12 Best Western Saddles Actually Worth the Money (2023)

Anyone who’s ever dreamed of riding off into the sunset probably pictured themselves as a cowboy.

All cowboys need a good horse and saddle, but the type of horse and riding dictates saddle type.

These are the best western saddles there are, and there’s something for everyone to head off into the sunset in.

We Recommend

western saddle

Best Western Saddle
Martin Saddlery Hustler

western saddle

Best Soft Option
Circle Y Everglade

western saddle

Best Reining Saddle
Billy Cook Classic

Best Western Saddles

1. Martin Saddlery Hustler All-Around Saddle

western saddle

Look no further than the Martin Saddlery Hustler All-Around Saddle for the best western horse saddle. It’s got everything a rider could possibly want.

The fully padded bison seat is beautiful and comfortable without being too much. It’s got the easiest rigging to adjust, making it a simple process for any rider to customize the fit to their horse.

The back billet has a hoof pick holder, and there are plenty of seat sizes available. All these features make it the best Western saddle for the money.

One downside is the cantle is only two inches tall, so doesn’t offer as much security as some saddles, but this can be overlooked, given all the positive features.

What We Liked 

  • The back billet has a hoof pick holder – perfect for on the trail or working the ranch
  • The fully padded bison seat is beautiful and comfortable
  • The adjustable rigging is easy to change, making it a quick process
  • Rough-out leather provides extra grip for long days 
  • More seat sizes are available than on most other western saddles

What Can Be Improved 

  • The cantle is only two inches and doesn’t provide as much security
  • Careful attention is needed for cleaning this saddle because of all the hand tooling and rough out
  • It doesn’t come with any accessories

Type: All-Around Western Saddle
Weight: 32 lbs
Seat Size: 13’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 7’’

2. Circle Y Everglade Flex2 Trail Saddle

western saddle

The best western trail saddle is the Circle Y Everglade Flex2 Trail Saddle because of its five-inch cantle, impact foam seat, Flex2 Tunnel skirt, and Softee leather that arrives feeling broken in and ready to ride.

The neo-shock skirt helps absorb the shock for the horse and rider as they traverse undulating terrain.

Petite riders appreciate the 13.5-inch seat size being available and any rider can adjust it to fit their horse better thanks to the three-way adjustable in-skirt rigging.

It does cost more for the Faux Crocodile seat, but most riders don’t blink at the extra cost because it’s unique for a Western saddle brand.

The turquoise patina spots and concho trip are standard on all saddles.

What We Liked 

  • Close contact skirt allows for precise cueing of the horse
  • Features turquoise patina spots and concho trim for a distinct look
  • The Softee leather eliminates the break-in period that many saddles have
  • Lightweight with a neo-shock skirt to protect the horse and rider
  • The small 13.5-seat size is great for petite riders or teens

What Can Be Improved 

  • The Faux Crocodile seat is an additional cost
  • Newer equestrians may need help figuring out the three-way adjustable rigging
  • It takes some time and effort to clean all the silver and extras on this saddle

Type: Flex Saddle
Weight: 28 lbs
Seat Size: 13.5’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

3. Billy Cook Classic Pro Reiner

western saddle

The Billy Cook Classic Pro Reiner is the ideal saddle for the serious reining rider, whether an amateur or professional.

This is one of the best western saddles for a Quarter Horse, as it has Quarter Horse bars and tree, and offers maximum comfort for both the horse and rider.

The forward hanging stirrups and low reiner horn assist the rider, while the hand-tooling adds a distinctive style.

It’s an expensive western saddle with limited seat sizes available, but it has few that come close to matching the quality, craftsmanship, and features that make it an easier ride.

While it can be used for other disciplines too, it’s a standout for anyone in the reining division. 

What We Liked 

  • Fits most stock breeds with the Quarter Horse bars and tree
  • Comes in a distinctive hot oil color not found in other saddles
  • There are two half-seat sizes – 15.5 and 16.5 – for a better fit
  • Forward-hanging stirrups provide excellent bracing and balance
  • Quality saddle with beautiful hand-tooling and the Billy Cook brand

What Can Be Improved 

  • The hot oil color is only available on 16-inch saddles, and chestnut is limited too
  • The front cinch isn’t included and needs to be purchased separately
  • Some saddles don’t have the silver tips

Type: Reining Saddle
Weight: 36 lbs
Seat Size: 15.5’’ to 16.5’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

4. H.R. Hud Roberts All Around Saddle

western saddle

The H.R. Hud Roberts All Around Saddle is one of the best lightweight western trail saddles because of its comfortable seat, pre-twisted seat, and workman-like qualities.

This saddle can easily be used for other purposes, too, from the reining ring to working cattle. It comes in a 14.5-inch seat, which is also a bonus since that size isn’t always available. 

The beautiful and intricate hand tooling can be hard to clean, but block some extra time on your calendar for it because this saddle will be worth it in the end.

The price point means that riders at any level can enjoy riding out on the trail in it without worrying about hurting their saddle.

What We Liked 

  • The stirrups are pre-twisted for a better fit
  • Features a traditional rawhide-covered wood tree
  • Cantle and horn are moderate heights allowing it to be used for many disciplines
  • Comes in a 14.5, which is a harder-to-find seat size
  • It’s a comfortable ride that you can easily spend hours in without cramping up

What Can Be Improved 

  • The intricate hand tooling and silver are difficult to clean
  • The chocolate two-tone color isn’t as pretty as some other saddles
  • The 14.5 is the only half-size available, with four seat sizes total

Type: All Around Saddle
Weight: 31 lbs
Seat Size: 14’’ to 16’’
Gullet With: 6.75’’ 

5. Julie Goodnight Blue Ridge Flex2 Trail Saddle 

western saddle

The Julie Goodnight Blue Ridge Flex2 Trail Saddle is one that you can ride in all day, thanks to the myriad of features that Circle Y has.

These include the Flex2 tree, impact foam seat, Softee leather, Flex2 Tunnel skirt, Neo-shock skirt, three-way adjustable rigging, and more.

Many consider this a ladies western saddle, but the Julie Goodnight line is for both men and women. 

The saddle is only 30 pounds, and although that’s light for a western saddle, some riders feel this model should be even lighter.

It does offer superior control, comfort, and communication with your horse and is an excellent western saddle for Lusitanos as it fits gaited and horses with less prominent withers well.

What We Liked 

  • Offers the best control, comfort, and communication with your horse
  • Neo-shock absorbing skirt for a better ride for both horse and rider
  • Skirt liner helps prevent the saddle from slipping at all
  • Three color options are available, walnut, black, and regular oil
  • Stirrups are pre-set and the Softee leather doesn’t need to be broken in either

What Can Be Improved

  • Some riders feel it’s a heavy saddle, even though it’s only 30 pounds
  • Strings are really long and can be annoying when they’re not in use
  • Tedious to keep it clean

Type: Flex Trail Saddle
Weight: 30 lbs
Seat Size: 14’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

6. Big Horn Synthetic Saddle 

western saddle

The Big Horn Synthetic Saddle is functional and the best western saddle for beginners because it offers a comfortable way to explore the discipline in a lightweight and minimalist model.

It was designed for the trail and has a shorter skirt at only 27 inches to provide more freedom and contact with the horse.

The seat is throughout, providing more grip for the rider, too, and it has the uncommon feature of padded stirrup footbeds for added comfort.

Some consider it a cheap western saddle, but it is still well-made and durable, making it an economical choice for years of riding. Unfortunately, it only comes in a 16-inch seat.

What We Liked

  • The seat features roughout to help you stay secure and is padded for comfort
  • Extremely lightweight at only 20 pounds
  • This is the best synthetic western saddle on the market with some leather touches
  • The Quarter Horse bars fit most stock horses well along with the Equifit tree
  • Padded stirrup footbeds offer more comfort and security

What Can Be Improved 

  • It only comes in a 16-inch seat size 
  • It doesn’t offer as much security in the cantle and seat as other models
  • It’s a minimalist saddle without any extras or special design

Type: Cordura Trail Saddle
Weight: 20 lbs
Seat Size: 16’’
Gullet With: 6.25’’

7. Dakota Western Trail Saddle 

western saddle

The Dakota Western Trail Saddle consistently ranks as the best western pleasure saddle.

That’s because it has beautiful craftsmanship, durability, and comfort in a minimalist model designed for the pleasure or trail rider.

This saddle has a moderate-sized cantle and horn for added security and in-skirt rigging for closer contact.

We would love to see this saddle with half-seat sizes, but that’s not an option. It does have a full flank set included and a 10-year warranty on the Steele Equi-Fit tree.

It’s a great saddle for short-backed horses with the skirt length and design. Two colors are available for some added customization.

What We Liked

  • An economical price makes this saddle an affordable option for anyone
  • Designed for trail riding but used by riders in all disciplines
  • The saddle has a 10-year warranty but you’ll probably never need it
  • The saddle comes with a full flank set
  • Comes in two colors, a golden brown, and a Pro brown

What Can Be Improved 

  • There aren’t any half-seat sizes available on this model
  • It has aluminum stirrups instead of its normal wood and rawhide stirrups
  • The 6.5-inch gullet width needs to be specially ordered

Type: Trail Saddle
Weight: 28 lbs
Seat Size: 15’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 7’’

8. Circle Y Cameo Custom Show Saddle

western saddle

The Circle Y Cameo Custom Show Saddle is the best western show saddle and has been for generations.

This saddle is built to equitation specifications, offering rider’s the most balanced contact with the horse, while still being comfortable.

The stirrups hang further forward for the show-ring style and the silver accents add that elegant touch needed. 

Oddly enough, this saddle isn’t available in a 15-inch seat, however, it does come in a 14.5, 16, and 17-inch seat.

Many consider Circle Y the best Western saddle brand and a ride in the Cameo proves why. We love that this saddle is so fully customizable to the needs of the rider as well.

What We Liked 

  • The cutout skirt provides closer contact with the horse
  • Sterling silver is accented throughout the saddle, including on the conchos and rear D-rings
  • A suede seat provides extra security with the equitation model for balance 
  • Light oil and chocolate color options are both available
  • The tree is the Precision Equitation and comes in a regular or wide width

What Can Be Improved

  • There isn’t a 15-inch seat option but there is a 14.5-inch seat
  • This is one of the heaviest western saddles on the market
  • The silver and tooling require more care than most other saddles

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

9. South Bend Saddle Company All-Around Work & Trail Saddle 

western saddle

The South Bend Saddle Company has an all around western saddle that’s also popular trail riding because it can carry a rider comfortably all day.

Settling into the seat feels like coming home, and the taller cantle and horn allow ranch work, maintenance, or anything else to be completed.

It’s a study and durable saddle that is made of high-quality materials with enough craftsmanship and hand-tooling to make you feel special. 

One downside to this saddle is that it doesn’t provide as much close contact with the horse for precise cueing. It does have a suede seat for extra grip, and four color options though. 

What We Liked

  • A sturdy and durable saddle that works as hard as you do
  • High-quality craftsmanship as the South Bend Saddle Company is known for
  • Four colors available, chocolate, chestnut, honey, and light oil
  • Great (and comfortable!) for working around the ranch or on a long trail ride
  • A suede seat adds an extra layer of security and comfort for the rider

What Can Be Improved 

  • There’s extra leather that precludes closer contact than with other models
  • It’s meant for working or trail riding, not the show ring
  • Limited to only three seat sizes, the 15, 16, and 17-inch

Type: All-Around Saddle
Weight: 34 lbs
Seat Size: 15’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

10. Double J Hi-Tech Roping Saddle 

western saddle

The Double J Hi-Tech Roping Saddle is the top western saddle for roping, and can also be used in other disciplines because of its unique features and durability.

This saddle has withstood the test of time and has been continuously improved to offer the highest quality and latest innovations.

It features a bicycle seat that is attractive and comfortable and adjustable fenders for a customized and secure fit.

Some riders don’t like the stainless steel horn and stirrups, but this trend is here to stay. The standard tree on the Hi-Tech fits 90% of all horses and other sizes are available if needed too.

What We Liked 

  • Roughout provides extra grip 
  • The tree was tested by riders and adjusted, it’s ideal for roping and other disciplines
  • You can adjust the fenders to prevent rocking too far forward
  • The bicycle seat in chocolate brown suede is attractive and comfortable
  • It has a standard tree that fits 90% of horses, but other sizes are available 

What Can Be Improved 

  • It has a stainless steel horn and stirrups and some riders don’t like these
  • It’s a vintage look with some modern flairs, including the bicycle seat
  • Higher price point than some other saddles

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

11. Cashel Ranch Cowboy Saddle

western saddle

Seasoned cowboys love the Cashel Ranch Cowboy Saddle for the long days of work they have on the ranch, and this saddle is also great for those just starting out with horses.

It’s a quality western saddle that’s also durable and can withstand daily work and rigor. Swinging fenders give riders more flexibility, while the skirt offers closer contact with the horse.

The seat is deep and comfortable, with a high cantle and roughout leather for extra grip.

It doesn’t come in 17-inch seat size, but there are three other options. It features a roping horn with a wrap, in case that’s needed at all by the rider.

The rear flank strap also helps keep things secure.

What We Liked 

  • Roughout leather provides extra grip on the seat and skirt
  • Durable design easily withstands the rigor of daily ranch work
  • The deep seat and high cantle offer extra security in the saddle
  • The close-contact skirt offers better communication with the horse
  • Free-swinging fenders offer freedom of movement, flexibility, and security

What Can Be Improved 

  • Really shouldn’t be used in the show ring at all
  • There isn’t a 17-inch seat size available, or half-seat sizes
  • Definitely a work saddle at 42 pounds and with limited extra design touches 

Type: Ranch Saddle
Weight: 42 lbs
Seat Size: 14’’ to 16’’
Gullet With: 6.75’’ 

12. Billy Cook Wade Tree Saddle 

western saddle

The Billy Cook Wade Tree Saddle is a ranch saddle built to work that looks and feels like it was custom-made.

Riders agree that Billy Cook makes the best western saddle and this is one of those saddles that makes you understand why.

It has thick leather and is well built and sturdy for any job on the ranch, while also being comfortable enough for the rider to spend the entire day in. 

Its only downfall is that at 42 pounds it’s one of the heaviest saddles on the market, but the extra weight means it’s ready to go to work.

The beautiful basket weave design and hand tooling give it a custom look. 

What We Liked 

  • An extremely durable saddle that’s ready for any job at the ranch and will last for years
  • It looks like a custom-made saddle with all the intricate design work and quality materials
  • Comfortable spending the entire day in
  • Chestnut, russet, and pecan colors are all available
  • Beautiful basket-weave design and hand tooling that Billy Cook is known for

What Can Be Improved 

  • Cleaning this saddle is time-consuming with the hand tooling and designs 
  • The front cinch isn’t included with this saddle
  • It’s a really heavy saddle at 42 pounds and weighs more than most

Type: Ranch Saddle
Weight: 42 lbs
Seat Size: 15’’ to 17’’
Gullet With: 6.5’’ to 8’’

How to Choose a Western Saddle? 

Fit is the most important thing when choosing a western saddle. It must be comfortable for you and the horse to spend long hours in.


Fit is important for both the horse and the rider because the rider can ride correctly and the horse is comfortable and pain-free. The most obvious area of fit to check for the rider is seat size, whereas, with the horse, the legs and feet are important to daily function, so we tend to focus on those. 


Use must be considered when selecting a saddle because there are enough nuances in the western disciplines to make it necessary to have a saddle that allows the horse and rider the greatest flexibility and a chance for success. Different uses include roping, cutting, barrel racing, trail, and show. There are some saddles that can weave through both. 


Durability is always an important feature to consider because it influences how long the saddle will last, the return on investment, and how hard it can be worked without causing damage to the horse or rider. Quality, sturdiness, and security are a few ways that durability is measured. Look for quality and thick leather as durability signs.


It goes without saying, but any saddle you consider should be comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, you can focus on the horse and your ride. Comfort should be considered for the horse as well, through accurate fit, shock absorption in the skirt, and other available features. Overall, this will contribute to the quality and sometimes durability too.


Okay, so beauty may not come to mind as the most important feature when you’re looking for a saddle. But, you will spend a lot of time looking at your saddle, so you might as well have a saddle that’s nice to look at. Saddles are expensive, buy one that also makes you happy.


What is a Western saddle? 

A western saddle is a type used by stock horses that offer extra functionality through the saddle horn, security, and comfort.

What is different about a Western saddle?

Western saddles are different because of the saddle horn and swell at the front, the fancy tooling on the leather, and their bulk. 

What makes a good Western saddle?

A good Western saddle is made of high-quality materials, keeps the rider centered in the saddle, and allows for easy cueing of the horse. 

Are Western saddles heavy? 

Yes, Western saddles are typically heavy, with some weighing up to 40 pounds.

Are Western saddles comfortable? 

Yes, Western saddles are comfortable because they’re designed for day-long rides, and some people have compared it to sitting on your couch. 

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

A cutting saddle is a type of western saddle used in that discipline, it provides extra balance and security the riders need working the cattle. 

Can you do cutting in a Western saddle? 

Cutting is usually done in a Western saddle because the swell, horn, and cantle provide additional security. Some riders use other types of saddles though.

What is the point of the sliding stop in Western? 

Sliding stops are a movement in a Western reining pattern, but originally they were needed when working with cattle that stopped or moved suddenly.

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