Western Saddle Guide
Finding the correct western saddle may be a lot harder than you think; it comes with a lot of research, advice, numbers & questions. I'm making thread to help you make your saddle-shopping experience a tiny bit easier. The first step in buying a saddle is figuring out which style is best for what you are looking to do, so I'm going to be talking about the 11 most popular types of western saddles. There are more types but these are the most common & will be most likely to suit a beginner.
**Please note that you should ALWAYS consult with a professional before buying & using a saddle on a horse. If you have the right style of saddle, it is NO GOOD to you or your horse if it doesn't fit correctly. It could result in serious injury to you & your horse. PLEASE be careful.**
If you are looking to do a lot of trail riding, this is the saddle for you. Trail saddles come in many different styles and colours and can be found for a variety of different prices. A trail saddle is often designed with a low cantle (for comfort) but it sometimes made with a high cantle (for protection.) A comfortable seat is also popular in trail saddles. Lastly, most trail saddles will be equipped with leather ties for all your gear.
All Around Saddle-
All Around Saddles are made for the riders that do more than one thing. They can be used for things like trail riding, roping & even barrel racing, but this saddle is typically made for everyday riding & schooling. It has a very close-contact seat & a very high, strong horn. The skirt is also close-contact to make leg cues easier.
Barrel Racing Saddle-
Barrel Racing saddles are made for; you guessed it-Barrel racing! If you are not looking to do a lot of barrel racing, this is probably not the saddle for you. Although it can be used for other things, it's probably not the best choice. It has a high cantle & deep seat to keep you in place. The horn is also very high/strong since it is something that is typically used a lot in barrel racing.
Mounted Shooting Saddle-
The Mounted Shooting Saddle is made for; you guessed it again- Mounted Shooting! The swell is tilted to make room for you to draw your gun. The cantle is also high for extra-security. This is not so common, but should be used if you are looking to do mounted shooting.
The Cutting Saddle is typically used only for cutting. It is made with a high pommel/horn & a low, slightly raised cantle. There is usually a leather wear strip, rigging on the skirt & slim stirrups to stay out of the way.
The Endurance Saddle is very light-weight & is usually made without a horn. It is also made to be extremely comfortable for the horse & rider since it is to be used for long periods of time. There are many leather ties for gear & equipment. This saddle is also made with center-fire rigging to keep the saddle from tipping forwards or backwards.
The Ranch Saddle is typically made very hard and very heavy. The seat is made very slick and hard to accommodate a rider for a day & still make him/her comfortable. The tree is made very sturdy for tough, all-day ranch work. The saddle also includes a high cantle, back straps & certain rigging to make the horse comfortable while wearing a saddle all day long.
The reining saddle is made to be very close-contact between the horse and rider. The skirt is made to make leg cues easier and clearer. The horn & pommel are made low so that they don't interfere with the reins.
The roping saddle is typically made with a very sturdy tree covered with rawhide, bullhide or strong fiberglass covering. The saddle is also made with extra rigging. The seat is usually a pocket seat made from suede for a good positioning.
The Show Saddle is made with a lot of detailed tooling and silver on the skirt, cantle, pommel, horn & stirrups. The seats as usually pocket seats to keep the rider in position. The stirrups are also turned in. The saddle is made close contact for easier leg cues & a lower pommel/horn for less rein interference.
A Training Saddle is usually made with a cut-back skirt for easier leg cues, a lower pommel/horn for less rein interference and padded, suede seats to make the rider more comfortable. The training saddle is usually equipped with many D-rings to make room for the many riding aids that may be required by the riders.
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bump bump! thoughts anyone?
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I definitely think this is helpful. I am planning on getting my horse a custom saddle made for her this summer, and this is a great example of the different kinds of saddles. As for fitting... I have no idea how to figure out what size saddle she should have. I probably will just find a saddle fitter to do it for me!
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