Best saddle for trail riding? It depends!
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of freedom that comes from exploring nature on horseback. The sights and sounds of the wild have a way of transporting you back to a simpler time. Trail riding has the power to erase thoughts of emails, phone calls, and even pointless work meetings, transforming you into a happier and calmer person.
You’ll need a good trail saddle if you’re considering embracing that magical trail-riding experience! When it comes to trail riding, safety and comfort are crucial. The saddle should be comfortable, durable, and fit your budget. Keep reading to discover our top trail saddle picks!
|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 various seat sizes—go to your local tack store and sit in as many saddles as possible.
In addition to figuring out your preferences, you can find your correct seat size, making 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:
- Does the saddle sit level on the horse’s back?
- Does the pommel clear the withers by a few inches?
- Are the front of the saddle panels behind the horse’s shoulder blades?
- 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:
- Is the lowest part of the seat in the middle of the saddle?
- Is the channel between panels an adequate width for the length of the horse’s spine?
- 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, consider trying 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!
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. Try pairing it with this saddle pad for optimum comfort and performance.
This saddle weighs in at 26 pounds.
- Well-padded seat and underside
- Adjustable stirrups
- Includes matching reins, headstall, and breast collar
- Latigo, cinch, and headstall may not fit your horse
- You must take time to condition the leather
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.
- Seat distributes the rider’s weight
- Includes saddle pad, bridal, web girth, and more
- Gear can be attached
- Leather scratches easily
- The saddle pad that comes with this saddle is thin
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.
- Girth included
- Dee rings to hang saddlebags
- Deep seat for comfort
- Long stirrup straps
- Must oil heavily
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. If you’re looking for a saddle pad, try this one that offers optimal pressure relief and comfort.
- Comes with matching front and back cinch straps
- Well built
- Saddle absorbs shock
- Seat measures differently than advertised
- May need an extra saddle pad (or a thicker one)
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.
- Breast collar, pad, reins, and headstall included
- Fiberglass tree is double reinforced
- Headstall may not fit your horse
- Stirrups wear out more quickly
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.
- Rawhide wrapped tree
- Full Quarter horse bars
- Well-made for the price point
- Saddle only, no extras included
- Wool flocking may be on the sparse side
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 challenging rides.
- Interchangeable gullet system
- Panels mold to horse’s muscles
- Multiple support points at the front and back of the saddle
- Does not fit high-withered horses well
- May need extra (or thick) saddle bad
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the benefits of trail riding?
Research shows that time spent in nature can reduce anxiety and improve your overall sense of well-being.
And regardless of your riding discipline, trail riding is the best way to kick back, relax, and simply enjoy time spent with your horse.
Not to mention the fun you can have with your fellow horse-loving friends!
For your horse, trail riding presents an excellent opportunity to learn about the outside world.
It’s a fantastic way to de-sensitize your horse and help it understand the wonders of a world outside the arena.
Safety should always take priority when trail riding, so ride with a buddy and a way to contact help if needed. Helmets are recommended, even when trail riding.
And if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of trail riding, it might be time to contact a trainer to help you and your horse navigate this new venture.
Q: What are good saddles for short-backed horses?
Wintec saddles and Pegasus saddles are suitable for short-backed horses.
Q: What is the best saddle pad for trail riding?
You will want to invest in a high-quality saddle pad for trail riding. The saddle pad can add additional cushioning for your horse, providing more comfort.
You will want to look for a saddle pad with 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 rugged 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, you won’t need saddle bags. If you are going for a long ride or an overnight trail ride,
I suggest saddle bags for snacks, water, and anything else you may need.
Q: How often do you have to replace a trail saddle?
If the saddle is of high quality and has been well cared for, a saddle should last between 15-20 years.
Q: What are signs that your trail saddle doesn’t fit?
Signs that your saddle isn’t fitting you very well include excessive soreness after your ride. You may also experience chafing in various areas.
Keep in mind that the length of your ride, how often you ride, and the clothing you wear also sometimes influence how sore you get after riding.
For example, if you ride for an hour once a week and suddenly decide to go on a 4-hour trail ride, it may be normal to have some muscle soreness afterward.
But if you ride consistently and still have issues, it may be time to explore other saddle options.
In terms of your horse, behavioral issues are often an indication of poor saddle fit. Bucking, rearing, and bolting can often relate to poor saddle fit.
If your horse displays behavioral issues, always suspect saddle fit issues first and work towards getting the issue remedied with the help of a professional saddle fitter.
Behavioral issues can also be health-related, so consulting a veterinarian can also be helpful.
If saddle fit and health issues have been ruled out, it’s time to consult a professional trainer.
P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
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