Saddles for gaited horses


Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2003
What is the best style saddle for riding a gaited horse?

I usually get on with a dressage style saddle best, but am finding it hard to ride Shay's gait in my hybrid saddle which has a straight flap. Rode him last night in a western saddle and it was much better.
I noticed most gaited horses seem to be ridden in western saddles, with the exception of icelandics, is this just because most gaited breeds originate in America, or is there a reason for it?


New Member
Mar 20, 2009
Based on what I managed to find out while researching them, they are based along dressage/VSD lines to allow for full clearance of the extra back swing in the shoulders of gaited horses.

But as with any horse, finding the right saddle for your horse/rider combo can be a journey and a half.

Red Dragon

New Member
Jul 21, 2008
SW Wales
What Gaited horse do you have No angel?

Our Specialized Saddles are proving to work well with gaited horses! So far have fitted them to Passo Fino, Icelantic - both gaited. I've used them on my American Sadlebred whos gaited - the saddles allow for the exra shoulder movement!!!!

Angie J

New Member
Mar 29, 2009
It's often the use of the gaited horse that decides the saddle rather than the breed.

A Walker in the show ring is often using a SaddleSeat saddle, which is simillar to a Dressage.

A Walker is specifically bred to be a smooth riding horse, so, in the U.S. that usually indicates a 'western' rider. There are several saddles made to offer a gaited horse the full shoulder movement that offers them the best 'gait' which are made in a more 'western' style...

Clinton Anderson offers one that is a Western/Aussie Hybrid

These are the 2 I was personaly leaning toward when I decided to go with the Treeless instead. Personaly, you know I love my Sensation for my Walker. She goes both English and Western so any of these would serve me well. I don't ride English, but with a long leg I realy don't find the ride any huge difference from what I'm used to.
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Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2003
My boy is Welsh x Arab, so not a gaited breed as such, but he foxtrots.

I like my Sensation, it's very stable and comfy, but I have a tendency to nearly fly off the back when he jumps into his gait, I need a deeper seat.

I have dug out my western saddle (also treeless) and will be using that on him for a while until I decide whether to go for a western sensation, or get an english one to use for english days.
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Active Member
Feb 25, 2001
for the icelandic gaits i prefer a flatter saddle, i tried a dressage saddle once on a icelandic and it was the first and the last time. i found it totally uncomfortable.

i knwo someone who uses western saddles on her icelandics but only for kids with disabilities

i dont know i think an icelandic is a small horse, the riders are usually big and then to put a heavy western saddle on it.

you just need a simple saddle wthat allows free shoulder movement.


New Member
Apr 27, 2009
I am thinking of either a sensation or a HM for my icelandic (have discounted a torsion!). But I was thinking of getting the hybrid because I thought they had a deeper seat but some room to move your weight back a bit?


Pacific Northwest
May 26, 2006
In the US... gaited horses are about 50/50 ..English of some type and Western.

I know a number gaited horse people that use the Tucker Gen II saddles... it is a treed saddle but seems to suit gaited horses well.

Many people that ride trail over here.. like the western saddles but do not like the horn, so they get what we call the Endurance saddle... basically western saddle witihout the horn.

Only Treeless saddle that has a firm and higher back than the Treefree or Sensation... one you already have, is the Star Trekk.
Or that new one Newforest talked about, that might suit him.

The first Sensation I had, the English trail... I did not like for that very reason.. the cantle had no support, specially riding where I do. But the new Hybrid I bought with the poron seat and I had the Western cantle put on it and it is a lot more firm than the original I had. Plus, riding bareback has changed my prospective.

Isn't saddle shopping fun!!?!:D
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