Talk about Western Saddles
Hi all. Just wanted to learn more about Western Saddles. What is the difference between, show saddles (aside from silver) cutting saddles, barrel saddles, trail saddles?
I mean, how do they sit? Are some more forward, deeper? Why is a trail saddle better for trails then a barrel saddle? It may seem like silly questions but I was hoping for good explanations not snotty answers.
I use a flat saddle for trails even though it is a show sadle but... I am curious about Western and why people chose the saddle they chose.
I started my western adventure with a barrel saddle. Because that was the only one I could find which fit my high withered TB. I grew quite fond of it I have to say. Coming from a dressage background I appreciate the flat, deep seat and still do. It also gives a lot of stability for the little nasty surprises this TB had up his sleeve;-)
I wouldn't use a reining saddle due to the build up towards the horn.
Cutting saddles have a longer seat and a narrow horn to hold on to when horse dives away from under you.
Not sure about what makes a trail saddle, other than comfort and security for the long rides.
Then you have the roping and ranch saddles who are built extra sturdy for the type of work they are used.
I personally, as mentioned above, prefer the deep, flat seat and a high cantle for security and correct position.
My two cents, but I'm sure others can explain better;-)
Well that is a nice start, thank you. What about brand name? I mean, some less expensive brands are likely very well made but then, if one wants a saddle to last for a very very long time (as one would with that investment) it pays to pay a bit more for a well made saddle. Which are the absolutely best name brands for Western Saddles?
Im kinda partial for Big Horns. Currently have one with flex tree, had a couple of their cordura's too and my above mentioned first one was a Big Horn too. I found they'll fit a large variety of horses.
I did like a Circle Y Arabian saddle a lot, was rather impressed with the quality of a Reinsman a friend had bought and really liked a couple of Crates I had in my saddle shop many moons ago.
Oh, and don't get me started with the various Wade tree custom made vaquero saddles 4000$ and up *drool*:-)
I personally prefer a reining and cutting type saddle. Open seat, low cantle so you can sit back into slides. A cutting saddle has a high horn which can interfere with how you hold your reins if you ever wanted to use it for another discipline.
A cutting saddle 'usually' has a more squared off cantle, high horn and fenders that swing well so you can move your legs back and forth easily.
A reining saddle has a low cantle, 'usually' rounded of, low horn so as not to interfere with riders reins and hand position. Fenders that swing and slide well.
I prefer these kinds of saddles because they give you room to move and you don't feel wedged or boxed in by a high cantle and stationary fenders.:-)
Yup-I am with Muppet. Any other western saddle feels weird to me. I also have a narrow twist tree, which is not so wide in the seat. Nice for a woman. I feel nice and secure in the deep seat of my reining saddles.....and a higher horn would get in my way or poke me on trails when I duck, get caught on my belt.....etc. Some of them-like the equitation show saddles just have SO much skirt and silver....I would need a crane to get it on my horse. ;-)
As far as brands-well, I like Sean Ryon, Leddys, and of course Bob's custom......all nice saddles, altho there are some really nice smaller names out there, these hold their value pretty well and since we all know I just LOVE to buy new stuff then sell it and get more......that is necessary for me! Crates and Rocking R makes some nice less expensive reiners also, and Crates makes a lighter weight ladies.
There is so much to learn about Western saddles. Not only the types mentioned about, but the rigging. They have many different types of rigging; 7/8, 5/6, centerfire, in-skirt, in-tree.
Western saddles really should ALL be rigged with two cinches, a fore and a back. But many people neglect the back cinch, including me. However, the saddle will not fit as well as it should unless fully rigged.
Western saddles have a larger tree in them, thus they spread the weight of the rider out over a larger surface area, so make it easier for the horse to bear the weight. However, many modern western saddles have trees that are what is called "downward sloping", such that they kind of end up putting too much pressure on the front half of the saddle, especially when not double rigged wiht the back cinch.
I haven't ridden in a cutting or reinig saddle, only a trail and a barrel. I don't like the way the barrel locks me in, nor the high horn. The trails I think have the stirrup bar a bit more under the thigh to allow for a more straight downward drop of the leg, less of the chair seat that you would find usefull for roping and maybe barrels, too. there is a place where a chair seat is helpful.
here's a good website with some info on a particular maker's tree.
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