What is everybody's favorite brand of western saddle, and what are some brands that you wouldn't touch with a ten foot long pole?
I personally love circle y, my first horse came with an ancient circle y that was super comfortable, wish I had never sold that saddle. I have also owned a Billy Royal that was like riding on butter, but sold it to buy my horse trailer.
I think the biggest no-no for me is Hilason. A friend of mine owned one and the tree on it ended up being broken. Sadly she didn't notice until it had done some major damage to her horse's back. The leather was also cheap and the saddle was falling apart after about 6 months of use.
Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013) The Blog
I have two older Simco saddles that I dearly love. Note that they are both 30+ years old---I haven't sat in a newer one to compair. And, I have one Lady Fabtron that is new and pretty confy on the trail.
I love Dale Martin saddles. I have regular cutting saddles and ranch cutter saddles. Mine are almost ten years old and still look new. Extremely well made with excellent quality leather. One of the best "investments" I have made!
I have two Blue Ribbon saddles, one a decked out show saddle and the other a work saddle. They're heavy, but gorgeous and they put me in just the right position. I have a Dale Martin trail saddle that I love, and I also really love my Circle Y trail saddle. Lots of D-rings and string ties. I have a Dale Chavez show saddle, too, which I think is beautiful and comfortable.
That's a lot of saddles....I can't bring myself to part with any of them, either. I have a couple of English saddles, too.
I have used Ryons old Amy Gambling cutting saddles for ranch work, have an Oliver's lady modified low association #95 ranch saddle that is perfect for me and practically every horse it was used on and a Bob's Lady reiner.
I don't like at all the wade, no swell saddles, they feel like a bump on a log, unless they have bucking rolls and then they may as well have swells, no need to have slick fronts.
I still prefer my English saddles for most anything I can get by not using my western saddles, as they are so much more free on the leg, lighter and easier to feel a horse for me.
One problem for those with super short legs, as I am, is that, even the most free swinging western fenders tend to bind a bit on such short lengths, something that a longer legged person many not affect so much.
I LOVE cutting saddles and I don't even cut. LOVE THEM. Deep pockets, most well made ones are made for contact and are not bulky under the leg. I had a Roo-Hide and LOVED IT. WISH I hadn't sold it...
I am buying a Jerry Shaw at the moment. Can't wait till it's paid for!
I dislike barrel saddles, just don't like the position they put me in. I don't wanna 'call out' any particular brands that I don't like, because some of them have been mentioned here as favorites of other posters. That said, my faves are Roo-Hide, Jerry Shaw and Bobs. I have had good experiences with this place http://cowdogsaddles.com/index.php they only carry GOOD quality stuff, nothing cheap that you are going to regret and I also really like Jes at www.halfcircleranch.com/store/pc/home.asp . She has nice quality brands at fair prices. And she's NICE to work with.
I just got a new custom wade saddle. Love it and still getting used to it. Very reasonable, too. While waiting for my custom, I found a used Cactus barrel saddle. It is amazingly comfortable and would consider another Cactus saddle. The Wade is great for trailriding and is actually fairly light weight for a solid wood tree. My mare is very wide shouldered and been a hard horse to fit. I sold a Paul's Custom cowhorse saddle, I really liked it too.
I am looking at possibly getting a Rocking R, must be good saddles if you have three of them!
They are! I toured the facility when Randall Black was still alive, probably 10 years ago or so. I had a custom Lady Trail Rider made for my QH- he had tall withers but a very round, broad barrel. It's a hard seat, all smooth leather, minimal tooling. It's heavy-made, and the leather quality is second to none. Later I had another made for my TWH, similar style, but with a bicycle-style seat and darker stain. Then I bought one off the shelf for yet another TWH, their standard gaited style saddle. They are the real deal, many are second generation saddlers as Simco used to make saddles in the area, so there was a lot of knowledge- and equipment available- when they shut down their production line way back. Continental Saddlery is in the area, too- but they charge a lot more, and to my mind, it's not a lot more saddle for the money.
I have a Kathy's trainers roughout working saddle that I adore. By some miracle, it fits all three of my boys, from the narrow as a pole 3 yr old, to the warmblood-built hunt seat horse, to the mutton-withered, wide barreled trail horse (for whom I haven't found any other saddle that will fit). I have no idea how it works, but it does. I bought it unused from a lady who had it custom made for her broodmare but then decided she was going to breed her again. Don't think I've ever come across another one, so either they didn't make that many of them or people just don't get rid of them once they have them.
I also know several people who have RS Saddlery work saddles who adore them. Relatively inexpensive new and again, those who have them just don't sell them.
It's not about the color of the ribbon but the quality of the ride. Having said that, I'd like the blue one please!
I have 2 Circle Y High Horse show saddles, and I'm not impressed with the comfort level. One of them puts my legs too far in front of me. The horses don't seem to mind them, though. I just got Flash Jr a Rocking R mounted shooting saddle for him to do speed and games in, and it is a really comfy saddle. He's only ridden in it once, but was just gushing about how much he liked it. Compared to the Circle Y show...I sat in it just to see what he was talking about, and it is very comfy. The seat feels a little more narrow than the Circle Y, which is like sitting in a chair. I will probably look for a Rocking R before I get another High Horse saddle when/if I get another one.
Circle Y for sure; my husband and I fight over the one we have! LOVE it and it seems to fit all the horses well!! I also have an old barrel saddle I love, just holds me really well, a Double D I think. I hate our Crates - doesn't fit me or my husband, generally unpleasant. Have tried to pass it on but I think others agree!!
I am still in love with my Billy Cook Pro Reiner. It has fit every horse I have tried it on so far. I also have a really nice older Bona Allen. It doesn't fit everyone, but OMG it's a beaut on those it does fit!
As a native Texan I favor the old Ryons and saddles of that ilk. My '65 Tex Tan Hereford is still fine for a cheapie ($150 new back in the day) but doesn't fit current stock. My sister's late '60s Cutter Bill is also supremely comfy. My uncle made some good saddles too but they were never commercially sold (in fact the wait list was too long for me to ever get one though he did make me a nice headstall).
I have a McCall Wade and like it fine- though it is a tinch big in the seat for me, it's a 16 incher that I bought solely because it fit my hard to fit gelding. I also have a custom made saddle made by a young saddler in Monroe Utah that I quite like. Loved a Crates reiner I tried a few years ago, but it didn't fit the horse. Briefly had a Circle Y that the horse outgrew after a year or so (long story)- it was okay.
Not all that familiar w/Colorado saddlery but would avoid based on a friend's experience. She bought a new one, had some issues, sellers insisted nothing wrong with saddle, good clinician took a look and demonstrated to all that it was built on a flawed tree- easy to see it was asymmetrical and should never have been finished, let alone left the saddlery.