There are those who believe the only true saddle is an English saddle, which, after all, is the type of saddle used for equestrian events in the Olympics and for playing polo, the sport of kings. The scruffy upstart is the stock saddle, the most famous variation of which is the Western saddle, which has a horn in the front and a steeply pitched cantle in the back. Though heavier than an English saddle, the Western saddle distributes its weight across the back of a horse more evenly, allowing both rider and animal to work in relative comfort for prolonged periods of time.

The development of the modern saddle in the United States is generally pegged to George B. McClellan, whose hornless saddle was used by Union Cavalry in the Civil War, and remained largely unchanged as the saddle of the U.S. Army from 1859 through World War II. McClellan claimed he got the idea for his saddle from observations he made during the Crimean War, but many saddle experts have pointed out that the McClellan saddle more closely resembles Spanish saddles used in Mexico at the time, so its true inspiration is in dispute.

After the Civil War, many ranchers tried to make use of the inexpensive McClellans, but the saddles were not suited for herding and branding cattle so Western saddles evolved. The most prominent feature of the Western saddle is its horn, which greenhorns assume was used as a handle for the rider but was really a tool for roping cattle. The leather on Western saddles was often tooled, buck stitched, and decorated with metal conchos and leather rosettes, while presentation or parade saddles might be covered with engraved or stamped silver. Also highly decorated were sidesaddles, while bareback saddles were more plain (as well as being something of a cowboy oxymoron).

Prominent saddle makers in the United States include Newton Porter, who opened his saddlery in Taylor, Texas, in 1875 before moving his shop to Phoenix in 1895 (it closed in the 1960s). Better know, perhaps, to fans of Westerns and other Wild West-themed movies are the saddles of Hollywood saddle maker Edward Bohlin, who is thought to have made some 12,000 saddles between 1920 and 1980, including stylish saddles for Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger), William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), and Roy Rogers.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

*circle Y Omaha Trail Flex 2 Western Saddle 17" Seat Wide Flex Gullet WalnutBalanced Ride Fallis Saddle Silver Conchos Great Using Condition 15 In.*abetta Brushpopper Trail Saddle 16" Seat Wide Quarter Horse Tree*tucker Saddlery Black Mountain Gaited Trail Saddle Brown 16.5" Seat Wide Fb Brown Leather Western Horse Saddle 17" Seat 8" Gullet By Abetta Texas UsaHereford Saddle*circle Y Cross Creek Endurance Trail Saddle Walnut 16" Seat Wide Flex2 TreeCircle Y Western Pleasure Equitation Show Brown 16" Western Equestrian SaddleBig Horn Endurance Saddle 15.5 Seat*tucker Saddlery Vista Endurance Trail Saddle Black 16.5" Seat Medium Tree15" Turquoise Barrel Racing Western Horse Saddle Package By Westcoast SaddlesUsed Hereford Saddle Floral Tooling*tucker Saddlery Northwest Trail Saddle 17.5" Seat Wide Foundation Tree*tucker Saddlery Gen Ii Competitor Endurance Saddle Brown 16.5" Seat Wide Tree*bates Kimberly Aussie Stock Saddle Brown Large Seat Exchangeable Gullet Western Saddle 15"Martha Josey Small 15" Vintage Barrel Saddle, Quick ChangeVintage Used Child's Western Saddle15" Rough Out Cross Western Leather Horse Silver Barrel Racing Trail Saddle Tack*tucker Saddlery Gen Ii High Plains Trail Saddle Brown 17.5" Seat Wide TreeEli Miller Old Timer Saddle 16Used Once! Flex Abetta Serenity Memory Foam Saddle Size 16"16-1/2" Big Horn Western Leather Flex Tree Trail Saddle # 1652Simco 15" SaddleAbetta Saddle 16Used Western Saddle Bobs Custom SaddleSmall Adult Youth Western Saddle Tooled Leather Used 13-14 Free Ship W BinWestern Leather Horse Saddle Hand Tooled W/belly Strap Good Shape Hard2find!Double J Pozzi 13.5 Standard Tree Barrel Racing Saddle16.5" Bob Marshall Sports Saddle, Treeless, Trail, Hand Tooled Floral, Excellent14" Martin Barrel SaddleUsed Western Saddle Circle Y, Excellent ConditionUsed 15.5" Or 16" Circle S Show Saddle*gorgeous Tooling! Silver!Youth Child Brown Tooled Leather Western Horse Pony Saddle 13 1/2" Seat 14.5 15 Martin 2010 Western Roping Saddle Extra Wide Gullet Also Pleasure Trail 16 In. Western Double J SaddleBob Marshall Treeless Sports Saddle- Wrangler Model15" Marciante Endurance Trail Saddle Serial # 341 - Very Nice Condition!Big Horn SaddleVintage Western Saddle16" Hand Carved Western Trail Pleasure Saddle Tack Set- 1 Yr WarrantyDakota Western Saddle 15"17" Dark Oiled Trail Western Saddle By Westcoast Saddles16" Pink Cowgirl Up Western Barrel Racing Leather Trail Show Horse Saddle TackUsed Leather Kids Youth Pony 12" Western Saddle15.5 To 16.25 Crates Cutting Saddle Western Cutter Also Pleasure And Trail15.5 Cirlce Y Quality Roping Pleasure Trail Western SaddleSimco 13" SaddleBroken Horn Saddle16" Pleasure/barrel Western Saddle Set.roughtout Fender & Jockey-(closeout)Red Ranger Kids Pony Saddle Vintage - Use Or Display 17" Circle Y Western SaddleSaddle - Zea's Juarez Mexico15" Purple Painted Rough Out Leather Barrel Trail Horse Western Saddle TackDraft Horse Saddle Black 17" Guc12" Western Cowboy Horse Youth Leather Pleasure Trail Ranch Show Saddle TackSean Ryon 17'' Cutting SaddleComplete Sawbuck Pack Saddle Set - Nylon Cabela's Panniers, Cinchs & Pack PadCircle Y Western Show Trail Saddle, 17", 7" Gullet, Fancy Brown Tooled LeatherCrates Roping Saddle #2255, Used, 15" Seat, 24" Skirt