For the most comfortable ride on a horse you need the right saddle to sit on. The saddle goes over the horses back and distributes your weight. Having it fitted properly on your horse is essential for both horse and riders sake.
There are a number of different saddles you can buy that are designed for specific purposes. Generally there are the English Riding and Western saddles. The objective when determining what to buy is to decide what you want it for, An example of your choices include pleasure riding, jumping or dressage. That way you already narrow your choice down to your purpose.
Before buying your saddle make sure that you are able to return it if it does not fit your horse. The best way to ensure it fits properly is to have it fitted by a saddle maker or saddle fitter. However there are some rules of thumb techniques you can use if there is no one available to help you.
You can measure the width of your horses back and the width of the inside/underneath of the saddle. Make sure that between the pummel of the saddle and the top of the horses shoulder (wither) you can place three fingers. So it is not just as simple as getting measurements, the real test is putting the saddle on the horse.
When it is properly fitted it will allow the horse to move freely with no strain or restriction. Minor fitting problems can be helped with the use of a pad or blanket. This type of padding will not correct or compensate for a poor-fitting saddle so take your time and get it right.
It is important that it fits and is comfortable for both horse and rider. A saddle that fits improperly can put pressure on incorrect points on the horse, resulting in pain for the horse.
Saddle sores can result and as a consequence your horse will strongly object to having it put on. There is also a risk to the rider as some horses have been known to buck off the rider due to pain caused by an improperly fitted saddle.
All saddles need to be kept clean and dry. Store it under cover, away from weather and dust. Regular use over time will give way to wear and tear, you should recheck your saddle for a proper fit every couple of years.
You can also have some padding added, not to mention the fact that your horse will develop and change over the years therefore minor adjustments should be made. With proper care and handling your saddle will last a long time.