The Western Saddle has a History

Western-style saddles.

The western style saddle used by cowboys for riding hours after cattle and roping actually had its beginning with the Moorish horse riders.  The Spaniards liked this style of the saddle so well, they continued to ride on them when they came to America.

As time goes on and style and fashion change, so did the western saddle.  A horn was added which made it easier to rope a cow.  Like anything else with more technology the saddle has gotten re-worked and lots of face-lifts, but still remains pretty much the same as far as having a horn, cantle, stirrups, and leather.  A lot of improvements have been made with the use of other materials that are about as durable.

Many saddles weigh a lot less; some 17lbs and 27lbs and on up and come in different colors.  With so many different styles available they are broke down into what they are used for.  There are different saddle manufactures like Billy Cook saddles for barrel racing, cutting, trail riding, reining, roping, and for show horses.  There is also the endurance type and gaited type saddles.  So there truly is a saddle for every person and what style of riding they would like to do.  The most important is to make sure you are getting one that fits you and your horse.  Another saddle maker is Circle Y Saddles.  There are others to choose from too. View Billy Cook saddles at


The Endurance Saddle:

These saddles are used for long trail rides that people compete in.  They need a saddle that is comfortable for them as well as the horse.  The difference in an endurance saddle and a trail saddle is usually the endurance one doesn’t have a horn and is built to make the rider’s weight distribute across the saddle and the horse.  Whereas the trail saddle has the horn, a deep, maybe even padded seat and rings on the saddle to tie on saddlebags and such for a long ride.

Not really sure what type this saddle is, but my guess is some kind of trail riding saddle.
Not really sure what type this saddle is, but my guess is some kind of trail riding saddle.

Show Saddles:

Picture being in the show ring and the judge is watching you and the crowd is quiet and watching too.  Won’t you want to be looking your best and your horse too?  Well, that’s where a show saddle will shine because the more fancy silver and leather designs that make the rider and horse stand out the better.

Barrel Racing Saddles:

Racing into an arena with the crowd cheering, the horse and rider turn the first barrel and race the clock to the second and third barrels then gallop to the open gate all while the clock is ticking off the seconds.  This is what the barrel racer does and appreciates the seat and horn of her saddle to keep her steady while making the sharp turns and mad gallop in hopes of shearing off seconds.

Cutting Saddles:

A cowboy working cow’s needs this saddle to keep him secure in the seat as his horse makes quick stops and turns.  The cow only wants to get away from the horse and back in with the herd. It’s a test between rider, horse, and cow. The saddle needs to be sturdy to hold up to the test.

Reining Saddles:

These saddles are working type of saddle too for a cowboy or cowgirl.  It has a horn that sits lower than most so it’s not in the way of the rider.  A reining horse gallops down a stretch and skids to a stop while the rider stays in the saddle.  They also ride in patterns showing the horse and his smoothness in the maneuvers.

Roping Saddles:

The horn on this saddle is thicker to hold the rope better after a calf has been roped.  It has to be sturdy for the horse to be able to hold the rope taut while the cowboy gets off to tie down the calf.  This saddle is heavier because of the cow work involved.

Personal Favorite:

My personal favorite saddle is the Abetta saddle.  Mine is only 17 pounds and I don’t have any trouble putting it on my horse.  Whereas some of the others are way too heavy and I couldn’t get them off the rack let alone lift it high enough to put on my horse.  My saddle is comfortable and good enough for what riding I do.  Abetta makes a barrel racing saddle and other types too.

Pads and or Blankets:

Here's my Abetta saddle.
Here’s my Abetta saddle.

We can’t forget about the important article that goes next to the horse under the saddle, the blanket or pad.  With the Abetta saddle, I purchased I also bought a pad.  They come in different colors and types too.  The one I have is fleece lined with leather wear strips.  I chose a purple designed one because that’s my favorite color.

There is a lot to know about saddles of which this is only a tiny part.  Take it as a starting point when deciding on which saddle is best for you.  Ask a lot of questions and know what kind of riding you want to do most.  Don’t forget to take the horse into consideration by making sure the saddle you choose will be a good choice for him too.

Be sure and check out your next saddle at

My pretty purple saddle pad.
My pretty purple saddle pad.

Thank you for stopping by.  Please leave a comment or ask a question.  I’ll do my best to answer.

Top image courtesy of Pixabay.

8 thoughts on “The Western Saddle has a History

  1. Hi Judy,

    Wow, I had no idea there were so many saddles! Thanks for sharing all of this great information.
    I love purple, so I have to say I love that purple saddle!


    1. Yeah, purple is one of my favorites. Thank you so much Lori, for commenting on my site. It’s neat that you and others think this is all good information. I love horses and all things western and old west.

    1. Oh hope you get to ride again soon. I ride everyday that I don’t have to work so it’s quite often. Thank you for the comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *