Last Updated on December 8, 2022
The saddle is one of the most important and expensive pieces of equipment for horse riding, so knowing who the best western saddle makers are is essential. Choosing a saddle is a big decision, but if you buy quality and look after it, it will last you years. To help you focus on where to look, we introduce you to some of the best brands.
Why Saddle Fit Is Important
You can’t pick out a saddle, just because you like how it looks. The saddle must fit your horse correctly and also fit you. The best way to do this is to use a qualified saddle fitter. If the saddle does not fit your horse, it can cause pain, poor muscle development, and lead to behavioral problems.
When a saddle fits well, it allows the horse freedom of movement, and comfort and does not pinch or rub. You also need to make sure the seat size and fender length suit your body shape. A horse’s body shape changes throughout the year depending on its weight and muscle development.
This can affect how your saddle fits. It is a good idea to get a saddle fitter to check the fit at least twice a year.
Why You Need A Good Quality Western Saddle
It is tempting to buy a cheap saddle since it is an expensive item. However, a saddle is not something to skimp on. If you have a tighter budget and can’t afford a new saddle, buy a good brand second-hand.
The best western saddle makers will use the highest quality materials. It is carefully put together by a master craftsman who has undergone years of training. These two factors combine to ensure you get a saddle that will last you for years, stay comfortable and not fall apart.
Western Top 5 Saddle Makers
Now that you have an idea of how to begin your saddle search, the next step is to know who the best western saddle makers are. Let’s take a look.
Circle Y Saddles
Circle Y began as a small saddle maker in 1960, in Yoakum, Texas. The company uses traditional saddle-making skills and combines them with modern technology to meet the needs of today’s horses and riders.
All Circle Y saddles are still handmade but subtly include new ideas. The saddle incorporates a Flex2® tree, and the company carries out continual tree research, always looking to improve fit.
Corriente Saddle Co.
The Corriente Saddle Co is one of the best western saddle makers for those with a smaller budget. Corriente is a family business of competitive horse riders, so they have an excellent understanding of what riders and horses need. They make every type of western saddle from ropers to barrels, to youth to ranch cutters. Most of their saddles cost 1000 dollars or less.
Cactus Saddlery is another Texas saddle maker. It is one of the largest sponsors of western competitive events. All of their products are made in the USA, with a quality guarantee. They sell a range of great saddles for different western disciplines.
Take a look around the saddle-making facility of Cactus Saddlery.
Reinsman Saddles is a premium western brand. Like other good western saddle makers, Reinsman is a Texas brand. The company gives a lifetime tree warranty, which is nice peace of mind.
All leather is hand-tooled, and skirt linings are genuine wool. As far as saddle makers go, Reinsman Saddles is newer to the scene, starting in 1993, but that doesn’t have any impact on the quality of their saddles.
In 2012, Reinsman came under the umbrella of Circle Y, keeping its distinctive saddle style and combining the dedication to the quality of both companies. They offer a range of saddles with an average price of around $3,000.
Genuine Billy Cook
Genuine Billy Cook launched a small saddle shop in Greenville, Texas in 1953. Today, the company resided in Oklahoma. The company takes craftsmanship and quality seriously, limiting the saddles they make each year, so each saddle goes through a standards check before it’s sold.
With all this, Genuine Billy Cook tried to keep saddles affordable. They aren’t the cheapest or the most expensive on the market. But you can know that the saddle is beautiful will excellent quality.
Most saddles cost between 2 and 3,000 dollars. The range available suits professionals and casual trail riders.
What is The Best Synthetic Western Saddle?
A synthetic saddle is not only often cheaper than a leather saddle, but also provides other benefits to you and your horse. They are normally lightweight, reducing the load your horse needs to carry. Modern designs are also more comfortable, helping to reduce sweating and ease pressure points on the back.
Manufacturers of good quality synthetic saddles include Wintec, High Horse by Circle Y, and King Trekker. These lightweight brands are perfect for western riders who like to participate in long trail rides and endurance rides.
What is The Best Western Saddle Pad?
Choosing the right saddle pad for your horse is as important as selecting a good saddle. The saddle pad sits between the saddle and the horse, providing a padded cushioned layer. It will also absorb sweat and moisture, keeping your horse’s skin dry and comfortable.
The best type of western saddle pad will depend on the type of riding you intend on doing with your horse. Neoprene is great for shock absorption, making it great for high-impact sports such as barrel racing or roping. However, it has poor breathability and moisture absorption properties so are not ideal for long trail rides.
Felt saddle pads provide more cushioning for your horse, and will also wick away moisture. Compressed wool felt saddle pads are normally the top choice for everyday western riders, and they come in a range of designs to suit you and your horse.
How Much Does a Custom Western Saddle Cost?
A custom-made western saddle represents a considerable investment, but it may be one of the most rewarding purchases you ever make. A custom-made saddle will be tailored to fit both the horse and rider perfectly. Each feature of the saddle can also be altered to suit your needs and tastes, down to fine details such as the type of stirrups and style of embossing on the leather work.
All of this customization doesn’t come cheap though – expect to pay upwards of $4000 for a customized western saddle. This is a once-in-a-lifetime investment, but one that you and your horse will enjoy for many years to come.
How to Make a Western Saddle Cover?
A saddle cover is used to protect your saddle from dirt, dust, and debris when it is not being used. Buying a western saddle is a pricey investment, and it makes sense to protect your saddle and keep it in pristine condition for as long as possible.
There are many purpose-made western saddle covers available to purchase, but it is relatively simple to make your own. Create a template of your saddle using tissue paper and a pen, and lay this on the material you have chosen to make your saddle cover. Draw a line on the material two inches outside the template, and cut out the material.
Then all you need to do is fix elastic to the edge of your material – the best way to do this is to fold over the edge to make a hem and thread the elastic through the hem as you sow it.
How Long Does it Take to Make a Western Saddle?
Handcrafting a western saddle is a lengthy process, and master saddlers will spend at least 80 hours making a basic western saddle. This can extend to up to 300 hours in saddles with intricate and complex features and detailing.
When you realize how long it takes to make a traditional western saddle, you will realize why they are so expensive to buy! A hand-crafted western saddle is a treasured possession that will last for many, many years, so the initial cost is often worth it in the long run.
Are Western Saddles Made in India Any Good?
There are mixed opinions about whether western saddles made in India are any good. You will find numerous reports online about saddles made from poor-quality leather that is not at all supple, causing discomfort to the horse. Some people have also come across western saddles made in India that are so badly constructed that they are considered to be dangerous to the horse.
However, there are also some very good western saddles made in India, and these are normally sold at a very competitive price. If you are considering buying a western saddle made in India, it pays to spend some time searching for reviews of the brand you have in mind. This will give you an idea of whether they are a reputable saddle manufacturer, or if buying an Indian-made western saddle is too much of a risk.
Saddles Brands Conclusion
We hope you like the five best western saddle makes we’ve highlighted here. Do you have a favorite brand? What qualities do you look for in your saddle?
Each of these saddle brands will provide you with a long-lasting comfortable saddle. They will happily help you choose the right one for you with their extensive knowledge and good customer service.
Michael Dehaan is a passionate horse owner, horse rider, and lover of all things equine. He has been around horses since he was a child, and has grown to become an expert in the field. He has owned and ridden a variety of horses of different breeds, and has trained many to compete in shows and competitions. He is an experienced horseman, having worked with and competed many horses, including his own. He is an active member of the equestrian community, participating in events and teaching riding lessons.