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 Western Saddle Basics

Today many western riders have never used their horses along side of cows, never seen a herd of cattle or even thrown a rope, but the western saddle still reminds us of this way of life where things were simple. Think of the western saddle as the “RV” in the saddle world.  It is made to be comfortable for long hours at a time for both horse and rider.


The main differences you will see in a western saddle are changes in the stirrups, tree, seat and cantle.


The stirrups on the western saddle cannot be detached from the saddle in case of an emergency.  The western stirrup has a wider base.  It is this base and the style of the sole/heel of the western boot that keeps the rider from getting their foot caught in the stirrup.


The western saddle tree is much larger than those used in English style riding.  The tree bars protect the horse’s backbone while distributing the rider’s weight over a larger area.  You will not see very much padding on the underside of the western saddle, thus the need for saddle pads.


The seat and cantle of the western saddle are larger and provide more comfort & stability for the rider.  This stability is needed in some western riding events such as cutting and ranch sorting.

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    Western Saddle