Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: February 09, 2021
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Not all Western saddles are as good as they seem. There are a whole lot of different models out there, varying enormously in terms of comfort, support, size, and suitability for different riding conditions, and you might be missing out or even putting yourself or your horse in danger and discomfort by using the wrong one! This is why it’s so important to look for the best Western saddles, and our guide will help you do just that.
We’ve taken a thorough look at dozens of different Western saddles in order to narrow down your options and highlight the most recommended models, based on a range of key criteria. We looked at the size options of each saddle, offering a good range for kids and adults alike, as well as the type, choosing a varied selection of saddles for show, endurance, roping, and trails. We also looked at other key factors like weight, warranty, and color, and you can find our full list of best Western saddles down below.
Available in a range of different colors, the Acerugs Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle is by far one of the best Western saddles you can buy right now. It’s a terrific choice for both riding newbies and experts, offering support, comfort, and durability, as well as a truly beautiful and eye-catching design that will surely turn a few heads on your next ride.
Made from a top quality synthetic cordura material with a comfortable and soft padded seat, along with a gentle synthetic fleece underside, the Acerugs Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle is kind to both horse and rider. It features a double reinforced fiberglass tree, able to last for years and look as good as new, even after hours of rides.
The Acerugs Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle doesn’t include the girch or back cinch or the horse bit, but it does ship with colored Texas Star conchos, padded stirrups, adjustable Blevins buckles, and a free set of gifts including matching headstall, reins, breast collar, and pad, subject to supply.
The Acerugs Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle is also available at a really fair price when you consider just how much quality it has to offer, and the only real downside to this model is that some users say that the blanket is a little slippy, so you may need to add an extra non-slip blanket beneath.
Next up on our list of the best Western saddles, we have the Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle. One of the first things you notice about this saddle is its very classy and sleek design. It’s available in two colors – brown and black – and a variety of sizes ranging from 14 to 17, so it’s a versatile model that can be well-suited to riders of different ages and body types, and it really looks the part with its smooth mat finish and well-padded seat.
The Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle looks great and feels very comfortable too. It’s one of the most comfortable Western saddles on the market right now, proving hugely popular with trail and endurance riders in particular and offering the comfort you need, even during those long, extended riding sessions. It also comes with shimmering stainless steel hardware that is highly resistant to things like rust and corrosion, ensuring that your saddle looks good as new, even after multiple years of use.
The Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle is a little on the expensive side, but it offers amazing value for money with its top tier Equisuede seat and tough, durable, Equileather fenders. It features quick change buckles for your convenience too, and is a fully weatherproof Western saddle, ready to tackle rides in wind, sun, rain, or snow.
Many people worry that buying a Western saddle needs to be quite an expensive endeavor, with most of the best saddles on the market coming with high price tags attached. However, you can find some great bargains and deals if you decide to shop around a little, as proven by the terrific Orlov Hill Leather Co Pleasure Trail Horse Show TACK Set. Winner of our Budget Pick award, this top quality Western saddle is attractive, versatile, and immensely affordable too.
The Orlov Hill Leather Co Pleasure Trail Horse Show TACK Set stands out first of all for its appearnace. It’s made from 100% authentic leather, with stainless steel hardware and some really decorative designs and patterns throughout, giving off that classic cowboy look that a lot of riders really enjoy. There’s a suede seat to keep you comfortably in place, with plenty of padding for those longer rides, and a free matching headstall breast collar set included with every purchase too, helping to make the price of this saddle even more attractive.
The Orlov Hill Leather Co Pleasure Trail Horse Show TACK Set also comes complete with oiled leather latigo and billet straps for your convenience, and thanks to its design, it’s suitable for a wide array of potential uses, including pleasure riding, trail riding, and show events. Users have been thrilled with this model and amazed at its low price, and the only real downside is that size options are a little limited, making this saddle unsuitable for younger riders as well as those who usually choose a size 17.
When it comes to choosing a Western saddle, there are many different factors and features to bear in mind. Some people focus on the materials and color, while others care more about the rigging and seat, but one of the most important factors to think about is the padding, and if you care about quality padding, the Wintec Western Trail Saddle might be the very best option for you. This saddle comes fitted out with some of the softest and most comfortable padding around, ideal for long trail rides over rocky terrain.
The padding on the Wintec Western Trail Saddle is even equipped with a layer of memory foam, as used in industry leading mattresses, able to shape and adjust to the contours of your body, offering a gentle cradling feeling and very comfortable seat that only gets better the more you use it. In short, this Western saddle is actually able to change shape to suit your body, letting you ride for longer with minimal discomfort.
Along with its memory foam seat, the Wintec Western Trail Saddle also comes complete with a comfort-oriented saddle tree, cut out fenders with EZ fold feature for your convenience, wide trail stirrups, and longer than average saddle tie strings for easy attachment too. The only real downside to this model is that some users say it has something of a basic aesthetic, but this is a very subjective issue as many other users love the minimalistic look of this model.
Adults aren’t the only ones who can enjoy horse riding and require a Western saddle of their very own; there are plenty of kid riders out there too, and the sad fact is that a lot of big brand Western saddles often aren’t available in kid sizes. Fortunately, the King Series Mini Deluxe Western Saddle has been especially designed with younger riders in mind. It’s not suitable for adults, but this kid-oriented saddle is a big winner for little ones.
Made from top quality materials and available at a very attractive and affordable price, the King Series Mini Deluxe Western Saddle lives up to its name with a miniature size profile and lightweight finish, allowing it to be easily and seamlessly transported from place to place and fitted onto the horse without any issues. Designed with mini horses in mind, as well as mini riders, it’s the perfect shape and size for children and fitted out with rough leather seating elements, a suede leather finish, and silver layered conchos too.
There’s a lot to love about the King Series Mini Deluxe Western Saddle. It’s a very well made Western saddle, and even though it has limited appeal and functionality, not really being suitable for anything but mini horse riding, it’s still a great product from every angle. It looks terrific too with its classic design and simple tan finish.
One of the most interesting things about the Western saddle market is the huge variety you can find in terms of appearance and design of different saddles. Some are quite simple and basic in their aesthetics, but others have been crafted with a whole lot of care, involving intricate patterns and delicate detail into almost every single part of the seat and surrounding components. The RoyalSaddles Kids Black Leather Western Mini Pony Saddle is one of those saddles.
Designed for use with children, ponies, and mini horses, the RoyalSaddles Kids Black Leather Western Mini Pony Saddle stands out for its elegant aesthetic. It’s only available in black, but when you look closer, you’ll start to make out all the little details of this particularly beautiful Western saddle. All around the outside, this model has been beautifully designed with detailed, intricate, attractive patterns. It’s really attractive and a great choice for younger riders who want a more ‘adult-looking’ saddle than some of the other basic kid-oriented saddles on the market.
Weighing in at about 10 lbs, the RoyalSaddles Kids Black Leather Western Mini Pony Saddle is relatively lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry around, even for children, and relatively simple to put in place on a pony or mini horse too. It’s made from durable leather and strong metal hardware, designed to last for years of repeated use without any issues and only minimal wear and tear as time goes by.
One of the first things to think about when choosing a Western saddle is whether you need a full-quarter or semi-quarter model. A full-quarter saddle is designed for horses with wide and flat backs, but many riders need to opt for a semi-quarter saddle, like the Wintec Semi-Quarter Western Saddle, which has been made for horses with average or medium-sized backs. This saddle should provide optimal levels of comfort for both horse and rider and has been carefully crafted from top quality materials.
The design of the Wintec Semi-Quarter Western Saddle might seem a little basic to some, but a lot of riders appreciate this simple, discreet design, and you can choose from both a black and a brown variant to suit your style and the color of your horse. It’s made with stainless steel hardware, silver conchos, 2″ bell stirrups, quick change stirrup buckles for your convenience, and a fleece lined skirt too. The main seat area is made from padded microfiber suede, which is both long-lasting and smooth to the touch, giving this saddle a great feel overall.
The Wintec Semi-Quarter Western Saddle is available at a very fair price too, and many users call it one of the most comfortable saddles they’ve ever used. What’s more, it’s available in a wide range of sizes, from 14 right up to 17, making it a suitable choice for younger and older riders alike.
Last but not least, we come to the final entry on our list of the best Western saddles you can buy today: the Orlov Hill Leather Co Roper Ranch Roping Wade Type Trail Western Saddle. As its name implies, this is a very versatile kind of Western saddle that has a lot of possible uses, giving it widespread appeal and allowing it to work for a variety of different users, from trail riders to show enthusiasts.
The first thing that stands out about the Orlov Hill Leather Co Roper Ranch Roping Wade Type Trail Western Saddle is its design. This is a really attractive saddle from every angle, made with real leather that looks simply fabulous throughout and finished off with a smooth suede pad along the seat and stainless steel fitting hardware throughout. It’s a saddle that was clearly put together with a lot of care and attention to detail, and it looks amazing when set up on the back of a horse, ready for a ride along the trail or a gentle stroll around the ranch.
The Orlov Hill Leather Co Roper Ranch Roping Wade Type Trail Western Saddle is a highly affordable Western saddle too, coming complete with some free accessories like a matching headstall breast collar set, along with oiled leather latigo and billet straps. With its classic design and numerous ties for all of your various accessories, the Orlov Hill Leather Co Roper Ranch Roping Wade Type Trail Western Saddle is an excellent model with no major drawbacks, except the fact that it’s only available in brown.
What we liked:
Very versatile model
What could be better:
Only available in one color
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve read reviews of some of the best Western saddles money can buy, it’s time to take a closer look at what exactly makes Western saddles so special, along with the various types of Western saddle you can buy and how to choose between them. This saddle buying guide will introduce you to the various types and sizes of Western saddle, as well as covering all the pros, cons, and key features that every saddle shopper should bear in mind.
What is Western saddle – pros and cons
So what exactly is a Western saddle? Well, as the name implies, Western saddles originated in the Old West and were inspired by the saddles used by Mexican vaqueros (horse trainers and cattle handlers from Mexico). They were then used by cowboys, ranchers, and riders throughout the Western US, growing and developing over the years, but retaining many key features.
Western saddles are the kind you might see in cowboy movies or on TV, and they differ greatly from English saddles, tending to be bigger, bulkier, and having more padding overall, being designed to provide comfort to the rider and a secure seat for long journeys over rocky terrain. While the earliest Western saddles were made with comfort and security in mind, we now have all kinds of Western saddles, with some being made to handle super long rides of many miles, and others being designed with aesthetic quality in mind in order to stand out at show events.
There are many pros and cons to Western saddles, when compared to other kinds of saddles.
For starters, Western saddles come in a very broad range of types, giving riders a lot of different options. You can buy Western saddles for everything from roping events to show events to simple trail rides and long endurance journeys over rough terrain, and with such a lot of types to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find a saddle that’s right for you and your needs.
Another advantage of Western saddles is that, thanks to their immense variety, you can find a good range of brands and prices to choose from too, so even if you have a low budget, it’s not too hard to find a top quality Western saddle, like the Orlov Hill Leather Co Pleasure Trail Horse Show TACK Set, for example. It’s also relatively easy to find saddles in different materials, including both leather and synthetic alternatives.
Many Western saddles are also designed with comfort in mind, featuring more padding than classic English saddles and helping to keep the rider comfortably and firmly in place. A lot of people appreciate this added comfort, and there are many Western saddle types that are kinder and more comfortable for the horse too.
On the downside, Western saddles are often heavier and a little more awkward to transport and use than some of their English alternatives. Since they’re bigger and chunkier in design, these saddles take up more space and aren’t always the easiest to transport. English saddles are designed to give the rider a closer connection with the horse that many riders enjoy, so that can also be considered a downside to Western models.
Features to consider when choosing Western saddle
Before you go out and buy a Western saddle, it makes sense to take your time and learn as much about them as possible, as well as finding a few different, high-rated models and then comparing them to find out which one is right for you. Western saddles come in a huge range of sizes, types, materials, colors, and prices too, so it’s definitely not recommended to simply dive right in and buy the first one you find. Instead, be sure to take your time, look at all the options, and consider a range of different factors like type, material, seat, padding, and more. Read on to learn why each of these factors matter.
One of the most important decisions you have to make when shopping for a Western saddle is deciding on which type of saddle you’d like to get. Western saddles can be divided down into many subcategories, including flexible tree saddles, ranch saddles, trail saddles, roping saddles, reining saddles, and more. Here’s a breakdown of a few of the different types you might consider.
Barrel racing saddles like the Acerugs Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle tend to be quite small and lightweight in their designs, able to offer enhanced maneuverability to the rider, while also helping to keep them firmly and securely in their seat at all times. These types of saddles are quite versatile, useful for a wide range of situations, and tend to be among the best lightweight Western trail saddles.
Trail saddles, also known as pleasure saddles, tend to be quite lightweight too and, as the name suggests, are designed for trail riding. They usually come with padded seats, offering as much comfort as possible for those long rides, and the Wintec Western Trail Saddle is a terrific example of one of the best Western saddles for trail riding.
Roping saddles, as the name implies, are best used at roping events. They’re designed with maneuverability and freedom of movement in mind, designed to keep the rider securely in place while freeing up their hips and upper body for roping cattle and moving the arms around. They tend to have low forks, tall horns, and roper stirrups. The Orlov Hill Leather Co Roper Ranch Roping Wade Type Trail Western Saddle is a great example of this type of Western saddle.
Next, we have flexible tree saddles. If you care about the comfort of your horse, this is a great choice for you. They tend to feature very rigid forks and cantles, with more flexible bars that allow the tree to move in time with your horse. This helps to provide a more comfortable and pleasant riding experience for the horse, while still offering a good degree of comfort and freedom for the rider too.
One of the first factors you might want to consider when shopping for a Western saddle is the material it’s made from and its overall color too. Aesthetics won’t make any difference to how your Western saddle feels or functions, but many people like to buy a saddle that looks good, and this can be particularly important for shows and events.
Ultimately, the material you choose will depend on your own personal preferences, budget, and what you want from your saddle. Some people prefer the feel of leather, while others appreciate the durability and unique qualities of other materials. You can also find saddles equipped with fiberglass parts and fleece coverings too for added strength and comfort.
Then, you need to think about the color, and this is another area where personal preferences play a big part. Western saddles can be a found in a very wide array of colors, including classic browns and blacks, as well as more unique colors like pinks, reds, and blues for show events. Many people like to pick a saddle that matches the color of their horse, while others enjoy choosing saddles that really stand out, like the Acerugs Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle.
The seat of a saddle is one of the most important parts and can be divided up into several smaller components, including the horn, swell, cantle, and skirt. These different sections can be made up of different materials and have different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of saddle you’re buying. The King Series Mini Deluxe Western Saddle, for example, has a much different seat overall to the Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle, and so on. A lot of this will come down to personal preference.
The rigging of a saddle is the name given to the dee rings on both sides that are used to connect the saddle to the horse. There are different types of rigging, including 7/8 rigging, as seen on the Wintec Semi-Quarter Western Saddle, and full rigging. Different types of rigging offer differing levels of comfort for both horse and rider.
Padding is another of the most important features for you to bear in mind when choosing a Western saddle. In general, Western saddles tend to feature much more padding and cushioning than English saddles, but the amount of padding in each model can vary from one to the next. Some models, like trail and endurance models such as the Wintec Western Trail Saddle, are fitted with additional padding to be able to provide the support and gentle comfort you need for long rides.
More padding isn’t always a good thing, as it will result in a heavier and bulkier saddle overall, but it can be essential for certain types of riding and events, so be sure to think about how you’re going to be using your saddle and try to find the right degree of padding to meet your needs.
Size is another factor to consider when buying Western saddles, and it’s probably one of the most important factors of all. Even if you spend a lot of money on the best possible saddle, it won’t be of any use if you haven’t got the right size! The wrong size of saddle might not fit on your horse and it won’t be properly suited for your body, resulting in a painful riding experience and too much pressure being exerted on certain parts of your body too.
It could even be dangerous, as the wrong sized saddle may result in a less secure riding position, making it more likely for you to fall or be thrown from the seat, and this is why it’s so vital to find a Western saddle of the right size for both the horse and the rider.
A lot of saddles are available in a wide range of sizes. The Wintec Semi-Quarter Western Saddle, for example, can be purchased in sizes 14 through 17. 14 is a good size for young and small adults, whereas 15 is usually the right size for most average-sized adults, with 16 and 17 being better sizes for larger riders. Be sure to get yourself fitted at a riding shop and know your size before buying a Western saddle.
Along with factors like size, material, and padding, it makes a lot of sense to also think about the warranty on your Western saddle. Whether you’re looking for the best Western trail saddles or the best synthetic Western saddles, it always helps to have a good warranty policy from the manufacturer to ensure that your purchase is protected in case anything goes wrong.
Saddle manufacturers can have very different policies in place when it comes to warranties. Some of them offer little to no warranty, while others will offer several years of coverage, able to repair or replace your saddle if you encounter any issues during those early years of use. However, be sure to read through the rules regarding each warranty before you buy.
Many saddle manufacturers will explicitly state that the warranty only applies if the saddle has been used properly and by the correct kind of rider. If you use a saddle improperly and it suffers some kind of breakage, you may not be eligible for any kind of reimbursement or replacement through the warranty policy, so be sure to consider this and learn all the details you can before making a purchase.
As with anything in life, you’ll also need to think about the price of your Western saddle before buying it, and we recommend deciding on a budget before you start shopping and doing your best to stick to it. These kinds of saddles come with all kinds of price tags. Some are quite expensive, but others can be found much more cheaply, and even some of the best rated Western saddles are relatively affordable, so you don’t always need to spend a lot of cash to get a great product when saddle shopping.
The Orlov Hill Leather Co Pleasure Trail Horse Show TACK Set, for example, winner of our Budget Pick award for this list of the best Western saddles, stands out for its low price but great quality, being made of top tier materials and offering an impressive degree of support, comfort, and freedom of movement to the rider. This model, and other top quality, affordable Western saddles, show that you can get some great deals by shopping around.
One of the most common questions people ask in regard to Western saddles is “How do I know which size I need?” Well, it’s not all that easy for a newbie to find the perfect size of saddle, but if you follow a few simple rules and maybe get some help from someone with riding experience, you’ll be able to simplify the process. In general, you should always have four inches between the front of your body and the fork, and your seat should be placed of the cantle, without pressing up against it. Some people prefer tighter-fitting saddles, while others favor a looser fit, so you may want to try a few and see what suits you best. In general, youths should look for saddles of 12 to 13″, small adults should go for 14″ saddles, average adults should opt for 15″ saddles, and larger adults should choose 16-17″ saddles.
There are two main types of saddle: Western and English. There are some big differences between these two types of saddle, and the first big difference concerns the size. Western saddles are generally much bigger and bulkier than English saddles, designed to spread the weight of the rider out over a greater area on the horse’s body and thereby provide a more comfortable experience to both horse and rider. The English saddle is designed to provide a closer contact between horse and rider. There’s also a big difference in terms of riding; with Western saddles, riders hold both reins in one hand and has no real contact with the horse’s mouth, using their own weight and seat to adjust direction, whereas English saddle riders usually take one rein in each hand and pull the reins to adjust speed and direction.
This really depends on your budget and what kinds of experiences you hope to have with horse riding. If you’re a budget-conscious shopper who doesn’t want to spend too much on your saddle, there are plenty of top quality models out there at very low and affordable prices, like the Orlov Hill Leather Co Pleasure Trail Horse Show TACK Set, for example, but if you want to get the most comfort and best possible experiences and have the cash to afford a better model, it’s always recommended to try and get the best saddle you possibly can. Newbies, in particular, may appreciate some of the unique advantages offered by the more expensive Western saddles out there, like the Acerugs Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle, for instance.
Overall, our top rated Western saddle is the Acerugs Trail Barrel Racer Show Horse Saddle. With its lightweight design and sturdy, synthetic construction, this top quality saddle is a terrific choice for both beginners and more intermediate riders alike. It’s made from only the finest materials, offering premium comfort and optimal support on every ride.
The next entry on our list of best Western saddles is the Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle. Offering amazing value for money, this Western saddle is made from only the finest materials, including top tier suede seating and stainless steel hardware for maximum durability and optimal comfort on every single ride.