How to pick the best color tack for your horse.


One of the best things about riding and spending time with horses is going shopping for them! One of the biggest investments of dollars you will have with a horse is tack – so picking the right tack is critical for your horse’s comfort and your style.


So how do you pick the right color of saddle and bridle? And does it really matter? It matters most when it comes to showing, it matters less if you just like to ride and have no desire to go to a horse show.


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Things to consider in the saddle department when you are looking for tack in a complementary color to your horse:



stirrup iron rolled up on black saddle

Traditional black for dressage.


  • What is your discipline? Many horse sports have traditional colors. Black tack for dressage, dark brown for hunters, etc. Do you want to be wild, or play it traditionally with your horse’s saddle and bridle?


  • What is your horse’s hair color like – clipped and unclipped! Summer coats are often vibrant, sleek, and bolder than winter coats. If you are showing in the summer, go for tack colors that make your horse look sharp. If you are showing in the winter, go for tack that looks good against his clipped coat, which is often a lighter color than what you might expect.


brown and black two tone dressage saddle

This brand new saddle will likely darken over time.


  • Is the tack going to be new or used? Many used saddles are already worn in – and that includes the color. Some tack cleaning oils, like neatsfoot oil and hydrophane, may darken leather. If you are buying a new saddle and bridle, the orangey or lighter colors are often not what you end up with after cleaning and oiling a few times.


  • How trendy is the saddle you are considering? This really speaks to your intentions to show. There are some amazing leather colors out there – blue and white even! I have also seen patent leather accents and piping in red, yellow, green, even panels of plaid. These saddles and bridles are fun and fashionable, but not always appropriate for the show ring. And also – how tricky are they to clean?



dressage saddle with patent leather and fabric piping

Um… plaid fabric and patent leather! And red piping! Pretty stylish to look at, but how tricky to clean?


  • Will you try and resell the tack at some point? I know a few shops that carry consignment saddles that will not carry any brown dressage saddles or jumping saddles in non-traditional colors. They are just too hard to sell.


jump saddle with red piping and white accent

This saddle may be hard to sell later.


  • The best way to find the perfect color of saddle and bridle for your horse is to just shop around!


Go for saddle fit first – there’s no use in having a gorgeous saddle that makes your horse want to buck you off. Then go for the rest of your list – color, price, etc.


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