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Home > View ALL Western Brands > Western Saddle Guide: Expert Advice > Parts of the Saddle - The Swell (or Fork or Pommel)

Parts of the Saddle - The Swell (or Fork or Pommel)

Parts of the saddle | The swell (or fork or pommel)


Swell {swel} : n. The front of the saddle tree that holds the two bars together and provides a base for the horn. Also known as the saddle fork or pommel.



The saddle swell or fork (or, if you're English, pommel) is the part of the saddle that holds together the bars of the tree. It also supports the horn. There are three different styles of swells: the A fork (or "slick fork"), the swell fork, and the undercut swell fork.

Early Western saddles were usually made with an A fork, but the swell fork became popular as a safer alternative for competitive disciplines. Today most saddles are made with a swell fork, although states with a strong buckaroo tradition still prefer the A fork. Many of our manufacturers produce A fork ranch and all around saddles.

The undercut swell fork was touted to be very useful for keeping you in the saddle during dangerous situations (more to grab on to in a lurch). It was useful indeed, but sometimes falling out the saddle was safer than remaining in it while on a wild horse. Today it's rarely seen, but it still presents a unique saddle profile.


Parts of the saddle

  • Saddle Diagram
  • The Seat
  • The Swell
  • The Cantle
  • The Rigging
  • The Gullet
  • The Fenders
  • The Stirrups
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