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    

15.5-16" Fallis Saddlery Balance Ride Western Pleasure/trail SaddleCircle Y Reining Saddle #2666 16" Seat 15.5" Circle Y Equitation Silver Show SaddleMarlene Eddleman By Circle Y Of Yoakum Special Effx 14.5" Barrel Racing Saddle15.5" Bona Allen Arabian Western Pleasure/ Trail Saddle15" Martha Josey Barrel Saddle - Circle Y16" Circle Y Trail Saddle With Silver Youth Child Black Synthetic Western Horse Pony Saddle 12" Seat By Air LiteCircle Saddlery Brown Leather Horse Saddle Size 14" - Barrel Racing16" Corriente Ranch Cutting Saddle - Barely Ridden - Great Condition! 14" Used Western Barrel Racing Saddle Handmade Martha Josey SaddleryOld Vintage Antique Tooled Leather Childs Pony Saddle W/ Wood Stirrups Cowboy~nrCircle Y Pleasure Saddle Used Beautiful!!!Vintage 15.5" Circle Y Western Reining/ Show Saddle 15" Circle Y Park And Trail Saddle With Wide BarsBrown Leather Western Saddle Horse Saddle Bags Hand TooledHilason Tt206 15-inch Western Flex-tree, Barrel-racing, Trail-riding SaddleBrown Synthetic Trail Western Cowboy Horse Saddle 16" Seat By WeaverCircle Y Roping- All Around Saddle Marciante Endurance Saddle, 15" SeatBob Marshall Treeless 16.5 Saddle15" Tooled Leather Western Horse Wade Trail Cowboy Roping Ranch Saddle TackCactus Saddlery Full Tooled Barrel Saddle 14"Peruvian Paso Show SaddleBlue River Saddle 16 ... 6620 ...preowned...incompleteUsed/vintage 15" Western Trail / Pleasure Saddle Tooled LeatherBob’s Custom Saddles Bob Avila Reining SaddleKyle Tack Reining SaddleCircle Y Western Pleasure Equitation Show 15inches SaddleWestern Pleasure Saddle 15"15" Teal Rough Out Leather Western Horse Barrel Racing Show Trail Saddle Tack15" Western Cowboy Silver Show Rodeo Trail Parade Leather Horse Saddle Tack12" Floral Stingray Western Horse Trail Leather Kids Child's Youth Pony Saddle17" Amazing Western Barrel Racing Pleasure Horse Saddle Pkg By Westcoast Saddle16" Amazing Western Barrel Racing Pleasure Horse Saddle (saddle Only)Kincade Redi-ride Child Youth 14" Western Saddle Synthetic With Cinch And Pad 16" American Saddlery Western Training Saddle *free Shipping*Unique Trail Saddle15" Rough Out Leopard Leather Western Barrel Racing Trail Show Horse Saddle TackCircle Y Western SaddleBob Marshall Treeless SaddleBilly Cook Barrel Saddle 15" SeatVintage Longhorn 15 1/2" Roping Saddle With Bucking Strap Low Reserve L@@k!!15" Big Horn Simco Western Horse Barrel Leather Saddle 16" Round Skirt Pleasure16" Rough Out Leather Western Wade Horse Roping Trail Cowboy Ranch Saddle Tack12" Blue Western Horse Barrel Racer Youth Leather Pleasure Trail Show Saddle14.5" Hereford Brand Tex-tan Western Pleasure/ Trail Saddle15" Rough Out Western Leather Horse Silver Barrel Racing Trail Show Saddle Tack15" Rough Out Silver Leather Western Barrel Racing Trail Show Horse Saddle Tack15 1/2" Barrel Racing Western Saddle &tack By Westcoast Saddle-(saddle Only)Tod Slone Barrel Saddle 14" B3 Tree Stingray Seat Team Steinhoff Saddle. 13" Seat 8" Tree Barrel Racing Saddle #1133 02 FqbComplete Decker Pack Saddle, Cinch, Canvas Panniers & Top H Pack Set-upHereford 16" Western Horsetrail Rope Cutting Saddle VintageColorado Mountain Trail Saddle16" Dark Oiled Trail Western Saddle By Westcoast Saddles151/2" Amazing Western Barrel Racing Pleasure Saddle (saddle Only)Antique Sterling Silver Conchos 2 In For Saddle Spurs Chaps Or Gun Leather 14" Vintage Longhorn All-around Western Saddle 15" Simco Pleasure Saddle