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What’s the Best Lightweight Western Trail Saddle on the Market?

Looking for the best lightweight western trail saddle? It’s our most popular Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 trail saddle. Yep. This saddle is the most sought after, purchased, best lightweight Western trail saddle on the market.

Hands down.

But what makes the Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 trail saddle the best lightweight Western trail saddle on the market?

I’ll get into the specific features shortly. But here are some of the key benefits of the Walnut Grove saddle. First, it gives you a unique, but classic, look on the trail. Second, it’s made with an A-Fork Swell with a deep seat for all day trail riding.

Third, it’s got a short skirt with rounded back for your short-back horse. Last, but not least, it’s lightweight. Let me go into more detail about this popular saddle that’s selling like hot cakes.

Unique But Classic Look

As I mentioned, the Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 trail saddle has a unique, but classic look on the trail. Styled like the cowboy west, but weighing only 26 pounds, it makes for a great trail saddle.

Best Lightweight Western Trail Saddle Feature #1
A-Fork Swell, Means More Leg Room for You

Our Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 trail saddle’s first great features start with the post horn and the A-Fork swell. The A-Fork swell gives this saddle a more western look, that ranch look. However, unlike ranch saddles, this saddle is a light trail saddle.

What’s more, a more narrow swell is going to let your legs swing more freely, front and back, without hitting your knees on the swell. Let’s talk about the seat.

Best Lightweight Western Trail Saddle Feature #2
Deep, Comfortable Seat

Because the Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 trail saddle has a more narrow swell, it also has a deeper seat pocket with a 5 inch cantle. How does that benefit you as the rider? It means that you’re going to feel more secure in your seat.

Best Lightweight Western Trail Saddle Feature #3
Impact Foam for Comfortable, But Durable Seat

But wait, there’s more. The real benefit of this seat lies in the impact foam seat padding. It doesn’t break down. It holds up to extreme temperatures. That means this saddle is going to hold up a really long time while giving you a comfortable ride all day long.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Yeah, I want a new saddle with a comfortable seat, but I also don’t want to have to break in a new saddle.”

That makes sense to me. That’s why this next feature is going to convince you that the Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail saddle is the right one for you.

Best Lightweight Western Trail Saddle Feature #4
No More Break-In Period

Annoyed with the break-in period of a new saddle? No more! Circle Y has, what’s called their Softee seat jockey and fenders. What does that mean for you? It means a more pliable, soft fender. That’s right. It’s ready to ride right out of the box!

Okay, you say. “But I have problems with my knees and ankles after a long trail. How will the Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail saddle solve that problem?” Easy. Keep reading.

Best Lightweight Western Trail Saddle Feature #5
Say Goodbye to Strained Knees and Ankles

Lastly, this saddle comes with a trail stirrup. It’s a wood stirrup with a leather tread. It’s an Ergobalance stirrup, meaning the bar across the stirrup is in a cone shape.

What’s the significance you ask?

Our Ergobalance stirrup is going to tip the stirrup for you, which will help reduce fatigue on your knees and ankles.

Seriously. The way the stirrups are made helps prevent stress and strain and the knees and ankles.
By the way, it’s also going to promote a more balanced seat position and ride for you. But what about my horse, you ask?

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail saddle has added features specifically with your horse’s comfort in mind.
Keep reading…

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail Saddle Benefits for Your Horse

Your horse is going to love the comforting features of this saddle. First, there’s the skirt. The skirt is a short, rounded, lightweight saddle that won’t interfere with a short-backed horse.

In addition, it has Circle Y’s high technology Flex2 tree, which promotes stability for the rider and flexibility on your horse. How does the Flex2 tree work?

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail Saddle Benefit #1
Dual Bar System Adds Stability and Flexibility

High Density Bar

Flex2 tree has a dual bar system. There are 2 parts to the flex tree. The first bar is underneath the rider. It’s called a higher density bar. It’s a stronger, less flexible, more rigid bar, which helps distribute the rider’s weight.

It also helps prevent the saddle from collapsing.

How does the high density bar help prevent collapse? Well, our Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 tree saddle never widens and it never gets more narrow. The high density bar will prevent that from happening along with the ground seat underneath the rider.

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail Saddle Benefit #2

Low Density Bar

On the other hand, the dual bar system contains properties of the Flex2 tree that will help with your horse’s comfort.

See, on the edges and around the tips of the bars contains a low density bar. Low density bar allows more flexibility with the movement of your horse, which helps prevent pressure points. Your horse will be happy with more freedom of movement.

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail Saddle Benefit #3
3 Way Adjustable in-Skirt Rigging

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 trail saddle has Circle Y’s 3 way in-skirt adjustable rigging.

What that means is you have different positions you can select depending on the fit and position you need for your horse. So, for example, if you adjust the rigging in the more forward position, it’s going to put the saddle back a little on your horse.

And if you adjust the rigging in the back position, that’s going to help alleviate some of the pressure off the shoulders and over the withers on your horse.

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail Saddle Benefit #4
Neoprene Filling – Shock Absorbent for Rocky Terrain

Having a shock absorbing saddle when riding over rough terrain is a must. Part of what makes this the best lightweight Western trail saddle is that this saddle has neoprene filler. You can’t see it, but you can see just the edge of the neoprene sticking out around the skirting.

Circle y uses neoprene filler in the skirts, which helps absorb shock when riding over rough terrain.

Neoprene is usually used in saddle pads, cinches, and girths. Now, Circle Y has moved neoprene into their saddles. Did you say you need a saddle that helps keep your horse cool? We’ve got you covered with the tunnel skirt.

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail Saddle Benefit #5
Flex2 Tunnel Skirt – Hot Air Out, Cool Air In

Although all of the above-mentioned features make this one of the best lightweight western trail saddle on the market, the Flex2 Tunnel Skirt may be one of the most important.

Circle Y’s Flex2 Tunnel Skirt tree technology alleviates pressure over the spine of your horse. It prevents rubbing and sore spots.

Tunnel skirts also allows airflow through the saddle so it keeps your horse cool and ready to go through those long, long trail rides. You can see all the way through the tunnel from front to back and vis versa.

Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 Trail Saddle Benefit #6
Stylish with Fancy Tooling

The floral tooling is the feature pattern on the Walnut Grove, with some border detailing. It has iron bucking cowboy conchos to accent the look and includes 3 sets of strings for all your gear.

Best Lightweight Western Trail Saddle Conclusion

If you like an A-Fork swell, with a deep seat for all day trail riding, or if you just need that short skirt with the rounded back for your short-backed horse, consider the Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex2 trail saddle model #1157.

It’s the best lightweight Western saddle on the market.

Was this post helpful? If so, please leave your comments below. If you’re looking for more trail saddle reviews, read my post, “Julie Goodnight Saddle Sale – For Long Comfortable Rides”.


  • matthew says:

    Hi Shalisha! Thanks for this great post.  If you’re an avid horseback rider looking for the perfect lightweight western trail saddle, then this fantastic article will give you all the answers you need. I’m amazed with so many different options available. It can be hard to find the right one. 

    So your post helped me sort my options out. It’s good to know that the best lightweight western trail saddle should provide comfort and security while also being light enough to carry on a long ride. 

    Shalisha I sometimes get saddle sore from riding to long, do you think this saddle will solve that problem for me? 
    Are there any other products you recommend for chaffing after going for a long horse ride? 

    Once again, if you’re searching high and low for the best lightweight western trail saddle out there – I suggest checking out this well researched article first! Shalisha, I look forward to hearing from you. 


    Matt H

    • Shalisha Alston says:

      Hi Matt. Thanks for your questions.  What causes chafing during horseback riding? When horseback riding, pressure, friction, and moisture create the perfect trifecta for chafing your most sensitive areas. But, you don’t have to let chafing ruin the day on the trails.  There are several factors that cause sores or chafing after riding.  Here are some:

      Factors that cause saddle sores include:

      riding positionskin typehow your saddle fits your bodyclothingand how your body perspires

      The two most important things that impact whether you get sores or chafing are saddle and riding gear/clothing.  Saddle fit is important. Just like if the saddle is ill-fitted to the horse and the horse gets sores, the same goes for the rider.  So you have to make sure you have the right saddle that fits you. 

      One way to check if your saddle is to blame is by riding without a saddle. Bareback riding can help troubleshoot saddle sores while also developing your balance.  Next, your clothing plays a crucial role in preventing chafing.  

      Buy clothes that are specifically designed for riding. Oftentimes, that’s the only step needed to eliminate chafing while riding. You get what you pay for.  So invest in high-quality riding gear.  Lastly, it’s well worth it to invest in riding lessons.  Like I said earlier, it could be your riding position that’s causing you to chafe.   I hope I’ve answered your questions. 

  • Vai says:

    I don’t have any experience with saddle other than what you wrote in your review. From what I read from your review, it’s the best lightweight saddle on the market. It sure is a nice-looking saddle and for anyone looking for a saddle landed on your review, will make an informed decision on what saddle to buy.

    • Shalisha Alston says:

      Hi Vai. Thanks for your comment. Yes, it truly is an amazing saddle. It’s lightweight, has a cushioned seat that lasts for many years to come, and it fits the horse comfortable. I’m glad my review was very informative. Please stop by again. 

  • Abbas says:

    Hi Salisha thanks for this extensive review of the best lightweight western trail saddle on the market.  As you mentioned the Circle Y Walnut Grove Flex 2 trail saddle has a unique, but classic look on the trail.  I just love the look of this classic saddle.  Besides the other benefits that you have so well covered I think this is the one. Thanks so much.

    • Shalisha Alston says:

      Hi Abbas. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Yes, the Circle Y Walnut Grove is an excellent saddle and it takes in consideration the comfort of rider and horse.  Please stop by again. 

  • JeffBlanck says:

    That is such a great review! I think I felt how much you love it while reading! My daughter takes riding courses and she said it looks amazing and the features are fantastic too! The Softee Seat is a great feature in my opinion as I have tried a new one once and boy, I think my bum still hurts and it’s been 30 years hahaha  Well done and fantastic site! Long live!

    • Shalisha Alston says:

      Hi there! Thanks for you for your comment. Yes, that Softee seat is one of the most beneficial features on the  lightweight trail saddle I showcased. When you and your daughter are ready to take riding lessons, please stop by again, and I’ll do my best to assist you. Thanks again for stopping by. 

  • Christine says:

    This saddle is beautiful and it has some amazing features! I like that you don’t need to break in the saddle and the Ergobalance stirrup especially caught my attention since I had lots of pain in my left knee a few years ago, and although it healed, it is best to be careful. So, this saddle would probably be ideal for me.
    What I love is that this saddle will also be comfortable for the horse. That is always my biggest concern.
    Does it come in black and light brown or are there other colors as well?

    • Shalisha Alston says:

      Hi Christine! Thanks for you stopping by, and thanks for your question. Yes, I agree with you. One of the most important features in a saddle is that it provides comfort for both rider and horse. This particular saddle only comes in black and light brown. Please stop by again.

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