Poll Recap: Saddle Up!

Of the 2,580 respondents, 951 (37%) said that they would ride in a western saddle, while 604 (23%) said their choice is an English all-purpose or jumping saddle.

Photo: Photos.com

If you went outside to ride right now, what kind of saddle would you use? We posed this question to our readers last week TheHorse.com, and more than 2,500 people responded. Here are the results!

Of the 2,580 respondents, 951 (37%) said they would ride in a western saddle, while 604 (23%) said their choice is an English all-purpose or jumping saddle. Another 428 respondents (17%) said they'd ride in a dressage saddle. Another 169 (7%) readers indicated they would use an endurance saddle, and 151 individuals (6%) said they wouldn’t use a saddle at all—they prefer to ride bareback. Meanwhile, 110 readers (4%) said they would choose an Australian saddle, and 81 readers (3%) said they'd choose a different type of saddle. The remaining 32 respondents (1%) said they do not ride.

Poll Results

Additionally, more than 200 respondents provided comments about their saddle choice. 

Many readers left comments about their preferred choice:

  • “After 50 years of riding in all types of saddles, my Klimke dressage is my favorite.”
  • “We ride either in exercise saddle or bareback. We prefer to feel the horses’ movements.”
  • “My jumping saddle fits both my horse and my riding style best!”
  • “I actually like the bareback saddles that have stirrups.”
  • “Hitch up to the carriage and walk on!”
  • “I ride western and English (all-purpose), but would like to try both endurance and australian saddles.”
  • “I find my dressage saddle provides the comfort and fit for trail riding!”
  • “Mine is really more of an aussie/western-cross, but I put it down as aussie on the list. Love it!”
  • “Western saddles are just so comfortable and look great on a horse too!”
  • “Bareback in the winter helps me keep warm in frigid temps.”
  • “Love my County all-purpose: custom made for my horse and fits like a dream.”
  • “I feel a little more secure in the close contact, but the dressage saddle fits the horse best right now.”
  • “I like western saddles too, but aussies are the most comfortable for me and horse”
  • “I don't own anything other than western saddles.”
  • “I love to ride bareback! It's so fun and free feeling!”
  • “I trail ride in a western saddle. It's the safest if my horses decide to spook.”
  • “I start in an all-purpose and usually end with bareback.”
  • “My all-purpose saddle works well for trail riding and dressage.”
  • “Sidesaddle!”
  • “I changed to dressage from western about two years ago.”

Several readers said that cold winter weather helps determine their saddle choice and riding habits:

  • “One that has a built in space suit and central heating!”
  • “Freezing cold weather makes bareback inviting.”
  • “I don't ride when it's this cold and this much snow on the ground.”
  • “It's really cold and my western saddle will accommodate the extra clothes!”
  • “On a cold winter day I prefer to ride western. Most other days I use an all-purpose saddle.”
  • “In this cold weather I would ride bareback for the heat from the horse.”
  • “It's way too cold to ride for my horse and me!”
  • “No saddles when it's this cold outside”
  • “With temps down to 14 in the Northeast, I would ride bareback just for the warmth!”
  • “If I ride when it's cold, I prefer to ride bareback...I benefit from my horses body heat!”
  • “Saddles can get cold and uncomfortable in the winter.”
  • “If I went out to ride right now, the saddle had better be heated.”
  • “Since it's freezing out, probably my big, fleece-lined treeless saddle.”
  • “Western...it's cold out! The six layers needed to stay warm just won’t work with a hunt saddle.”

Some people said that they preferred to ride in treeless saddles:

  • “I prefer the treeless saddles.”
  • “Hey—how about the best saddle—treeless!”
  • “Treeless Freeform endurance saddle.”
  • “When the weather is cold, I have a nice synthetic treeless that I use!”
  • “I use a dressage treeless (Ansur) fitted for endurance.”
  • “For me and my mare the best saddle ever is a Torsion Treeless! Hands down!”
  • “I use a treeless or go bareback.”
  • “I use a western sensation saddle (treeless).”
  • “Love my Bob Marshall treeless endurance model!”

Find out more about how the forces applied by saddle and rider can affect a horse's performance and welfare at TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: Have you ever had a saddle professionally fitted to you and your horse? Vote in the poll and share your comments! 

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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