Horse riding is a popular pastime and sport, as exemplified by the many livery stables across the UK. Owning and riding a horse is not the same as having a pet; it brings with it responsibility and hard work in keeping these majestic creature healthy and safe. Horses are intelligent animals that enjoy – and need – exercise, and this should not be taken lightly. On eBay there are always many equestrian accessories on offer, from clothing and apparel to stable accessories, and usually at very good prices. As any rider will agree, getting the most comfortable saddle, for both the rider and the horse, is an essential part of the process.
The saddle is designed to keep the horse and rider comfortable at all times, and is an intricate item that is not to be chosen without consideration. There are measurements that can be made, and fitting techniques that can be used, to make sure that both rider and horse are as comfortable as possible at all times. An ill-fitting saddle can have serious health repercussions for the horse, and can make riding less enjoyable for both parties. Fortunately there are ways and means of making sure the saddle chosen is the right one for the horse, and these are quite simple to follow.
Fitting a Saddle to a Horse
Getting the saddle to fit the horse is vital; ill-fitting saddles cause great discomfort to the animal, and are not conducive to enjoyable riding. While there are many saddles on offer at eBay, it is strongly recommended that they are tried on the horse before buying. Assuming this can be done, the following actions should be carried out to make sure the saddle is right for the horse:
Check the size; saddles are usually supplied in either small, medium or large sizes, and the best way to see if one fits a particular horse is to try it. The owner and rider will know their horse better than anyone, and will likely have an idea of the size of saddle required.
Try the saddle on the horse without any pads fitted; the saddle should fit flat and not move or tip forwards or backwards. One tip is to run a hand between the saddle and the horse’s back and shoulder; it should be easy to do so.
Tighten the girth of saddle to make sure that the fit is still even and correct.
The next step is to ride the horse, with the saddle and pad fitted correctly. Once the horse has been brought to a sweat, check for gaps in the sweat or excess patches; these indicate an ill-fitting saddle, and another one needs to be tried. Try applying a little pressure to the horse’s back, to see if there is any sign of soreness.
The above are simple tips that should be used when checking a saddle fits a horse, but if the saddle cannot be tried on the horse, many people suggest making a wither tracing. This involves creating, in cardboard, a representation of the horses back and withers, in order that the saddle can be compared. Using a piece of wire – a coat hanger is one option – mould the wire to the shape of the horse’s back, and lay the shape on the cardboard. There are many guides to doing this on the internet and they are worth looking at in more detail. The result is the rider can cut out the shape and it can be used to test the saddle in a very basic way. However, this is no genuine substitute for an actual horse. This method should only be used as a preliminary test; it is essential that any saddle is tried physically on the horse before committing to purchase.
Fitting a Saddle to The Rider
Just as important as the comfort of the horse is that of the rider; horses are strong animals that require expertise and skill to control, and being comfortable in the first place is part and parcel of the job. A saddle is a personal item and, as such, is likely to be used solely by that rider, on that horse, and it is vital that the right one is sought. On eBay there is always a wide range of saddles – both second-hand and new – for sale, but we recommend anyone buying a saddle follows the steps laid out below:
- First and foremost, always try a variety of saddles, in situ, before choosing which one to buy.
- Try and fit three fingers between the seat and the pommel – if this can’t be done, the saddle is the wrong size.
- Make sure the stirrups can be adjusted correctly.
- Take time and be patient; it is not good enough to choose a saddle that is ‘almost right’.
Also to be taken into consideration is the type of saddle that is best for the particular rider. Many will have experience of riding over many years and will be familiar with the type of saddle they are best suited to. If this is the case it may pay to take the details, make and style of the saddle when looking for a new one, or when saddling a new horse.
English or Western Style
A further consideration when choosing a saddle is the style of riding that the individual prefers. There are two main types – English or Western – and each has its own loyal supporters. Western style riding is developed from the traditional cowboy of the wild west, and is a popular way of riding. This has led to Western style saddles being comfortable for lengthy rides; they are sturdy and well made, yet quite simple and traditional in style, and are designed for maximum comfort for both the horse and the rider. This type of saddle is made to spread weight evenly across the horse’s back, and will become as familiar as a fitted glove to a regular rider. It should be noted that it is also most suitable for smaller horses.
The English-style saddle is more upright, and is derived from military riding across European traditions. These saddles are also comfortable and offer a very precise, tailored fit, and are better suited to taller breeds of horse. This is the sort of saddle that can be seen on a dressage horse or a hunting horse, and is favoured by people who have been taught to ride in the English style.
While the two types do offer different types of comfort and fit, it is still vital to remember that the comfort of the animal is, first and foremost, the priority. An unhappy horse will not respond to commands and directions, and the rider will be uncomfortable as a result.
How to Buy a Comfortable Saddle on eBay
There are many comfortable saddles for sale at any one time on eBay, and they are easy to search for and even easier to buy. A quick search will find many different types of comfortable saddles, stable accessories, rider clothing and accessories and more, and with many vendors offering free delivery and excellent prices for the best deal. However, as the guide recommends, it is sensible to try a saddle before buying, particularly on the intended horse. This can be done by selecting the distance option in the ‘Sort By’ box; this will list saddles nearest to the buyers address. Using eBay is extremely easy; once the buyer has decided upon the type of saddle they want they can simply go to www.ebay.co.uk and choose the Equestrian section under the Sporting Goods header. Now look for the section titled Horse Wear and Equipment, and from there select the Saddles and Sheets choice for a great selection of saddles. The choice of equestrian goods is comprehensive, and buyers can narrow the search down by entering a brand name or model number into the search box, or by selecting sizes and other details on the drop down menu to the left. If further advice on buying comfortable saddles on eBay is needed, visit the Search Tips page, and it may help to look in the eBay Stores section for more choice of comfortable saddles at eBay.
Buying a comfortable horse saddle on eBay is a sensible choice as there are always many on offer, both new and used. It pays to follow the tips in this guide in order to make sure that both horse and rider are as comfortable as possible. Just as buying shoes for a person is done by trying them, so the best way to find the most appropriate saddle for a horse and rider involves actual trial. Fortunately, the ‘Nearest To’ option in the ‘Search By’ box is a great way of finding the saddles for sale in the immediate vicinity, and a seller may even be willing to bring the saddle for trial to the horse and rider. A comfortable saddle is absolutely essential if enjoyment is to be gained from riding a horse, and it pays to look for one that is absolutely right, rather than one that just about does the trick.