Gear Riding Tips

My 10-Year Love Affair With Leon Liversage Trail Saddles

Leon Liversage saddle
Written by Nicky H

Rookie Real Life: Gear Guide

Leon Liversage Saddles

An uncomfortable saddle can ruin a long-distance trail ride, ensuring that all you can think about is getting to the end in one piece. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to me because, for the past 20 years, I’ve ridden almost exclusively in Leon Liversage saddles.

A competitive endurance rider and horse trails guide, Leon Liversage understood the biomechanics of horse and rider and made a saddle that’s as comfortable for both. Designed for the toughest of trails and longest endurance rides, they’re good quality, practical saddles that are guaranteed to last with some regular care and maintenance.

group of people trail riding horses at sunset

Source: Canva

Leon Liversage: Saddle Overview

I’ve had my current Leon Liversage trail saddle for over 10 years and have ridden thousands of kilometers in it. I’ve swum rivers, jumped logs, climbed near-vertical slopes, and galloped hundreds of beaches with it. To say it’s now shaped to my butt would be an understatement!

The amazing thing is, in all that time, I’ve done little more than replace the girth straps.

Saddle Specialty

Leon Liversage creates saddles for the long-distance rider, including trail saddles with their distinctive high pommels and cantles, lightweight endurance saddles, and a type of stock saddle known as the Kentucky.

The most recent additions include super-lightweight carbon endurance saddles that promote close contact between horse and rider and minimize unnecessary bulk and weight.

Brand Overview

Leon Liversage saddles are practical and robust. They don’t have any unnecessary frills or decoration—they’re simply meant to protect the horse and maximize their freedom of movement, ensuring they can comfortably travel long distances without pressure points or rubs.

The bonus is that Liversage saddles are just as comfortable for the rider.

Even if it’s your first time in a trail saddle, you can ride in a Liversage Trail Rider (preferably with a tailor-made bumnah, or seat saver) all day without your sit bones crying out for a comfy pillow!

rider holding horse with leon liversage saddle

Source: Nicky Hoseck

Features & Benefits

Liversage Trail Rider saddles have a solid tree fixed to two flexible panels that form the skirt. These panels adjust to the shape of the horse’s back and absorb the movement of the tree to prevent friction, thereby reducing pressure points, heat bumps, and rubs.

Shaped more like Western saddles than English ones, Liversage saddles spread the rider’s weight more evenly over a greater area, reducing rubs and pressure points.

The trail saddles have a two-point girth system that gives them extra stability on steep declines and when navigating rocky or uneven terrain.

All saddles come with fenders to protect the rider’s legs from the girth and stirrup buckles, while the stirrup leathers and girth straps are made from nylon-lined leather for extra durability. The stirrup leather attachment points go through the tree, reducing metal fatigue and improving durability and safety.

Liversage saddles either have a fiberglass or carbon fiber tree, depending on the style, and are finished with either vegetable-tanned leather (trail saddles) or chrome-tanned leather (endurance saddles).

leon liversage saddle

Photo Credit: Nicky Hoseck

Price Point

Leon Liversage saddles cost between $1,000 and $1,650 complete with stirrups and stirrup leathers.

Main Competitors

Wintec is a popular endurance saddle brand, making English-style saddles that prioritize rider comfort. In South Africa, Franco C is one of Liversage’s biggest competitors, specializing in endurance and polocrosse saddles.

Leon Liversage Saddles: An Honest Review

My Liversage Trail Rider is the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever ridden in.

Now that I’ve ridden well over 5,000 km in it, it’s molded perfectly to my seat, making it feel like a comfortable pair of slippers!

It’s extremely versatile, fitting almost any size and shape of horse, and secures the rider in the correct position, making the horse’s job that much easier.

bay horse with leon liversage saddle

Photo Credit: Nicky Hoseck

Key Benefits:

  1. Strong and durable
  2. Practical and made for purpose
  3. Comfortable for both horse and rider
  4. Distributes weight evenly over the horse’s back
  5. The deep seat and high pommel/cantle enhance safety in the saddle
  6. Fits almost any size and shape of horse
  7. High-quality reinforced stirrup leathers and girth straps
  8. Fenders included for enhanced rider comfort
  9. Affordable price range

Notable Drawbacks:

  1. Availability is limited, with saddles available only in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa
  2. The quality of the leather and workmanship varies a bit with each saddle

Overall Product Recommendation

Leon Liversage saddles are extremely durable and capable of withstanding the roughest treatment without breaking. The only time I’ve had mine mended was after my horse went over backward on it, cracking the tree.

They fit almost any horse comfortably while promoting freedom of movement in the shoulder and keeping the rider secure in the correct position.

Ready to Shop? Find it here: Leon Liversage Trail Rider Saddles or The Endurance Boutique. Alternatively, email Steve Schwartz at

two people riding horses on the beach

Source: Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What saddles do endurance riders use?

Most endurance riders use discipline-specific endurance saddles. These vary in shape and design, with some, like the Wintec, more closely resembling an all-purpose English saddle and others, like the Liversage, utilizing aspects of the Western trail saddle.

Q: What is the most expensive saddle brand?

Brands like Passier, Devoucoux, and Voltaire make high-end jumping and dressage saddles but haven’t expanded into endurance as yet. Selleria Equiqe in Italy makes a range of top-end endurance saddles if you fancy spending an arm and leg!

Q: Where can you buy Leon Liversage saddles?

Leon Liversage saddles are available in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the US. Contact details are listed on the Liversage website. Alternatively, you can visit The Endurance Boutique, an online store based in the US that stocks several Liversage saddles.

Q: What is the difference between a leather and a synthetic saddle?

Synthetic saddles are easier to maintain than leather saddles, but are less durable. They are often lighter than leather saddles and more affordable, but are not necessarily as robust. Synthetic saddles can also be quite slippery, lacking the grip of a leather saddle.

Q: What is the best trail-riding saddle?

In my opinion, the Leon Liversage Trail Rider is the best trail-riding saddle. With its short base and high pommel and cantle, it keeps the rider in the correct position, while allowing the horse more freedom of movement, especially in the shoulder.

Q: Where are Leon Liversage saddles made?

All Leon Liversage saddles are made in South Africa.

herd of horses

Source: Canva

Parting Thoughts

I wouldn’t swap my Liversage saddle for the world. It’s practical, durable, and makes me feel secure no matter what my horse does underneath me. It fits almost any horse I put it on and is solid enough to use for backing young horses.

The two-point girth system keeps it securely in place on the horse’s back, while the longer base distributes the rider’s weight more evenly over the horse’s back, reducing the risk of rubs and pressure points.

If you’re planning a long-distance ride or just want to hit the trails with your horse this coming summer, consider investing in a Liversage saddle. It will keep you comfortable and secure and is easy to fit to almost any horse.

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About the author


Nicky H