Western Saddle Brands To Avoid

Last Updated on March 29, 2022

Buying your first Western saddle can be a daunting experience – with so much choice available, how do you know which are the best Western saddle brands? And which Western saddle brands to avoid?

Don’t panic, we’re here to help! We’ve taken an in-depth look at Western saddle manufacturers, so you’ll know which ones are good and the ones to avoid!

What Is A Western Saddle?

The Western-Style of riding dates back to the late 1770s. Cowboys spent a lot of time horseback and needed equipment that was both comfortable and functional. The Western saddle originates from these times, and the modern-day version has not changed much.

The Western saddle has long stirrup leathers and a large stirrup, so the rider can sit with the leg extended. The saddle has a large horn to tie ropes to, ideal when roping cattle. The tree of the saddle is very strong, and the seat is deep and comfortable.

What Is A Western Saddle

What Is The Difference Between Horse Saddle Brands?

You will see a huge price difference between Western saddle brands, and it can be tempting to go for a cheaper one. However, this can be a false economy as cheap saddles can cause a lot of problems!

When you are looking at a saddle, whether new or second-hand, check the following areas:

  • There should be thick, dense fleece on the underside of the saddle. Thin fleece will wear away quickly.
  • Look for high-quality stitching which will stand the test of time. Avoid saddles with loose or uneven stitching.
  • Always buy a saddle with good-quality leather, which is soft and pliable. Avoid leather that feels stiff and unyielding. There are some good quality lightweight synthetic Western saddles, but they may need replacing sooner than a leather version.
  • Look for any rips, bumps, lumps, tears, or other visible flaws. Even a brand-new Western saddle may have defects!
  • If you are not sure of the brand, the manufacturer’s mark and the serial number of the saddle should be stamped into the leather or a small metal plate. This can help you to research if it is a good brand of Western saddle or one to avoid.

Which Are The Good Western Saddle Brands?

When buying a Western saddle, you are looking for an authentic product that will stand the test of time. It must be comfortable and suitable for both you and your horse. Now, this quality doesn’t come without a high price tag, but a good saddle should last a lifetime!

Which Are The Good Western Saddle Brands

These are our top three Western saddle brands:

  • Dakota Saddlery

Dakota Western saddles are handcrafted, but not too hard on the budget! This is a premier and well-respected maker of western saddles. They offer a wide range of Western saddles, including roping, trail, and barrel racing saddles.

The great thing about Dakota Saddlery is that you can semi-customize your saddle. This means you can choose the leather type, color, tree, seat, and oiling of your saddle. Dakota Saddlery Western saddles are designed with the horse and rider in mind and are definitely made to last. This could be the last saddle you ever buy!

  • Dale Chavez

If you and your horse are headed for the show ring, then take a look at Dale Chavez for your next saddle. Dale Chavez makes the finest western show saddles on the market, beautifully handcrafted and made of the finest silver and leather.

These saddles aren’t just for show either – they are durable and high-quality, made to last. If you are looking for a real showstopper then this is the Western saddle for you.

  • Wintec

If you are looking for a synthetic Western saddle, then you can’t go wrong with Wintec. This company is the world leader in synthetic technology and has created innovative synthetic saddles which feel just like the real thing. And with their lightweight, your horse will certainly feel the difference!

Wintec Full Quarter Western Saddle

Which Are The Western Saddle Brands To Avoid?

When buying a Western saddle, the best thing to do is avoid buying any imitation saddles. These are normally made to look like a Western saddle, but they will be of poor quality and not fit for purpose.

Poor-quality imitation saddles may have the following problems:

  • Badly fitting, may not be true to size
  • Inferior quality leather which is stiff and may crack easily
  • Slippery seat surface
  • Components that have been glued rather than stitched.
  • May break-in key areas, such as stirrups, after a short period
  • Can cause serious pain and damage to the horse’s back

One of the worst offenders is imports from overseas, such as China. These may be a fraction of the price of an authentic saddle but will not have been made with the same attention to detail.

Not only will these saddles not stand the test of time, but they can potentially be harmful to you or your horse. A badly made Western saddle may cause long-term back pain for your horse. As a rider, you might suffer from chafing, aches, and pains from an uncomfortable saddle.

You will also find poor-quality Western saddles on e-commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon. These can be easy to spot as the names will not be recognized as a reputable brand.

Unfortunately, sometimes you will come across fake Western saddles for sale. These are made to look like an authentic brand, but without high quality. It is always best to see a saddle in real life before purchasing it, so you can check the manufacturer’s mark and serial number. If in doubt, always do your research, otherwise you may make a costly mistake!


Finding the Western saddle for you and your horse can take a lot of time and effort, and buying the wrong saddle can be an expensive mistake. It is worth spending time researching different brands before you decide which Western saddle to buy. The best option is to buy direct from a Western saddle manufacturer, as you can customize the saddle to your own preferences.

Do you have any questions about Western saddles? Perhaps you’ve got some feedback to share about different Western saddle brands? Or suggestions of Western saddle brands to avoid? Add a comment below this post and we’ll get back to you!

What saddle do real cowboys use?

Wade saddles are a popular type of cowboy saddle among the cowboy culture of today, specially with cowboy groups known as “buckaroos”. A buckaroo is a person who rides and works cattle in the northwest United States. 
Wade saddles are often referred to as Western saddles, but there are many styles of Western saddles, most of which have been designed for a specific purpose. Wade saddles were first made by the inventor, Frank Wade, in 1887. Wade saddles are still used today and can be found in rodeo competitions, Western shows, and other rodeos throughout the country. These saddles are known to have a low, deep seat, a low horn and a slick fork for the purpose of feeling closer connection between the rider and the horse.

Are Western saddles good for horses?

Saddles are not a bad thing for horses, but in fact, they help horses by dispersing the rider’s weight. Without a saddle, the rider doesn’t have a firm seat and feels more than three times heavier than his or her weight. The saddle can be very useful for the rider and the horse if the saddle is correctly adjusted to the horse’s anatomy and has the right padding. In addition, the saddle should have a comfortable back rest for the rider.
A well-made Western saddle can be just as effective as a traditional English saddle for the rider. However, the Western saddle is generally less expensive and more accessible than the traditional English saddle. It also requires less skill to adjust. The only drawback of a Western saddle is that it is not suitable for riding in a dressage arena.

What is the most expensive Western saddle?

The record for the most expensive saddle ever sold now was set at a charity auction in November 2015 where it was sold for $653,234. This is the most expensive saddle ever sold in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. Before it was sold, this particular saddle belonged to the Crown Prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
The saddle is made from the best and most expensive leather available today and it is handcrafted using traditional methods. The saddle has a unique design with a diamond shaped base that allows it to be mounted easily on any horse. The saddle is a custom made design which was made for the prince and his horses. 

Why are Western saddles so heavy?

The Western saddles were designed for heavy use, such as the work on a ranch. To ensure the longevity of the saddle, it was designed to be strong and heavy. A saddle can be made of different materials and the weight will vary depending on the material. However, a light-weight saddle will not be as durable and might not be suitable for carrying equipment needed for ranch work.
On the other hand, a heavy saddle is more likely to cause back pain to your horse. So, it is important to choose the right saddle that fits your needs and your horse.
How heavy is too heavy? The proper weight of a saddle depends on the type of riding. When you are riding at a slow pace, a lighter saddle might be more comfortable. However, when you are riding at a fast pace, a heavier saddle will provide more support.