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Saddles, The Essential Product

An English and a Western saddle. Can you ride horses without using saddles? Of course you can, and you can learn to do it very well; it's not even a bad idea. However, if you had the choice would you ride with a saddle? What if you were jumping, or partnering the horse in dressage, or cutting cattle. There are so many way in which saddles enhance the experience of riding, not to mention the many tasks performed with a horse.


Types of Saddles are listed below, with photos, history and links.

Many types of saddles exist and vary in shape according to their purpose. Horses were certainly ridden long before there were saddles of course, and something called a horse cloth was first used about 800 B. C. The use of saddles with trees first appeared around the 4th century A. D.


If you wish to make known to others, your own or your company's sales and provision of saddles, you may join our database users and create a Saddles for Sale listing, yourself, and you may edit and update the listing at your own convenience throughout the year.


In America rough pads were used by Native Americans. The cavalry saddle, as did many primitive saddles began as heavy wooden saddles and progressed from there.  Historically, credit is given to Anne of Bohemia for introducing the ladies side-saddle late in the 14th century.

The purpose of all saddles is the same however, to make the rider and horse comfortable by aiding the rider in maintaining a proper position atop the horse. Saddles distribute the rider s weight evenly across the back of the horse. The rider's weigh must be as nearly as possible in line with the center of balance of the horse. This center of gravity, or balance, can move according to the posture and speed. For example, when cantering or running, the center moves forward, while in collection, the center moves a bit to the rear with the greater portion of the weight being carried over the horse's quarters.

A good saddle, designed for the job at hand is a tremendous asset and many saddles that look the same to a beginning rider can exclude and disqualify that rider, due to rules of a particular sport or competition. On the other hand, saddles that do not fit properly cause manifold problems, causing a variety of training problems as well as sores or sore backs for the horse.


While there are wide styling and individuality in types of saddles available across the world, most saddles come under two main, broad categories: the English Saddle and the Western Saddle.

English saddles are characterized by a relatively flat seat and a generally light construction. English saddles, each with its own modification made specifically to adapt them to specific riding disciplines are used in pleasure, and for horse breeds shown in English classes, and in racing, jumping, dressage, polo. The Sidesaddle is an adaptation of an English saddle.

Western Saddles were first developed by the Spaniards in Mexico and the constructed of the saddle horn came into being and these saddles were also roomy, heavy and ornate. Later American ranchers made changes and added the swelled fork, and other specific adaptations. The western saddle is most often used in ranch work and in Western competitive sports, including rodeo.

A good quality saddle, that fits well can last for a lifetime is properly cared for and many saddle-makers exist, including the artisans of custom saddles.


Listings on this site by companies who make or sell saddles can be located in the Shopping section of the site, and individual listings will display product information, often photos and pricing, and contact emails, phone numbers and links to individual Tack or Saddlery shops.

Other HSC site areas of interest to horsemen are Horse Industry Stables/Farms/Ranches, Stallions at Stud, Horse Associations - Clubs and Horses for Sale - each area offers an online search facility.

Return to Horse Products Topics or read about various saddle styles below.
Western Saddles
English Saddles
Dressage Saddles
Jumping Saddles
Saddle Seat Saddles