Best English Saddles Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Equestrianism, or horse riding if you’re British, can encompass a wide variety of activities which include but are not limited to driving, steeplechasing, and vaulting. Many countries such as Germany, France, and Spain all practice their own variation of English riding but one thing that will always be the same is the choice of saddle. English is the preferred choice as they are flat and allow your horse to move more naturally.
There is a wide selection on the market today. Most have the key features you look for in a high performing saddle such as a solid tree, cushioned panels, and a well-adjusted gullet. Variations in construction and material quality can make a considerable difference when it comes to performance. English saddles don’t measure evenly. This top 10 review lists the best on the market today along with their most appealing features.
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
Wither handle strap
10 Best English Saddles
1. Mustang Soft Ride
Adjustable grab handle
Stainless steel hardware
Shock absorbing bareback pad
Saddle structure may be poorly constructed
Stirrup bar can malfunction
The Mustang Riding Saddle has a high rise cantle for extra security and adjustable grab handles. It features a foam fitted seat with shock absorbing back pads that not only improve comfort for riders but also assists to improve balance while riding. Its high rise cantle provided added support and the closed cell foam construction allows close contact riding with a decreased chance of added pressure on rider or horse weak points.
The adjustable grab handle on this Mustang riding saddle gives novice riders added support and a sense of security when learning a discipline for the first time. Removable stirrups give you the option of using your legs to keep your balance which builds your strength as a rider.
Ease of Use
This English saddle is lightweight and extremely versatile as it works well with a variety of horse breeds and can be easily adjusted to fit differently sized horses. Its closed cell foam construction allows close contact riding.
Cost and Value
The Mustang riding saddle has a moderately low price range and offers riders a selection of sizes. It can be easily cleaned by hosing off the structure and allowing it to air dry.
2. AceRugs Leather
Stainless steel finish
Hand stitched design
Deep glove leather seat
Sizes available may fit smaller than expected
Can be poorly constructed
The AceRugs product is constructed from 100% premium leather and features a stainless steel finish. This kit is an exceptional choice for novice riders as it features a deep seat, high cantle, and long flaps. The D-strings strategically placed at the front and rear of the saddle add a layer of security for the rider.
A high cantle gives additional support to the back making posture more comfortable. Additionally, it adds an extra bit of security and control while riding.
This is constructed from leather and finished with stainless steel. The design has been hand stitched and comes with matching leather stirrups. This kit is built to last with high-quality durable materials.
Cost and Value
The low price range of this set makes it a great choice for novice riders. The set includes a saddle, safety stirrups, a billet and billet guards. Also, included is a matching bridle, reins, and girth.
3. AceRugs All Purpose
Deep padded leather seat
Padded knee rolls
Heavy-duty buckled girth
The leather can wear in a short space of time
May not fit horses with wider withers
This second option from AceRugs is made from 100% leather and has a deep padded leather seat for increased comfort and durability. It is extremely cost-effective as it can be used for a variety of disciplines which favors novice riders. The deeper seat along with padded flaps give a rider more confidence and stability. This is amplified by the high cantle and long flaps.
The AceRugs brown English horse saddle has a deep seat that offers riders increased balance and knee pads to improve grip when riding. Its high cantle, long flaps and lower pummel make it easy to use this saddle over multiple riding disciplines.
This English saddle features a padded seat with high cantles and long flaps that make it ideal for flat work. Its low pommel and forward flaps are great for riders who engage in jumping.
Cost and Value
This has a low price range. It has a natural brown color with padded knee rolls and the girth features heavy-duty stainless steel buckles for increased durability.
Suede knee rolls
Wide selection of colors
The dye used may stain clothing
Color may fade over time
The SilverFox option is constructed with a grain leather for durability and features suede leather knee rolls. It is a great choice for novice riders as it features a deep seat with knee rolls for stability. This all-purpose product is constructed from grain leather with suede knee rolls. The tree is versatile enough to fit almost any quarter horse and the long flap featured on this design has a total length of 16 inches.
The seat and jockeys of this SilverFare padded saddle is constructed from grain leather with suede flaps. Its leg rolls are also constructed from leather to create a unique yet uniform finish to the saddle.
Stirrup bars have been bolted on to the of this as a safety measure for riders who may fall from their horse. This feature prevents you from being dragged by detaching and releasing you from the saddle. It can be adjusted to an open or closed position.
Cost and Value
This product is versatile enough to be used across multiple disciplines which makes it a great choice for novice riders. It has a traditional deep seat for increased balance and is able to fit most quarter horses.
5. Cashel Soft
Wither handle strap
Can be a challenge to mount
May not provide as much contact as advertised
The Cashel is constructed from high-quality materials such as fleece with a standard western rigging. It is built for comfort and control with adjustable stirrups, a wither handle strap and front D-strings. This soft saddle adds increased stability and creates a more natural feel allowing riders to connect more with their horse. It comes in a variety of sizes that effectively accommodate rider weight.
The Cashel saddle is uniquely contoured and offers a high level of stability. This design allows a rider to do close contact riding which improves communication between a rider and horse as you can feel the movements and communicate faster and more effectively.
This is constructed from high-quality materials that provide a soft seat for riders and the underside is lined with fleece to ensure your horse is comfortable during a ride as well.
Cost and Value
The Cashel saddle has a medium to high price range, however, it features nylon stirrups and adjustable stirrup straps. It is a great choice for riders who wish to do trail riding or regular exercises with their horse.
6. AceRugs Premium
Heavy duty buckles
Stainless steel hardware
Padded leather seat
Accommodates size 16-18
May not fit shorter horses
The safety bar may be faulty
This premium option has a nylon girth with heavy-duty buckles and stainless steel hardware. It is affordable and versatile enough to be used over a variety of disciplines such as equitation, flatwork, and jumping. There are a number of design features here that all work well to provide a rider with comfort and security. Multiple D-strings are available and these can be easily attached to saddle bags.
There are features of this product that are sure to provide leg support as well as a sweat flap that ensures the rider is comfortable. The seat is also padded for increased comfort.
The adjustable D-rings found on this gives a rider the option of attaching additional equipment to their horse to increase ride efficiency. It can be easily pulled out and utilized under high-stress situations making it a great addition to any saddle.
Cost and Value
This product has a low price range and features a 7-inch gullet, a 15-inch flap, and 44-inch girth. The set includes a full braided bridle with leather reins and leather stirrups.
7. AceRugs All Purpose
Made with 100% premium leather
7 inch gullet
15 inch flap
Padded knee rolls
May fit smaller than expected
The girth may not fit larger horses
The AceRugs all-purpose set is made from premium leather with a 7-inch gullet and full bridle. It has a very traditional design and can be used for multiple disciplines such as equitation, flatwork, and jumping. It is ideal for the novice rider as it provides a high level of balance and security.
Deep Seat for Balance
This has a deep seat that offers riders increased balance and knee pads to improve grip when riding. Its high cantle, long flaps and lower pummel make it easy to use this saddle over multiple riding disciplines.
Padded panels on this English saddle provides an extra layer of protection for your horse to increase its comfort while you ride. This feature also helps to increase rider balance.
Cost and Value
The has a low price range and a deep padded leather seat. The matching set includes a full bridle and braided leather reins with leather stirrups.
8. EquiRoyal Newport
Removable knee blocks
Flexible fiber saddle
Deep foam seat
Sizes may fit smaller than expected
Design may not fit larger horses
The EquiRoyal has a flexible tree that allows increased freedom of movement for your horse as well as removable knee buckles. This is attractive, well-balanced and extremely flexible with a tree that features a cut back head. This makes it versatile enough to be used on a variety of differently breed horses. The seat is deep with a soft foam cushion that is not only easy to clean but increases rider comfort when in use.
Foam is used in the seat of this product and adds some additional cushion for the rider as well as for overall horse comfort. It has also been reinforced with steel for increased durability.
This has a flexible tree that is designed to accommodate a wide range of horse withers as some horses have higher withers than others. It is well-balanced and has a deep seat for added security when riding.
Cost and Value
This product has a medium price range. Synthetic lightweight fiber filled panels have been used on this design allowing it to conform to your horse’s natural shape for a close contact ride.
9. AceRugs Premium Leather
Deep brown color
Deep padded leather seat
Padded soft knee rolls
May be packaged incorrectly
The girth straps may be hidden
This product has a rich natural brown color and deep padded leather seats for increased comfort. This has a traditional design that offers riders added comfort and security and is economically priced. Padded panels improve the comfort of your horse and the design offers technique versatility allowing you to use it for a variety of disciplines including equitation, flatwork, and jumping.
This product has a traditional design with a medium deep soft padded seat. Its high cantle makes it a great choice for flat work and its low pommel and forward flaps work well for jumping.
The adjustable D-rings found on this English saddle gives a rider the option of attaching additional equipment to their horse to increase ride efficiency or showmanship. It can be easily pulled out and utilized in high-stress situations making it a great addition.
Cost and Value
This product has a low price range with a 6-inch gullet, a medium wide seat and a 15-inch flap. There is a selection of sizes available to suit a variety of horses.
10. Henri De Rivel
Lifetime warrantied polymer tree
Nylon reinforced billet straps
Size variations available
Quality control may be low
The Henri De Rivel close contact horse riding saddle has an injection loaded polymer tree that comes with a lifetime warranty and padded flaps.This English saddle is ideal for show ring performers. These features provide comfort and stability to the rider while features such as reinforced billet straps and a leather saddle improve both durability and longevity of the product.
The Henri De Rivel close contact riding saddle is constructed from leather and has been reinforced for increased durability as well as prolonged longevity of the product. The oak bark printed leather gives this saddle a beautiful finish.
This English saddle has a flat seat which makes it a great choice for persons who desire to do jumping. It has a classic show ring look and features oak bark printed leather that gives the design a clean bright look.
Cost and Value
The Henri De Rivel close contact riding saddle has a very high price range. There is a variety of sizes to choose from when selecting the right fit for your horse. This high quality leather saddle is very strong and highly durable.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are a number of parts on your saddle setup that can be adjusted to increase safety, strength, ride efficiency and even showmanship. For example, grab handles can be placed on your saddle to increase control and stability. This is most effective when learning to ride for the first time as it gives you the opportunity to get comfortable with the movement of your horse in a safe and controlled environment.
Removable stirrups are also an excellent option for a novice as well as professional riders. Stirrups provide a footrest for riders and give them a point of leverage. When you remove your stirrups you are forced to maintain your posture and balance using just your upper thighs. This helps to build your strength and improve your balance. It is advisable for riders of any level to practice mastering this skill as it can greatly improve your riding ability.
Stirrup bars can be bolted to the tree of your saddle as an added safety measure. If a rider falls from their horse and is unable to release themselves from the saddle they face the very real danger of being dragged by their horse which can cause serious injury or prove fatal. These bars can be placed in an open or closed position giving riders the power to release themselves in the case of an emergency. Customers really think it was designed with them in mind.
D-rings are also available when using English saddles. These rings can be used to attach equipment such as breastplates which can be used to prevent your saddle from sliding back and can also be used to show attachments when competing in a show ring. These adjustable rings can be easily pulled out of the saddle when a rider is ready to utilize them.
The cantle at the back of the saddle provides support and helps a rider to maintain control and posture. By raising the height of the cantle it increases rider security which is an excellent feature for novice riders who are just beginning to learn equitation and other riding disciplines. The extra security helps them to build confidence and protects them from easily losing their balance when riding.
Bareback pad seats tend to be rigid and uncomfortable which is why some manufacturers have used high quality materials to create a soft padded seat that adds comfort to a rider. They may also line the underside of the saddle with materials such as fleece which is not only durable but soft and offers an extra degree of comfort to your horse when you take them out for ride.
Knee rolls offer multiple degrees of comfort, for example, they provide leg support for riders which not only helps them to keep their balance. It is padded for added comfort and some feature a built in sweat flap that wicks away and sweat keeping your horse cool during various types of activities. Padded knee rolls offer additional grip and support for riders.
Panels are used to cushion the back of your horse when you place the saddle on them and greatly increases your balance and control while riding. Padded panels can be stuffed with a variety of materials which include but is not limited to wool and foam. Those materials really enhance a riders comfort.
Ease of Use
The pommel at the front of the saddle is usually lifted higher than the seat to ensure you clear your horse’s girth and promotes a balanced more secure structure for riders. Some manufacturers have the pommel lower and pushed further forward which creates a closer ride and allows you to connect with your horse better as you are able to feel their movements.
A lightweight saddle is easier to maneuver during setup which is a great convenience for smaller riders. It also reduces the weight and strain placed on your horse. Saddles are traditionally made with materials such as leather which can be bulky and add a significant amount of weight. Materials such as wool and foam have become more widely used which not only makes the structure lighter but more comfortable for horses and riders.
The tree which is essentially the structure of the saddle is generally constructed from wood and then covered with a synthetic material for comfort, however, manufacturers have been using more synthetic materials which are not only lighter but more flexible which creates a better fit and is more versatile. They enable a rider to adjust their saddle to fit a range of horses that may differ in size, breed and wither.
A closed cell foam construction is much lighter and more flexible than bareback pad saddles. These offer benefits beyond convenience and comfort. They allow you to have a close contact ride which gives you the opportunity to have faster more precise contact with your horse as well as become more in sync with them as you will be able to feel their movements while you ride.
Leather has high tensile strength and is highly resistant to tears and abrasion. This makes it an ideal choice for the heavy-duty task of horseback riding. It ensures product longevity and durability and gives each design a sleek look that would be the envy at any equitation event.
Grain leather is one of the most commonly used types of leather and using this to construct a saddle gives it a smooth high-quality look as it has been snuffed and sanded or even buffed to remove any imperfections. It tends to be more durable than other types of leather since the grain is left in the product.
Stainless steel is a common metal used in product construction due to its strength and high level of durability. It is resistant to corrosion and is used on most saddle designs to reinforce the frame of the saddle as well as on buckles and other attachments. This not only gives them a beautiful look but it ensures your product will last and be able to withstand a wide variety of environmental conditions.
Suede is not as strong or durable as leather as its grain has been removed, however, it is soft and lightweight and used to coat areas such flaps on the saddle to produce a unique design and change of texture on your product. It adds a degree of comfort and protection for both the rider and the gear being used.
Many English saddles feature a deep padded seat which offers protection and security when riding your horse. The deeper the seat the greater the security and these seats are usually padded with materials such as foam to cushion the rider’s seat bones and add a layer of comfort which is especially useful for trail riders and novice riders who have just started learning how to keep their balance when riding.
The pommel of the saddle is generally raised higher than the seat to provide added security for riders, however, it also serves to provide clearance for the wither of your horse. Being the tallest point on the horse it’s important that the pommel fits comfortable to avoid any disruption in the motion of your horse. The wither of horses vary from size to breed and should always be measured to ensure a proper fit for optimal performance.
Saddle flaps also feature prominently on a saddle and may vary greatly with brands and design since it is supposed to mirror your leg position. These flaps help protect your feet by acting as a barrier between you and the gullets and or girth buckles. There is no reason function can’t be married to style and some brands cover this area with materials such as suede which not only increases comfort and durability but it also creates a stunning design that will look fabulous at show events.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Sizes vary among horse breeds and horses can get up to 80 inches tall. They also vary when it comes to their wither which can be higher or broader in some horses than in others. When selecting a saddle a flexible tree and high cantle can go a long way in ensuring that you clear your the wither of your horse and your saddle fits comfortably and does not apply unnecessary pressure to your sensitive points on your horse. Many brands offer a variety of sizes that are adjustable and can easily be adjusted to fit a variety of horses.
An average English saddle can weigh between 15 and 20 pounds. Other styled options can get as heavy as 25 to 30 pounds. Many manufacturers however have started using synthetic materials in an effort to make their products more lightweight. Ones that are constructed from materials such as foam and fleece instead of leather tend to run lighter than an average weight saddle.
Other Factors to Consider
This brand has been a part of this industry for just over 10 years and has worked extremely hard to push ahead of the pack. This brand is widely known in the industry. This brand started out as a simple idea and has developed into a household name that prides itself on style and innovation. They are always looking for ways to refine old ideas and bring a fresh new product of exceeding value to the table for their customers. They change with the times and it shows.
Cashel is a long-standing company with over 30 years of experience. They have always catered to the well-being of horses and sought to provide products that will offer them comfort and a measure of relief. Their passion has set them apart from many in the industry and their product lines reflect originality and sophistication. They have consistently met and exceeded the expectation of horse owners and continue to service both competitors and casual riders with a product they can trust.
A wide enough gullet that can be adjusted is an important feature on a saddle as this space ensures your saddle bars do not press down onto the spine of your horse while you are riding. A 7 to 8-inch gullet should be sufficient space for even an extra wide or draft horse.
A jockey is used to cushion a rider's leg as it can typically knock against the buckles which can cause pinching and discomfort. The jockey is a layer of leather that is placed over the stirrup bar and can feature in English styled saddles for increased cushion and comfort while riding.
Sweat flaps can be featured on some saddles and are generally located on the underside of the saddle, however, in some designs, it can be sown directly into the saddle flap for efficiency and convenience. This leather flap can act as a shield between your horse and the saddle structure to protect the metal attachments from being corroded by the sweat of your horse. Additionally, it protects your horse from being pinched or scraped from the girth straps or buckles used to strap in your saddle. This feature adds comfort to both you and your horse as well as increases the durability and longevity of the product.
Some designs also feature billets which are straps that a rider can use to secure the girth and can be adjusted to provide a custom fit for your horse. Increasing the length of the billet reduces the bulk under a rider's legs which increases their comfort and maneuverability. It also allows closer contact with your horse to ensures faster, easier communication which can prove vital when competing in sporting events.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do they all come with girths?
No. Although girths are needed to set up your saddle, not all saddle sets include a girth. To confirm if your saddle comes with an included girth you can peruse the manufacturer website where all the parts included in the set will be clearly identified. Girths can however be purchased separately based on the specific needs of your horse.
q: How long does it take for these to be made?
Generally, it takes around eight to twelve weeks depending on the supplier.
q: Does a treeless option offer the same durability and comfort as a regular one?
The tree is used as the structural base which makes it load bearing. A treeless option is lighter and offers close contact riding, however, it is designed to carry a specific weight load. While regular options have the structure in place to keep its form and function under increased stress a treeless one can be damaged or warped if the weight limit for a particular design is exceeded.
q: What is the difference between full grain and genuine leather?
Leather is made from animal skin and can be sanded, snuffed or buffed to remove imperfections. Full grain leather has not been treated in this way so it is said to have “full grain”. This makes it the most durable type of leather available. Top grain leather is treated to in order to give it a more polished look which decreases the leather quality. Genuine leather is made from what is left and is the poorest quality and is not as durable as higher quality leather products such as top grain or full grain leather.
q: Does flap length matter in dressage?
Yes. When doing dressage it is ideal to have a straight cut flap as this discipline requires a longer leg position. Since this is flatwork and does not require jumping it tends to be much longer which also accommodates the higher pommel as your seat needs to be in a more forward position when doing dressage. The seat is also generally deeper to ensure comfort and stability when riding in this position.