Discover the Benefits of Modern Lightweight Saddles for Heavy Riders

Discover modern lightweight saddles designed for heavy riders. Achieve optimal comfort and enhanced riding experience for you and your horse.

Jeremy Ricketts
Jeremy Ricketts Posted on 6 July 2023
3 Min Read close contact jumping saddle

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    If you ask the average English rider, what is the weight of a saddle, the frequent reply is about half a stone (7 pounds). However, for all ridden activities other than horse racing and endurance riding this is a significant underestimation. This article looks into the various weights of English saddles designed with saddle trees. The lightest designs are close-contact saddles while the heaviest are robust hunting saddles, also synthetic saddles are generally lighter than leather saddles.


    For an article on treeless saddles follow this link.

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    When looking at saddle weight, the actual weight has to be the saddle plus all things attached and worn with it. This means that martingales, breastplates, girths, stirrup leathers and stirrup irons as well as saddle cloths and numnahs must also be included.

    I have used a 4.55kg/10lb. With a lightweight numnah and light stirrups, stirrup leathers and girth this weighed 6.36kg/14lb. It can not be expected that a saddle of this weight will have the durability of a heavier saddle. 

    At the other extreme, I used a heavy hunting saddle that weighed 9.55kg/21lb and with all accompaniments weighed in at 13.2kg/29lb. which is just over two stone,

    Top Tip: Saddle fit trumps saddle weight!

    For all ridden activities the saddle fit is of more importance than the actual weight. A badly fitting saddle will make a horse very sore and can cause structural damage to the horse's back as well as behavioral difficulties.

    What are the different types of English Saddles?

    English saddles are made in four basic designs.


    1. The general-purpose saddles can be used for all activities and are popular at the riding club level. 
    2. Close contact jumping saddles permit riders to sit closer to their horse and feel more movement. These are frequently seen in the cross county and show jumping phases of eventing.
    3. Dressage saddles are designed for a long-leg position and a dressage seat.
    4. English endurance saddles are designed for many hours in the saddle and are similar to dressage saddles.


    What is the weight of a general-purpose English saddle?

    Weights vary, however, the following examples are very typical weights.


    • Bates GP (leather) 7.2 kg/15.8 lb
    • Thorowgood  T4 GP (synthetic) 7kG/15.4lb
    • Winteclite All-Purpose (synthetic) 4kg/8.8lb
    Prestige Italia Prestige GP Saddle

    Italia Prestige GP Saddle

    This type of saddle can be used for jumping and dressage.

    A middle-weight hunter will carry 14 stone or 196lb!

    This is the weight of the rider. The English saddle is traditionally assumed to be a robust general-purpose leather saddle. So the horse will carry about 220lb.

    What is the weight of a close-contact English jumping saddle?

    As with general-purpose saddles, the weights will vary. Here are some typical examples:


    • Wintec Pro Close Contact (synthetic) 5.55kg/12.2 lb
    • Equipe Freeland Saddle (leather) 4.8kg/10.6lb
    • Kontact Lite (leather) 5.9kg/13lb
    GFS Close Contact Saddle

    GFS Close Contact Saddle

    This saddle design is to accommodate a short stirrup with the forward jumping seat and to fit so that the rider is close to the horse's back.

    What is the weight of a dressage saddle?

    Here are some examples of typical weights.


    • Vinici Dressage Saddle (leather) 5kg/11lb
    • Bates Artiste Dressage(leather)  8 kg/17.6 lb
    • Bates Isabell (leather) 6.8kg/15lb


    Albion Fabrento Dressage Mono Saddle - Black

    Albion Fabrento Dressage Mono Saddle

    This saddle has longer and straighter panels to accommodate the longer leg position of the dressage seat.

    What is the weight of an English endurance saddle?

    Finally here are examples of the weights of endurance saddles.


    • Reactor Panel Pegasus Endurance (leather) 4kg/8.8lb
    • Wintec Pro Endurance (synthetic) 6.4Kg/14lb
    • Equiroyal Marathon Endurance (leather) 9.1kg/20lb


    English endurance saddle

    An English-style endurance saddle

    This saddle disperses the rider's weight over a large area of the horse's back and the panels will permit a long stirrup length.

    Did you know Setzi endurance saddles are astonishingly lightweight?

    The lightest Setzi saddle weighs 800g or about 1.75 lb and they are becoming popular with serious endurance riders.

    The take-home message

    Don't be obsessed with the weight of your saddle but be concerned that it fits correctly. The actual weight of your saddle must be the total weight with all things attached when it sits on your horse's back. Generally speaking, this will add about 3.2 kg or 7lb to the weight but this can be reduced if you use lightweight fittings.

    The actual saddle weight will vary with some models weighing less than 9 lb and others weighing about twice as much. As a generalisation, English saddles will not be more than about 25lb with attachments included.

    The weight can be reduced to about 6.3kg/14 lb for eventing and show jumping using a lightweight close-contact saddle. Using very lightweight endurance saddles can halve this to about 3,15kg/7lb.

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    Jeremy Ricketts

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    Hello, I'm the resident writer here at The Rideout. I've been riding horses for the best part of... well my entire life! Over the years of owning, riding, competing and looking after horses I've built up a small wealth of information.

    This site owes tribute to my many hours spent in and out of the saddle learning about the behaviours, needs, and quirks of these amazing animals. From basic care and grooming to advanced training techniques, I've honed my skills through years of hands-on experience.

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