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Choosing A Horse Saddle
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The saddle is such an important piece of "kit" for riders that it is vital that you give thought to the type of saddle you will choose.  Do not rush into buying one.  This should not be an inpulse buy, so think carefully and do your research.  The right kind of saddle csn last you for many years and, if chosen correctly, can suffice for different horses.

Size

Getting the correct size is, of course, a pre-requisite.  Many people wonder if you should choose the size based on the horse or the rider and whilst both elements must be taken into account, the primary concern is the rider as you are likely to use the saddle for many years and with a variety of horses.  Of course, if your horse is unusally large or small, you will need to consider this when choosing and select accordingly.  However, most average saddles will fit the majority of horses well, especially when you consider that there are usually various adjustable points and straps.  If you are at all unsure, your local stables will be able to give you some guidance and failing that, visit your nearest outdoor or equestrian shop for advice. 

Type

There is a huge array of choice in terms of the materials used, the styles of saddle, cost, the weights and quality and even the colour.  Their design and type differ from country to country as per their usage requirements. Some of the varieties are English saddles, Western Saddles and Dressage Saddles. Many people are governed by their budget and then choose accordingly, but if you do a particular discipline, such as dressage or hunting, you will need to choose an appropriate type to suit.

Injury Prevention

The horse is an extremely powerful and speedy animal and injuries to both the horse and rider do occur from time to time.  A proper fitting saddle which is supportive of the rider and which is fitted well to the horse can go a long way to preventing injury.  Once you have bought a saddle which you know fits the horse well and suits you as a rider, ensure that you fasten it on well, adjusting the straps if necessary, each time you fit it to your horse.  A well-fitted saddle provides a better experience for both the horse and the rider in terms of enjoyment too. 

Price

Like most other items you can buy, prices vary widely and, to a certain extent, you get what you pay for.  In general, the better quality saddles will cost more, but you can certainly get a good saddle on a budget.  Additionally, do not be afraid of buying a good quality second hand saddle if your budget is very limited.  When looking for horse saddles for sale, do not rule out a better quality used one which will probably cost the same as a new synthetic variety.

Materials

There are two types of materials used for making saddles.  The traditional choice is leather.  This is very durable and can last for many years.  Indeed, some riders will use the same saddle in excess of 20 years.  You need to look after leather to keep it supple, using specialist waxes and cleaners which are available from equestrian centres.  Also, check regularly for signs of wear around the straps.  As leather saddles can last for many years, it is easy to overlook the "underneath" when all looks well on the top.  Many saddle repairers will replace straps and leather sections which are worn due to wear. 

Synthetic saddles are becoming more and more popular.  They can be cheaper than leather saddles and the build quality and comfort can be excellent.   You do not need to treat the material and often, a wipe down with a damp, soapy cloth is adequate. The expected life span of a synthetic saddle is around 10 years, depending on usage.  

 

 

 


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