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Top 3 Best Friesian Western Saddles

The Friesian horses originates from the Netherlands and has been bred with a distinct short back, very different from other breeds. Because of this it can be difficult to find a fitting dressage saddle as most saddles are manufactured for warmblood built horses . The main issue friesian owners tend to have is that a normal dressage saddle slips forward.

Why You Want To Make Sure You Find The Perfect Fitting Saddle

The correct length is essential for Friesians. Breeding techniques have produced horses with more compressed and shorter backs - similar to Andalusians, Lusitanos and modern warmbloods. A common saddle concern amongst such breeds is the panels in the support structure for riding are frequently longer than the horse's backs. Saddle panels must have the proper length to ensure the horse remain comfortable and free from pain. The friesian breed are very sensitive and a pinching saddle can cause a lot of longterm back issues.

The saddle must be positioned at the back of the shoulders so the saddle tree does not push down on the horse's upper wither. As it can lead to pinching and swelling of the shoulder blades. Over time, the seat’s tree points can cause injury to the scapula. Furthermore, the saddle must not stretch out beyond the last lower rib. It will be difficult for the horse as it pressures the lumbar spine and vertebrae. Furthermore the horse won't be able to work in the right frame if the saddle is pinching.

The carriage-type of Friesian tends to have a more distinct ridge between the shoulder blades as well as longer back. A Friesian western saddle seems an ideal choice. You can opt for an 18-inch rider’s seat for more room with panel length of 17 and ½ inches to have capacity for the horse’s back. Western saddles have a number of unique parts that will make your riding experience more pleasant and hold the seat firmly in place while the horse runs at a fast pace.

A saddle’s tree (made from wood or fiberglass material) is very crucial since it serves as the Western variety’s skeleton or frame. The tree spreads the rider’s and saddle’s weight all over the friesian’s lumbar. It reduces pounds/square inch along with pressure points so the horse can bear the load at ease during extended periods. For instance, the reliable saddle distributes the pressure of a 200-pound rider to roughly two pounds per square inch.

Why Are Friesian's Different?

Friesians are known for their athletic appearance despite their large size. In fact, the origins of Friesian horses were used widely for combat in Europe during the Middle Ages. The breed almost vanished on several occasions although the contemporary Friesian grew both in numbers and status. These strains were utilised for driving (in harness) and under saddle. 

The Horse's conformation and body structure is one factor that can restrict maximum performance. As for the Friesian horse, its skeletal frame (length and bone or joint angles) is quite different from normal horses. The back is not very long but it is filled with muscles.

Most people are familiar with the terminology 'short-backed horse'. However, most people are not aware that horses with 'normal' backs actually have extremely short seat-support area. Saddle manufacturers and fitters are concerned about the length of saddle support because it determines the panel’s measurement lengthwise with respect to the actual saddle. Friesians were initially bred for farm use and warfare. It is now popular as a light-carriage animal. Friesian sport horses are longer and less slanted in the back part.

Friesian mounts are broader at the back compared to warm bloods or any other breeds for that matter. This steed has larger and rounded ribs. It is not advisable to choose normal saddles with small tree sizes as it can produce back and shoulder issues. Saddles and bridles must be customized based on the breed. Ideally, Western saddles are most suitable for Friesians because of durability and cost.

Friesians are relatively adaptable or all-around. The friesian horses are normally used for pleasure and carriage driving as well as light farm tasks. However, they are becoming more popular amongst the dressage community as they have a talent for collecting.

Western Saddles


Are there any Friesian western saddles? A saddle must fit both riders and horses. And the main issues people experience with standard western saddles is that they are pushed forward (onto the horse's shoulders) when used on a friesian. All horse's backs are different, and they also change through a horse's life. Consider the lumbar spine of the Friesian, prominent shoulder blades of thoroughbreds, and curved withers of Quarter and Arabian breeds. A very wide saddle will press down on the animal’s shoulders. On the other hand, the seat will squeeze if the gullet is too constricted. Saddles that are not in firm position will put undue pressure on your horse making it hard for the rider to maintain a balanced position. The saddle must also fit the rider, it can cause backpain for the rider too as you hit the pommel if it is too small. 

Synthetic or Leather Western Saddle?

It really depends on the rider. In the past, artificial seats were enclosed by nylon fabrics. Nowadays, synthetic leather is made of suede and looks almost the same as their genuine counterparts. Imitation saddles are lightweight and not difficult to clean. You have the choice of Western or English models. You can take into account a Sterling Western Tack Package complete with saddle, bridle, breast collar, and reins. It is comfortable and made of premium quality materials. Are you going for a used or new saddle? Used products are cheaper and do not require a break-in cycle. The leather is soft, flexible and ready for immediate use if the saddle has been maintained properly. ProHorse offers a variety of saddles that can be a perfect match for your Friesian friend.

1) Syd Hill Treeless Western Saddle

This saddle features a pommel arch at the front and custom cantle plates. It utilizes modern treeless technology allowing your horse continuous movement along the back. There is no restriction in moving compared to other treed seats. The fenders or dividers between the rider’s legs and horse are 27 inches from the top beneath the flap to the base of the oxbow stirrup. These stirrups provide comfort plus performance since it reduces the mass beneath the legs of riders.

2) Leather Syd Hill Premium Half Breed Saddle

The premium and tough saddle is fabricated from quality leather with full-grain hide of buffalos. It ensures exceptional grip as well as durability. The balanced seat guarantees absolute comfort for riders and horses. The gullet which is easy to change allows you to choose the width that will fit with the Friesian’s muscles and shape. Friesian Owners loves this saddle as it keep them in an upright position, while still allowing for the friesian to move freely.

3) Sydney Hamilton Half Breed Saddle

This saddle is made in Australia. It is more of a close contact model crafted by hand from genuine leather material. It was designed specifically for competitions, stationary activities, and pleasure riding. The fender is installed on metal support bas that enables riders to move their legs onward freely.