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    

16" Crates Reining Cowhorse Saddle (made In Tennessee) Reiner - No Reserve14" Circle Y "bob Marshall" Western Barrel Racing Saddle15" Court's Sharon Camarillo Barrel SaddleBilly Cook 16" Roping Saddle W/ Oak Leaf Tooling Handmade In Sulpher, OkSensation Treeless English Trail Endurance Saddle16 Inch Teskey Ranch/working SaddleNr 15 16 Pink Zebra Western Horse Barrel Racer Racing Leather Show Saddle15" Roughout Roping Western Saddle **no Reserve!!**Circle Y Saddle Park & Trail Horse Show Pleasure Trail Riding Amazing Condition15" Cowboy Roughout Tough-1 Barrel Trail Western Saddle Horse Tack16" Circle Y Equitation/ Show Western SaddleVintage14 1/2-15" Western Saddle Brydon Bros Makers Los Angeles C 1940's Brown16 18 Leather Western Horse Wade Roper Roping Pleasure Ranch Trail Saddle Tack14" Big Horn Western Saddle **no Reserve!!**15" Turquoise Gator Western Barrel Racer Racing Leather Pleasure Trail Saddle15" Longhorn Western Reining Saddle 16" Circle Y Western Silver Show Park And Trail Saddle 3860Vintage Cowboy Brand Big Horn Saddle -14-inch Seat -leatherWestern Black Barrel/trail Riding Saddle - Used - 15" - Full Quarter Horse Bars Crates Leather 4528 1995 Reiner Equi-fit 15.5" Western Saddle Rawhide EquestrianLime Green Ostrich 15" Western Barrel Racing Horse Show Pleasure Trail Saddle15" Tooled Western Trail Saddle **no Reserve!!**Martin 16 Inch Trail Saddle15.5" Tex-tan "hereford Brand" Western Pleasure/ Show Saddle 16" Fully Tooled Leather Western Horse Wade Lite Roping Pleasure Ranch Saddle15 1/2 Double J Barrel Saddle W/ Headstall & Breastcollar! Very Good Condition!15 Inch Custom Charmayne James Cactus Barrel Racing SaddleJim Taylor 14.5" Reining Working Cow Horse Saddle Excellent Used ConditionCircle Y Pleasure/show Saddle 16"Price Mclaughlin 15" Tan Show SaddleAntique H.h. Heiser 7/8 Single Rig Western Mounted Shooting Horse SaddleWestern Saddle Made By Simco Saddlery 15" Seat Coats Custom Team Roping SaddleCircle Y High Horse Lockhart Easy-fit Cordura Trail Saddle 16", Semi-qh MediumVintage 16" Nl Blair Highback Hard Seat Ranch/ Roping Western Saddle15" Turquoise Gator Leather Western Barrel Racer Pleasure Show Horse SaddleUsed Billy Cook Original #2082, 16" Basket Weave Roping Saddle.Circle Y Western Saddle 16 Inch Pleasure/trail16" Jacksonville Trail Old Timer Western Saddle Horse Tack Highback Hard Seat15" Rough Out Leather Show Western Barrel Racing Racer Trail Horse Saddle 16 18 Leather Western Horse Roper Roping Pleasure Cowboy Ranch Trail Saddle Tack15" Pink Snake Bling Tooled Western Horse Show Pleasure Trail Leather SaddleDakota Barrel Saddle 17Billy Cook Saddlery Longhorn Riding Saddle 14 1/2"15" Engraved Cross Leather Western Barrel Racer Pleasure Show Trail Horse SaddleCourts Roping Saddle 15.5 16 Srs Paul Taylor Saddlery Western Trophy Roping Saddle Pleasure And TrailRick Mayberry / Sugarcreek Saddlery 17" Roping/trail SaddleWintec Western 16" Saddle With 33" Adam's Girth And Brest Collar15" Simco Western Trail Saddle **no Reserve!!**16" Classic Rough Out Western Cowboy Wade Roping Ranch SaddleTreeless Western Trail Saddle 15" Seat, 13.5" Leg Opening14" Simco Western Barrel Racing SaddleKing Draft Horse Saddle 15in Vintage Floral Tooled Bona Allen Saddle15 Inch Circle Y Trail SaddleHereford Tex Tan Western Show Saddle 15 1/2Classic Cowboy Style 16" Western Wade Roping Rancher Ranch Leather Horse Saddle15.5" Western Santo Show Saddle Royal King Horse Tack Light Oil Lots Of SilverWestern Cherry Pleasure Trail Hand Tooled/carved 17" Saddle Maroon Suede Seat