Kids Westerns saddles… should you buy one? What size do kids Western saddles come in? Is it too soon to buy kids Western saddle?
You’ve been doing Mommy-and-Me (or Daddy-and-Me) riding lessons with your child and they love it! You can tell that they’ll be lifelong horse lovers.
But you have no idea what they need next in terms of equipment. It looks like you need to look into kids western saddles.
When to Buy a Kid’s Saddle
Your child is ready for their own western saddle when they no longer need a side-walker and can ride unassisted. They can sit upright and have some autonomy. That’s when it will start to be beneficial to have one of those kids western saddles.
Riding is such an incredible thing to teach your children because it teaches so many values. First, there’s the value of teamwork and working with an animal.
Gentleness, patience, work ethic and more are taught in that sacred relationship between horse and rider. Secondly, having their own tack is another part of what creates those values.
When your child has their own saddle, they need to learn how to take care of it, and that teaches them how to value and take care of their possessions. Kids western saddles teach good values!
Why buying kids Western saddles is different than buying an adult saddle
The saddles are made to be smaller, not just in the seat but in the leg as well. Some children’s saddles go up to 14 inches seat size, which is a small adult size, however, the leg length will likely still be shorter than the adult saddle.
Similarities to Buying an Adult Saddle
Regardless of how light your child is, an ill-fitting saddle can still hurt a horse. Keep growth in mind, not just for your child but also in terms of all the different horses they may ride.
Since ill-fitting saddles are one of the main reasons for behavioral issues under saddle, making sure your child’s new saddle doesn’t hurt your horse is crucial.
Kids western saddles can sometimes not fit horses as well as adult saddles so make sure you can make up that difference with extra pads or find one of the kids western saddles that fits better.
- 7” to 8” for a very small child, such as a toddler who is under three years old
- 10” for an average-sized small child between 3-6 years old
- 12” for an average size child between 7 to 10 years old
- 13” for an average child over 10 years old, or a large younger child
- 14” for a small adult
- 15” for an average adult
- 16” to 20” for large adults
Our Top 3 Picks:
Kids Western Saddles #1
Cashel Kids Ranch Saddle
List Price: $1,167
Horse Saddle Shop Price: $899.99
This kids western saddle comes in sizes from 10 inches to 13 inches. What’s great about this saddle is that is has a lower, flatter seat to keep your kid comfortable for hours.
With its larger swells and fee swinging fenders, your child will be kept in a secure position regardless of the terrain in this light oil leather saddle. Coming in at 22lbs, this is a great starter saddle and tough enough for ranch work.
Kids Western Saddles #2
Royal King Lone Star Youth Roper Saddle
List Price: $620.40
Horse Saddle Shop Price: $517
This saddle is beautiful! The all-over tooling comes in two leather color options; light oil and walnut.
The Drop D rigging minimizes bulk and the back cinch and high cantle maximize security.
Full quarter bars, Double Drop D Rigging, Blevins Style quick change buckles, and neoprene in skirts.
It comes in 12 inches and 13 inches and the weight is 21 pounds.
Kids Western Saddles #3
Cashel Kids Wade Saddle
List Price: $1,167
Horse Saddle Shop Price: $899
This is a youth saddle for competitive youth. The tree and rigging will stand up to some real use. If your kid prefers a closer contact with their horse, this is the right saddle.
The Wade saddle features the classic cowboy silhouette and design. At about 22 pounds, this light saddle even has a horn designed for roping, should your child be learning to rope.
Another great feature is the extra high cantle, as this can help keep your child in a secure position.
If your child’s legs are too short for even the children’s saddles, consider using stirrup helpers like these Lil’ Dude Stirrups by Weaver 30-0789. These stirrups can be added to any saddle, even kids western saddles.
They fit over the horn and provide stirrup access on saddles that don’t fit your child. They can also be a great option if you are unable to find a children’s saddle that fits your horse.
Instead, your horse wears a saddle that does not rub, pinch or cause sores, and your child still has stirrup access.
Regardless of whether it is traditional, wearing a helmet can pay off when your child needs it most. Safety first!
Get your child an SEI/ASTM certified helmet and keep in mind that it should be replaced after each fall. Any Troxel helmet will be a great fit, but if your child likes something more colorful, check out this Troxel Spirit Purple Boho All-Purpose Riding Helmet.
One of the worst safety hazards for new riders is the possibility of getting a foot stuck in a stirrup during a fall and getting dragged.
To avoid this, there are a variety of quick-release stirrup designs. The classic design that I’d recommend is called a Peacock Stirrup.
This metal stirrup iron is missing one metal bar that is replaced by a tough rubber band Should your child’s foot get stuck, the band will pop off and free the foot.
Horse Saddle Shop stocks the JT EquiRoyal Peacock Stirrup Irons. When you get one of the kids western saddles, switch in the peacock stirrups for whatever it came with.
Another method of preventing dragging is using tapaderos. Tapaderos are a stirrup covering that will prevent the riders’ feet from slipping through the stirrups.
This can be what prevents your child from getting dragged behind a horse. They trace their origins back to the Spanish Explorers of the Americas in the 16th century.
They were originally intended to protect vaqueros from obstructions out on the range, but they have the added safety benefit of stopping the foot from sliding through the stirrup.
The Tucker Hooded Ergo Balance Trail Glide Stirrups are a good option.
Riding boots are essential, too. They are designed to not flex around the stirrup and not only is that more comfortable, but it helps prevent dragging… again.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I got dragged by a horse as a child.
You know it, I know it, we all know how quickly kids grow out of things.
But never fear– you can resell any of these kids western saddles when it no longer fits. Plenty of tack stores have consignment programs.
Horse Saddle Shop has a Trade-in Program for when the time is right and your kid needs the next side up. Not sure what size seat to buy? Read my post, How to Measure a Horse for a Saddle.
Western saddles for kids do look very cool. My niece would love one of these saddles for when she goes horse riding. I think it would make her friends jealous 🙂
I am going to forward this article onto her parents and see of this kind of saddle would be suited to her. I hope they say yes because I think they look great.
I will let you know if they get my niece one of these saddles and if she likes it or loves it.
Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.
All the best,
Hi Tom. Thanks for your comment. Yes. Please send her this post. There are so many beautiful saddles for kids. She’s sure to make her friends jealous. My post also gives size guides when measuring for a kid’s saddle.
Those are some beautiful saddles! I like that the Cashel Kids Ranch Saddle has a lower, more comfortable seat for children. It seems like it would be a great starting kid’s saddle.
I’m curious about the recommendation to replace the helmet after each fall. Is this similar to a child’s car seat needing to be replaced after a car accident?
Hi Leah. Thanks for your comment and your question. Of course, any product that’s made will only be as durable as the material it’s made from. I would say, if you or your child falls and the helmet gets damaged, buy a new one. If it doesn’t fit the way it should after the accident, buy a new one.
Hi. Thank you for this post. My neighbor just started teaching the kids how to ride a horse. I am going to share this article with them. I am sure they are going to be very interested. I can see you know what you are talking about here. These pieces of equipment are all very important. I believe all kids need these when they ride a horse. Thank you for sharing these with us. Keep doing a good job.
Hi Jim-Kelly. Thanks for your comment. I’d love it if you shared my post with your neighbor. It will save the horse a lot of pain and the rider frustration if they get the correct size and type kid’s saddle.
I remember riding when I was a kid. I always had the luxury of using the same saddle as the adults used. I remember how big and heavy it was. How difficult it was for me to put it on the horses. They were ok for the horse but never really fit me. It never occurred to me there was a saddle for kids.
I can only imagine how much better this would have felt. There were times I would prefer to just go bareback just so I didn’t have to deal with the huge saddle.
I think the stirrup helpers would have been amazing. I think this would save a lot of time adjusting stirrups on the adult saddle back and forth.
These are some really nice ideas you have. Thank you for sharing!
Hi there. Thanks so much for your comment. Most people just swap saddles, thinking that one size fits all. That’s understandable though, because horse saddles are expensive. But what they don’t realize is that if the saddle only fits the horse, the rider is uncomfortable and can’t give the horse the proper queues. And if the saddle doesn’t fit the horse, but fits the rider, the horse will be in pain and will not want to follow the rider’s queues. I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. Please come again.
Some great looking saddles for kids here.
They do appear expensive but the quality looks very good and I guess you get what you pay for, and besides when you are talking about your own kids then no expense should be spared.
I know if I was a kid and my parents bought me one of those saddles I would be over the moon.
Thank you for sharing
Hi Mick. Thanks so much for your comment. Yes. Saddles are expensive – even for kids. The good news is that if you buy the right size and type, your saddle will last a long time – in general. But kids grow rapidly. So what I’d suggest is buying a used saddle when it comes to kids. This way, you save a lot on the initial layout, your child will perfect his riding skills, and you can trade in the saddle as he grows. We have a trade-in program that’s beneficial for situations like this. Again. Thanks for commenting.