The different styles available and the cost of each type.
When choosing a saddle there are many things to take into consideration such as cost, material, style, what you want it for and obviously the size of saddle needed.
The most commonly used material is leather. Leather saddles require a lot of care to remain in good condition. They must be cleaned regularly and not allowed to get too wet or too hot as they will start to crack. However, if looked after, leather saddles will last a very long time and many riders prefer the look and feel of a real leather saddle.
Synthetic saddles are made from a wide range of materials and can be made to look just like a real leather saddle. They do not require frequent cleaning and it does not matter if they get wet. Synthetic saddles do not tend to last as long as leather ones but they are much cheaper in price.
There are different styles of saddle available for different disciplines. The jumping saddle tends to have more padding in the knee rolls and has a low pommel and cantle so not to interfere with the riders jumping position. The dressage saddle has straight cut flaps which are much longer than on a jumping saddle. The padding in a dressage saddle is minimal to allow a closer feel to the horse. If you don't want to specialise in any particular discipline you can buy a general purpose saddle. This combines elements of both a jumping and dressage saddle to enable it to be suitable for both disciplines.
There are two styles of saddles; treed and treeless. The tree is the piece of wood that runs down the middle of the saddle and gives it its rigidity. Treed saddles are still the most widely used saddles around. Treeless saddles do not have a tree but are instead heavily padded to avoid too much weight being placed on the horses spine. There is much debate over which type of saddle is better for the horses back but in the end it will come down to personal preference as both saddles feel very different to ride in.
Leather saddles are much more expensive than synthetic ones. A new leather saddle can cost anywhere from £750 to £3000 depending on the style and quality you want. Synthetic saddles tend to be much cheaper at between £120 and £450. However for a good quality synthetic saddle expect to pay upwards of £375.
Treeless saddles also vary greatly in price. There are many cheap imitation treeless saddles available which are not always good for the horses back. Be prepared to pay upwards of £350 for a good quality saddle.
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