Learn About Saddles

Identify Types of Saddles & Saddle Parts

Types of Saddles

The two main styles of saddles are English or Western

All Purpose Saddle

All Purpose Saddles are English-style saddles. They are a cross between jumping saddles and dressage saddles. They are a good choice for a first saddle so you can try out different riding sports.

Western Saddle

Western saddles are used in western riding sports such as barrel racing, cutting, and rodeos. They are the preferred saddle for dude ranches and some trail riders.

What Is Tack?

Tack is equipment or accessories used on horses and ponies, such as saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, bits, and harnesses. When you get a horse or pony ready to perform a job or to be ridden, it is called tacking up. A room that stores tack is called a tack room.

Examples of Specialized Saddles

Specialized saddles are designed to meet the needs of the horse and rider for specific uses such as jumping fences or herding cows.

Jumping Saddle

Jumping saddles are also referred to as “close contact” or “forward seat” saddles. They are designed for riding hunters, jumpers, foxhunting, and the jumping phases of eventing. This type of saddle has a forward flap, often with supportive knee rolls, and a low pommel so the saddle does not interfere with the rider’s position over jumps.

Polo Saddle

Polo saddles are English-style, close contact saddles used in the sport of polo. These saddles have flat flaps with very little padding, have no knee roles, and often do not have a flap under the billets.

Australian Stock Saddle

The Australian Stock Saddle is built for comfort with a deep seat. They may have a small horn and can also be called a “Poley”.


A Sidesaddle allows a rider (usually female) to sit aside rather than astride a horse. Sitting aside dates back to ancient times and originated in Europe in the Middle Ages as a way for women in skirts to ride a horse.

Dressage Saddle

A saddle used in the sport of dressage that has a deep seat, a long flap for the leg, and long stirrups. Dressage saddles have longer billets and use a shorter girth than other types of English saddles. This minimizes the straps and buckles underneath the rider’s legs and allow for a closer feel to the horse.

Endurance Saddle

Endurance saddles are built to be comfortable for both the horse and rider over long distances.

Saddle Seat Saddle

The Saddle Seat Saddle is used on gaited horses such as Tennessee Walkers and Saddlebreds.They are also called a “Lane Fox” or “Park” saddles. These saddles have a big flat seat, larger flaps and place the rider’s seat back with their legs in front of their body.

Racing Saddle

Racing saddles are used in horse racing. They are designed to be thin and light weight. These saddles place the jockey high over the horses withers and neck with very short stirrups.

Parts of English Saddles

Learn to name the parts of the saddle & parts of the saddle under the flap

Labeled Parts of English Saddle

Side View

Parts of English Saddle labeled

Labeled Parts of English Saddle

Under Flap

labels parts of english saddle under flap

Labeled Parts of English Saddle


Parts Saddle Underside

Did you know Saddles have trees?

A saddle tree is the base on which the rest of the saddle is built. A saddle tree is built out of wood or a synthetic material similar to wood. A saddler covers the tree with leather, or a similar material, when he builds the saddle.

The size of the tree is important for fitting to the horse’s back as well as the rider’s seat. The tree protects the horse from the weight of the rider by raising and distributing the rider’s weight across the horse’s back. Saddle trees distribute the weight so that any one part of a horse’s back doesn’t carry significantly more than another part. This increases the horse’s comfort and stamina under saddle.

Skeleton Saddle Tree
Saddle Trees

Examples of saddle trees.

Play the Parts of an English Saddle Word Search Game

Drag your cursor, of finger on touch screens, to highlight the words

Parts of a Western Saddle

Learn to name the parts of Western saddles & try the Parts of the Western Saddle game below

Identify Parts of English Saddles Game

Drag and drop the names of the saddle parts into the correct location and check your results

Identify Parts of Western Saddles Game

Drag and drop the names of the saddle parts into the correct location and check your results