Let Your Saddle(s) Rest Comfortably
After your horse, your saddle is likely your next-most-important (and expensive!) item. Thankfully, it’s not as demanding as a horse—it doesn’t need feeding, blanketing, or mucking out, but it does need a certain level of care. Saddles are robust, but they can get damaged if not stored correctly.
Saddle racks are designed to hold your saddle in the correct position so the weight is distributed evenly along the tree. This approach helps to maintain the saddle’s shape so it continues to fit your horse correctly. Saddle racks that cause dents or damage to the flocking put too much pressure on the horn or push the skirts and panels out of position, which can change the way the saddle fits on your horse—potentially causing discomfort and chafing.
Saddle Storage: Why it Matters
Storing a saddle incorrectly may cause it to change shape, meaning it no longer fits your horse. This can be extremely uncomfortable for your horse and potentially dangerous for you, which is why storing a saddle correctly matters so much.
The Best Way to Store a Saddle
If you look after your saddle, it will look after you! To do that, you need to:
- Protect the tree
- Provide protection against the elements, such as moisture and sunlight
- Cover it to keep the dirt and debris at bay
- Protect it against pests (mice!)
I store my saddles indoors, in my home office. I can’t leave them in the tack room because the mice will chew them! Where I live, it’s too humid outside to store a saddle for very long.
Humidity can accelerate mildew growth on your leather. On the other hand, a very dry climate will necessitate additional conditioning, as the lack of humidity can cause your leather to crack prematurely.
Overall, a dry environment is much better for your tack. If you can store your saddle(s) in a regulated temperature (not too hot, not too cold) you’ll help it last even longer.
What to Look for in a Saddle Rack
When shopping for a saddle rack, look for one that will fit your saddle correctly. Most English saddle racks measure 22 inches long by 10 inches wide. Anything smaller than this could create pressure points which might alter your saddle’s shape.
A Western saddle is much larger, with stirrups that hang down. Because of this extra length, the saddle rack needs to be higher off the ground. The rack also must be narrow enough that it doesn’t push on the gullet, forcing it into a wider profile.
An English saddle stored on a metal rack with rails running along either side of the main support will leave indentations in the flocking, which could be bad for your horse’s back. If this happens, you’ll need to have your saddle re-flocked to prevent pressure points from developing.
If you have to use a metal saddle rack with rails, you can pad the rails to reduce the pressure and alleviate the denting.
Best Saddle Rack Solutions
|Category||Product||Price Point||Key Features|
|Best for English Saddles||Tack Room Studio Cast Iron and Wood Saddle Rack||$$$||A strong wall-mounted rack that supports the gullet|
|Best for Western Saddles||Saddle Rack and Blanket Bar||$$||Rust-resistant, large, and strong enough to support a Western saddle|
|Best Portable||AJ Tack Freestanding Portable Horse Saddle Rack||$$||Folds up for easy transportation yet provides solid support when in use|
|Best Collapsible||Collapsible Saddle Holder||$||Supports the saddle without touching the panels or skirts and folds away when not in use|
|Best for Multiple Saddles||Equi Racks Horseman 4 Saddle Rack||$$$$||Fully adjustable saddle rack that’s both sturdy and easy to assemble|
Best for English Saddles:
Tack Room Studio Cast Iron and Wood Saddle Rack
This robust saddle rack is designed to last. Made from cast iron and wood, it’s simple yet effective, supporting the saddle tree without putting pressure on the padded panels.
Designed to be mounted on the wall, this saddle rack comes with mounting screws that make installation easier, but not straightforward.
As robust as it is, this saddle rack is also very heavy, weighing around 15 to 20 lbs, so it definitely needs to be correctly installed.
- Supports the gullet, not the panels
- Higher price range
- Heavy weight makes installation tricky
Where to buy it: Amazon
Best for Western Saddles:
Saddle Rack and Blanket Bar
This saddle rack is designed for English saddles, but its larger size makes it suitable for Western saddles as well. Measuring 18” long, it supports the full length of the average Western saddle.
Made of tubular steel, it could leave indentations in an English saddle’s panels or even the skirt of a Western saddle. To prevent that from happening, you can use foam or old saddle pads to cushion the rack, or invest in a panel guard.
Aside from that, this saddle rack combines affordability with durability, making it an excellent choice for any saddle. It even comes with an additional blanket bar, so you can store your saddle pad with your saddle, while maintaining the required airflow.
- Large enough to accommodate a Western saddle
- Metal tubes could damage saddle panels or skirts
- May not be tough enough to hold a heavy roping saddle
Where to buy it: State Line Tack
Best Portable Saddle Rack:
AJ Tack Freestanding Portable Horse Saddle Rack
Easy to assemble, this portable saddle rack is larger than most, making it suitable for all types of saddles.
It can be folded up for easy transportation but, when in use, provides a solid structure to support your saddle.
It’s relatively lightweight, at just 12 lbs, but robust and shaped so the saddle won’t slip, but the bottom rack isn’t particularly sturdy and should only be used for lightweight objects.
- Easy to transport
- Suitable for all types of saddle
- Lightweight yet robust
- The bottom shelf isn’t very strong
- May wobble a little
Where to buy it: Amazon
Best Collapsible Saddle Rack:
Collapsible Saddle Holder
This simple design supports the saddle’s gullet without putting any pressure on any other part of the saddle. You can also fold it away against the wall when not in use.
Unfortunately, at 12 inches, it’s a little wide for some English saddles and could cause them to stretch. It’s also quite short, which means it may not be suitable for adult Western saddles.
- Robust construction
- Can be folded away when not in use
- Lower price range
- Too wide for some English saddles
- Too small for some Western saddles
Where to buy it: State Link Tack
Best for Multiple Saddles:
Equi Racks Horseman 4 Saddle Rack
Capable of accommodating up to four Western saddles, this saddle rack is easy to assemble and fully adjustable. That means you can move the individual racks up and down depending on the size of each saddle.
The metal bars attached to each rack could damage the panels on an English and even cause indentations in a Western saddle’s skirt. This problem can be remedied with the use of some foam or a panel guard of some description.
Economical on space, it’s ideal for a small tack room but too heavy to easily transport.
- Accommodates up to four saddles
- Robust construction
- Fully adjustable
- Needs some padding to prevent damage to the saddles
- Higher price range
Where to buy it: State Line Tack
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What type of saddle rack is best?
The best saddle racks are those with a pole design. This simple design supports the saddle’s tree without touching the flocking or skirts.
Not only does this prevent damage to those more fragile parts of the saddle, but it also allows for more airflow, thereby reducing the risk of mold.
Q: What is the most expensive saddle brand?
If you’re looking for a fancy Western saddle, Harris makes some incredibly blinged-out show saddles. New saddles start in the 5-digits (yes, you read that right—$15-20K) and custom saddles can go for even more.
When it comes to English saddles, the French manufacturer, Antarès makes some of the most expensive saddles.
This brand’s saddles are all handmade—so you can understand why the price point can be so much higher!
Q: What is the best way to store a saddle?
It’s best to store your saddle on a saddle rack with plenty of airflow. The saddle gullet should be fully supported, but the rack should put no pressure on the panels or flocking. Cover your saddle to minimize dust and debris, and store your saddle pad separately so your saddle can breathe and any sweat can dry off.
It’s best to store saddles indoors, in a temperature-controlled environment.
If you have to set your saddle on the ground, don’t just plop it down—set it on its “nose” (with a Western saddle, the horn would be touching the ground.)
Q: How wide should a saddle rack be?
A saddle rack should be no wider than your saddle’s gullet, which is usually around 10 inches wide.
Q: How do you store a saddle without a rack?
If you don’t have a rack, a temporary solution might be to use a pole (such as over the top board of a fence, or stall door). This will provide your saddle with the right support, as long as you can secure it and prevent it from wobbling or falling to the ground.
Alternatively, a rope running from cantle to pommel could work, but your saddle might topple off and get damaged.
Q: What is the best pole saddle rack?
The Collapsible Saddle Holder from State Line Tack is one example of a great pole saddle rack. This design increases airflow, won’t put pressure on the panels, but provides robust support for the gullet and tree.
Q: What is the best saddle rack panel protector?
For a wooden pole saddle rack, the Dura-Tech® padded cover is ideal, while the panel guard from Tethershield is more suitable for metal racks.
Saddles are expensive but can last a lifetime if you care for them correctly. One of the most important components of care is proper storage.
Be careful to store your saddle in a way that provides structural support without altering the shape. The best saddle racks also allow for plenty of airflow. In addition to a saddle rack, you should also cover your saddle to keep dirt and dust at bay. Doing this will also reduce the risk of damage caused by pests like mice and rats.
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