Western Saddle Guide

The section covers some general information about the Western saddle.

  • Parts of the Western Saddle
  • How to Measure the Western Saddle
  • Western vs. English vs. Australian Saddle Measurements
  • Western Saddle Seat Measurements

The Western Saddle is designed for comfort, practicality and security. There are many variations of the Western Saddle, each designed for different riding styles and purposes.

One of the most popular is the Pleasure Saddle. Other common styles of the saddle include the Barrel Racing Saddle, Cutting and Reining Saddle, Endurance Saddle and Roping Saddle.

The Saddle is one of the most important and one of the most expensive pieces of equipment you will get. With proper care and maintenance a saddle will last for many, many years.

The Western saddle's design and fit can have a big effect on both the horse's performance and the rider's position as well as comfort. An ill fitting saddle can cause the horse considerable discomfort as well as physical damage. When choosing a new saddle, you will want to be sure the saddle fits not only the rider, but the horse properly.

The Western Miniature Horse Pony Saddle are usually designed similar to the pleasure saddle or the barrel saddle. The main parts of the Western Saddle are shown in the photo below.

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The western saddle is held in place with a cinch. The cinch is attached to the saddle using the off billet and the cinch tie strap. You should learn how to tie the Cinch Tie Strap Knot the old fashion way.

Western Saddles are made of several different materials. In the past, the Western Saddle was made from leather which covered a wooden tree. Most working western saddles are still made this way today. The wooden tree makes these saddles very heavy.

Today, many western saddles are made from synthetic materials and the trees are made from fiberglass. Using these materials to build the saddles make them lightweight which is easier on the horse and easier on the rider.

One advantage to a synthetic saddle is the ease of cleaning them up. Usually just a wet sponge will take the dirt off. The other main advantage to the synthetic saddle is the lightweight. Some synthetic materials used are Nylon, cloth and neoprene.

Disadvantages of the synthetic saddles are:

  • Tend to have a shorter lifespan
  • Material can tear more easily
  • Trees tend to be more flexible

How to Measure the Western Saddle Seat

When you purchase your Western Saddle you need to decide what size seat you will need. The Western Saddle is measured from just below the back side of the saddle horn, straight across the seat to the fore edge of the Cantle.

Where to Measure the Western Saddle Seat

Comparison Between English, Western, and Australian Saddle Seat Sizes

English Saddles and Australian Saddles are measured differently from the Western Saddle. The measurement is the same for them, while the Western Saddle seat size measurement is 2" smaller.  Although the seat is the same, the places you measure from are different.  The table below shows the equivalent measurements for each type of saddle.

Western Saddle Seat Sizes

Western Saddles can be found in many different sizes, ranging from 5" to 22" seat sizes.

  • Tiny 5" Miniature Western Saddles are made for decoration purposes.
  • 7" and 8" Miniature Horse Saddle are the smallest, usable saddle manufactured.

These adorable, tiny saddles are exactly like the larger western saddles they are modeled after. They are used for the small toddler who is just learning to ride and are designed to fit the Miniature Horse or small pony. They are also used to begin training the Miniature Horse or small pony to carry a saddle.

The tiny 7" and 8" saddles are also put to use on large dogs as part of festive Halloween and party costumes.

The most common Miniature Horse or Small Pony Saddle size is the 9" and 10" seat size. The 11" and 12" Western Saddle can be used on larger Miniature Horses and Small Ponies.

Many 10", 11" and 12" saddles are designed to fit the full size horse, so you must make sure that the gullet is designed to fit your mini or pony comfortably.

Saddle Seat Guide - What Size Do You Need?

The chart below lists the different Western Saddle sizes and a general description of what size person will fit in each size.