How Much Does A Horse Saddle Weigh?
The most prevalent complaint about western saddles is their weight. Working saddles can weigh up to 60 pounds, whereas the normal western saddle weighs around 30 pounds. Quite the contrast to the light English saddles. Lighter western saddles, particularly those made of synthetic materials, have becoming increasingly popular.
However, there is a purpose for the extra weight. It is more stable, durable, and comfortable for both the horse and the rider. Is not that illogical? How can a heavier saddle make the horse more comfortable?
The reason for this is that a horse’s comfort is determined more by weight distribution than by actual weight. Do you believe a horse weighing 1100 pounds will notice a difference between a 30 pound and a 60 pound saddle? Obviously not. However, he will note how that weight is distributed over his body. The more weight he can handle and the more comfortable he will be, the better dispersed it is.
With a 150-pound rider, a typical English saddle applies around 134 pounds of pressure per square inch to the horse’s back. With the same rider up, a standard western saddle will only apply 34 pounds per square inch. What makes the difference? A western saddle features a much larger weight-bearing surface, which helps to distribute the weight more evenly.
The extra weight of the western saddle has a legitimate cause. Some people may not mind their weight. Handling the weight can be difficult for others, including myself. I used to struggle to saddle my horse with a 30 pound saddle because I was just 5’3″ (nearly) and a weakling. Then I discovered a fantastic saddling technique that relies on placement, leverage, and motion instead than brute strength. It took some practice, but I am now able to saddle my new 45-pound saddle with ease.