Saddle Types


The English riding tradition and centuries of modifications have given us a wide range of saddles that are good-looking, hard-working, and long-lasting.

English SaddlesMany people associate English saddles with scarlet-clad equestrians in hot pursuit of a pack of hounds.  It’s true that the modern English saddle developed from the fox hunting days of 17th-century Britain, but this important piece of riding gear acquired many refinements along the way.

This fine-tuning not only made the hunting saddle more comfortable and practical but also addressed the needs of other disciplines.  Thanks to centuries of these progressive adaptations, we can now enjoy many types of English saddles designed for a variety of functions.

These purposes range from purely recreational pursuits such as trail riding to highly competitive activities such as show jumping.  That’s why you’ll find English saddles providing comfortable seats for weekend excursions as well as stealing center stage at Olympic events.

Although all English saddles share common characteristics, each type has its own distinctive features.  The differences can be quite subtle, sometimes reflecting little more than a change in size, shape, or position.  They make a big difference, however, in terms of a saddle’s appropriateness for a particular activity.

This guide will help you familiarize yourself with these varied elements.  By learning which components define specific types of saddles, you can develop a more practiced and critical eye to recognize the features that are best suited for your needs. Once you’ve chosen the type of English saddle that’s best for you and your horse, you still need to consider other factors.  That’s why we’ve included information on production methods and saddle materials.

Click on any of the following links to learn more about the many different types of English saddles:

Saddles by Intended Activity or Use

•    All-Purpose Saddle (General-Purpose Saddle or Eventing Saddle)
•    Australian Stock Saddle (Stock Poley Australian Saddle)
•    Close Contact Saddle
•    Cutback Saddle (Lane Fox Saddle or Park Saddle or Saddleseat Saddle)
•    Dressage Saddle
•    Endurance Saddle
•    Jumping Saddle (Forward-Seat Saddle or Hunt-Seat Saddle)
•    Polo Saddle
•    Racing Saddle
•    Show Saddle
•    Sidesaddle