They must be light weight and well made to stand up to the long miles of
riding. New materials and features often appear in trail saddles first due to
For cutting out single cows from the heard, cutting saddles were developed.
Subtle communication between horse and rider is ensured by the close contact
which, if properly carried out will not be seen by the spectators. A wooden
saddle tree covered with bull hide, a rounded low fork, double rigging and a
deep suede or rough leather covered saddle all contribute to the ease of use
while working. Maximum freedom while roping and chasing cows is ensured by the
saddle tree design and the strong horn. Bulk must be minimised while at the same
time maximising close contact. High cantles allow fabric for pillow easy mounting and
dismounting and the stirrups are forward hung to help the balance.
For competitions involving long rides of up to 100 miles, endurance saddles
are needed. A cutting saddle needs to endure good balance for the rider during
extreme turning, starting and stopping maneuvers. Designed for good looks rather
than work these saddles follow fashions and change accordingly.
Designed for freedom of movement these saddles are made for heavy
The most popular type of saddle, trail saddles are designed for comfort
over rough terrain and many miles. They feature comfortable padded seats, no
horns, lower weight short skirts, deep stirrups and multiple saddle strings for
your gear. Other features include plate rigging for better strength, a high
cantle, double rigging and rope straps.
For reining sporting events a purpose designed reining saddle is ideal.
Fashion is important and designs change frequently. These saddles need very
close contact between horse and rider for ease of execution of circling,
spinning and sliding stop maneuvers. In addition for the long hours in the
saddle they must be comfortable for both rider and horse. Features include easy
gripping with a tall thin horn, long flat seats, slim stirrups, low cantles and
forward hanging fenders for extra balance. Ornate and deep tooling and
decorative silver ornamentation are used extensively on show saddles. For show
saddles the latest fashion is important! Other features include deep skirts for
more decoration turned stirrups with silver trims, and padded seats.
Ranch saddles, also called buckaroo, cowboy or old time are heavy weight
saddles designed for heavy work. Some features include an easy to hold thin
horn, a higher fork for stability, a deeply recessed cantle for comfort, wider
stirrups treads and padded seats.
Show saddles, unlike the other types are designed primarily for their looks
in the horse show arena. Because of the close contact reining saddles are also
popular as training saddles. Designed for comfort they are lighter than ranch or
roping saddles which are designed for heavier work. Because they are designed
for comfort they are also becoming popular for trail riding. Rounded or cut out
skirts may also be present to further reduce the weight. Made for long hours in
the saddle and for functionality around the ranch they may include comfortable
deep seats, low swells to be out of the way when working and thick horns