Types of saddles: just how many are there?

Have you ever wondered just how many types of saddles there are? Even if you haven't, read on. You never know, next time you find yourself in a pub quiz team, this information just might come in handy!

We reckon there are at least 35 types of saddles! Yes, you read that right, 35, and probably a couple we've missed! So let's do a quick run-through of the various styles there are. Grab yourself a coffee and we'll have a lightning tour of the various types of saddles out there. Are you ready for the list? Here goes ...

  • All-rounder (general purpose), Australian stock, bareback, barrel racing, baroque, cutting, double seat, dressage, endurance, eventing, gaited, hunting, jumping, McLennan, military, mounted shooting, mule, pack, penning, pleasure, police, pony, quarter, racing, ranch, reining, roping, show saddles, side, trail, training, trick, Western, women's, and youth. Phew!

Truly mind-boggling, isn’t it? So now you know there are lots of different types of saddles used, let's focus on 5 of the most common ones and we’ll link to examples we can supply. As ever if you need any help or advice – just call us – we are here to help you

5 of the most popular types of saddles


1. Western saddles:

These were originally designed for cowboys to spend many hours in a day on horseback, and to be comfortable when ridden in for many hours over challenging terrain. They're usually quite ornate with extensive decoration and often a horn at the front for a rope to be attached to. Barrel racing, ranch, roping, and cutting, are all saddles belonging to the Western family. Some of them can truly be works of art, with the most beautiful, intricate carving and painted details. Whilst not many of us spend all day every day in the saddle like those cowboys, Western saddles are still hugely popular for the leisure rider, and we have an extensive range available to you.

We especially like this example designed for pleasure riding. It's the Alamo saddlery pleasure saddle in chocolate leather and right now you can save 15% on the original price.


2. Barrel racing saddles

Funnily enough - they're used for barrel racing! This equine sport sees the horse and rider navigate around pre-set barrels in the fastest time. And boy do they shift! These saddles have to be utterly reliable. They have a deep seat to grip the rider during extremely sharp, fast turns. They're designed to keep the rider secure and to offer more security for those hair-raising tight turns that the less adventurous riders amongst us might occasionally do, unwittingly, when our horse spooks! We especially like this barrel racing saddle with its eye-catching tan and turquoise leather.

If it’s an absolute show-stopper you’re after – then take a look at the Tough1 Serape All Round Saddle – one of our staff picks - what a beauty! Even better, it’s currently on offer at $469.


3. Endurance saddles

If endurance riding is more your thing, then you’ll need a saddle to ensure maximum comfort for you and your horse. You’ll potentially be covering a lot of ground (potentially up to 160 km) and most likely a variety of terrain too. Anyone who has spent too long in an uncomfortable saddle whilst taking part in an endurance ride will tell you that comfort is of utmost importance! Endurance saddles are designed with these factors in mind, to keep you safe, secure, and comfortable in the saddle, and to ensure your horse is comfortable and happy too. After all, who wants a grumpy horse for 160m ?!…

We love the DP Saddlery Quantum short and light Western saddle with its softly padded seat. It’s ideal for endurance riders, long trail rides and gaited horses. This saddle can be yours with our ride now, pay later finance plan.


4. English saddles

Bit of a misnomer this one, as they’re used worldwide, not just in England. The English saddle encompasses several types of saddle including dressage, show jumping and polo. They’re generally “flatter” than Western saddles and have no horn at the front. Apparently, they came into being when hunting became popular in England after the Civil War. Before this saddles had high pommels - so they were no longer suitable for hunting and jumping over hedges etc. If you have to ask why that is, you’re clearly lucky enough to have avoided landing on a pommel after an awkward jump. It’s an eye-watering experience, best avoided if you can.

Have a look at the smooth lines of the Marielle +4 Monoflap with Genesis Adjustable Tree. As the name suggests, it’s adjustable and can even be re-flocked. It is also available with our ride now pay later finance plan


5. Side Saddles

We couldn’t resist including this in our list as it’s rather interesting to find out why they were “the” saddle of choice for ladies at one point in time. Apparently, they are depicted on some Greek vases and sculptures, but it is Anne of Bohemia, Queen of England, who was the first wife of King Richard II who is credited with making them popular.

As long full skirts were the fashion for women then, the side saddle was seen as the perfect way to protect a lady’s, erm, modesty and so they gained popularity. The first versions truly were just like a chair with a footrest, so the rider needed someone on the ground to help steer their horse! Over time it has evolved to today’s designs which are far more user-friendly. However, we want to take a moment to pay maximum respect to the side saddle riders out there. This blog author has tried it and has never felt more out of sorts and insecure in her life  and couldn’t wait to get back to being astride as opposed to aside … and that was just in walk, never mind canter or jumping!

Side saddles are still with us nowadays, but are more often used in the show arena and for demonstrations than everyday riding, and yes, we do have a selection for you if side saddle riding is your thing! Take a look at the Royal King side saddle, currently on offer at 38% off the original price.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this quick rundown of 5 types of saddle and we’ll highlight more in future blogs. Whether you’re an avid Western rider or an endurance rider, or indeed whichever discipline you favour – we can help you with your saddle choice. Plus of course we have a whole array of additional items of saddlery you may need. Just shout – we are here to help.






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