How Much Does A Western Saddle Weigh, And Why?

Have you ever had to tack a western horse up? Do you know how much does a western saddle weigh, exactly? Did you have trouble carrying that big, bulky western saddle? Being an English rider, it certainly is a struggle for me! Western saddles are notoriously heavy and bulky, which is what makes them more comfortable and safe.

Besides being large, what makes western saddles so heavy? And how do they compare to saddles used by other disciplines? I’ll be discussing all of this and more in this article.

Factors that Influence Saddle Weight
5 Best Western Saddle Makers
5 Best Western Saddle Makers

Duration of the Ride

A big factor that influences the weight of a western saddle is the length of the rides you intend on taking.  So, for riders that intend on taking an hour to two-hour trail rides, a saddle that is comfortable upon mounting might remain comfortable for the duration of the ride.

Western Saddle Weigh - Ride

But, many western riders take day-long or half-day trail rides.  A saddle that is comfortable upon mounting might not be comfortable 4 hours down the trail.  So, these saddles will need to be specially made with materials that will keep a rider comfortable for long periods of time.

Sometimes, this can require additional materials, which can make a saddle heavier.  Sometimes, these materials are even lighter.  It all depends on the make and style of the saddle!

Comfort of the Rider

Overall comfort of the rider is also a large influencer in the weight of a western saddle.  Western saddles are known for being very safe for the rider. The saddle has lots of structure which helps the rider stay still in the saddle.

Western saddles also have the famous horn at the front to help keep the rider stable in the saddle.  But all of this extra material adds weight onto the saddle.  Compare the image of a western saddle to that of an English saddle.

English saddles have close to no structure to help the rider stay in place, and they are still heavy! So, then take a western saddle, which has all of the additional leather and other materials to provide structure for the rider, and think how much heavier that saddle would be.

Comfort of the Horse

Another factor that affects the weight of a western saddle is the comfort of the horse.  Obviously, horses have weight limits, so saddles can’t be unreasonably heavy.  There are many companies that specialize in making western saddles that are specifically designed to be light, to ensure the horse’s comfort.

One of these companies is Circle Y Saddles.  They have many western saddles that weigh under 23 pounds! That’s extremely light for western saddles, as many weigh 60 pounds and over.

Budget

The last factor that influences the weight of a saddle is the purchaser’s budget.  Sometimes specially manufactured saddles that are incredibly light can be expensive.  Sometimes all a buyer can afford is an older, more clunky trail saddle.

So, the price will determine how heavy a given rider’s saddle will be.  Not all saddles need to be featherlight, but it’s important that your saddle fits your horse and keeps him comfortable.

What Makes Western Saddles So Heavy

Quantity of Material

So, as illustrated earlier, we know that western saddles can be large.  This reason may seem obvious, but western saddles can get very heavy because of the quantity of material it takes to make them.

The more materials used, the heavier the saddle will be.  So, saddles often have thick leather, sometimes a canvas or suede, and, especially with western saddles, other metal or leather embellishments. The more of these things make up a saddle, the heavier it will be.

Types of Materials

Also, the type of materials will dictate how heavy a saddle is.  There are different types and cuts of leather, all of which have different weights.  If the saddle does have metal embellishments, what kind of metal are they? All of these things contribute.

Accessories

Many western riders also use many saddle accessories that can contribute to the overall weight a horse is asked to carry.  Think of things like saddlebags, breastplates, stirrup covers, and the like.

While these don’t contribute directly to the weight of the saddle, they are important to keep in mind when determining the max weight that your saddle could be.

Western saddle accesories

Average Weights of Western Saddles Compared to Other Saddles

How Much Does a Western Saddle Weigh?

So, we’ve discussed what contributes to the weight of a saddle, but we haven’t talked about numbers yet. How much does a western saddle weigh? Western saddles can weigh about 60 pounds!

In comparison, a heavy english saddle will weigh about 20 or 25 pounds.  Dressage saddles might weigh in closer to 30 or 35 depending on the model. As you can see, western saddles are definitely on the heavier end of the spectrum

Conclusion

Western saddles can be heavy for lots of different reasons: they can be heavy because they are meant to keep a rider comfortable, they can be less heavy to help a horse’s back, they can be heavy because they are made with a certain cut of leather with metal embellishments, and they can be heavy because you have saddle bags strapped to the back of them.

The exact weight of a western saddle depends on what it’s made out of, and how much material it is made out of.  The best fit for a horse and rider varies depending on the circumstance. Your horse’s comfort comes first, and as long as you keep that in mind, the right saddle will come around.

I hope this article about how much does a western saddle weigh, helped you better understand the weight of western saddles and what contributes to it.  If so, please share this article, and share with us your experiences with heavy western saddles!

How much does a western pleasure saddle weigh?

A western pleasure saddle, on average, weighs around 17 pounds. This is a very light saddle and is perfect for horses that have the ability to jump or do other athletic work. Because of that, western pleasure saddles are also known as show saddles. The saddle pad is there to protect the rider from the impact of the horse’s hooves and provide support for the rider. The seat pad is designed to help push the rider into the correct riding position and help keep the rider in that position for extended periods of time.

How much does an average saddle weigh?

The weight of the saddle can be influenced by the materials used in its construction, the purpose of the saddle, and how it is fitted to the horse. Saddles can be very different in it’s function and can weigh anywhere from 10 to 60 pounds. While english saddles are lighter, usually between 10 and 25 pounds, western saddles are heavier and can weigh from 25 to 60 pounds. 

Why do Western saddles weigh so much?

A Western saddle is heavy due to the material used and the way they are built. They werre designed for a hard work, and this design makes them heavier than their English counterparts. Western saddles are built in the way that helps to distribute the weight of a rider over a larger area of a horses back than english saddles. English saddles, on the other hand, were created to allow riders to have more mobility.
A good leather saddle should be comfortable, but it should also last for years without breaking down. A well-made Western saddle is a long-lasting investment.

Does the weight of a saddle matter?

Indeed, it does. The weight and style of a saddle is a very important factor that will determine how well you can perform as a rider.  However, you must also consider the fit of the saddle. 
How to choose the right saddle for your riding style? If you are a casual rider, then you will be looking for a comfortable saddle. On the other hand, if you are an endurance rider, then you will be looking for a saddle that is suitable for your weight. And, if you are a long distance racer, then a lighter saddle is a better choice. This is because your horse will be able to go faster with less weight on his back.

What size Western saddle do I need for my horse?

Saddle sizing is more than just a matter of the size of the saddle’s stirrup leathers. The length of the saddle tree, the distance between the tree and the pommel, the position of the stirrup leathers, and the overall fit of the saddle are all factors that go into determining the size of the saddle.
It is very important to keep in mind that this is a very personal choice, so there is no one-size-fits-all rule for saddle sizing. As a general rule, a saddle should fit your horse like a glove. If the saddle doesn’t fit, it will be uncomfortable for both you and your horse.