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Before buying a saddle you must settle on a riding style preference—all saddles aren't universal. Western saddles are a popular choice. Western (or stock) saddles are generally big and heavy. These saddles are near impossible for younger riders to work with, however, so don't put a child on one. On the other hand, this type of saddle will provide great security for an older beginning rider. The saddle is thick and there is quite a bit of leather under the leg, knee, and seat that separates the rider from the horse.
Western saddles tend to be a whole lot more versatile than most saddles. Additionally, they are more hardy and durable. There are so many prices and designs that just about anyone can find a Western saddle to suit them. Here are some pointers:
• Make sure the saddle fits tightly over your horse's withers, back, and shoulders—it should not dig in.
• Before the saddle is cinched down on the saddle pad, there shouldn't be any gaps around the skirt.
• When you slide your hand in between the saddle pad and horse you should be able to maneuver your fingers all the way around the saddle without forcing it.
• Make sure that the saddle doesn't hit your horse's withers.
• Keep in mind that fit ALWAYS comes before function.