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Discussion Starter #1
I don't have alot of experience with ranch and trail saddles, as the majority of my experience lies with barrel racing.

I need a saddle for trail and arena use. It would be used for short trail rides (no over-nighters) and rather extensive arena and training use.

I don't know if a trail saddle would suit my needs (I'm not sure what qualities make it a trail saddle), or whether a ranch saddle (which I've noticed alot of makers dont carry a specific 'ranch' saddle), or whether a roping saddle would get the job done, although I'm not doing any roping (Again, as with the trail saddle, I'm unsure as to what qualities, besides the horn, make it a roping saddle).

I know that was quite a mouthful there, but on top of recommended 'type' of saddle I also have questions about brands. I am looking for a QUALITY saddle, leather-no synthetic, with wood or ralide tree. I am unfamiliar with brands outside barrel saddles (I own a Black Rhino and an Ammerman) and need some recommendations. I need something that will perform on trail and in arena, and won't stiffen or sore up my horses.

Money is somewhat an issue, but I am looking to buy used, I just need some guidelines to start out with.

I would LOVE and appreciate any recommendations you may have.
 

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Hmm, well, look for American made saddles that retail (REALLY retail) for $1,000 or more if you want to stick with good quality (like Ammerman). Older (1980s or older) Circle Y, Textan, Billy Cook, Big Horn, and Simco saddles are good. Newer ones are not so good... Cactus saddles are amazing, but hard to find (small shop). Colorado Saddlery saddles are decent. Courts saddles are very nice as are Crates and Henderson.

Southern Trails sadles are nice for the price, and reasonable.
Western Saddles, Trail Saddles, Barrel Saddle, Ranch Saddle

Trail saddles will work, "All Around" saddles will work, a rough out training saddle would be fine too (though pommel and cantle are low, not a lot of security), "buckaroo" saddles would be fine, as would a wade or ranch saddle. True roping saddles will be quite heavy, so that's something to consider.
 

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Cactus saddles are amazing, but hard to find (small shop).
Actually I've seen some at jeffersequine.com and (I believe) valleyvet.com. Was wondering about the brand...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks! any more info would be helpful too! anyone have an opinion or info on texas saddlery?
 

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I personally have Alamo and happy with it, but it's pleasure trail model. I also like Billy Cook saddles. Number of people on this forum are very happy with Dakota saddles (good quality for price). TexTan makes decent saddles, but they are more expensive. Circle Y - well, I have a mixed feeling about it. I wasn't super excited for the price. Also some people said older models are way better.
 

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I own a 1984 Tex Tan barrel saddle, and it still looks new(with some heavy saddle soaping and oiling of course)!

I think Circle Y is the best brand around(even if you have to buy it used).
 
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