Last Updated on March 6, 2023
Are you looking for the most comfortable trail saddle? Ever gone on a trail ride that’s longer than an hour? I guess that you got a little bit sore and had some trouble walking afterward! Especially for those not accustomed to spending hours in the saddle every day, rides with long durations can prove to be pretty uncomfortable.
I’ll be discussing the Cashel Trail Saddles, Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles, and Saddles by Steele. All of these saddles were designed with the trail rider in mind, and strive to keep the rider comfortable for longer-length trail rides.
Each of these companies creates custom-made saddles designed with not only the comfort of the rider but also the comfort of the horse in mind. They all come with trees that are custom-fit for each horse, and features that can be custom-fit to each rider.
Choosing The Most Comfortable Trail Saddle
Every type of saddle is designed with a purpose. Racing saddles are designed to be lightweight and aerodynamic to help the horse run faster. Dressage saddles are designed to allow the rider to open their hips and shift their balance backward when necessary.
Similarly, there are saddles designed for keeping a rider comfortable on long trail rides. Many commercial trail riding businesses just use older, used western saddles because they are inexpensive and safe. Western saddles are designed to hold a rider’s leg in place, and they offer a horn that inexperienced and unbalanced riders can hold onto.
Old western saddles are the safest and most cost-efficient saddles for these companies to use. But, there are types of western saddles that are designed with the rider’s comfort in mind. In this article, I will be reviewing some of these saddles.
Cashel Trail Saddles creates its saddles with the comfort of both the horse and the rider in mind. They create custom-fit saddles made for long-length trail rides and/or ranch work.
Cashel makes their trees out of carefully dried and handmade wood, with a fiberglass finish. This allows for necessary movability without allowing the possibility of warping and disfigurations in the wood.
Essentially, the saddle will self-adjust to fit the horse, and it will self-adjust to fit you, all well taking the pressure and the weight of the saddle and rider off the horse’s spine directly and expanding it to the entire area the saddle covers.
Features and material of the most comfortable trail saddle
Cashel trail saddles are made with soft, high-quality leather, and they include appropriately proportioned foam padding for additional comfort. These saddles typically weigh between 25 and 27 pounds, so they are relatively heavy, but comparable to other western and trail saddles.
Cashel Trail saddles are a custom fit for the horse and they are a comfortable fit for the rider. Foam padding will help you stay comfortable in the saddle during long rides. In addition, the custom wrapping trees will keep the horse’s back from getting sore on long rides.
Cashel Trail Saddles’ price is reasonable, depending on the model and accessories you are looking for. This is a very reasonable price for any type of custom saddle and is comparable to other western and trail saddles on the market today.
Their saddles can be viewed and the company can be contacted at this link.
2. Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles
The Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles takes a different, but still effective approach to optimizing the comfort of their saddles. Allegany uses Steele trees made out of pine, and also coated in fiberglass, as well as resin.
This method was developed by Steele Saddles and is ideal for creating a custom fit for every horse. The concept behind these types of trees is similar to that of close-contact saddles used in the hunter/jumper discipline.
Features and material
While Allegany Mountain uses very high-quality leather, there is no mention of any foam padding in their saddles. While saddles can certainly be comfortable without foam padding, it allows for additional support and comfort in saddles that do have it.
These trail saddles offer many customizable features such as strings, tie rings, and different rigging options for different pieces of tack, including breastplates, cinches, and more.
Allegany’s prices start on the cheaper end for a typical western saddle and range up to about mid-range for a trail saddle.
Allegany’s saddles can be viewed and the company can be contacted at the following link.
3. Saddles by Steele
While Cashel Trail Saddles and Allegany Mountain Saddles both offer custom-fit saddles, Saddles by Steele takes customization to a whole new level. With their innovative fitting technique and other desirable features, Saddles by Steele creates an All-American custom saddle that trail riders love.
Features and material
Like Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles and Cashel Trail Saddles, their saddles are made with wooden trees, typically out of yellow pine or western cedar. They are also designed to spread the weight and pressure of the saddle across the entire area it takes up, not just on the horse’s spine.
Saddles by Steele has a method of custom fitting that is unique to their company. They send out a molding kit to each prospective buyer. This kit is to be placed in the oven for 10 minutes and then laid on a horse’s back, where the saddle would go.
The mold hardens, and then the prospective buyer sends it back to Saddles by Steele, who then creates a saddle to match it. They then send the prospective buyer a prototype saddle with a temporary seat, to make sure the tree fits the horse properly.
If it does, the prototype saddle gets sent back to Saddles by Steele, who then finalizes the design and sends the finished product back to the buyer. Talk about customized!
Additionally, Saddles by Steele only uses American-made products to make their saddles. For many trail riders and ranch workers, this can be very meaningful. Saddles by Steele has created an American brand loved by patriots across the country.
Steele Saddles uses comfortable and soft leather with optional foam padding. Some of their design options include stirrups located further up on the saddle than normal. This creates a more comfortable position for the rider, taking the pressure off the rider’s knees and ankles, while still keeping their backs upright.
These things can help the rider stay comfortable on longer trail rides, and on trail rides over rough terrain than what they may be used to.
Design and weight
This design not only keeps the rider in a more comfortable position but also prevents the horse’s back from getting sore. Saddles by Steele weigh 21-27 pounds for saddles with the pine tree and 16-22 pounds for saddles with the cedar tree.
So, where other brands may focus on one of the other, Saddles by Steele focuses on both the comfort of the horse and the comfort of the rider. They create a truly one-of-a-kind, customized saddle for you and your horse.
Steele Saddles are expensive. The lightweight cedar tree hits the top end of the price bracket. But, you pay for the extreme customization in these saddles; for many, the price is worth it.
Saddles by Steele can be viewed and the company can be contacted at the following website link.
Other recommended brands:
- Acerugs All Natural Cowhide Western Leather Horse Saddle
Can You Use a Dressage Saddle for Trail Riding?
Many people assume that dressage saddles and western saddles are very different, but they have many similarities despite their different appearances! The most comfortable position when trail riding is for the rider to sit with a deep seat with the legs in a long relaxed position. This is very similar to the position adopted by dressage riders, and it is entirely possible to use a dressage saddle for trail riding.
But whilst a dressage saddle might be a reasonable option for a long trail ride, they are not a good choice for other western riding pursuits. They do not have the special features of a western saddle that enable the rider to carry out athletic activities such as barrel racing and roping.
What is The Best Western Saddle for Trail Riding?
There are certain features to look out for on a western saddle that will ensure it is the perfect choice for trail riding. Choosing the right saddle is vital for not only your comfort but also for your horse during long hours on the trail.
The best western saddle for trail riding will have a deep, comfortable seat, normally with an added layer of paddings such as neoprene or foam. It will have a wide swell at the front of the saddle and a tall cantle at the back to improve the stability of the rider in the saddle. The horn will be thinner to make it easier for the rider to grasp in case of emergency.
Trail saddle stirrups are normally wider, with a non-slip surface where the sole of the boot sits. Many trail saddles have a double cinch, with the second cinch used to keep the rear of the saddle securely in place when traversing rocky ground.
A good western saddle for trail riding will have plenty of D-rings and straps, to allow you to attach saddle bags, canteens, ropes, and anything else that might be useful during a long day out on the trail. It should also be lighter than a western sports saddle to keep the load your horse needs to carry to a minimum. Many riders favor synthetic saddles for trail riding, as they tend to be lighter than traditional leather saddles.
What is a Park and Trail Saddle?
The name Park and Trail refer to a range of saddles made by Circle Y, one of the most famous and highly-regarded manufacturers of western saddles. Circle Y makes a huge range of western saddles to suit all disciplines, from general-purpose all-rounder saddles to specialist saddles for roping, barrel, racing, and trail riding.
One of the highlights of Circle Y Park and Trail saddles is the patented Original Flex-Lite® design, with flexible bars to provide both horse and rider with enhanced comfort and support. They also have incredible attention to detail and various customization options available, making them a great choice if you’re looking to invest in a new saddle for you and your horse.
What Part of The Saddle Should You Always Check Before You Head Out on The Trail?
Checking the saddle before heading out on the trail is vital to minimize the risk of injury to both you and your horse. The tack of the horse not only helps you to control and steer the horse but also keeps you securely in position on the back of the horse.
Whilst saddling up your horse, check all the buckles and straps for any signs of wear and tear. Pay particular attention to the stirrup and cinch straps – if one of these breaks while your cantering along a trail, you’ll certainly know about it!
Before mounting the horse always check that the cinch is tightened. This is particularly important if you’ve stopped for a break and loosened the cinch – it is very easy to forget to tighten it again! Make sure the saddle cloth sits smoothly under the saddle, with no lumps or bumps that could cause pressure points on your horse.
The Best Synthetic Saddles
Synthetic saddles can be a great alternative to traditional leather saddles. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and a great option for vegans and vegetarians not wanting to use real leather. In addition, synthetic saddles tend to be more affordable than their leather counterpart.
Synthetic saddles can be a great option for trail riding. Their lightweight design makes them comfortable for both the horse and the rider. In addition, they are easier to clean and won’t scratch as real leather does.
Synthetic saddles come in both English and western disciplines. The faux leather is soft and supple, which is great for spending long hours in the saddle. In addition, synthetic leather is weatherproof, so you don’t have to worry about your saddle getting damaged if you get caught in the rain while you are out trail riding.
The Wintec Western Trail Saddle is a lightweight trail saddle that will keep you comfortable for hours on end. Made with Duraleather synthetic leather, the saddle offers a softer, closer seat. It features a seat padded with memory foam to keep you comfortable.
The saddle features a comfortable ride saddle tree and full Quarter horse bars for an optimal fit on many different horses. The cutout fenders with EZ fold feature and wide trail stirrups allow you to keep a secure position no matter the terrain.
At just 15 pounds, this synthetic trail saddle is ultra-lightweight. The Cordura® nylon synthetic skirts and fenders are scratch-resistant and weatherproof, which is ideal for the trails.
The reinforced fiberglass tree and Full Quarter horse bars provide a secure, comfortable fit on most horses. This saddle comes at a great price, which is perfect if you are on a budget. It is a trusty trail saddle for those not wanting to spend a lot.
How to Choose the Best All-Around Saddle for Your Horse
It is vital that your saddle properly fits both you and your horse. An ill-fitting saddle can cause sores and back pain for a horse, which can result in lameness.
Before purchasing your saddle, be sure to measure both you and your horse. The saddle should sit level on your horse’s back and the bars of the tree should not pinch. The saddle should be positioned behind the shoulder blade of your horse, allowing them freedom of movement.
You don’t want the seat of the saddle to go past the horse’s last rib. The skirt should end before the point of the hip and it should not stick out and there should be room to place several fingers between the saddle and the whithers. When in doubt, it is a good idea to hire a professional saddle fitter to ensure your saddle fits properly on your horse.
You don’t need to own the most expensive saddle in the world for a proper fit and comfortable ride. Western show saddles can easily cost $5,000 or more. While they are great for the show ring, they aren’t typically a practical option for trail riding as all of the silver can be hard to keep clean and they can be heavy.
Conclusion: The Most Comfortable Trail Saddle
Cashel Trail Saddles, Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles, and Saddles by Steele all create saddles that will keep you comfortable in the tack for longer-length trail rides. They are saddles suitable for trail riding, ranch work, and pleasure riding.
Your choice will depend on your priorities. Some options include foam padding, options that will add additional accessories appropriate for use with other pieces of tack, and options that optimize the custom fit for the horse.
Every horse is different, and every rider is different. The right saddle is out there for you and your horse, and these three companies are a great place to start looking! Make sure you keep an open mind and have your priorities straight.
Saddle shopping can be a time-consuming process, but the result is well worth it. Comfort in the saddle on long rides is difficult to come by, but the result is well worth the wait.
I hope this article helped give you a good understanding of what is at the top of the trail riding saddle market today!
If this article was helpful, and if you were able to use it to aid in your saddle hunt, please share this article, and share with us your experiences with comfortable trail saddles and shopping with these three companies!
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.