Sign in to follow this  
MiSSxZURi

Your Favorite Western Riding Saddle

Recommended Posts

What has been your favorite all around awesome Western saddle for your every day ride? Through your years of pleasure riding what saddle have you found that you just wouldn't do without? I'm looking for your personal experiences or suggestions brands/"models" to give me a starting point for my search.

Before I even think about buying a specific saddle for what I'll do eventually (fancy show saddle, barrel saddle, etc) I just want to start with a good GENERAL one that I can always rely on.

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've ridden in a bunch of westerns...my favorites were a crates reining saddle, and my Price McLaughlin saddle - it's pretty AND comfy, and so far has fit any horse I've had it on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed my RS rough out work saddle. It was super comfy and fit most everything I had it on. I let it go down the road because we're remodeling and I needed the money, and I always ride in my barrel saddle now, also an RS also very comfy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it would be my Vic Bennett balance ride saddle. I bought it 30 some years ago, ridden many different horses with it, covered countless mountain miles and use it as my everyday riding saddle. It is still in great condition.The way it is rigged, allows close contact, plus you can move your legs freely

balanceridesaddle2.jpg

Balanceridesaddle1.jpg

SanStone-1.jpg

SmilieRibbonFlats.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at a custom Wade tree saddle. New wade tree saddles especially custom ones are expensive, but if you can find a nice used one snatch it up. I bought mine in TN two two years ago and I will never have another style of saddle. The saddles sit close to the horse so you have lots of contact. If you wonder if they are actually as good as I act like they are look at the great horseman who have used the wade tree saddle (Tom Dorrance, Bill Dorrance, and Ray Hunt to name a few). That should tell you all you need to know. Plus I have ridden everything from a giant shire to a two year old QH and had no problems whatsoever with fit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are lots of great performance saddles out there, ridden by others than NH founders. Not saying a Wade treed saddle is not good, but pretty much all World Champion trainers have saddles named after them, built by some of the best saddle makers that we have today.

Here in Alberta , Vic Bennett is a well known saddle maker that has built saddles for some of the best known performance riders in Canada

My balance ride is made by him, along the specifications of Pat Whize, a student of one of the pioneers of the balance ride concept-Monty Foreman???

Here is the Vic Bennett site

Don't think I can afford one of his saddles now!

http://www.vicbennett.ca/about.htm

Here is an article on Monte Foreman

http://westernhorseman.com/index.php/featured-articles/article/338-monte-foreman.html

One of his originals for sale

http://angeladailey.tripod.com/id18.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oooh thank you Smilie!

Wow that balance ride is 25 years old? It looks great, they must hold up really well.

I can't wait to saddle shop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was referring to a type of saddle rather than a brand...there are loads of saddle makers who make wade tree saddles, but in my experience the factory made saddles will not hold up as well as a custom saddle....also like I had mentioned the wade tree style saddles I have had dealings with, have fit the majority of horses I have put them on. I will check but my bet is Vic Bennett makes a wade tree saddle too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i hope this isn't going to derail the OP, but if i can just ask a quick question; our barn is a classical dressage barn, and part of the overall program is ranch sorting, team penning, a little cutting, and now there's talk of getting a mechanical cow. nobody has a western saddle, and we're all speculating that there will be bodies flying through the air if we try to do the mechanical cow thing in dressage saddles.

could you recommend a saddle type and even brand? the horses are primarily short-backed lusitanos and other baroque breeds, and the people are all in good shape and weighing in at 120-130lbs and from 5'2" to 5'10" if we're talking about fender length. it would also need to be something with pretty short or round skirts.

thank you!!

Edited by nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think this is something like what we'd be looking for, but where are the bucking rolls? (never mind--went back and looked at the inset picture and spotted them). does the seat have to be "hard"?

Edited by nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think those bucking rolls are custom add ons, as that looks to me like a modern replica of a general ranch saddle, dating back when cowboys rode horses that they first bucked out in the morning.

I Have never seen such a saddle used at a show, and I think they are mainly used at rodeos, and maybe ranch work

Just staying on the Vic Bennett site, here is a cutting saddle

http://www.vicbennett.ca/cutting.htm

Here is an all around saddle

http://www.vicbennett.ca/allround.htm

A reining saddle

http://www.vicbennett.ca/reining.htm

The link that Man In The Glass posted, is to a 'cowboy saddle'-ie old ranch traditional

Also, not sure if Wade trees are used on all of Vic Bennett Saddles, as it is only mentioned in the 'more traditional COWBOY saddle

Edited by Smilie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a link to Bob Avila saddles. Bob has probably won more World , NRHA< NRCHA events than anyone, and someone who actually made his money in the horse Industry

You can navigate his site, and find who is winning, riding in his saddles. Anyone up in the names of the greats in working cowhorse, reining and cutting, will recognize names

http://bobscustomsad...ilareining.html

Edited by Smilie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we just need a saddle that fits us and short-backed horses. (and don't forget we're clod-hoppers from the classical dressage world--i'm the only one who even knows how you adjust fenders).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So long as you're not roping off of it and trying to dally a rope to the horn, I would think a barrel saddle would suit your surprise nick.

Many come with round skirts for more short backed horses and they have a deeper seat which someone coming from a dressage saddle might appreciate.

If you are going to actually be doing some roping and dallying to the horn, you'll want a roping or all around ranch saddle, the horn and tree are built to take that abuse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

do you have a brand? heard on the phone tonight we might even be doing some roping.

i'm the ONLY person in the barn (i'm american) here who has sat in a roping (or western) saddle, and i really liked a barrel saddle. that was my choice too. we'll see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

do you have a brand? heard on the phone tonight we might even be doing some roping.

i'm the ONLY person in the barn (i'm american) here who has sat in a roping (or western) saddle, and i really liked a barrel saddle. that was my choice too. we'll see.

If you are going to do some roping, you need a saddle that can withstand the impact, when that calf is dallied. A barrel saddle won't do. The saddle needs to be sturdy and have a rear cinch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

also with zebus? they're pretty small. the heaviest is the bull (whom we won't be roping), and he weighs in at 300 kilos. i think that's around 660 lbs. the others are significantly smaller and very, very fast. that and the fact we probably won't catch them all that often :lol: . the primariy interest is in improving and refining dressage finesse--not necessarily competition or winning.

i'm also the only one who has had a lasso in my hands and knows that the thing has a life of its own :wacko: .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, you are not going to dally, if you get lucky enough to get the rope on?

My roping skills also are pretty well non existent. When I was raising foals, and after I was no longer showing them as weanlings, I left the halter breaking until they were weaned at around 6 months. My roping this consisted of finally being able to drop that loop on them, in the confines of a stall, so I could then get a halter on!

if you though of getting a saddle those in working cowhorse use? Afterall, there is a 'dry pattern', then a cow is first boxed at one end of the arena, and then taken down the fence and turned each way, and then circled in both directions in the middle of the arena.

Pretty much covers what you will be doing, if not dallied to the saddle horn

Found a video on youtube of a working cowhorse saddle

Here is a link to a site that features saddles at a very reasonable price, suited to be used in the major working events-reining, working cowhorse, and cutting

http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/crates-cowhorse-saddle.html#.UXAHgUpvKTg

Probably suited for your goals, as you don't need a saddle like someone going to the major events in this field!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you so much!!

participated in working cow horse today for the first time since that *road rage* incident we had two weeks ago that i told you about. he was a very good boy :happy0203: . wet saddle blankets, wet saddle blankets, wet saddle blankets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're just roping for fun I would honestly do breakaway and not dally. It's a skill, and I know of plenty of ropers missing parts of their fingers because they got caught in the dally when the half hit the end of the rope.

And yes, a 600lb bull will snap a barrel horn right off if you dally the rope on it. I imagine just about anything hitting a rope at full speed would.

If roping and dally'ing is involved, you need a roping saddle. If no dally'ing is involved then any saddle will serve your purpose just don't forget to let go ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nick the wade tree saddle usually has a hard seat but its surprisingly comfortable.

Smilie just because the saddles look similar to rough stock bucking rigs they are built differently try to ride a rough stock saddle all day.

Nick to rope you really want to watch a general roping saddle especially if you want to ride for long. I started out with a factory made royal king roping saddle and it was horrible to ride for long in. Look at a will James tree or association tree saddle as well but honestly you will want a handmade custom saddle no matter the style you go with....or you could have lots of looks and get a traditional Spanish saddle to ride lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nick the wade tree saddle usually has a hard seat but its surprisingly comfortable.

Smilie just because the saddles look similar to rough stock bucking rigs they are built differently try to ride a rough stock saddle all day.

Nick to rope you really want to watch a general roping saddle especially if you want to ride for long. I started out with a factory made royal king roping saddle and it was horrible to ride for long in. Look at a will James tree or association tree saddle as well but honestly you will want a handmade custom saddle no matter the style you go with....or you could have lots of looks and get a traditional Spanish saddle to ride lol.

Not saying it is a bucking saddle, per say, but it is also not a saddle seen in the show scene of roping, cutting, or whatever.today

The original purpose of those rolls, was when cowboys in days gone by, pretty much roped a green horse ,not a colt, as horses were started much later then) , got on that horse and expected and did put a days work in on that green horse.

Horses were' broke' then, in contrast to the type of training of today that has a much gentler and slower approach. Thus those horses were very likely to buck in the morning, before riding out for the day's job at hand

Maybe working ranches still use those saddles with those rolls, and I have no idea of the improvement in those saddles, just what the original purpose of that roll was, and the fact that you won't see saddle like that on the show grounds in the major stock horse venues

Nick did ask the purpose of those rolls, and I tried to answer the question

Edited by Smilie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You won't see those saddles with bucking rolls at major venues? The californios is pretty major don't you think...the wade tree was developed in the 1940's and to be correct, the bucking rolls are there to replace the swells that are on most saddles because the wade tree saddle is a slick fork saddle and is extremely uncomfortable to ride without the rolls...and I will raise the question who is or has ever been easier on a horse than tom dorrance? The general idea you seem to be putting on the table is that the current western performance horse trainers who generally rush their horses through the training process so they can win the fame and fortune that is offered at the futurities?

I will agree that in high level competition performance horse events the wade is not often seen...but that said if all I was ever concerned with was cutting than I would ride a cutting type saddle. The specialized saddle is needed to get every advantage possible. The same goes for barrel racing and so on....but for someone who is wanting a saddle they can do any event they wanted to do and that saddle rise to each occasion....then a wade tree is a great option. That is why many working cowboys use them....that's why clinicians such as Buck Brannaman use them....and that is why I posted my opinion on what the best western saddle is....

If anyone does not agree with my opinion (smilie) that's OK just let it go and ride and write about your favorite saddle. The forum is for people to ask for other opinions and be able to get some new information. Let's not let out first Google search result (or our first thought based on somethings name) about a piece of tack or gear form our opinion about the usefulness of the item or about the way the individuals who use that item handle our horses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problem with a Wade tree, and in fact was looking at a Billy Cook trail riding saddle,built on a wade tree, but without the bucking rolls

My comment was purely as is seen today, and even on the working ranch in Alberta, I have very seldom seen a saddle with bucking rolls, Wade treed saddle or not, but

I have seen them on Australian stock saddles

Californicos, I take it, are traditionists, and nothing wrong with that, but are you telling me that you will see a saddle with bucking rolls in California at NRHA, NRCHA events? I believe part of the idea behind tack used by Californicos is historical in nature.

I was not knocking the ranch use of a Wade saddle with bucking rolls, if that is what works, but believe the OP is better served for her purpose with a 'modern' working saddle, the type tree being incidental to the bucking rolls

Here is a Wade tree saddle with bucking rolls, and if that best meets the Ops need, then 'go for it'

http://www.bucksands...lls-Saddle.html

To answer the ops question, concerning the bucking rolls:

The fork on a slick fork saddle is generally only 8 to 10 inches wide with the sides of the fork sloping straight up to the outside of the horn. This leaves the front of the saddle open and provides comfort for long rides and freedom of movement for ranch work. Bucking rolls, which simulate a swell, can be added if the rider will be working with young horses or otherwise feels the need for some added security.

some people wonder why anyone would choose a slick fork saddle and then add bucking rolls. Why not just get a

swell fork saddle to begin with, they ask?

Well, they have their place. For one thing they are relatively easily attached and detached, making them handy for folks who use their saddle for different activities. Someone may put them on when they’re starting young colts, but take them off when they’re going to do some long distance riding. Some folks just prefer the fit of a slick fork saddle with soft bucking rolls over that of a hard swell fork saddle. And some folks just think they look cool.

Read more: http://www.western-s...l#ixzz2Qwiw8Jal

Thanks, M.I.G>, I actually learned about bucking rolls from this discussion, and why one would use them , besides on a bronc saddle!

See, one can learn something new all the time!

Guess I`ll just keep a swell fork saddle though, as that is what i have always ridden in, even riding 8 hours or more in the mountains!

Edited by Smilie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Op posted the question about favorite western saddles almost a year ago. I trust those questions have been answered. Since the conversation has drifted to wade saddles and buckin rolls I thought I'd add my two cents.

I run cattle in Southern Idaho and Northern Nevada, part of what's called the Great Basin. In the Great Basin Buckaroo Culture it is rare for a man or woman who works horseback for a living to ride anything else. The popularity of the wade in this area is due partly to tradition and partly due to performance.

By performance I mean due to the narrow fork/seat and a high cantle the wade is comfortable to ride. I've ridden a lot of different saddles and nothing compares to a wade after 10 to 12 hours on a horse. The wade is also made stout enough to rope a big animal without tearing apart. The slick fork with a large dally post type horn is strong and easy to find. While working a cow on the rope there is nothing (as in swells) to catch the rope. Wades are close contact saddles which help you to feel the horse (and the horse to feel you).

As for tradition, the wade was developed in the great basin along with the bridle horse culture. As was mentioned in an earlier post, the Dorrance Brothers, Ray Hunt, and Buck Brannaman (and I'll add Martin Black), men who influenced and were influenced by the buckaroo culture rode (rides) wade saddles. It used to be that riding a wade meant you were serious about improving your horsemanship and livestock handleing techniques. Unfortunately that is not always the case nowdays. With the increasing popularity of the wades outside of ranchwork, you see a lot of people in a wade saddle who don;t know the difference between a hereford and a holstein. The slick fork, tall horn and high cantle makes the wade distinctive, different from the run of the mill. And besides they look so dang cool.

Last friday my new wade was delivered by saddle maker Bob Severe. The long wait was worth it. Bob and daughter Suzzette are artists. I had to try it out on this past weekend.post-53033-0-89781800-1381787336_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have limited time to post on this forum, I did not have enough time to discuss all I wanted to yesterday.

Concerning riders using wade saddles at major events- I went to the NRCHA Futurity in 1995, 1997 and 2000. I don't recall anyone using a wade in the snaffle bit futurity but a few riders were riding them in the ancillary classes (hackamore and bridle classes). Actually at cowhorse events there is a whole different skill set envolved compared to ranch work and a different saddle is probably more appropriate.

I use a custom built hybrid "cowhorse" saddle when I show in NRCHA events. It is basically built on a reining saddle tree with beefed up swells and a #3 post horn. I can do light roping with it but the real advantage is it's flatter and has a longer seat. I can move around a little more and help the horse out some. It's not near as comfortable as a wade for riding all day but it's a great saddle for what it was designed for.

My wife bought me this saddle for our 25th anniversary, it's 12 years old and as you can see has had a little use. post-53033-0-39438300-1381844702_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buckin' rolls traditionally were made of beaver tail leather and stuffed with horse hair. The ones on my new saddle however, are made of cowhide. I suppose they will work just as well.

About 80% of the guys that I know and work with have buckin' rolls on thier saddles. I can't think of a single young guy that I have rode with on th e ranch in the last 5 years that dosen't have them. A few older guys don't. I don't really know why. When I was younger (in the 1970's), bucking rolls were not nearly as common.

They do tend to help keep you in the saddle. A few years ago I was moving some cattle along a creek bottom that was choked with willows. The willows were so thick you couldn't even think of riding a horse through them. I spotted a few cows on the other side of the creek and found a game trail through the willows. Elk had been using that trail and had been crossing the creek through a bever pond. I thought if the elk had been crossing there, why couldn't I? The first step was into about 18 inches of water, the second about 3 feet and on the third step the horse literally disappeared under the surface. The gelding swam a few strokes, hit shalllower water, lunged forward a couple of times, fell down and finally scrambled up the far bank. I'd lost a sturrip but managed to stay on top. Without buckin' rolls I would have surely washed out of the saddle and been swimming along side the horse (or been stomped into the muddy bottom of the pond).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this