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favorite western saddle

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  • #21
    I just bought a Huber semi-custom training saddle that I love. Close contact, flat seat. but enough to hold you in and good leather. Fits just about everything which is good as I dont have a horse currently. My best friend has a Wenger saddle that is very nice as well, but was almost double the price of the Huber (and would have taken alot longer to get made).

    I'm also a big fan of the BR saddles but way out of my price range. I've ridden in a Harris and did not like the way it fit me or my horse at the time, so I took a pass.

    I owned a Crates as a teen, but found that it didn't fit much of anything other than a very broad backed high withered horse.

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    • #22
      I have two Billy Cook made in Sulphur, OK. My favorite is the Billy Cook Classic All Around built by Billy Cook but designed by Van Hargis (who grew up neighbors to Billy Cook). The only problem with it is that it doesn't fit a lot of horses, because it is FULL QH bars.

      When the Billy Cook doesn't fit I usually ride a Crates Roper Reiner which is basically the Crates reiner with a roping horn.

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      • #23
        I love my decades-old Fallis saddle--puts you in the middle of the saddle, over the horse's center of gravity, without a lot of bulk under your legs. A lot of western saddles put you in a chair seat, back on the cantle with your legs stuck out in front of you. Recently, I've seen some that look like they wouldn't do this as much, so maybe it's maybe that's changing.

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        • #24
          I love an old Price McLaughlin that my whole family fights over. We have various show saddles: Del Varney, Harris, and Billy Cook. The Del Varney is super comfy and sits just right for pleasure, the Harris is also super comfy and puts you right where you need to be for horsemanship, and the Billy Cook, well it's pretty. It is not comfortable and throws your leg too far forward. We also had a Billy Royal show saddle--pretty but awful leather quality and horrid leg position. Bought her a old Harris and she immediately began winning her horsemanship classes--that's the difference in proper leg position! I also have an old no-name custom show saddle from a now defunct shop in Indiana that is a fantastic every day work saddle.

          A lot of the good old brands have really changed over the years, and not for the better. I've ridden in some really great old Tex Tan barrel saddles and some fantastic old Circle Y's. However, you couldn't give me a new one--no matter how pretty! The leather quality is poor and the silver is worse.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by zipperfoot View Post
            I love my decades-old Fallis saddle--puts you in the middle of the saddle, over the horse's center of gravity, without a lot of bulk under your legs.
            I haven't ever heard of anyone else that owns a Fallis! My mother officially retired hers when I gave her my old barrel saddle, but she loved that thing.

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Originally posted by painted02 View Post
              I love an old Price McLaughlin that my whole family fights over. We have various show saddles: Del Varney, Harris, and Billy Cook. The Del Varney is super comfy and sits just right for pleasure, the Harris is also super comfy and puts you right where you need to be for horsemanship, and the Billy Cook, well it's pretty. It is not comfortable and throws your leg too far forward. We also had a Billy Royal show saddle--pretty but awful leather quality and horrid leg position. Bought her a old Harris and she immediately began winning her horsemanship classes--that's the difference in proper leg position! I also have an old no-name custom show saddle from a now defunct shop in Indiana that is a fantastic every day work saddle.

              A lot of the good old brands have really changed over the years, and not for the better. I've ridden in some really great old Tex Tan barrel saddles and some fantastic old Circle Y's. However, you couldn't give me a new one--no matter how pretty! The leather quality is poor and the silver is worse.
              I just bought a Billy Cook maker. i too noticed the stirrups are just a inch or two too far forward. However it fits my mare really well which can be a very hard thing to do, so I went ahead and got it. It has a narrow twist which I like, just wish the stirrups were just a hair further back. Funny that you didn't like your Billy Royal, I loved the one I had, and wish I could have found another. It put me in a really good spot, had a narrow twist, and was really nice quality leather and silver. I sold it to buy a trailer and wish I hadn't.

              I will agree that I have noticed that the quality of the newer name brand saddles has gone downhill. My first horse came with an ancient circle y. The leather was like butter, and it was super comfortable. I sold it shortly after buying him though because it did not fit him at all. Last summer I tried several newer circle y saddles and was disappointed in the quality. I briefly owned an older Hereford Tex Tan and it was much higher quality than my BO's new Tex Tan that she just got.
              Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
              The Blog

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              • #27
                Frecker's

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Skyedragon View Post
                  I just bought a Billy Cook maker. i too noticed the stirrups are just a inch or two too far forward..... I briefly owned an older Hereford Tex Tan and it was much higher quality than my BO's new Tex Tan that she just got.
                  A really good saddle repairman can tie your fenders back a tad. It's not ideal, because the problem is that the fenders are attached to the tree in the wrong spot. But it can definitely help to have them tied back.

                  We bought a wonderful old Hereford Tex Tan barrel saddle for a friend to trail ride her new horse. I almost wanted to keep it for myself! I'm hoping to get another good old broken in every day saddle this year for my nephew, then sell my old Crates show saddle and the Billy Cook and get another used Harris. I feel like we have more saddles right now (both hunt seat and western than we have horses! LOL!

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                  • #29
                    I have an old 1981 Simco Arabian tree show saddle I love! Perfect leg position on it. I also have a synthetic BigHorn that also has a nice leg position, round skirt.

                    My fav is the one I had custom made on a Wade tree, but had Morgan Saddlery take of the mex horn, put a reiner horn on. It's a western dressage saddle, completely! Wide tree, round skirt, NO bling. I even designed the tooling! Yes, it's heavy, the one downfall.

                    Old CY, old Crates (had one I bought new in 1997, was nice) are ok. Haven't had the opportunity to try the more spendy saddles, though. Oh, I did have a Saddlesmith reiner model (can't remember the guy's name) but it was so long, I couldn't use it on my short backed guys. And the leather was a bit tough to break in.

                    I also had a fabulous Continental Saddlery flex tree reiner. Sold it because it also was too long, but it was SO comfy and easy to break in!
                    "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      A friend of mine has a Continental training saddle that was super comfortable BUT the nails that held the seat down one by one started to pop out. I don't know if her's was a fluke or not, but I don't think I would ever seek one out for myself.
                      Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                      The Blog

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                      • #31
                        Wade Tree Saddles

                        I have to say, of all the saddles i have owned my favorite would be my Mccall wade tree saddle. Its a 16" with a slick seat. I can do absolutely anything in that saddle. It fits any horse i have put it on, especially my hard to fit mare. I even run barrels in it! Although, if i could have made the choice i would have picked a rough out seat. The slick seat, especially in the speed events like i do, makes it alot harder to really sit and turn with my horse, then it would be in a regular barrel saddle. Another saddle i really like is the Billy Cook barrel saddle. Very comfortable, very fitting to most horses and overall great saddle. We have had one for a long time now!

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                        • #32
                          I test rode in a Cleburne Reining Saddle that is to this day the best western saddle I've ever ridden. I really like my Darrel Slinkard Reining Saddle. It is definitely not a saddle I want to go trail riding in for the day, but it has great feel and a nice pocket for riding the reiners.

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                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            Originally posted by JeremyReidx77 View Post
                            I have to say, of all the saddles i have owned my favorite would be my Mccall wade tree saddle. Its a 16" with a slick seat. I can do absolutely anything in that saddle. It fits any horse i have put it on, especially my hard to fit mare. I even run barrels in it! Although, if i could have made the choice i would have picked a rough out seat. The slick seat, especially in the speed events like i do, makes it alot harder to really sit and turn with my horse, then it would be in a regular barrel saddle. Another saddle i really like is the Billy Cook barrel saddle. Very comfortable, very fitting to most horses and overall great saddle. We have had one for a long time now!
                            I have made it my goal this year to try speed instead of just talking about trying speed like I did last year. I will be running in my billy cook show saddle since I could only afford one saddle. I am sure I will get a lot of funny looks! Oh well.
                            Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                            The Blog

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                            • Original Poster

                              #34
                              I notice a lot of people mentioning different types of saddles, other than the obvious differences such as a barrel saddle versus other saddles, what makes a roping saddle different from a show saddle different from a reining saddle, etc etc. I have noticed that cutting saddles seem to be super flat seated which does not look at all comfortable to me.
                              Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                              The Blog

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                              • #35
                                My favorite saddle is my new one- I'm under the weather so I can't get a good picture, and it's way too cold to ride anyway.
                                It was made by a friend who makes only 2 or 3 saddles a year.
                                It was made on a Warren Wright wade tree, 14 inch seat, almost 3/4 rigging with a back cinch. Its stirrups are hung WAY back from where most people like them, but it should ride like it's 'brother' that I rode in last summer- like a dressage saddle. Really comfy for riding all day long.

                                My new saddle has a custom geometric stamp (I like basketweave, but this is sublime!) pattern with a few flowers carved in- they are sort of a poppy/daffodil combination.

                                A REAL Wade saddle (not just a slick fork) sits down close to the horse's back; the horn is lower than that of your usual western saddle so that it creates less leverage (and therefore hopefully back soreness) when you rope a lot. They also often have their stirrups hung for a long leg, like a dressage saddle. Not really what you want for cutting or reining stops or even breaking colts that might buck, where you need to get your leg out in front of you.
                                The large diameter horn allows you to take several dallies with the rope, or to use a rawhide reata (which is very strong when stretched but will snap with sudden pressure) and slip dallies to stop a roped animal slowly. These horns are designed to NOT be wrapped with rubber as a team roper does to grab the rope and stop a calf/steer fast for a timed event.
                                http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=8781

                                http://www.freckerssaddlery.com/wade...ee_history.php

                                Basically, you can make a saddle look like a Wade by having a fat horn and a slick fork, but there are crucial differences in a 'real' Wade tree regarding surface area of bars, rock in the tree, and height of the horn.
                                And they're super popular right now, but they are really not the appropriate choice for a lot of situations.

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                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Skyedragon View Post
                                  I notice a lot of people mentioning different types of saddles, other than the obvious differences such as a barrel saddle versus other saddles, what makes a roping saddle different from a show saddle different from a reining saddle, etc etc. I have noticed that cutting saddles seem to be super flat seated which does not look at all comfortable to me.
                                  I can't speak well to the other types, but a good quality reining saddle should provide close contact so you have a better feel of the horse. In my mind the two most critical aspects of a good reining saddle are a good pocket to sit the stops and good fender swing.

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                                  • #37
                                    I have an OTTB that, for whatever reason, Big Horn saddles fit well. Those are the only western saddles I have found that fit him. For that reason, Big Horn is one of my favorites.

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                                    • #38
                                      Loved my ANCIENT Billy Cook. I got it 2nd-3rd hand - so well used that the guy's wallet had split the leather on the cantle!
                                      www.ayliprod.com
                                      Equine Photography in the Northeast

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                                      • #39
                                        The saddles are super specialized these days (just like the horses) to put the rider in the proper position for the event. For example, a barrel saddle is typically built very light with a tiny skirt. It will have a high pommel and cantle to help the rider stay put along with a slightly taller horn to hold on to. A cutting saddle will have a flatter seat, fenders that hang more forward, and a higher horn to brace with. A reining saddle has a deeper pocket to the seat and slightly forward fenders. A good horsemanship saddle has fenders that are slightly back to get that perfect ear-shoulder-hip-heel line and a seat that puts you on your pelvic floor (again to get that proper line). A pleasure saddle is similar, but the fenders may not be back quite so far. A roping saddle is heavy duty and re-inforced to handle the job. You can easily pick out a roping saddle by looking for the extra wrap of leather or rawhide around the horn to protect it during a dally.


                                        Originally posted by Skyedragon View Post
                                        I notice a lot of people mentioning different types of saddles, other than the obvious differences such as a barrel saddle versus other saddles, what makes a roping saddle different from a show saddle different from a reining saddle, etc etc. I have noticed that cutting saddles seem to be super flat seated which does not look at all comfortable to me.
                                        Last edited by painted02; Jan. 21, 2013, 12:24 AM. Reason: spelling error:horse vs. horn

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                                        • #40
                                          I love my Balanced Ride. Made in 1957 and still the best, most functional saddle ever.

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