Different Saddle Types:the definitive explanations

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Different Saddle Types:the definitive explanations

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  • Tack explanations
  • Wade vs renegade saddle

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  • 1 Post By freia
  • 1 Post By COWCHICK77

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    09-13-2012, 12:22 AM
Different Saddle Types:the definitive explanations

I would like to ask a question, and having searched the stickies I see that the answer is not immediately obvious, so I will start this thread and see if it can become a valuable information tool :)

I know and understand English saddles, and I know about saddle fitting (of which there are other threads). What I don't understand is all the different varieties of Western saddles; what the different designs are, and what purpose they are all best suited for.

Please could some knowledgeable folks enlighten me?

In order to give, as well as receive, I will follow this post with a note on the GP English saddle.

Thank you all!
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    09-13-2012, 12:28 AM
English GP

GP stands for general purpose, and it does what it says on the tin! Knee rolls for security in jumping, but not an exclusively jumping saddle so it allows the rider to sit comfortably in a fairly long legged position if so desired.

Beloved of the happy hackers (trail riders) and hunters who want a combination of security and comfort when in the saddle.

Always with a regular (ie not dressage short) girth.
Should be worn with a saddle pad or numnah to keep the saddle clean. A well fitting GP saddle shoudn't need extra padding of thick saddle pads, but some people will use extra padding if going to be out all day hunting or the like on their horse.

Can be worn with or without breastplate.

Generally comes with one, two or even three D rings to attach breastplate and hip flask.
    09-13-2012, 10:51 AM
There are so many types!

I'll start with barrel saddles. As the name implies, they are ised for barrel racing, as well as other speed events. The skirt is usuaslly smaller than other types of saddles, and are lighter weight.

They come in many configurations. High or low cantle, tall or short horn, treed or treeless, round or square skirt, depth of seat, choice of riggings.

They are designed to hold and balance a rider through change of speed and tight turns at speed.

There are currently 4 of them in my tack room, and I frequently trail ride in them. If all I did was trail ride, I would get a trail saddle.

Edited to add: They are available in leather and synthetic. I would never use a synthetic, though. I don't feel like they are as durable as leather. None of the saddles in my barn were new when I bought them.
    09-13-2012, 11:03 AM
Green Broke
I have had several trail western saddles. Trail saddles can come in lots of styles. The ones with horns that are more for holding on to, tying something to. NOT for roping anything. Lots of ties, soft seats, pre-turned stirrups - some with deep pockets, some with straighter seats. They will often have thick gel seats. Some have wooden trees, flex trees, treeless.

I currently ride in an endurance saddle so it has very little "skirt" area, soft supracore seat, slim pommel instead of a horn, loads of ties and is very light.
    09-13-2012, 11:06 AM
Does the seat still feel soft after several hours in the saddle? I'm asking because someone told me that they get compressed and feel just as hard as a leather seat.
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    09-13-2012, 01:16 PM
I found this website when I was wondering about the same thing a while back. Not very detailed, but for me who knows next-to-nothing about Western saddles, it gave me a good starting-point to understanding what's what.

Western Saddles - All Look the Same? It's Different Types for Different Uses.
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    09-13-2012, 01:49 PM
Green Broke
I can only speak for my saddle. It is custom made by Allegany Mountain Trail Saddle company and is their Renegade Endurance saddle. I had the upgraded Supracore seat. It doesn't seem to get "squished" but the longest ride I have on it right now is 3 hours as I have only had it 2 months and so I haven't been on any longer rides at this time. I am just getting it broke it and it is very comfortable.
    09-13-2012, 07:08 PM
Roping or ranch saddles

Even within arena roping the saddles will vary between a calf roping and team roping saddle. A calf roping saddle generally should put you out front, your shoulder should be in front of your hips. A team roping saddle you should be even and has more of a post horn compared to the calf roping as a calf roper does not dally but ties off. So basically a team roping saddle has a little more "front end" on it as far as forks and horn. And the calf roper needs to clear the cantle with his leg so it might be lower as well.

Ranch saddles usually vary by territory. The terrian and cattle dictate the equipment that is used to get the job done. Back home in the northwest the wade saddle predominant but made very popular by the Dorrances and clinicians alike. Yet it serves a purpose. The tree allows a close feel to the horse and a slick, thick post horn makes for easier handling when roping cattle. We prefer to slide rope when roping cattle and have the space to do it, where as in thick brushy country a short rope tied hard and fast to horn is the best way. This is done more in the south and southwest. They usually don't ride a slick fork but a swelled saddle, like an Association, very popular here here in Texas.

Very generic answer but you can get an idea.
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