t provide as much support as some others
  • This saddle is one of the heavier ones available
  • The brown vintage leather almost appears camouflaged in color

Type: Roping Saddle
Weight: 36 lbs
Seat Size: 13’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 7’’

7. Billy Cook FQHB Wade

horse saddle

Many consider Billy Cook the best horse saddle brand because he was a rider and a saddle maker.

The Billy Cook FQHB Wade embodies all the quality and craftsmanship his saddles are known for, in a working saddle for short-backed horses.

It includes a Mother Hubbard skirt that gives the rider close contact with the horses, pre-twisted stirrups, and a padded seat for comfort hours into a ride.

The saddle definitely makes a unique statement and you may need a brave personality to ride in the hot oil color.

You’ll also be riding in it for years to come thanks to the reinforced tree and horn, along with the other quality materials Billy Cook saddles are made with.

What We Liked

  • The best saddle for a short backed horse because of its design and short, rounded skirt
  • Extra grip in the seat and fenders with roughout 
  • The tree and horn are reinforced to withstand the rigors of regular work on the ranch
  • Craftsmanship and hand-tooling make this beautiful 
  • Bicycle padded seat adds comfort for hours in the saddle

What Can Be Improved 

  • The hot oil color is loud and bright
  • It only fits broad-shouldered stock horses without prominent withers
  • Some people cannot stand the padded bicycle seat feeling it separates them from the horse

Type: Ranch Saddle
Weight: 36 lbs
Seat Size: 15’’ to 16’’
Gullet With: 7’’

8. Tucker Horizon Outpost Endurance Saddle

horse saddle

The Tucker Horizon Outpost Endurance Saddle is a quality horse riding saddle designed to be used for countless miles on all-day or multi-day rides.

This saddle is comfortable for the horse and rider, with a design meant to prevent any pressure points from forming.

It provides support and comfort in all the right places, the seat, stirrups, and along the horse’s back. The Gel-Cush™ seat is more comfortable than the chairs in some people’s houses.

There are three rigging options to choose from and that’s confusing for most riders so seek guidance if needed. That being said, it does fit a wide variety of horses because of these options. 

What We Liked 

  • The advanced tree system makes it the best horse saddle for cross country
  • Provides a good fit on a variety of horses and relieves pressure points
  • Gel-Cush™ is comfortable for both the horse and rider because of the ergonomic, shock-absorbing seat
  • The stirrup tread is wide for extra balance and support
  • Easy to attach packs and supplies to

What Can Be Improved 

  • It’s hard to know which rigging to choose with three options
  • It’s not a show saddle, it’s for pleasure and trail riding
  • It has a minimalist design without any fancy features

Type: Endurance Saddle
Weight: 25 lbs
Seat Size: 15.5’’ to 18.5’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

9. Circle Y Alabama Flex2 Trail Gaiter Saddle

horse saddle

The Circle Y Alabama Flex2 Trail Gaiter Saddle is the best gaited horse saddle because it was designed exclusively for them.

It has a shock-absorbing seat, so the horse isn’t feeling the bounce of their rider as much, lessening back fatigue.

The rider will enjoy the ergo-balance stirrups that lessen any knee and ankle pain. Short, rounded skirts mean that the gaited horse can move freely without saddle interference.

This horse riding saddle is only for gaited horses. Non-gaited breeds will not fit this saddle well and should use one of the other options from Circle Y.

Three colors and two types of seats also offer greater customization.

What We Liked

  • The short, rounded Neo-shock skirts don’t get in the gaited horse’s way when moving
  • Rigging can be adjusted to allow greater shoulder movement and freedom
  • Three saddle colors are available, and two types of seats
  • The impact foam seat limits how much the rider bounces on their horse’s back
  • Ergo-balance stirrups reduce knee and ankle pain for the rider

What Can Be Improved 

  • This saddle is designed for gaited horses and shouldn’t be used on non-gaited horses
  • It’s a trail saddle with a minimalist design, so not for the show ring
  • Long strings flap while riding

Type: Gaited Horse Saddle
Weight: 25 lbs
Seat Size: 14’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

10. M. Toulouse Aachen Dressage Saddle

horse saddle

The M. Toulouse Aachen Dressage Saddle is the best horse riding saddle for those just starting out in the discipline or competing at the highest levels.

It offers supreme fit for the horse and ultimate comfort for the rider, all while placing the rider in the correct position on the horse’s back.

This top horse saddle may have too many bells and whistles as you try and figure out the best knee block position for your ride.

But, once you do, the anatomically designed seat and soft leather that provides extra grip will have you avoiding dismounting as you thoroughly enjoy the ride.

What We Liked 

  • The tallest riders can use this with the 19-inch seat option
  • It has a forward D-ring and two-in-one point billet
  • It’s made of soft calf leather which also adds extra grip for the rider
  • It can be used on multiple horses thanks to the Genesis adjustable tree system
  • The seat is anatomically designed, but also soft and comfortable

What Can Be Improved 

  • Stirrups, leathers, and girth add to the overall purchase price
  • The knee blocks are adjustable and removable, and getting the right fit can be a headache
  • The warranty only covers manufacturing defects

Type: Dressage Saddle
Weight: 15 lbs
Seat Size: 16.5’’ to 19’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

11. Martin Saddlery Sherry Cervi Stingray Barrel Racer

horse saddle

Sherry Cervi and her horse, known as Stingray, are famous among barrel racers.

Her Martin Saddlery Sherry Cervi Stingray Barrel Racer is the best horse saddle for women because it includes all the features she loves, and that helped make her and Stingray successful. 

The saddle offers both security and flexibility for the rider around the sharp turns of the barrel pattern.

The aches and pains of riding are minimized through innovative designs in the stirrup tread and twist. The Mother Hubbard skirt gives close contact and precise cueing.

Unfortunately, it is an expensive saddle, but the serious barrel racer considers it a worthwhile investment that improves performance.

What We Liked 

  • The deep seat and short cantle offer both security and flexibility
  • Beautiful tooling and conchos are in style in the training or show ring
  • The stirrup tread and twist make riding painless 
  • The back cinch helps keep the saddle secure and in place
  • It has a Mother Hubbard skirt, which fits a variety of horse body types

What Can Be Improved

  • The chestnut leather is the only color option
  • You’re the only one that will know the crocodile leather is there since you sit on it
  • It’s an expensive horse saddle and definitely an investment

Type: Barrel Racer Saddle
Weight: 30 lbs
Seat Size: 13.5’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 9’’

12. High Horse Daisetta Trail Saddle

horse saddle

The High Horse Daisetta Trail Saddle is a new model, but one that we instantly fell in love with.

This is the best horse saddle for beginners because it has features that keep the rider comfortable and secure while they’re learning and adjusting to riding.

The border tooling and copper flower conchos add a little something extra to help make it stand out too.

This saddle is extremely customizable, which can be good, but the flip side is that it limits how many horses it will fit.

But, for a rider with one horse, especially a short-backed horse, this is a great saddle to head out onto the trails in.

What We Liked

  • The seat is double-padded for maximum comfort
  • It’s extremely lightweight at only 21 pounds, yet still durable
  • The short, rounded skirt works well on horses with short backs
  • A variety of custom options are available for precise fit for horse and rider
  • An extra wide tree is available on some seat sizes

What Can Be Improved

  • Long saddle strings can catch on brush on the trail
  • The taller horn makes it hard to bend low under overhanging branches on the trail
  • Customization can limit the number of horses this saddle fits

Type: Cordura Trail Saddle
Weight: 21 lbs
Seat Size: 13’’ to 18’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

How to Choose a horse Saddle? 

Look for a saddle that will meet your riding goals for the chosen discipline and that fits you and your horse comfortably.

Usability and Function

There are many types of saddles and they are designed for different uses and functions. Beginners may not need to worry about the type of saddle they choose, but as you become more involved in a specific discipline, the useability and function will matter more and the saddle can improve your performance.

Fit 

A saddle must fit the horse and rider. Otherwise, it can cause irrevocable damage. The rider might just have a sore knee or strained muscle. The horse can have severe damage to its back and withers which will mean no riding if the saddle doesn’t fit correctly. Professionals can help assess fit if you are unsure. 

Comfort 

An uncomfortable saddle can ruin a ride in a matter of minutes. Even worse, the longer you spend in an uncomfortable saddle, the more damage it can do to you and the horse. Riders who spend long hours in an uncomfortable saddle will dismount feeling crippled. Finding a comfortable saddle is essential. 

Quality 

Quality is an important consideration because it will influence the fit, comfort, and durability or lifespan of the saddle. A high-quality saddle is more likely to last longer, fit better, and function at a higher level, making it even easier for the rider to excel through proper equitation and easy cueing of the horse.

Design 

A saddle doesn’t need to be beautiful or have intricate designs to be useable and functional, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. You’ll spend a lot of time in your saddle, and a lot of time looking at it and caring for it. Consider the design aspects and choose the one you enjoy looking at. 

FAQ

What is a horse saddle? 

A horse saddle is a piece of equipment, usually leather, that is attached to the horse’s back for the rider to sit on. 

What is different about a horse saddle? 

A horse saddle has a seat, girth that goes around the belly, and stirrups for the rider’s feet. It provides support.

What makes a good horse saddle? 

A good horse saddle is made with quality materials, balanced, and can withstand the rigors of consistent use.

Are horse saddles heavy? 

Some horse saddles are heavy, and they can be up to 40 pounds, however, there are also lighter versions available, as little as 20 pounds. 

Are horse saddles comfortable? 

A good horse saddle is comfortable for both the horse and the rider. The higher quality saddles tend to be more comfortable. 

What’s the difference between a cutting saddle and a horse saddle? 

A cutting saddle is a type of horse saddle, and it’s different because the features make it easier to work the cattle.

Can you do cutting in a horse saddle?

You can do cutting in just about any horse saddle, however, if you get more interested in the sport, it’s easier in a cutting saddle.

What is the point of the sliding stop in horse?

A sliding stop with a horse is done when you need to stop quickly, usually when working cattle, but sometimes if there’s an obstacle too.

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