Monday, October 6, 2008


There has been a lot of discussion about saddles on the posts lately. We all need one in some form or another ( even you sometimes Mikey!) I am not an expert by any means- but I do recognize quality when I see it, and I have been around enough to know what makes for a good saddle! I don't ride English- but I imagine you all need a whole lot of the same things as in a Western saddle.
1. a good tree.

2. good leather.

3. quality hardware.

4. fit

5. function

6. style.

These first two saddles were made by my friend Dana Alden from R6 Leathers in Roque River Oregon. Can you see how the leather is cut and stitched around the swell? See how the horn post comes through the swell and is actually a separate piece? All the decoration is hand stamped with one tool. If you look closely you can also see the rigging is set under the seat, under the jockey, supporting the entire seat. No way for it to come undone. The wool is just that- real wool fleece. This seat happens to be made from Ostrich, but you can see that it is sewn down.
This saddle is a Bob's reiner. Not fancy at all- no silver. But it is a good quality leather, the hardware is not cheap, the Front D ring is riveted and sewn into the under skirt. The bottom skirt has been cut away under the fender, giving the rider much more freedom to use their legs to position the horse. You can just see the wool peeking from under the skirt, and it comes with a leather latigo. Usually no back cinch is necessary in reining, but the D ring is there anyway. This saddle could be used for training or trail or reining.

The saddle to the left is Bob's Show saddle. It is very fancy- from the sterling silver on the corners to the fancy cut of the Jockey. It has an in -skirt rigging, which is the flattest rig you can get, it stays under your leg and you don't feel it. A back D ring is present, but since you don't use a back cinch in a WP show, it is also engraved. All the major stress points are sewn,and also screwed into the tree with silver conchos. All of the edges of the leather have been hand finished,and sewn. All of the stitches are even and tight, especially across the cantle. The horn is a separate piece, though the swell leather has been formed, not sewn and shrunk. This saddle runs about $3000.
Well made saddles are not cheap- but just like in the 'old days' when a saddle usually cost more than the horses a cowboy rode, a well made saddle will hold its' value for a long long time. They are certainly worth the investment.