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Different Western Saddle Types

Ariat Boots, Jeans, and Belts
Ariat Boots, Jeans, and Belts

Saddle Types
Trail & Pleasure | All Around Work | Barrel Racing | Mounted Shooting |Cutting
Endurance | Ranch | Reining | Roping | Show | Training

Trail Saddles

Trail & Pleasure

  • Available in many varieties.
  • Often built with a lightweight tree.
  • Not designed for heavy ranch work.
  • Designed with higher and lower cantle, lower cantle being more popular.
  • Higher cantle: more protection.
  • Lower cantle: more comfortable.
  • Rigging is usually in-skirt because of the stress put on the saddle.
  • Often equipped with many leather ties to attach your gear.
All Around Saddles


  • Flatter seat to allow movement and adjustment of rider.
  • Seats are often padded suede.
  • Often close contact skirting to help in the leg cues.
  • Reinforced rigging for any type of light roping.
  • Strong wooden tree.
  • Strong horn, made higher for holding on to.
Barrel Racing Saddles
Barrel Racing

  • High cantle with deep pocket seat to hold you in.
  • "Hip hugger" ridge around the back of the seat.
  • High horn to hold on to.
  • Shorter skirts.
  • Rigging is simple in-skirt.
Mounted Shooting Saddles
Mounted Shooting

  • Forward tilted swell to give you more room to draw your guns.
  • High cantle for extra security.
  • Suede Seat to hold you in place.
  • Roughout fenders and jockeys for extra stability.
  • Light weight.
Cutting Saddles


  • Low cantle, high pommel and horn.
  • Flatter seat with slight rise at pommel.
  • Jockeys and fenders often made out of rough out leather for better grip.
  • Reinforced rigging.
  • Back cinch and slim stirrups.
  • Leather wear strap between fenders and bottom skirt.
Endurance Saddles
  • Very comfortable seat for long-endurance rides.
  • Smaller, lightweight.
  • Many strings for attaching gear.
  • Most without horn.
  • Often with center-fire rigging to keep saddle from tipping.
Ranch Saddles
  • Big and heavy.
  • Slick, hard seat for comfortable day-long use.
  • Sturdy tree for rigorous ranch work.
  • High cantles and back straps.
  • Plate rigging, which is more comfortable for a horse that wears a saddle all day long.
Reining Saddles
  • Close-contact saddle with skirts to allow for rider-horse communication through cues.
  • Lower horn and pommel for movement of reins without interference.
  • Often with a show-type silver and patterns for the arena.
  • Flatter seat for hip movement.
Roping Saddles
  • Very sturdy wood tree with bullhide, rawhide, or very strong fiberglass covering.
  • Reinforced rigging attached to tree and back strap expected.
  • Seats often suede and padded, many times in a pocket seat for good positioning.
Show Saddles


  • Very detailed tooling.
  • Comes with silver on the skirts, cantle, pommel, horn, and stirrups.
  • Seats are often equitation, which are balanced and have pocket to keep rider in the proper position.
  • Turned stirrups.
  • Padded suede seats.
  • Often close contact with lower pommel and horn for better cues and rein control.
Training Saddles
  • Often with reining saddle type tree.
  • Low pommels and cut out skirts for closer contact.
  • Many dees and rings to attach training devices or aids.
  • Padded suede seats.
  • Fenders and jockeys are rough out leather for better grip.

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