Last Updated on December 26, 2022
Shopping for a saddle can be overwhelming at best. Luckily we’ve put together a quick guide and overview of some of the best English and western saddle brands on the market! Whether you’re chasing cans, galloping an XC course, or hitting the trails, one of these brands is sure to match you and your horse’s needs!
Top Saddle Brands- Important Factors
A saddle purchase isn’t always simple. Even if you know your discipline, budget, and size, there are many other factors to consider. Although you might be a 16″ in any western saddle, it is not “one size fits all” when it comes to horses.
Saddles need to fit riders as well as horses. If you don’t have a saddle fitter in your area, you can search for how to take your own wither tracing at home. The measurements found in these tracings can help determine what type of tree your horse requires. For more assistance, you can check out this sizing guide from Horse Saddle Shop. Typically, you are looking at overall saddle length (and where it falls on the vertebrae), shoulder clearance, wither clearance, width (gullet), channel width (spinal clearance), symmetry, and balance.
Another serious factor is the level and location of use. A “backyard rider” that hops on their horse only a few times per month and hangs around the property will not have the same needs as a high-performance roper, jumper, or endurance rider. If you are shopping strictly for high-end show rings, ideal brands will greatly differ from starter brands intended for rough use.
An avid trail rider that frequently rides in water may even consider a synthetic saddle over traditional leather. A thorough analysis of your saddle needs may also help determine an appropriate price range, especially if this is the first saddle. Luckily, there are many used options available through reputable retailers as well. These are a safer option than purchasing from a private party, as the tree integrity has been checked. Some saddles may even carry a form of warranty.
Learn more about Parts of a Saddle
Best English Saddles Brands
M Toulouse saddles are an excellent choice for the latest in equine biomechanics and luxury feel with a lighter price tag. Their saddles are known for their streamline appearance and embody the look of $4,000+ saddles at half the price. Their signature close contact saddles are a popular choice for hunters and come in fixed and their signature Genesis Adjustable Trees. The Annice Close Contact Saddle with Genesis technology is a great example of M Toulouse’s craftsmanship. It is inspired by an Antares saddle and features a customizable fit with full-grain leather reinforcements.
Collegiate is an English riding staple creating proven products time and time again. If you are on a budget but refuse to compromise quality, this is your brand! Collegiate makes several styles of saddles from eventing, hunters, and dressage. They are fairly economical and hold their resale value. Trainers frequently recommend this brand for students purchasing an initial show saddle. Additionally, it’s a great choice for riders on a budget that requires a saddle for A circuit or national level shows. Their original All Purpose Saddle is full-grain European leather and now features an exchangeable gullet system to customize the gullet for your horse.
Wintec falls in a slightly different category- as the primary characteristic of Wintec is their signature synthetic material used on saddles. The company actually produces English, western, and stock saddles. Even with the lighter price tag, Wintec saddles are built for life and can withstand heavy use. They feature exchangeable gullet systems to fit different horses and have a variety of interchangeable accessories. Because of these features, Wintec is a favorite for those wanting a lightweight option or something to withstand the elements.
Both Nelson and Rodrigo collection Pessoa saddles feature interchangeable gullet systems and have the same fundamentals. There are many options for the leather, color, panels, tree widths, and flap lengths. Therefore, choosing a Pessoa is almost like purchasing a custom saddle! These jump saddles are also available in a Junior series, extremely popular among junior exhibitors with great resale value. Pessoa uses state of the art technology, including a flexible carbon fiber spring tree that moves with you and your horse. Pessoa is durable, beautiful, versatile, and comfortable for both horse and rider. In addition, their signature AMS panels also mean no lumps!
Best Western Saddles Brands
Martin Saddlery produces some of the top western working saddles on the market. Although they aren’t the most economical option, you can be sure the price is backed by EquiBrand’s commitment to quality and prestige leatherwork. Martin Saddles can be completely configured for a custom saddle. If you’re lucky, you can even find a used one here. Martin manufactures barrel, all-around ranch, cutting, and roping saddles.
Circle Y has remained one of the most popular western saddle brands over the years for good reason. Despite changes in manufacturing or ownership Circle Y craftsmanship yields advanced treed, treeless, and flex options for all western riders. The sky is the limit featuring over a dozen categories of saddles, even mounted shooting! Quality leather on quality trees means a tried and true saddle with great resale value. You can view the Circle Y collection here.
Although known primarily for their barrel saddles, Double J has taken the western market by storm the last couple of years. Unfortunately, these are not budget-friendly saddles. However, Double J owners will tell you how they are worth every penny, and the resale value proves it! The craftsmanship is second to none, and they feature beautiful hand-tooled designs easily identifiable as uniquely Double J. Their saddle fit ratings are through the roof, and Double J saddles can be completely customized.
Dakota saddles are our number one pick for economical western saddles. Although they would not be our first recommendation for extreme or high-performance riding, Dakotas are solid and quality. They are an American made company with straight quality trees, a moderate weight, and come in multiple styles. One of their top sellers is this Dakota Trail Saddle, built on a Steele wooden tree with a five-year warranty. Trail riders rave about the comfort and durability.
No one ever called saddle shopping easy! However, we hope this provided some guidelines to point you in the right direction. Whether a seasoned expert or dead beginner, there is an appropriate saddle brand for you and your horse. But remember- saddles are not one size fits all! Reach out to an expert in your area or utilize online resources for proper fitting.
What are your thoughts on our list of best English and western saddle brands? If you’ve got friends that also love horses, be sure to share this article!
What English saddle should I buy?
The English saddles are usually bigger and more expensive than their Western counterparts, and the differences between brands can be huge. So, how do you know which saddle to buy? What to look for?
The first thing to look for is the fit. If the saddle is too big for you, you will not be able to ride comfortably, and it will be uncomfortable for your horse as well. So, check the fit before buying the saddle. The next thing to look for is comfort, and how much money you are willing to spend. If you’re looking for a new English saddle, you have a lot of choices. There are some great saddles on the market that are well-made, and offer good quality for a good price. However, if you’re looking for a saddle that is going to last you a long time, and is going to be comfortable for years to come, then you need to consider spending a bit more on a higher quality saddle.
How do I choose a western saddle?
The best thing to do is to go to a saddle shop and try a few saddles on. Choose a wide-set, heavy-duty saddle. The Western style has a wider seat and more padding than an English saddle. Wide-set saddles are usually made from leather and have a wider base than English saddles. Look for a saddle that has a cantle or a low horn. These parts can add stability to your horse's back.
Can I use my English saddle in the western style?
Yes, you can use your English saddle as long as it is adjusted properly. You may need to loosen some of the cinches and make sure that the girths are tight enough for the saddle to fit comfortably. If you do decide to switch saddles, you can get a new set of stirrups and reins. And yes, you will need new tack for a western saddle.
Are English or western saddles better?
Immediately you can see that this is a very subjective topic. However, if you are thinking of buying a new saddle it is important to consider your riding style and what type of horse you ride. If you are just starting out on a horse it may be best to get a western saddle. As your riding experience and level improves, then you can start to look at the advantages of the english saddle.
What are the differences between English and Western saddles?
The English saddle is much smaller than the western saddle, and is generally only used for show-jumping and dressage. The western saddle is larger, and is usually used for trail riding, endurance, and other types of riding. The western saddle is heavier than the English saddle, which allows it to be used in a wider variety of terrain. The western saddle is also more comfortable for long periods of time on the horse.
How do you know if a saddle is good quality?
A good saddle should be neither too heavy nor too light. It should feel sturdy and solid in your hand. It should not have any rough spots or holes, and it should fit snugly around your horse’s back. If the saddle has a soft, pliable leather seat, then it probably has been made from inferior leather and should not be used. What else should you consider when buying a saddle? First, make sure that the saddle fits your horse properly. Make sure that it does not pinch his back or leave him with a painful lump on his spine. Also, look for a saddle that has a comfortable girth and is made of a material that will not cause skin irritations or chafing. Saddles should also be adjustable. It should be possible to raise and lower the saddle on the horse’s back.
Equestrian, Marine Corps vet, and Morgan horse enthusiast.