Why are Horse Saddles So Expensive?

Anyone who owns a horse or has owned one in the past will tell you how satisfying this hobby/profession is, but he/she will also mention some important things you should consider like time commitment, caring and the need for certain tools and equipment.

Particularly in equipment, the horse saddle. A horse saddle is not just for comfort; it is that distributes the rider’s weight on a horse in the right way. But this item isn’t cheap; a decent saddle can cost you thousands of dollars. At some point, you might wonder why horse saddles are so expensive.

The reason saddles are expensive is that a decent quality saddle is molded with care, crafted with attention to detail, and hours of human effort. Moreover, depending on the type and material more specifically leather quality a horse saddle can cost between $500 to $8000.

Top 3 Reasons Saddle are Expensive

The following are some of the reasons that horse saddles are so expensive.

1. Costly leather

Leather comes from the animals’ skin, and of course, animals are expensive. The animals used to obtain include cows, goats, and lambs. It takes years for a cow to develop high-quality leather.

Another reason for the high cost of leather is tanning. Tanning is the process of dying the leather in desired colors. Typically, a natural method is applied for tanning which consists of vegetable dyes instead of chemicals. As the process is natural and takes time, the cost is high.

2. Expensive cutting and stitching tools

A high-quality saddle is made with several expensive tools to cut the leather, bend the rawhide, and wrap leather around it. This natural process takes time and extra effort to keep an eye on every attribute, compared to machinery work, which is less reliable.

3. Handmade rawhide covering

While riding on a horse, you face challenges. Sometimes you jump over hurdles, while sometimes, you fall, bumping your knees and horse on the ground.

This jerky ride necessitates high-quality material to stay stiff despite the hurdles. The handmade rawhide covering is crafted with hands, dried, and wrapped for perfect fitting.

The Drawbacks of Cheap Low-Quality Saddles

Cheap, low-quality saddles can be anything except reliable and comfortable. Following are the major drawbacks of opting for low-quality saddles.

Tear out often

Low-quality saddles never stay upright. The major drawback of a cheap, low-quality saddle is its meager leather. After a few rides, the leather will rip off under low pressure. Even the rawhide is poor and lasts up to 2-3 months only.


Another major drawback is poor fitting. If you know, the trick to check low and high-quality saddles is with the weight. High-quality will be heavy (because of the wood and leather). Contrary to it, low-quality saddles will be lightweight. No matter how many times you try, the saddles will fall off because of the lightweight.

Causes back injuries to the horse

The selection of saddle impacts on horse health, little did you know. If the saddle is cheap, the leather can cause skin allergies to the horse. Besides that, the loose-fitting of the rawhide covering will cause back injuries, causing the horse to wiggle.

Poor riding experience

How will you and the horse relish a comfortable riding experience when the bridle keeps on slipping from the horseback? The low-quality saddle will put you in an uncomfortable riding position, making you feel you will fall the next moment.

How Much Does a Horse Saddle Cost?
The cost of a horse saddle can range from a few hundred dollars to around thousands. The price will depend on what quality of leather you consider and from which brand you are buying.

Considering the leather expense, human effort, saddle type, and use of expensive tools, the average cost of a horse saddle starts from $500 and goes up to $8000.

The new saddles sold for less than $500 are good to go but offer poor fitting, are lightweight, and cause back injuries to horses. Another option horse riders opt for is the customized saddles.

English saddles are less expensive than the Western ones. On the price scale of $500-800, you can have a reliable English saddle. Contrary to it, Western saddles start from $800. Yet, the price also varies from place to place.

To mention, most brands do not offer customized saddles. For having one, you need to contact the brand. Yet, the affordable option a few horse owners select is used saddles.

How Much Does a Used Horse Saddle Cost?

As used horse saddles are affordable, they cost around $80 to $1000 (depending on the saddle type, original price cost, and current value).

A used synthetic leather horse saddle costs start from $80. If the condition is out-class, the highest it can cost is $200. About the customized used leather western saddles, the price ranges between $300-1000. For used synthetic western saddles, the cost is $200-400.

If you are even tight on budget, go with cushion foam saddles. The used cushion foam saddles will cost around $35-70.

Saddle Price Guide

Check this price guide if you are still wondering why horse saddles are so expensive. In the below table, I have entailed the cost factors of low-mid-high quality horse saddles and what you can expect from them.

#Low-Quality SaddlesMid-Class SaddlesHigh-End (Customized) Saddles
ComfortNot only does the rider, but also the horse feels uncomfortable when contacted with the low-quality saddles.You are always in a 50/50 situation with this class of saddles. If you are comfortable, the horse will feel uncomfortable or vice versa.You can’t beat the comfort level high-end (customized) saddles offer. Your horse will never wiggle after wearing it, and you will feel comfortable.
QualityLow-quality saddles have poor leather locking and pressing, which result in tearing out in 2-3 months of use.Mid-class saddles are way better than the low-quality ones. The leather covering can bear weight effortlessly.These hand-made saddles are crafted with attention to detail. Get ready to relish high-end performance.
FittingYou can’t ever experience comfortable riding with cheap horse saddles. The saddles will put you in an uncomfortable position, making it hard for you to control the horse and maintain balance.Riding experience with mid-class horse saddles is satisfactory. At least your horse is safe from back injuries.The heavyweight of the customized saddles offers reliable fitting.

How Much Does a Custom Saddle Cost?

If you’re a beginner and have not much knowledge about which saddle size fits your horse, then the best thing you should do is get a custom one. You can find local saddle makers as well as can find them online.

When choosing class-A leather, stainless steel brass, and tree wood rawhide covering, the average cost of custom saddles falls $2000-3000. Add $200 more on adding custom paddings.

The confidence you get with custom horse saddles is the ultimate comfort and proper fitting. As discussed earlier, poor fitting and material selection can cause back injuries and skin irritation.

Get a customized horse saddle and secure 100% comfort for your horse.

How Much Should I Spend on My First Saddle?

The decision is always nerve-racking when buying saddles for the first time. Whatever you select will decide how comfortable your horse is. For first-time buyers, keep the quality standards high.

If your selection is poor on the first go, your horse will retain the experience and avoid wearing saddles in the future.

The answer to how much should I spend on my first saddle solely depends on individual budget and purpose; if you use the saddle for longer periods putting on horses and can invest a decent amount then spending between $1000 and $3000 will be worth every penny. In this price you can find a decent saddle without any issue.

How Do I Find Out What My Saddle is Worth?

Finding a saddle’s worth is sometimes necessary, especially when you’re about to sell it. Following tips will tell you the value of the horse saddle;

Check brand: The foremost factor is the brand. More reputable be the brand, higher be the worth. Also, check the model. Whether the brand has discontinued the product or its continue matters.

Inspect leather quality: If the leather quality is out-class, you can expect a high worth of the horse saddle. Inspect whether the leather is synthetic or natural.

Is the padding still stiff? Sit on the saddle and feel what the condition of the padding is. Try replacing it before selling it if the cushion is settled down.

Overall condition: The last factor to check is the condition. Inspect the state as a buyer or seller. Ask yourself how much you will pay for the piece?

If the condition is satisfactory, you can expect a worth of $200-400.


Quality has a cost! With this, I hope you know why horse saddles are so expensive. Not only the leather that makes saddles so expensive- but also the labor cost and material used.

Using used saddles is also a reasonable option if you are tight on budget. Or, if you have a budget and want to give the best to your horse, go with customized horse saddles.