What Are The Best Saddle Brands Available In The Market?
The saddle is probably the most important piece of tack that you need for riding your horse. It is important to go for a good brand that fits well on your horse and that is comfortable for you, the rider. There are several saddle brands available. There are also some things to look out for when choosing one. A bad or ill-fitting saddle will not give an enjoyable experience for either you or your horse. This article is going to provide you with everything you need to know about saddles and how to identify good saddle brands.
What Is A Saddle?
A riding saddle is a supportive piece of tack that is made of leather that attaches to the back of a horse. It helps to support the rider or any other load placed on the back of the horse. The modern saddle comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. They are all designed for different equestrian disciplines. The disciplines could be general riding, dressage, western riding or hunting. Whatever discipline you are riding for, having a good saddle fit is imperative. When you do get a saddle with a proper fit, make sure you take care of it. Proper care of saddles can extend their shelf-life by years.
Saddles are made up of several parts. Here are the major parts:
The tree is like the structural support upon which the rest of the saddle is built, like a skeleton. It is usually made of wood or a synthetic material that is similar to wood. The tree is covered with leather or any other synthetic that works. Of course, it is the base structure of the saddle. So, the size of the tree determines the size and fit of the saddle on horseback as well as the seat for the rider.
The rigid structure of the tree serves to protect the horse from the weight of the rider. It raises the set of the saddle some distance away from the horse’s back. It also spreads the weight of the rider across the horse’s back. More like the shape of a submarine spreads the pressure all across the vessel. This makes it easier for the horse to carry the rider’s weight.
The seat is the part of the saddle where the rider sits when riding. It is usually located between the cantle and pommel, and designed to be lower than both.
Pommel or Swells
This is the slightly raised area in front of the saddle where the bars and gullet of the tree converge.
This is the area of the saddle behind the seat. It is usually raised to provide some form of support for the rider.
The stirrup is a metal frame that holds the feet of the rider while riding. The stirrup is useful in helping the rider mount and dismount. It also provides some support and leverage for the rider while riding.
Leather Flaps and Fenders
The leather flaps are exactly what they sound like. Flaps of leather that hang down the sides of the horse. Protects the rider from sweat and gives support. It also conceals the birth and girdle of the saddle.
This is a wide strap of leather that goes behind the horse’s front legs. It holds the saddle. The girth is attached to the saddle by the billets. This can be tightened to hold the saddle snugly in place.
Types Of Saddles
Saddles are important in horse riding. Choosing the right saddle type for your horse is also an important decision. Your choice of saddle depends on what you want to use the horse for. If you are an inexperienced rider, you should have a professional along with you when choosing a saddle. Apart from the saddle fitting you perfectly, it should also fit your horse. The following is a list of the major saddle types available.
General Purpose Saddle
These are saddles that are perfect for the novice or intermediate rider. They are designed in such a way to accommodate a wide variety of riding disciplines and riders too. They are sturdy and have flaps that cut forward. This feature works for different disciplines including jumping, dressage and hacks or hunts. General purpose saddles are used often in riding schools. This is because the riding school would need a saddle that will accommodate a lot of people. This includes people of different sizes riding different disciplines with different abilities.
Western saddles were originally made to be used by cattle ranchers in the United States. This is a saddle for cowboys, as they are colloquially known. They are usually made with brown leather and intricately designed and colorful. They have a horn on the pommel that is used to dally a rope when pulling something or roping cattle. This kind of saddle has no padding and is usually placed on a padded blanket. The stirrups are also sturdier than other types of saddles. The western saddle uses a cinch instead of a girth. The tree of the western saddle is designed in a specific way to evenly spread the weight of the rider across the back of the horse.
This type of saddle is used for English riding. It is the type of saddle that is used in Olympic events. This type of saddle is used for different equestrian disciplines including show jumping, horse racing, polo and so on. There are some major distinguishing features of an English saddle. They are flatter in appearance, have air or wool filled panels for cushioning and they have no horns.
The Best Saddle Brands Available In The Market
Now you are ready to go to an equestrian shop and buy your saddle. It can be challenging to choose the right fit because there are many saddle brands out there. Here are some of the best brands to look out for when you go saddle shopping. This list is a combination of important factors. These factors include brand reputation, quality of product, price and customers’ feedback.
American Saddlery and Big Horn
American Saddlery and Big Horn make some of the best saddles in the United States. The company has been in existence since 1965. They have made up to 1 million saddles in that period. Their saddles are hand crafted with the best of leather which makes them very durable. They also have a wide variety of saddles, and have up to 614 options. They offer repairs if their saddles ever develop any fault.
American Saddlery and Big Horn are based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The saddles are made in the United States but they have a global network of distributors. You are likely to find American Saddlery saddles in shops in the UK, Israel, Mexico and the Middle East. Interestingly, American Saddlery and Big horn do not sell directly to the public. They have a network of authorized dealers that carry their products. There is a tab on their website where you can find all their authorized dealers.
Tucker Saddlery is a company based in Yoakum, Texas. They are known for being very comfortable trail saddles. They patented the unique Gel Cush shock absorbing seat. This is built to absorb shocks while riding. It protects both the rider and the horse. Tucker Saddlery products are handmade and made with real leather. They are made with flexible trees too. They bring their more than 30 years of experience making horse saddles into each piece they make.
Tucker Saddlery also does not sell to the public, but through authorized dealers. Their saddles are quite pricey with their Horizon series costing an average of $2,400. Their classic series is a bit cheaper, costing an average of $1,500.
They were established in 1977 in Maryville, Tennessee. Fabtron is a world leader in the manufacturing of saddles. Instead of going the traditional leather route, they have made a name for themselves in synthetic saddlery making. Their saddles are very lightweight and flexible. They are also easy to care for, as opposed to leather saddles that need consistent care.
The reduced weight of their saddles has a couple of advantages. It makes it easy for the rider to lift the saddle and place on the horse. This is an important distinction with riders that might not be able to carry heavy leather saddles. It also reduces the weight on the horse. This is useful when the horse is going on long trail rides. Fabtron saddles are only available through authorized dealers. Their saddles are fairly pricey, with prices ranging from $600 – $1,700.
Tex Tan’s parent company, Action was founded in 1968, and headquartered in McKinney, Texas. Tex Tan is one of the leading manufacturers of synthetic saddles in the United States. This brand makes saddles that are great for barrel racing and showing. Tex Tan saddles are usually made of nylon and stainless steel and feature shock absorbing foams. They are scratch resistant too. Their saddles are also colorful and attractive. Their prices range from $800-$1,300. You can get their products from some of the top tack and equine stores in the United States.
Circle Y saddles was established in 1960 in Yoakum, Texas. They are one of the top saddle brands in the United States. They combine cutting-edge technology and the best materials to create really good products. Circle Y’s patented Flex-Lite tree design has become the standard in flex design. The design is lightweight and flexible, which makes it contort to fit any horse like it is custom made. Their saddles are handmade and made with care borne from decades of industry success.
Unlike most saddle companies that make saddles for just one equestrian discipline. Circle Y make saddles for barrel racing, trail riding, showing, reining and more. They even make Arabian saddles and ranch work saddles.
Circle Y saddles are only sold through authorized dealers. These saddles are a bit on the high end. Their prices range from $800-$2,500.
Important Things To Consider When Buying A Saddle
Saddle buying is an art that needs to be done well or else you end up with a bad experience. The saddle needs to be comfortable for you as well as your horse. Anything less is not worth it. After buying a horse, the saddle is probably your next most expensive purchase and you have to get it right. The best way to do this if you are a novice is to go with a professional. If this is not possible, here are some factors you should consider:
The question you should ask yourself is: Is this saddle made by a well known manufacturer? This is important especially when purchasing saddles online. You do not get to feel the saddle, you only see pictures. What you get might not be what is advertised. Do some research on the manufacturer, read some reviews. Chances are that if the manufacturer is well known, then you are mostly assured of a quality product
Most well made saddles are made out of leather or some kind of synthetic material. Make sure the leather is good quality, even if it has blemishes. Blemishes sometimes happen, even with good leather. Do not go for imitation leather. Also make sure the underside of the saddle is made of fleece or any other soft material. It is necessary for the comfort of your horse.
– Types of Saddles
Not all saddles work for all styles of riding. Make sure you get one that is specific for what you are using your horse for. If you are not sure, it is a safe bet to get a general purpose saddle. It helps you cover all your bases.
If you have ridden a horse for any long period of time, you would understand how important your comfort is. You do not want to forget the comfort of your horse either. A poor fitting or hard saddle can make your horse uncomfortable and could even injure your horse.
There are different types of saddles and each has its own different use. Different equestrian disciplines require different types of saddles. You need to know which one is which. You should also know your saddle manufacturers. Go for the popular brands, the ones that have decades of history. They might be pricier, but you will get value for your money. Buy quality saddles and the right type too. Your back and your horse will thank you.
Your horse needs all the comfort and grooming you can give it. This is regardless of what you are using your horse for, whether showing, racing, or trail riding. The Equine Planner’s performance planning app provides you with all the help you need. It even helps in managing your activities. This includes training, payments, barn management, and keeping everything organized. It is available for download on mobile and desktop.
Table Of Contents
Chapter 2 – What Is A Saddle?
Chapter 3 – Types Of Saddles
Chapter 4 – The Best Saddle Brands Available In The Market
Chapter 6 – Conclusion
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