Last updated: January 18, 2023
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As a seasoned horseback rider, I know that having the right saddle is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment when it comes to trail riding. After years of trying out various brands and styles, I’ve found that the best trail saddles are made with premium materials and designed to provide maximum comfort and support.
Some of the best western trail saddles include Billy Cook, Reinsman, Circle Y, and Natural Horseman, but these can be expensive, starting at over $4,000. If you’re looking for something more affordable, consider brands like Acerugs, AAMISH, Hilason, and Arvakkula, which offer good quality at a lower price point.
In this article, I list the best western trail riding saddles and explain why they made the cut. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, this list has something for everyone, so keep reading to learn more.
Billy Cook Saddles
Billy Cook is a brand known for its authentic hand-crafted saddles.
Young Billy Cook opened his first saddle shop in 1953. Today, Cook saddles are considered an icon of quality craftsmanship and functionality desired by most equestrians.
I love their BW TRAIL LOW BOY HORN and ROUND SKIRT saddle. It features a round skirt for short-backed horses. Its deep padded seat is ideal for all-day trail riding. The BW saddle’s pre-twisted stirrups ensure comfortable riding. It is ready to ride straight out of the box. The saddle also features a tree reinforced with a low-profile posthorn. All in all, it is a great saddle specially designed for the trail.
Billy Cook BW Trail saddles are available in sizes from 14-17 and in 8 beautiful colors.
Many of the country’s leading horse owners, handlers, and judges ride Reinsman Saddles.
Reinsman Saddles have more than 500 styles in trail saddles alone. You can choose from Gaited Trail Saddles, Endurance Trail Saddles, Foundation Trail Saddles, Cordura Trail Saddles, Mule Saddles, or Wood Tree Trail Saddles.
Reinsman saddles are the finest field saddles made, and they are sure to keep you and your horse comfortable mile after mile.
Check out their 1680 Grey Forest Trail Saddle. This hornless saddle comes with a padded seat and a short skirt for short-backed horses. Its comfortable design and versatile style make this a perfect choice for anyone who wants to hit the trail in comfort and style.
Luckily you can find used Billy Cook and Reinsman Saddles for sale in good condition at retailers like Horsesaddleshop.com. When you get to their website, type in used saddles in the search bar.
The people at Natural horseman saddles are real equestrians and understand that natural movement is key to fitting a saddle.
They have staff available to answer questions and provide advice to ensure you get the right saddle for you and your horse.
You won’t go wrong buying from them. I recommend that you check out Natural Horseman Saddles’ website to learn more about its products and services.
They carry more than 15 styles of western saddles. Here are two saddles they advertise specifically for western trail riding:
This is for relaxing trail rides and those with competitive goals. It features a classic western profile with short skirts. It also happens to be a lot lighter than traditional western saddles.
Western Freedom is a versatile saddle that can be used for everyday riding, trails, or arenas. It features the brand’s SmartFlx foundation, which helps provide freedom, comfort, and space for horses of different breeds. Like all Natural Horseman Saddles, Western Freedom is handcrafted. You can customize the saddle’s leather color and choose between 2 gullet sizes.
This offering from Natural Horseman features a modern adaptation of the Downunder profile. It promises to hold the rider securely via a nice deep pocket. The Aussie is designed for maximum stability, which is important on trails.
Its padded soft leather seat ensures maximum comfort. You can customize the saddle as needed. Like the Western Freedom above, the Aussie also features the SmartFlx Foundation.
Circle Y saddles
Circle Y is a trusted brand known for making high-quality western saddles, including excellent trail saddles. Their saddle trees are built to be sturdy and lightweight, making them an excellent choice for trail riding.
In addition, it has a soft foam seat and EBS stirrups to keep riders comfy on long trail rides.
The saddle’s skirt is flexible and has special parts that help protect the horse’s spine and make the saddle light.
The saddle also has a rawhide horn and barbed wire border, giving it a cool ranch look.
At horsesaddleshop.com, they offer the Circle Y Reno Flex2 Trail Saddle 2373 for $2,650.00, which is a good price for this model.
Pocket-Friendly and Affordable Western Trail Saddles
When it comes to trail riding, having the right saddle can make all the difference in your comfort and enjoyment of the experience. Western saddles, in particular, are known for their durability and ruggedness, making them well-suited for the rigors of the trail.
But if you’re on a budget, the above saddles may be out of your price range; some are over $2,000, and the Natural Horseman Saddles cost nearly $4500. So, finding a high-quality western trail saddle that won’t break the bank can be challenging.
That’s where pocket-friendly and affordable western trail saddles come in. These saddles offer the durability and support you need for a successful ride, all at a price that won’t set you back too much.
So if you’re in the market for a new trail saddle, consider one of these pocket-friendly and affordable options: Acerugs, AAMISH, ARVAKKULA, and Horse Saddlery IMPEX. Now let’s take a closer look at what each of these brands has to offer.
Acerug saddles offer a comfortable and supportive ride for both you and your horse. The deep, padded seat uses durable corduroy, and the soft fleece lining adds an extra layer of comfort.
These western trail saddles come in a range of sizes and colors, and the padded stirrups make it easy to mount and dismount. The fiberglass tree provides durability, and the saddle is finished with a stylish silver-plated, engraved star concho.
Acerug saddles have received great reviews on Amazon, and their prices range from $250 to $499. I haven’t personally tried one of these saddles, but many people find that they are well-made and a great deal for the price. If you’re looking for an affordable western saddle, Acerug is definitely worth considering.
If you’re looking for a good trail saddle without breaking the bank, consider an Aamish saddle. These saddles are well-made and offer great value for their price.
You can find a nice Amish saddle for around $400; some are even available for as low as $329, which is much cheaper than many premium brands.
AAMISH Leather Store is known for its finest and toughest leather goods. Well-balanced fiberglass tree and well-padded fleece underside make AAMISH western saddles some of the best hand-made trail saddles in the affordable price range.
AAMISH western saddles feature a deep seat that offers comfort and support for long hours out on the trail. Their rounded skirt design is excellent for short-backed horses.
Their hand-carved tooling, leather stirrups, and numerous ties impart style and class to the AAMISH Western trail saddle package. You can find a nice Aamish trail saddle for 300 to 500 dollars.
If you’re in the market for a high-quality trail saddle that’s both affordable and stylish, Arvakkula saddles are worth considering. These saddles are made from 100% cowhide leather, handcrafted, and hand-carved with floral designs.
At around $600, they offer an excellent value for their price and are difficult to beat when it comes to all leather handcrafted trail saddles.
Their deep seat is well-cushioned, so you can sit in the saddle for long hours without soreness. ARVAKKULA saddles feature a contoured skirt that allows closer contact with your horse to help enhance your communication with it.
Their padded stirrups allow you to get on and off the saddle quickly. They also have numerous O-rings and ties that let you attach saddle bags and other accessories. The saddles’ padded fleece underskirt keeps your horse comfortable. All these features make it one of the best western trail saddles without the associated high price tag.
Horse Saddlery IMPEX offers a wide range of saddle options for every budget and style. From synthetic saddles starting at $240 to high-quality leather saddles for just over $600, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re in the market for a trail saddle that’s both affordable and reliable, I highly recommend checking out Horse Saddlery IMPEX.
For trail riding, check out the IMPEX classic. It is made using 100% genuine cowhide leather and quality skirting leather.
The saddle’s beautiful basket weave, along with the hand-engraved silver plating and hand-carved floral and leaf tooling, enhance its stylish appearance.
Horse Saddlery IMPEX saddles also feature close-contact skirts for better communication between rider and horse. It has received rave reviews from riders who have used them for trail riding. Personally, I like less glam on my saddles.
Introduction to Western Saddles for Trail Riding
Western saddles are a popular choice for trail riders because of their durability and ruggedness. These saddles are designed to provide support and comfort for both the rider and the horse, making them well-suited for long hours on the trail.
In this section, I’ll discuss the features and benefits of these saddles and how to choose the right one for your needs. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, a western saddle can help you make the most of your trail riding experience.
A good trail riding saddle should be comfortable for both the rider and the horse, with a design that allows for a secure and stable seating position. It should also be durable and able to withstand the rigors of trail riding, including exposure to the elements and rough, uneven terrain.
A western saddle is specifically made for western riding discipline. They are also called cowboy saddles. You typically see them on ranches and farms. Initially used for ranch work, western saddles are designed for rough handling. They help balance and distribute the rider’s weight evenly.
Western saddles, also known as cowboy saddles, are specifically designed for western riding disciplines. These saddles are often seen on ranches and farms, where they were originally used for ranch work.
Western saddles are built to withstand rough handling and evenly distribute the rider’s weight, providing balance and support. This is what you need for trail riding.
They provide the support and comfort needed for western riding disciplines and often feature decorative patterns and stitching that make them stand out in shows and competitions. High-quality western saddles are indeed works of art that can add beauty and style to any riding experience.
A western saddle has several parts, and every part serves a purpose. Here are the main parts of a western trail riding saddle:
- Tree – this is the base on which the remaining saddle is built. The tree is usually made of wood or synthetic materials. Modern saddles with trees are either rawhide-wrapped or double-reinforced using fiberglass.
- Swell( pommel, fork) – the front part of the saddle at the base of the horn. Riders can grab onto this to prevent being thrown off – should the situation so arise.
- Gullet – this is the tunnel underneath the swell/fork. Its angle determines the saddle’s fit. A standard gullet measures 7 inches.
- Horn – this is a key element that helps distinguish between western and English saddles – the latter does not have a horn. Horns are located in the front of the saddle. They help the rider get on and off the saddle with ease. Ranch saddles have sturdy and big horns.
- Seat – Trail riding saddles feature well-padded seats and undersides. Their seat is deep to ensure maximum comfort for all-day riding. Modern trail saddles come with gel seats to protect the rider’s back from shocks and impacts that are common in trail riding.
- Skirts – A skirt is made of leather, sheepskin, or some other cushioning material. It sits under the saddle’s seat. Western saddles for trail riding have a round and short skirt, decreasing the saddle’s overall weight and allowing better contact between the rider and the horse. This enhances their communication.
- Cantle – it is the back part of a saddle. Its angle plays an important role in providing support to the rider. Trail saddles have a cantle with straighter angles to provide greater security to the rider.
- Back cinch or rear – as the name indicates, it is the back side of the saddle. Its job is to provide additional security to the saddle.
Features to Consider When Selecting Western Trail Saddle
Choosing the right western trail saddle is an important decision for any rider. A good saddle can help you stay comfortable and secure on long trail rides, while a poorly-fitting saddle can cause discomfort and even injury.
When selecting a western trail saddle, there are several key features to consider, including the fit, the materials, and the design. In this part, I’ll discuss these key features in more detail and provide tips on choosing the right saddle for your needs. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, the right saddle can make all the difference in your trail riding experience.
The saddle’s fit for the rider
- Visit a tack shop and sit on different western trail saddles.
- There should be a 2-3 finger space between your thigh and the saddle’s swell.
- Your butt should rest comfortably on the saddle’s base.
- You should feel comfortable in the saddle.
- The stirrup should lengthen enough for you to maintain your ideal position.
The saddle’s fit for the horse
- Place the saddle on your horse without a pad.
- The saddle’s gullet should be 2-3 fingers away from the horse’s withers.
- A well-fitting saddle won’t touch any part of the horse’s spine.
- Feel under the saddle – the saddle’s panels should apply even pressure on the horse’s back. Make sure there are no significant gaps. If there is, it indicates that the panels are applying extra pressure elsewhere.
- Place your hands on the cantle and horn and rock the saddle side to side and front to back. There should only be a little movement.
The saddle should also be well-made, with high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship, to ensure it lasts for many rides to come. In addition, a good trail riding saddle should be versatile and suitable for various trail riding environments and styles.
The saddles for western trail riding feature a narrow, deep, cushioned seat that supports and provides optimum comfort for all-day riding. It also has a strong tree for roping and a fleece-lined or padded underside for ensuring the horse’s comfort.
Below is a helpful YouTube video that explains the different types of western saddles.
Conclusion – Best Western Trail Saddles
In conclusion, western saddles are an excellent choice for trail riding. These saddles are known to be durable and provide the necessary features you and your horse need for long hours on the trail.
When selecting a western trail saddle, it’s essential to consider the fit, materials, and design, as well as the reputation of the brand. Some of the best brands of western saddles include Natural Horseman, Billy Cook, and Resinsman.
You can also find affordable saddles from Acerugs, Arvakkula, and AAMISH Leather Store. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, a high-quality western saddle can make all the difference in your trail riding experience.
We hope this guide helps you find the best saddle for trail riding.
FAQs – Best Western Trail Saddles
What type of saddle is best for trail riding?
A western saddle is typically the best choice for trail riding. These saddles are known for their durability and ruggedness, providing the support and comfort needed for long hours on the trail. Additionally, western saddles are designed to distribute the rider’s weight evenly, helping to prevent discomfort and fatigue.
What are the best brands of Western saddles?
Are Western saddles good for trail riding?
Yes, most western saddles are good for trail riding. Their round, short skirts reduce the saddle’s weight and have a deep seat and padded underside to enhance rider and horse comfort.
Meet Miles Henry
An avid equestrian and seasoned racehorse owner, Miles Henry brings his extensive experience to the equine world, proudly associating with the AQHA, The Jockey Club, and various other equine organizations. Beyond the racetrack, Miles is an accomplished author, having published various books about horses, and is a recognized authority in the field, with his work cited in multiple publications.
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