We get asked all the time, "Should I just buy my own saddle" and "Is having my own saddle worth it?".
While there is no hard and fast answer that is right for everyone.
The idea of purchasing your own saddle is an expensive endeavor and can seem kind of pointless when you don’t own a horse or are just taking lessons.
But there are many benefits to having your own personal saddle even when you don’t own a horse.
These are some of the biggest advantages to owning your own personal saddle:
The biggest benefit of owning a saddle is that it specifically fits you! This brings a ton of benefits all on its own. When the seat and flaps are the correct sizes, then it will better support the rider and encourage proper leg position and equitation. Being a petite rider, I grew up riding in plenty of saddles that were much too big for me, and had to fight to keep my leg still and where it needed to be. It was the biggest “ah-ha” moment when I didn’t have to unnecessarily brace my legs to keep them in the proper place. Not only does your riding improve in a saddle that fits you, but it also helps improve your balance, which makes for a happier horse. Sometimes you can be accidentally throwing your horse off balance without even knowing it.
Learn more: How to measure for an English Saddle
If you’ve ever taken lessons at a big lesson barn and didn’t have your own gear, then you know the woes of sharing a saddle… the dreaded “the saddle I use is gone!”
When someone got to it first, or the tiresome minutes spent getting your stirrups to “just the right length,”. But a big benefit of owning a saddle is the simple convenience of it. You never have to adjust your stirrups, and never need to worry that someone is riding in it when you want to ride.
Another good aspect is that you are the only one using the saddle so you know exactly how it’s being cared for. When you borrow someone’s saddle or use a lesson one, other people will be using it when you aren’t, and you do not know how they treat it. Maybe they dropped it, and it got scuffed up, or who knows if they even clean it. This way, you can keep track of its whereabouts and its quality of care.
If you’re a parent buying or helping your child buy their first saddle, a great upside is that it is a fantastic way to teach responsibility. It’s no secret saddles. They are expensive, and entrusting a child or young adult (or heck even yourself) with that can be frightening. But I remember my mom sitting me down with my first saddle and laying out her expectations. And I doted over that little Pessoa… cleaned it after every ride and treated it like porcelain. It gives the owner a sense of pride and can be a good test to see if they’re ready to handle owning a horse.
The minute you ride in a higher quality saddle, you understand why they are so expensive. They are extra comfy for both you and your horse, and really do help keep you in the correct position, which is why they truly are an investment for your riding career. When taken care of, a good saddle will last a lifetime, so while the initial investment may seem daunting, it pays for itself in the long run. And you don't have to go out and buy a brand new saddle either. There are plenty of great used saddle options, as well!
Owning your saddle is truly an investment in your riding career and can provide many great benefits!
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