Buying an English saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Buying an English saddle

So I've ridden Western my entire life. However, a friend of mine (who is an excellent trainer) gave me a brief lesson in English riding and I loved it. I don't want to do eventing or anything like that, I just needed help with balancing and my core muscles, and she said that riding English helps with that because you typically don't have anything helping to hold you up, like you do with Western saddles.

I'd just be using it for training at home and probably trail riding (I'd let my husband use the western saddle I have). I want to go to the local tack store, but I want to come prepared. Are there any specific questions I should ask? What are the "important" parts of a saddle, and what should I be looking for? I don't know anything about them, and I don't want to go into the store looking like a fool-- and maybe be taken advantage of. How can I get a proper fit, and how can I tell a decent quality saddle from a really cheap one?

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post #2 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 12:13 PM
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The most important thing to know is that English saddles are much harder to fit to your horse than a western saddle. Check out youtube and other sites that discuss saddle fitting. Something like a Wintec with an adjustable gullet might be a good choice for you.

I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 12:30 PM
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The most important question is if it fits your horse. The best would be to borrow several saddles from the store and see if either a good fit. Also you have to decide what kind you want: A/P or dressage (or CC, but thats if you plan on jumping).

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post #4 of 7 Old 03-10-2011, 04:58 PM
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For $15, you can get a used copy of this book at Amazon:
It will tell you tons about English saddles and how they should fit. Money well spent prior to buying a saddle, IMHO.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Ooo I do always love buying an informative book. Thanks for the tips!
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 12:12 PM
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We Brits usually take the saddle to the horse - most tack shop owners won't allow the horse into the shop.
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-11-2011, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by musicalmarie1 View Post
... how can I tell a decent quality saddle from a really cheap one?
Before you go to the tack store, ask your friend if she has any saddle type preferences, or even if she can go with you. We may tell you to buy an All-Purpose, she may tell you to get a dressage or close contact. She could probably also help with general suggestions as to the size of the saddle for you (17", 17.5", etc.) as well as your horse (tree sizes).

Are you looking for a used saddle or a new saddle? If you're looking for a new saddle, you can probably do some research online before you go and see what places like Dover are selling them for. The same goes for stirrup leathers, irons, etc. With new saddles, you pretty much get what you pay for. (Exceptions to this would be synthetics, of course.)

If you're looking for used saddles, go to the tack store and see what they have. Check the seat for cuts/abrasions, cracks. Look underneath the saddle at the billet straps and see if they're frayed, split or look damaged.

Make notes on any saddles you're fond of -- brand, size(s), overall condition. Then you can look on eBay, used English saddle shops online and make some comparisons. I'm not saying buy your saddle online, but look around and get a feel for what similar saddles and brands are going for.
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