Recently someone at work told me they were looking to try something completely new and exciting. I quickly responded with learning how to ride a horse since you know…I love horses. In my opinion, there are very few experiences as thrilling yet relaxing as climbing into the saddle and going for a ride down a wooded trail on the back of a beautiful horse.
Although I was quite enthusiastic about learning to ride, I stressed that you can’t just get a horse and know to do. I then explained how there were factors such as getting lessons from a reputable and patient trainer/teacher, getting the correct riding attire and using appropriate tack, especially saddles.
In my opinion, the most important piece of tack is probably the saddle. I recommended a saddle that is both comfortable for rider and horse, I’ve experienced many long, uncomfortable rides all because I wasn’t using the right saddle; I’m pretty sure the horses felt the same way. Using the wrong saddle can also be a pain in the butt, literally.
Over time I learned that saddles are typically made for the type of riding you'll be doing. For example, a relaxing ride or stroll across the countryside, you may want to look at saddle with lower front and back sections. I also want to stress that when choosing a saddle there really isn't any point in buying the most expensive or flashiest one. Instead, purchase one that allows both you and the horse to be comfortable.
I like Western saddles the best, personally. They are equipped with a horn and leather skirts to help hold the saddle in place during hard riding. You'll also commonly find Western saddles with a deep seat which is also padded for additional comfort. Also, stirrups are placed so that the rider's feet are directly under them, allowing the rider to stand and throw a rope if needed. I found a pretty good breakdown of all the different types of Western saddles out there. I’ll be honest; I never realized there were so many! J
Think about all the different saddle options you went through before finding one you like best. Care to share some of your stories? I’d love to hear some.