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Western Saddle Types

Aug 14, 2008
Whether you are a Western rider yourself or you are simply interested in the variety of riding out there, you'll find that there is a Western saddle designed for any riding activity or discipline. Take a look at some of the varieties of Western saddles out there, and remember that there are plenty more that can be found as well!

A trail or pleasure saddle is a Western saddle that is a saddle design mainly for comfort during long rides. It's lighter than a working saddle, and there are many different variations on it. It tends to have a higher fork and a thinner horn, and it often features a padded seat.

Barrel racing saddles are built for speed, and they are often even lighter than pleasure saddles. They are meant to anchor the rider to their horse through all sorts of twists and turns, and you'll often see them at sports events. They tend to feature a tall thin horn, and a deep seat for additional stability

Show saddles are meant to be seen, and it shows. These saddles are highly decorative and can be considered quite trendy as they can fall in and out of fashion very quickly. You'll find that they tend to have lots of silver trim, intricate leather tooling and deeper skirts to show off the stylings.

As the name suggests, a roping saddle is meant to help rope and dally a cow. These saddles tend to be extremely sturdy and to have a wooden saddle tree with a low and rounded fork. You'll find that there is often a full double rigging for stability and a tall thick saddle horn.

A reining saddle, with its low seat, free swinging fenders and thinner stirrup leathers are designed to show off the horse's conformation and precision. When looking at a reining saddle, you'll also find that there is no flank cinch, and the rigging is dropped in order to reduce the bulk that occurs under the rider's legs.

When a horse and rider are involved in cutting, where a stock animal will be separated from the herd, you'll see a cutting saddle with high and wide swells to keep the rider seated, a tall thin horn, which makes for a good gri,p and forward hung fenders that will help the rider stay balanced.

The endurance saddle, which is meant to see horse and rider through 50 to 100 miles at a stretch, is typically made ligh,t but sturdy, with a padded seat, deep stirrups and no horn. This is a saddle that is designed for durability and comfort, and is made to be fairly small and light.

Ranch saddles are also known as "all around" saddles, and these saddles are meant to about as multi-purpose as you can get. They are heavier saddles that are suited to both full work days and long rides, and they are meant to keep you and the horse comfortable for long stretches of time. They tend to have a deep seat, a thick saddle horn, and are usually double rigged.
About the Author
TJ Stanton is a life-long cowboy and editor of www.TheWesternSaddleShop.com, a source for new western saddles of every type.
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