The difference between a gaited saddle and a regular saddle is that the former is thinner across than the latter, plus saddles for gaited horses are renowned for their lightness. What’s more, you’ll get more than lightweight saddles for your gaited horse (also known as show horse) needs. Because they’re so thin, riders have an easier time conveying their commands to the horses. Horse saddles for show horses are intentionally made comfortable and thin so that during exhibitions, the animal is more sensitive to the requests of the human, thus they’re able to perform like a cohesive unit. These are the best, most communicative saddles available, in other words.
Other differences between regular saddles and gaited saddles:
1. Saddles for gaited horses also sit further back than regular saddles such that riders of gaited horses are typically well behind the withers more often than not. In other words, gaited saddle users should be experienced, professional riders who can find their balance even when left in an unusual position that even regular riders aren’t used to. Horses that aren’t show horses are sensitive creatures, so what more are show horses that are bred for performance instead of manual labor?
2. Apart from finding balance in positions that are so unusual, even the most earnest and hardworking of race jockeys would have a hard time adjusting, gaited horse riders must learn how to communicate with the thinner and (probably) needier gaited horse while riding on a gaited saddle. As for the horse themselves, they should have the correct temperament and training in order to make the saddles work.
3. As comfortable as the saddles are, they require some getting used to, and it’s only the most well-trained and finely bred stallions of the gaited variety that can maximize the true potential of the typical gaited saddle. Gaited saddles on a regular horse can spook said horse. Ditto when it’s an inexperienced rider that’s handling a horse with a gaited saddle.