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    

16.5" Martin Peformance Saddle- Todd BergenClinton Anderson Western Saddle 16"Billy Cook Maker Womans Western Show Saddle With Girth Bob Marshall Saddle 17 In Seat Slightly Used 1yr OldOrtho Flex Saddle 16" Seat Excellent Condition. Comes With Custom Pad.16" Hereford Tex Tan Flex Tree Trail Saddle - Made In Texas * Barely UsedTex Tan Montgomery Flex Trail Saddle, Wide Tree 16"Western Show SaddleOrthoflex Wade Tree Saddle 15" SeatBilly Cook 15" Show/pleasure Saddle,great Used Condition, Extra Wide Fqh Bars. 16" Premium Hand Made Leather Crates Saddle - 40lbs, Amazing ConditionCrest Ridge Western Saddle 16.5"Billy Cook Roping Saddle 15" Fallis Balance Ride Roping SaddleTucker Endurance SaddleMartha Wright Barrel SaddleBob Marshall Circle Y Secure Treeless Endurance Saddle Barrel Saddle 15"Circle Y Western Pleasure Equitation Show 16 Inches SaddleDixieland 16" Western Gaited Saddle16" Gorgeous Crates Barrel Saddle With Matching Breastcollar & CinchCircle Y Barrel Racer Saddle 16" Seat. Vgc. Classic Style!Genuine Balanced Ride Hereford Textan Western Saddle - 15" SeatOrtho-flex 16" Caliente Saddle Without Horn In BrownTrophy Roping SaddleReining Saddle Valley Horse Circle MCircle Y Horse Park And Trail SaddleBig Horn 16" Lite Roper/trail Saddle PackageBob Marshall Saddle Treeless Western Barrel Trail Riding 16inch18" Australian Stock Saddle Jackaroo Plus 7 AccessoriesOrthoflex SaddlePro Qualifier Barrel Racing SaddleStockman Bush Rider 16" Seat Aussie Saddle PackageCircle Y Endurance Trail Saddle - 16Vintage Circle Y 15" Leather Western Park & Trail Saddle ~ Free ShippingReinsman Western Show Saddle 16" Seat14.5 15 Western Used Courts Saddlery Roping Roper Saddle Pleasure Trail 17 17.5 Western Cutting Saddle Circle Y Lonny Morris Cutter Pleasure And Trail15 1/2 " Endurance Saddle15 Inch Circle Y "park And Trail" Saddle15" Gaited Horse Saddle Made By Tn Saddlery15'' Black Big Horn # 101 Western Barrel / Trail Saddle Cordura & Leather QhbWestern Saddle Size 15" Seat17" Hilason Western Flex Tree Trail Pleasure SaddleOrtho-flex Endurance Saddle In BrownNathan Lamb / Barrel Saddle, Size 14 / Barrel Racing 14" Turquoise Gator Rough Out Western Leather Trail Barrel Horse Saddle TackBig Horn Western Saddle 16" Full Quarter Horse With Breast Collar16 Inch Wesern Trail Saddle17" Rough Out Western Leather Roping Ranch Wade Cowboy Saddle Trail Horse TackUsed 16.5" Hard Seat Western Wade Style Ranch Saddle Basket Stamped Leather Big Horn 16" Western Saddle Fleece Is CleanCircle Y Western Pleasure Equitation Show Brown 16" Western Equestrian SaddleLightly Used 15' Dark Oil/ Dark Brown Leather Western Trail/pleasure Saddle 18" Australian Stock Saddle Jackaroo Plus 7 Accessories15" Western Leather Bucking Rolls Horse Cowboy Wade Roping Ranch Saddle TackChild's Saddle15" Black Silver Show Pleasure Trail Saddle Complete With Lots Of Tack16" Western Barrel Silver Show Rodeo Trail Parade Leather Horse Saddle Tack16" Black Silver Show Pleasure Trail Saddle Complete With Lots Of Tack16" Tan Silver Pleasure Western Leather Saddle Pkg