Are you on the hunt for a lightweight saddle? Are you trying to lessen the weight on your horse's back or are you a heavier rider that needs a lighter saddle? Horses are weight bearing animal that can carry up to 20% of their body weight comfortably, however this doesn't mean you should try to be around the max. Reducing the weight on your horse's back is always a good plan, especially if the rider’s weight is over 180lbs. The weight of the saddle you are using varies depending on whether its an english saddle, western saddle, treeless saddle and whether its synthetic or leather saddles. In the world of horse racing the saddle weight is very important as any extra weight can make the difference of winning or loosing. In other disciplines such as western riding the weight of the saddle has less importance as most western disciplines is not about jumping high or running the fastest. Find out how much horse saddles weigh for each discipline in both kg and lbs. See our horse saddle weight chart below to see the weight for each saddle and discipline.
The lightest type of horse saddle:
A racing saddle is the lightest type of horse saddle weighing only 0.5-1kg (1-2lbs). Racing saddles are made up of a tiny piece of leather or pvc synthetic material with a small metal fork going over the the horse’s back working as a tree and lightweight girth straps. It disregards comfort for the horse and riders and its only purpose is to give the rider stirrups to stand up in while keeping the weight of a saddle extremely light.
- Racing Saddles - Built for speed, disregards comfort
- Synthetic Saddles - Good choice for a longer ride
- Treeless Saddles - Automatically lighter and saddle trees can be heavy (especially when made of wood)
- English Saddles - Does not have a wooden tree, horn and is built for the show ring (not ranch work)
- Endurance Saddles - Optimized for rider and horse’s comfort, while using new technology and lightweight materials
How much does an English saddle weigh?
An average english saddle weigh in between 4.5k-11kg (10-25lbs). Jump and all purpose saddles are lighter and range between 4.5-7kg (10-15lbs) while dressage saddles weigh between 6711kg (15-25lbs). Dressage saddles have deep seats and longer flaps adding additional weight to the saddle.
How much does an Endurance saddle weigh?
An endurance saddle needs to be very lightweight as riders and horses competing in endurance riding has to cover long distances ranging from 15-40 miles for a competitive trials race or 50 miles for a 12 hour race and up to 100 miles for a 24 hour race according to AERC rules. Any extra weight of the saddle and weight of the rider can therefore affect the horse's performance significantly. An english endurance saddle weigh between 4.5-7kg (10-15lbs) while a western endurance saddle weighs between 9-13.5kg (20-30lbs). Most endurance saddles are made of synthetic material and treeless which makes them so lightweight.
How much does a Western style saddle weigh?
Western saddles tend to be a heavier saddle, ranging anywhere from 11-27kg (25-60lbs). The western saddle is a heavier saddle because of its use it was originally made for - it had to hold and carry tools and supplies, withstand any weather and tie cattle to it. Riders have then gotten used to the robust heavier style saddles and tend to prefer this over lightweight synthetic saddles. The type of material used for western saddles is the number one reason they are heavier, with a hardwood tree, rawhide and thick leather skirts - the kgs quickly add up.
Technology and tree materials etc are improving every year though and riders care more about the horse's well being today than 100 years ago so we are already seeing more saddle manufacturers looking for more lightweight solutions while still making a durable saddle. You want to try to keep the weight of a western saddle plus the riders weight below 20% of the horse's weight for the horse to be comfortable. So if the saddle weighs 40lbs, and then rider weighs 170bs plus stirrup leathers, saddle pad etc you are at around 220lbs. You don't want to ride a horse lighter than 1100lbs then as 40+140+10=220lbs which is 20% of 1100lbs.
How much does a Trail saddle weigh?
Trail saddles are the lightest type of western saddle as they are used for longer rides. Trail riding saddles don't need to take as much of a beating that a ranch or a roping saddle has to take, so saddle makers can get away with less material and making it more lightweight. Trail saddles range from 11-15kg (25-35lbs). These light western saddles makes them a great option for heavier riders that want to ride western.
How much does a Bridle weigh?
A horse bridle is very lightweight, ranging from 0.4-1kg (0.8-2.2lbs) depending if you weigh the reins too or if it is a double bridle with a heavier noseband or just a simple barcoo bridle with a light browband.