You may need to educate yourself on some saddle basics before buying your own western saddle. Ride in as many different types of saddles as you can. Talk to all the horse people you know about their choice of saddle.
Buying the wrong western saddle is an extremely common mistake made in the western riding world. It’s also a very costly learning experience that you can skip by avoiding the top seven western saddle buying blunders.
You found a saddle that’s high quality, pretty, and fits you well. If the saddle doesn’t fit your horse well, then the rest won’t make a difference. Make sure you understand the basics of horse fit and determine beforehand whether the saddle will be a good fit for your horse.
You also need to be aware that a number of saddle brands that have been around for a long time have had the quality of their saddles vary significantly over time. Never blindly buy by brand without thoroughly inspecting the quality of the saddle. Very few celebrities have any input into the design and construction of the saddles bearing their name.
While we would all like a nice looking saddle, letting looks drive your buying decision is also asking for trouble. The quality of the saddle materials and the construction are way more important than how the saddle looks. A poorly made saddle can look very pretty, especially to the uninitiated or first time saddle buyer.
Poor quality materials and construction will shorten the saddle life, and, more importantly, will cause discomfort and impair your horse’s movement. If you can’t afford at least a middle-of-the-road new saddle (R8000 and up), then buying a second hand saddle is a great solution. Quality saddles last a long time, making buying a “pre-owned” saddle quite a smart buy.
While you shouldn’t need a different saddle for every horse you ride, one saddle will not fit every horse you might come across. The best approach is to choose a saddle that will fit the basic physical type of horse that you’ll most frequently ride. If you ride more than one type of horse, you will need more than one saddle.
Don’t buy for image either. While every cowboy and cowgirl’s dreams and imagery can be strong and enticing, don’t let those images determine your saddle buying choice. Choose a saddle type that fits the actual type of riding that you’ll be doing.
People are constantly buying and selling saddles in search of just the right one. If you do your homework beforehand to fully understand your horse’s and your own needs, you can buy the one saddle that will be a match for you, your horse, and your riding activities.