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How to Choose the Right Saddle for You - Saddles Direct

How to Choose the Right Saddle for You

Shopping around to find the right saddle is exciting. But with hundreds of different types of saddles to choose from in different sizes and brands, it can often feel exasperating trying to find the perfect saddle for you and your horse.

Here at Saddles Direct, we understand the importance of choosing the correct saddle and have put together a couple of top tips to help.

1. Find the right seat size

It really does! Seat sizes can vary between 15” – 19” and in our experience, many riders will need between a 17” to 18” size saddle. Dependent upon your height, weight and the purpose of your saddle, it’s important you choose the right size to accommodate you and your horse.

The easiest and most efficient way of choosing the correct size would be to appoint a highly recommended, experienced saddle fitter to assist you.

This is what we recommend to all of our clients. It is vital you make the right decision.

2. Find the right Tree size

Your saddle fitter will measure from the cantle to the head nail badge to determine the size in inches the saddle is and the width. Both these factors will need to equate to what your horse can accommodate, for example if your horses rib cage length only measures 17″ they will not fit a saddle that measures 18″ under any circumstances. They will also access how the saddle fits your horse when you ride.

Typically, tree sizes depend on the width of your horse:

  1. narrow
  2. narrow-medium
  3. medium
  4. medium-wide
  5. wide
  6. extra-wide
  7. XX-wide and beyond!


3. Chose the best style of saddle for your riding

Once you’ve discovered which size of saddle you and your horse need, the next step is to decide on the style of saddle.

Dressage Saddles

If you are planning to ride on the flat and predominantly school and or compete dressage competitions, a dressage saddle would be the perfect match. But if you’re planning on jumping or doing a lot more vigorous riding activities, a GP/ jump saddle would be a better option to consider. Unlike GP and Jump Saddles, Dressage saddles are specifically designed with the rider in mind to position them in the correct way of riding and the ideal choice for flatwork.

GP Saddles

Designed for riders who enjoy riding on the flat, schooling, jumping and all-round activities the GP saddles make for a perfect choice. They are typically made with a deeper seat and shorter flaps, offering balance, optimal coordination and movement for both you and your horse.

Jump Saddles

Jump Saddles are designed to for close-contact riding with flatter seats, allowing you to feel and get closer to your horse when riding without interfering too much with the rider. They also have small knee and/or thigh blocks to help aid position while jumping.


You may have heard saddles called either VSD (very straight/dressage) or GPD (gp/dressage) in short, they are a slightly straighter cut GP style saddle. If you are wanting the all round saddle that looks a little neater to maybe go on and compete showing, working hunter, dressage etc the VSD/GPD is a great option. These style saddles remain nice and neat being slightly straighter cut but also still giving support for jumping, hacking, fun rides, xc etc.

Show/WH (working hunter)

Showing and WH saddles tend to be favoured by equestrians that predominantly want to partake in showing and WH shows. These tend to be quite straight cut, like dressage saddles, but also quite minimalist. The seat will be fairly flat and low profile, the knee rolls (if the saddle has any some show/wh do not) will be small and discreet. Everything about show and WH saddles will be as subtle and neat looking to not take up too much room on the horses back and to be as discreet as can be under the rider.

4. Let us help you make the right choice!

Here at Saddles Direct, we proudly continue to help horse riders across the country to find the perfect saddle.

We understand and promote the importance of having the right saddle and correct fitting and have a fantastic team of experienced, reputable horsey people to help you choose the best possible saddles from our website.

Home to the biggest and best selection of saddles, we are the only saddle retailer in the UK to offer a genuine TRIAL BEFORE YOU BUY service, allowing you to TRIAL ANY 2 saddles for up to 3 days,  where all you pay upfront are shipping costs! This allows you to trial different saddles before hand without any pressure to purchase!

We also have a network of highly reputable, experienced saddle fitters and saddle consultants to help you choose the best possible saddle for you and your horse.

Take a look at our wide range of saddles via our website and arrange your saddle fitting appointment today by completing our quick and easy saddle fitting booking form:  

Or, if you would like to speak to a member of the team directly, contact us today on 01282 471 911.

You can also keep up to date by following our social media @saddlesdirect for stock updates, saddle care tips and equestrian news!

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