Barrel racing, roping, trail riding - western saddles come in a wide variety to meet the needs of specialized styles of riding. What are the differences between the various types of western saddles? Let's review the most common types and their characteristics.
Trail or pleasure saddles may be the most popular type of western saddles. They are designed to be comfortable on varied terrain and long rides. They often have a padded seat, and commonly include saddle strings to tie on your trail gear.
Ranch saddles are heavy, sturdy saddles used to work cattle. They often have a deep seat and high cantle for security. They also have tall, thick horns that are often wrapped for strength in roping cattle.
Barrel racing saddles are light weight and designed for the ability to maneuver tight and fast turns. Short, minimal skirts reduce weight, and deep seats help keep the rider secure while making turns.
Roping saddles are durable, heavy saddles designed to have a cow dallied to the horn. They also must allow the rider to have maximum freedom of movement to rope and dally the cow. They have low, rounded forks for freedom of movement and suede seats for security in the saddle.
Cutting saddles are designed to keep you firmly in the saddle and out of your horse's way as they cut cattle. They typically have tall, thin horns and high swells. The seat is long and flat and the stirrups are slender.
Reining saddles are designed for close contact and maximum communication with the smallest of cues needed in reining. The seat sits down low and close to the horse's back for closd contact. The skirts are cut out around the fenders to minimize bulk for minimal leg cues.
As you can see, there are many types of western saddles available. These above are simply the most common types offered. I hope this helps explain each type, and its benefits.
The Info Pony