Why are horse saddles so expensive?

There is a well-known saying in life: “you get what you pay for” and that is never truer than when it comes to purchasing a horse saddle!


So why do they cost so much?




First, let’s consider what goes into the making of a saddle. Thankfully, they have evolved a great deal since their invention thousands of years ago. Back then, they would have consisted of a crude wooden frame with a cloth covering. Can you imagine spending more than 5 minutes in that? Ouch! For both horse and rider!


Saddles are made in several sections, starting with the tree. This is the frame upon which the whole saddle is built. From here, fabric webbing is added, then foam padding is cut, carved, and moulded into shape. The leather (real or synthetic) is also cut into the many pieces required, before its assembly and placement on the saddle. Symmetry of the saddle is checked at every stage of the process, with meticulous precision to ensure a good fit.




By now, you will be getting the picture that a well-fitting, quality saddle

requires a level of expertise that could never be replicated in a "mass-produced" way. This is why you are paying more money for your hand-crafted saddle. If you've never looked before, do an online search about how saddles are made. You may well be surprised at the amount of time and the level of skill required to make saddles.


Safer for you and your horse


Perhaps a better way to think of the expenditure on your new saddle is to think of it as an investment. An investment in both your and your horse's comfort and safety. Proper care and maintenance could see your saddle last for decades, and potentially your horse's lifetime.


Also worth considering is how much happier your horse will be with a decent saddle. Let's face it, when it comes to horses, their health and safety are surely worth spending our money on. Plus, happy, comfortable horses are less likely to send you skyward than those telling their rider that their saddle is pinching them. Many times, I've heard tales of woe from fellow riders who've been bucked off frequently for no apparent reason to meet the ground. On further investigation with the services of a saddle-fitter, they discovered that their saddle was the problem all along, hurting their equine companion's back. So, their trusty steed, unable to express their discomfort verbally - was demonstrating their pain in true equine fashion!


Saddle fitters can help adjust your saddle

More expensive saddles can be adjusted by an experienced saddle fitter. For instance, your horse may have lost or gained weight. Perhaps they are getting older and changing shape. In these instances, a cheap saddle will potentially have to be replaced altogether.



In many ways the saddle is the most important piece of your tack. You need to feel safe and secure in the saddle and comfortable. Ask anyone who does trail riding whether they'd be happy to sit atop a cheap saddle for a few hours and the sheer look of horror on their face will be your answer! 


Saddles are designed specifically for the rider's main pursuit


Do you just want to amble about the countryside with a bit of light schooling every now and then? Or do you dream of being the next Olympic dressage star performing the perfect piaffe in the arena? Perhaps racing, show jumping, eventing, endurance, or Western riding is your thing. Rest assured, whatever you want to focus on with your riding, there will be a saddle that has been designed specifically with that purpose in mind. Think of the many hours someone has had to study horse and rider and the activity, to come up with the end saddle design to suit that activity for both the horse and rider.


The most expensive saddles ever

Let's round up with a couple of examples of extremely expensive saddles that will make your eyes water!


Pancho Villa was a General during the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1916. He was renowned for his brilliance on the battlefield & also appeared in several American Westerns as himself. In 2012 his last, highly ornate saddle fetched an astonishing $625,000 at auction — $750,000 including the buyer’s fee! 

Then, in November 2015 the Crown Prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, sold a saddle (perhaps containing real gold) for a whopping $653,234 at a charity auction.  

Feel better about the cost of your saddle now?

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