If you plan on riding your horse, one of the most important pieces of tack that you’ll require is a saddle. If you haven’t spent much time around horses, you might be surprised at just how many different types of saddles there are. Saddles are made in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and designs. Some are meant for basic riding, others are specialized, intended for very specific riding disciplines.
Luckily, weeding through all of these saddles and comparing them doesn’t have to be a difficult task; we’ve already done the hard part for you! The following reviews will compare some of the best all-around saddles on the market, including western, English, and miniature horse saddles.
If you’re ready to get to riding, then start reading, and you’ll soon have found the perfect saddle for your needs in our recommendations.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|Best Western Saddle
|Manaal Enterprises Premium Western Leather
|Best English Saddle
|Acerugs Premium Black Leather
|Best Mini Horse Saddle
|M-Royal Mini Horse Saddle
|Manaal Enterprises Synthetic Western Saddle
|Acerugs Western Pleasure Trail Horse Saddle
The 8 Best Horse Saddles
1. Manaal Enterprises Premium Western Leather Saddle – Best Western Saddle
It’s certainly not the cheapest choice on the market, but this premium leather western saddle from Manaal Enterprises is our favorite western saddle of all the models we tested. It’s a top-quality product; evident from the top-tier craftsmanship and high-end materials used to make it.
The tree is a wood base that’s fiberglass wrapped. The entire saddle is made from premium leather and comes with a matching headstall and breastplate. There are also ties for attaching additional accessories. You can choose from one of four finishes, including walnut oil, antique oil, chestnut, and rough out.
Depending on what you need, you can get this saddle in sizes from 14 inches to 18 inches. You’ll find that the pie horn is wide and ultra-stable thanks to the reinforced mule hide wrapping. On the bottom of the saddle is a well-padded fleece to keep your horse comfortable and prevent slippage. All in all, we think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better western saddle at any price.
2. Acerugs Premium Black Leather English Saddle – Best English Saddle
There are many forms of riding, but if you prefer to ride on an English Saddle, then we recommend this premium black leather option from Acerugs. It’s our favorite English saddle and we think it’s one of the best horse saddles for the money.
Unlike other cheap alternatives, this one is made from natural premium cowhide leather, rather than synthetic knock-offs that aren’t as durable and don’t last as long. The seat is deep and well-padded, keeping your backside comfortable on long rides. Buckles and rollers are all heavy-duty and won’t break at a critical moment. Despite all of the quality features, this is an affordably-priced saddle that will fit most budgets.
While this saddle fit most of our horses just fine, it doesn’t do as well with slender horses. It’s more ideal for those with a thicker conformation. Still, with the right saddle pad, you can make it work with just about any horse.
3. M-Royal Mini Horse Saddle – Best Mini Horse Saddle
Some horses and riders are too small for traditional saddles. We’re talking about ponies and miniature horses and the younger riders that can fit on them. These riders and horses need saddles too, and the M-Royal Mini Horse Saddle is one that we feel confident recommending for any smaller-sized horse and rider.
As soon as you take a look at this saddle, the beautiful workmanship is apparent. Though it’s intended for kids, they didn’t make it like a child’s product. Rather, it’s a high-quality saddle with elegant leatherwork. Even so, it’s lightweight at just 10 pounds, so it won’t add much weight on your horse’s back.
This saddle is ideal for kids aged 5–10. The stirrups are highly adjustable to fit growing legs. And this saddle is built to last, so it will be the only saddle your child needs until they outgrow it. It’s not going to fit any adults or standard-sized horses, of course, but if you have a mini-horse, pony, or child, it should be a perfect fit.
4. Manaal Enterprises Synthetic Western Saddle
Manaal Enterprises made our favorite western saddle, and while this one is a great choice as well, we don’t like it quite as much for several reasons. First, it’s made from synthetic materials rather than natural leather. Second, the cross lacks D-rings.
On the other hand, this saddle comes with plenty of extras, including a headstall, breast collar, reins, and a pad. It’s also very well made with soft fleece on the underside and crystal accents for aesthetics. The synthetic materials allow it to be lighter in weight than a leather saddle, though they’re also not quite as durable and long-lasting.
Still, the pricing is reasonable, and it’s a great saddle overall, even if we prefer the premium leather version. This one might be a better choice if you’re on a budget since the synthetic materials allow it to be priced a little lower.
5. Acerugs Western Pleasure Trail Horse Saddle
At first glance, the Acerugs Western Pleasure Trail Horse Saddle looks like a great all-around western saddle, and that’s exactly what it is. This saddle is a great starting point for most riders. That said, it’s not something we’d recommend that you purchase as an upgrade to an existing saddle. Though fine for occasional riding, we don’t think this saddle is adequate for long daily rides. It’s simply not durable enough to withstand that level of use.
Part of the reason for the lack of durability is that this saddle isn’t made of real leather. Instead, it’s constructed from synthetic Cordura material, which enables the price to be a bit lower. The underside is made of soft synthetic fleece and the seat is nicely padded. We found the stirrups to be lacking in adjustability, but the color choice is not as you have five options to pick from.
When you purchase this saddle, it will come with a free pad and tack set. It’s already priced affordably, but this additional gear can help a new rider get started quickly and easily. Still, if money permits, we’d recommend getting something with better durability that will last longer.
6. EquiRoyal Comfort Trail Saddle
Somewhere between a western and an English saddle is this EquiRoyal Comfort Trail Saddle. It features a wide padded seat with a medium tree. Crafted from real Indian leather, this is a durable and well-built saddle. We found it to be comfortable to sit on, just like the name suggests. But it’s more expensive than most of the other saddles we tested, and we just can’t seem to justify the price increase. You won’t get anything extra with this saddle like you do with some of our other favorites. It’s a good saddle, but not worth the extra cost to us.
7. HILASON Western Bareback Horse Saddle
When you think of bareback riding, do you think of wearing a saddle? Well, it’s much lighter and more barebones than a full western or English saddle. This HILASON Western Bareback Horse Saddle is flexible and lightweight, though it features enough padding to keep your backside nice and comfortable on long rides.
While testing this bareback saddle, we discovered quite a few flaws that turned us off. First, it only fits people of a very specific size from 140–169 pounds. That’s a pretty small percentage of the population. It’s also a very minimalist design, but the price doesn’t seem to reflect that. And when we put it on, it slipped all over, which really pulled us out of the riding experience. We’d rather deal with the aches of riding truly bareback than deal with the headaches that this bareback saddle introduced.
8. Tough 1 Ride Tandem Saddle
If you want to bring along your child once in a while when you go riding, then you might consider the Tough 1 Ride Tandem Saddle, but it’s not useful for anyone else. It’s too small for any adults to ride tandem with you, which is fine because even double riding with just a child isn’t good for your horse.
Of course, this is a tandem saddle, so it must be attached to a full saddle. It’s also made from nylon rather than leather. While this keeps the price down, it also reduces the saddle’s durability. We found that it was pretty difficult to get firmly attached to our saddle. However, our children found it to be a comfortable ride thanks to the shock-absorbing foam it’s made with.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Horse Saddle
Even when you’re presented with a list of saddle possibilities, it can be very difficult to sift through them and decide which one is right for you. If you’re still having trouble picking a saddle, then this buyer’s guide is intended to help.
There are many different features you could compare saddles on. After testing so many of them, we’ve found that the following five points are great places to start your comparisons.
What type of saddle do you need? Are you going to do western or English riding? Each saddle is best for a different type of riding and the differences between them could make one a better option for you than the other.
Western saddles are bigger and heavier, spreading your weight out over a larger area across the back of your horse. This allows both you and the horse to be more comfortable when you’re spending long hours in the saddle.
English saddles are designed to give you more connection to the horse. They’re small, light, and thin, giving you greater contact with your horse’s back.
Because of these differences in design, you’ll ride differently in each type of saddle, so be sure to pick the one that suits the way you want to ride.
Saddles are generally made of natural leather or a synthetic alternative such as Cordura. Neither one is necessarily better; they each have some pros and cons.
Synthetic saddles tend to be lighter than leather saddles. They’re also priced more affordably because the materials are cheaper. But those materials are cheaper partially because they’re far less durable.
Leather saddles offer superior durability compared to synthetic saddles. On the downside, they’re heavier and more expensive. Though, if you only have to buy one leather saddle and it takes two synthetic saddles to last the same time, then leather saddles might be cheaper in the long run.
Every saddle is going to fit you differently. You’ll have to find one that fits you comfortably. Often, manufacturers include multiple layers on the seat to make it softer and provide more cushion. If you find that riding horses tends to feel uncomfortable for your backside, then you might want to look for the saddles that offer the most padding in the seat.
Riding a horse requires a lot more accessories than just a saddle. Figuring out all the additional items you need can take some time and research. Then, you’ll have to spend more money acquiring those items. Or you can find a saddle that comes with all the accessories you need. This simplifies the entire process and saves you money at the same time. Additionally, this will usually mean that your saddle and accessories match, which always looks nice.
The problem is that many saddles don’t include any accessories. If you already have all the other tack you need, then this might not matter to you. But if you’re just getting started with horse riding, then getting those accessories with your saddle can be a major convenience. If two saddles are similarly priced but one comes with a set of additional tack, in general, the one with the extra tack offers a better value for someone getting started.
If you manage to find several saddles that meet your criteria in the categories mentioned above, then you’ll need to compare them based on price. Remember, you’re not really comparing the sticker price but the value of the products. This is why things like build quality, durability, and included accessories matter so much. A more durable saddle lasts longer, which increases its value. Included accessories save you money and time since you won’t have to research everything you need and find all the items individually.
These types of things add value to the product that you need to consider when you’re comparing prices. Remember, you don’t always get what you pay for, but if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Horse saddles come in all sizes, shapes, designs, and materials. They’re meant for riding in different disciplines and can be made for children or adults. If you’re just starting out in horse riding, then you don’t need to overcomplicate things. You just need a quality saddle that fits you and your horse properly so you can forget about finding more tack and get to riding. Hopefully, our reviews have helped you find it, but just in case, we’re going to summarize our recommendations once more.
If you’re looking for a western saddle, you can’t go wrong with the Manaal Enterprises premium western leather saddle. It features top-tier craftsmanship, using premium leather that’s worked with hand-carved tooling.
For those who prefer an English saddle, our top recommendation is the Acerugs premium black leather English saddle. It’s made from premium cow leather with a deep padded seat for comfort, heavy-duty buckles and rollers; all at an affordable price.
Kids and mini horses are in luck as well with the M-Royal Mini Horse Saddle. Ideal for ponies, miniature horses, and children aged 5–10, this quality saddle is built to last with beautiful workmanship and quality materials though it weighs just 10 pounds.
Featured Image Credit: JimKnopf, pixabay