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 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!
These are our top three Western saddle brands:
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!
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.
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!
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!