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Western Saddles - Differences

Updated on October 28, 2009
all-purpose saddle
all-purpose saddle

What's the difference?

There are a variety of different western saddles out on the market. But what does that mean? What's the difference between them? Here I will give you some information regarding the different western saddles available and a picture of what each one looks like.

The first saddle I will talk about is an All-Purpose Saddle. These saddles are designed to be used for a variety of difference disciplines. It provides enough support and a deep enough seat to be use for roping, penning and even training. The swells will be a bit lower then on say a cutting saddle but higher then a roping saddle. To be All-Purpose this saddle is comfortable for both men and women.

The second saddle is a Barrel Saddle. A barrel saddle is designed with a deeper seat to assist the rider to stay down in the saddle during hard turns around the barrels. It is also made with a taller horn so you can hold onto during the tight turns. A barrel saddle is built to give the rider more a more secure seat.

The next saddle is a Ranch Saddle. This saddle is built for comfort for being in the saddle for hours. It is designed to be durable as this saddle may be used day in and day out for roping, checking fence line and breaking colts. It usually has a deeper seat, smaller swells that are closer to the horse and a wide horn for ranch style roping.

The fourth saddle is a Cutting Saddle. A cutting saddle is not built with the same deep seat as these other saddles listed before. This style allows the rider to be more centered over the horse's back. The swells and horn are in a higher position allowing the rider to grab the horn to steady himself or push on it for more pressure to remain stable in the saddle.

An equitation saddle is designed to give the rider a centered, riding position. The stirrups on an equitation saddle are turned to give the rider the shoulder hip to heel line. This saddle is generally designed with a lot of silver to give it a polished show look to it.

A pleasure saddle is just how it sounds. A pleasure saddle is designed with the comfort of horse and rider in mind. It is also a lighter weight for a rider to be able to lift and place on the center of the horse's back easier.

A reining saddle has a low horn to prevent interference with the rider's hands or the reins. The seat is shaped to allow the rider to row their seat back for big stops. The reining saddle is also built to give the rider an ultimate feel between the horse and rider.

A roper saddle's seat is deep with the fenders designed so the rider can lift up and be ready to rope. The swells of the saddle are generally low to keep the leverage rope on the horn to a minimum.

The last saddle discussed here is a training saddle. A training saddle is designed lighter to give the horse a chance to get used to wearing a saddle. There are multiple D rings available in case there is a need for multiple training aids.

I hope this gives you just a little information when you go out to find a saddle. Keep scrolling down for pictures of these different types of saddles.

barrel saddle
barrel saddle
cutting saddle
cutting saddle
equitation saddle
equitation saddle
pleasure saddle
pleasure saddle
ranch saddle
ranch saddle
reining saddle
reining saddle
roping saddle
roping saddle
training saddle
training saddle


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    • profile image

      Brad Lewry 

      6 years ago

      Western saddles have various types of saddles, ranging from ranch saddles to event saddles. And currently, types are basically referred to as to what brand it belongs.


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