Gear Riding

Cushy Tushy: 7 Most Comfortable Trail Saddles

Trail Riding
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Written by Natalie G.

Best saddle for trail riding? It depends!

Trail riding is a popular under saddle activity. It is good exercise for your horse and can provide some adventure outside of the riding arena. If your saddle isn’t a good match for you or your horse, your fun adventure can quickly turn uncomfortable.

To ensure a safe and fun trail ride, you need a good trail saddle. The saddle should be comfortable, durable, and fit your budget. Read on to learn more about some of our favorite choices.

Name of Saddle Approx. Price Where to Buy Carrots
Acerugs All Natural $$ Amazon 4 / 5
EquiRoyal Comfort $ StateLineTack 3 / 5
King Series Classic $ StateLineTack 3 / 5
Hilason Flextree $$ Amazon 5 / 5
Acerugs Cordura $ Amazon 3 / 5
Royal King Roughout $$ State Line Tack 4 / 5
Wintec Pro HART $$$$ Amazon 5 / 5

$: 300 – 499, $$: 500 – 699, $$$: 700 – 899, $$$$: 900+

Saddle Fit for Horse and Human

How to Correctly Fit a Saddle

Saddles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. Don’t just pick a saddle based on looks—be sure it fits both you and your horse.

Rider fit is a little easier than horse fit. Saddles come in a variety of seat sizes—go to your local tack store and sit in as many saddles as you can.

In addition to figuring out your preferences, you can also find your correct seat size, which will make the shopping process much easier. Always try to test ride your saddle on an actual horse; the feel and comfort can vary quite a bit from the plastic horse you might find in the tack store.

To ensure the best possible fit for your horse, enlist the help of a professional saddle-fitter.

If you want to check fit yourself, place the saddle directly on the horse’s back and consider the following questions:

  1. Does the saddle sit level on the horse’s back?
  2. Does the pommel clear the withers by a few inches?
  3. Are the front of the saddle panels behind the horse’s shoulder blades?
  4. Are the saddle panels touching the horse equally on each side?

If you answered yes to these questions, add a saddle pad, replace the saddle, and cinch up. Review these questions:

  1. Is the lowest part of the seat in the middle of the saddle?
  2. Is the channel between panels an adequate width for the length of the horse’s spine?
  3. Is the cantle level with or higher than the pommel?

If you answered yes to these questions, lunge your horse at each gait. While lunging, watch to see if the saddle moves side to side, forwards, or backward. Pay attention to the cantle. If it bounces, you may want to try a different saddle.

Mount your horse and ride through each gait. At each gait, ask yourself if you are comfortable. Are you balanced? Is your horse comfortable with you in the saddle? If you and your horse both seem comfortable, you have found your saddle.

Looking for more detailed info on saddle fit for horse and rider? Check out this western saddle fit online course!

Western Saddle

Photo Cred: Canva

Best Saddles for Trail Riding

Acerugs All-Natural Cowhide Saddle

This saddle is made from 100% cowhide leather. It is a two-tone saddle that is pleasing to the eye. The saddle includes ties and conchos for adding saddlebags or other accessories.

This saddle weighs in at 26 pounds.

trail saddle

Click to see it at Amazon

PROS:

  • Well-padded seat and underside
  • Adjustable stirrups
  • Includes matching reins, headstall, and breast collar

CONS:

  • Latigo, cinch, and headstall my not fit your horse
  • You must take time to condition the leather

See it at Amazon

EquiRoyal Comfort Trail Saddle

This saddle is lightweight and balanced. It is made from fine-grain leather and designed to keep the rider comfortable.

This saddle is designed for long-distance riding.

trail saddle

Click to see it at State Line Tack

PROS:

  • Seat distributes the rider’s weight
  • Includes saddle pad, bridal, web girth, and more
  • Gear can be attached

CONS:

  • Leather scratches easily
  • The saddle pad that comes with this saddle is thin

See it at State Line Tack

King Series Classic Distance Rider

This saddle is made with a reinforced fiberglass tree. It has a deep seat and endurance-style stirrups.

This saddle is a dark oil leather saddle and weighs 26 pounds.

king trail saddle

Click to see it at State Line Tack

PROS:

  • Girth included
  • Dee rings to hang saddle bags
  • Deep seat for comfort

CONS:

  • Long stirrup straps
  • Must oil heavily

See it at State Line Tack

Hilason Flextree Trail Saddle

This saddle is made from American cowhide leather. It is hand-tooled and dark brown in color. The Hilason weighs in at 22 pounds.

trail saddle

Click to see it at Amazon

PROS:

  • Comes with matching front and back cinch straps
  • Well built
  • Saddle absorbs shock

CONS:

  • Seat measures differently than advertised
  • May need an extra saddle pad (or a thicker one)

See it at Amazon

Acerugs Cordura Synthetic Saddle

This black saddle is made from synthetic Cordura material. It has nylon binding on the edges to prevent tears. It also has several dee rings to attach saddle bags.

trail saddle

Click to see it at Amazon

PROS:

  • Breast collar, pad, reins, and headstall included
  • Fiberglass tree is double reinforced
  • Water-resistant

CONS:

  • Headstall may not fit your horse
  • Stirrups wear out more quickly

See it at Amazon

Royal King Roughout Training Saddle

This saddle weighs 32 pounds and is made from roughout leather. There are two seat material options: Suede and leather.

It also comes with silver accents and dee rings.

trail saddle

Click to see it at State Line Tack

PROS:

  • Rawhide wrapped tree
  • Full Quarterhorse bars
  • Well-made for the price point

CONS:

  • Saddle only, no extras included
  • Wool flocking may be on the sparse side

See it at State Line Tack

Wintec Pro HART Endurance Saddle

This endurance-style saddle comes in black. It is 41 pounds and is made of synthetic material. This saddle was built to keep the horse and rider comfortable for hours on tough rides.

trail saddle

Click to see it at Amazon

PROS:

  • Interchangeable gullet system
  • Panels mold to horse’s muscles
  • Multiple support points at the front and back of the saddle

CONS:

  • Does not fit high withered horses well
  • May need extra (or thick) saddle bad

See it at Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are good saddles for short backed horses?

Wintec saddles and Pegasus saddles are good for short-backed horses.

Q: What is the best saddle pad for trail riding?

For trail riding, you will want to invest in a high-quality saddle pad. The saddle pad can add some additional cushioning for your horse, providing more comfort. You will want to look for a saddle pad that has moisture-wicking properties to keep your horse comfortable for hours in the saddle. Check out this article for six highly-recommended trail pads!

Q: Do you need a breast collar when trail riding?

Breast collars help keep your saddle in place. If you are on a trail with tough terrain or if you do not know what’s on the trail, a breast collar may be helpful. If you are on an easy trail and your saddle fits well, you do not necessarily need a breast collar.

Q: Do you need saddle bags for trail riding?

This depends on the type of trail riding you are doing. If you are going for a shorter ride, no you do not need saddle bags. If you are going for a long ride or an overnight trail ride,

I would suggest saddle bags for snacks, water, and anything else you may need.

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Sources

Saddle Fitting Guide (smartpakequine.com)
Western Saddle Fitting 101: Tips on Proper Fit, Selecting Saddle Pads, Cinches and More (valleyvet.com)

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About the author

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Natalie G.