Barrel saddle for trail riding and cow work? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 09-07-2011, 06:59 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
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That saddle is actually very close to my saddle. I got a BC for my horse and I LOVE it. It looks brand new and it's about 2 years old. It works very well for all kinds of western riding and you can barrel race and do cow work in it quite well if you did barrels occasionally.
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post #12 of 18 Old 09-07-2011, 07:55 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Kansas
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I have four barrel saddles, and I use them all the time. I also have an old work saddle, but I don't like it as much because the twist is very wide. My mom has a Tucker that she loves, but I prefer my barrel saddles. That goes for trail riding, running barrels, or moving cattle. (Because I'm SO not a roper, LOL.)

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post #13 of 18 Old 09-07-2011, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Indiana
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Just. Try to get one from a tack store is my only advice. I can't ride on long trail rides in my saddle, it has a hard seat. Was also bought used and doesn't have any padding left its just not comfortable after a few hours. If I did alot of trail riding I wouuld buy a trail saddle. My saddle is an older billy cook.
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post #14 of 18 Old 09-08-2011, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Canada
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Thanks for all the feedback so far!

So I ended up buying a Billy Cook team roping saddle today, which was completely not on my radar: 15", 16", 16.5", 17", 18" Genuine Billy Cook Team Roper Saddle 10-2082.

I went saddle shopping at a store a few hours from me, the largest saddle shop in the province, so I could sit on a number of different styles and brands. Of everything I tried, this one was easily the most comfortable, which surprised me. It just feels like it puts me in the proper position as soon as I sit down, right over my seat bones. I'll be able to try it out on my horse this weekend, along with a few other saddles I've got friends bringing for me. I have sat on a few barrel saddles over the past week, and haven't found one that I feel totally comfortable in yet. So we'll see how this roping saddle goes. I'll also be trying a new Billy Cook 1784, a new Billy Cook ranch saddle (it's SO heavy I likely won't buy it, but it's very comfortable), a friend's Vic Bennett, and possibly another friend's Circle Y barrel saddle.

Best case scenario, one of the new BCs I'm trying will fit both me and my horse perfectly, and we're done shopping. Worst case, nothing fits quite right, and I keep shopping until I can come home again next month.
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post #15 of 18 Old 09-09-2011, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Missouri
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I have two Circle Y barrels and a Martin all around. I prefer the barrel and use these for all of my everyday riding - the Martin while comfortable - is just too heavy to lug around and mess with. Circle Y's are light, easy to pack, I feel secure in the seat and are always comfortable for any event. My daughter (age 12) also rides in my first Circle Y barrel. It's all about what feels most comfortable for you and your horse. Good luck
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post #16 of 18 Old 09-09-2011, 09:14 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
Posts: 22,258
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I hope you like that BC roper. I grew up riding older BC ropers and I never knew what a comfortable saddle was until I quit riding them. I'll never buy another saddle with a roper tree in it, they just aren't comfortable for me, it only took me 20 years to figure that out LOL.

Another option that you may want to consider is a ranch type saddle with a Modified Association tree. Because they were originally designed as bronc saddles, the seat is really deep with a fairly high cantle and they have nice big swells on them. I got one a little over a year ago and have been riding in it for 4-15 hours a day since and I love it. It's secure, comfortable, and dang durable.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-12-2011, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Canada
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Well, the trial run with the roper this weekend went really well. Smrobs--different styles for different body types, I guess; I really love the fit of the roper tree (and that's a great-looking saddle you've got there as well!). It seems to fit my horse very well, and I love the position it puts me in, particularly the way my legs hang better below me. In my old saddle, one stirrup length was too long, while the next shortest was more comfortable, but pushed my legs too far forward--something I just realized while riding in the roper this weekend. The roper is actually 5 pounds lighter than my old saddle, which is a huge bonus. 5 pounds didn't sound like a lot to me, but it's exponentially easier to swing the saddle up without the added weight!

I tried out the BC trail saddle (1784) as well. I was expecting the fit would be similar to the roper (just based on the brand, and what I'd heard about BC saddles being easy to fit a variety of horses) but it wasn't even close. As soon as I saddled my horse, I could tell the 1784 wasn't going to work. It was built with a ladies seat, which seems to have made the whole saddle narrower. The fit across the withers wasn't bad (though it wasn't as good as the roper), but the cantle was pointing to the sky, even with the flank cinch tight. I circled her a few times, saddled, from the ground, and her movement wasn't nearly as free as with the roper. As soon as I got on, I could tell the saddle wasn't for us. It clearly wasn't fitting her properly, and my seat didn't feel anywhere close to as comfortable as the roper did. When I got on her in the roper, I felt immediately comfortable and correct, and the trail saddle felt narrow, small, and just ill-fitting in general.

I spent less than 3 minutes in the trail saddle, and I probably didn't even need that long. It wasn't the one for us. I switched back to the roper for the rest of the afternoon (I was at a working cow clinic) and was very happy with it. She's so relaxed in it, for ground work, walk, and trot. Her roll backs were great--they've been improving anyway, but they were the best they'd ever been this weekend in the roper. We didn't have a chance to lope, but we need some work there in an arena--she's developed some bad habits loping CW on account of the ill-fitting saddle, and doing ranch work in an open pasture wasn't the place to try it! My friend is coming to fit the saddle with her impression pad tomorrow--if she gives it the stamp of approval, I'll cut the price tag off, and start oiling!

Last edited by Fancy14; 09-12-2011 at 01:21 PM.
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post #18 of 18 Old 09-13-2011, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Canada
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We have a winner! Had the roper tested on an impression pad today, and the verdict was...perfect fit. My friend who tested it said she's only seen one other saddle that's fit a horse so well (that wasn't custom) and so it won't require a correction pad. Needless to say, we were both quite happy with the result. Woo!

Thanks again to those of you who provided feedback for me!
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