Saddle Styles Throughout History

The interaction of man and horse through history is fascinating and complex. Man is in a constant state of evolution and development in his relationship with the horse. That development extends to the equipment used with the horse. Each time peoples have met, through conquest or commerce, the saddle has been adapted to new needs. When man first started to use the horse as a way for transportation, he needed to be able to sit on the mount and control his horse. Bareback worked fine for many. Then devising a simple pad worked for comfort. Eventually as people saw the horse as a means to conquer, stirrups needed to be added. The warrior could then stand up in the stirrups to use a lance, or launch a spear or ensnaring rope.

The only things needed were a saddle tree, leathers to attach the stirrups, attachment to keep the saddle on the horse, and a blanket or pad under the saddle. World wide you can see examples in the past of saddles of this type. Some that come to mind with very few other accoutrements would be a McClellan saddle, Pony Express saddle, the Hope saddle, and the Spanish Colonial saddle. As man continued to improve saddles for his convenience and comfort each addition brought more weight and increased the expense.

Paraphrased from an 1893 catalog, "Progress is the watchword of the present era. New ideas and new inventions for increasing the performance of the horse and promoting the comfort of the rider are devised and patented daily. Consequently, there will continue to be many useful items introduced to the public long after this book has found its place among the lovers of the horse in all parts of the world".

So what does the modern rider of today really need in a saddle? For some not much more than the traditional skeleton rigged saddle also called stripped down. This style can be seen tucked here and there in old saddle catalogs and have been used by horsemen and cowboys for years.

We are providing several saddle styles that are using modern materials with age-old basics to bring to our customers a revolutionary old-is-new-again concept. The skeleton-rigged saddle comes in either a swell fork or an A-fork wade tree. Having just the basics you will notice close contact with the horse. Some uses may include, but not limited to, feed lot riders, hunters, hot country riders, wet country riders, and of course, Mongolian travelers. Add a few more options to the skeleton rigged style, such as, rear rigging, girth, rear billets, and you can rope heavy cattle.

The Cow Camp Collection includes other gear items in rough-out and can be added to your saddle as you need them. As historians look back at these saddles produced in 2003 and beyond they will see materials combined in ways that best utilize durability and practical construction with new materials. Creating the traditions of tomorrow today. To order please use the order form enclosed in your catalog or call us at 1-800-689-9971 in U.S.

Saddle Tree and Rigging Information

The La Porte tree company started by using a remarkable new material to cast their Poly - Tuff Tree™. Our saddles are built with these trees and are virtually indestructible with a lifetime guarantee against the tree breaking. We pictured this revolutionary tree in our last catalog. Feedback from saddle makers and riders was very positive. The trees are offered with the Double H Cable Rigging™. This strong continuous cable is vinyl coated and is one piece cast into the tree over the fork and through the cantle. There are solid ideas behind this innovation. First it is totally adjustable for placement of the cincha to best fit a particular horse. Second is lightness in the foundation of the saddle. A third benefit for this cable is close contact between rider and mount. A small amount of flexibility can be felt in the bars of these new trees. Just the right amount of give to be able to discern the movement of the horse better than a completely rigid tree.