There are many different types of saddles to choose from when horseback riding, but the main two are the english saddle and the western saddle. While, my personal favorite of the two is the english saddle, there are many people out there that love the western saddle and what it can provide for the rider.
What is the western saddle?
The western saddle, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a deep-seated saddle used originally by cattlemen that has broad skirts and fenders and a high pommel with a horn for holding the lariat. As you can tell from the picture above there is a lot more leather and accessories that are on the western saddle than what is on the english saddle.
Types and uses
As I stated earlier, there are many different types of saddles. The western saddle type is no exception to that statement. Although while there are huge differences between english saddles, the usual visual difference between western saddles has to do with the horn, seat, and amount of what I call bling. Here are a few of the different kinds of western saddles:
The roping saddle is used on working cattle ranches and designed for rodeo work.
This type is a heavy and sturdy saddle that usually has a thicker horn for securing a rope, low cantle, and slick fork that allows rider to dismount quickly when needed. The roping saddle is designed for demanding use and maximum freedom of movement for the rider.
The trail or pleasure saddle is used when going primarily trail riding.
Designed for maximum comfort of rider as well as a good fit for the horse, features deep, padded seat, designed for long rides at slower speeds. Still heavier than the english saddle, the trail saddle is lighter than any of the working saddles.
The show saddle can be found in western judged events.
May be based on roping, cutting, or other trees, but is characterized by additional leather tooling and silver decoration. Usually features a deep, padded seat that allows the rider to sit quietly and give the appearance of a smooth ride. These saddles are the most impacted by current fashion trends more than any of the other western saddle types.
Where you can purchase one
There are a bunch of different brands that you can choose from when it comes to western saddles. With a wide range of brands and prices, you can't go wrong.
After deciding the type of saddle you need, you can find saddles on discount saddle sites such as Chicks discount saddlery, at the saddle's brand name website, such as Circle Y, through large horse gear websites, such as horse saddle shop, or you can find them at auction sites, such as eBay. The western saddle that I have was a gift, and not brand name, but I still like it a lot because it fits me.