The Best Ranch Saddles
A saddle is one of the biggest investments you'll make in terms of tack. But the staggering number of options can seem overwhelming when you're trying to find the best ranch saddle for you and your horse. This article will explain the different types of ranch saddles and give you tips on how to find the best ranch saddle for your needs. We'll also show you some of the best ranch saddles available from NRS.
What is a Ranch Saddle?
A ranch saddle is also known as an "all-around" saddle. They are multi-purpose and are suited to both full workdays and long rides. Ranch saddles are made for comfort for both the rider and horse.
Types of Ranch Saddles
Roping is an integral part of ranch life, so a ranch saddle is must-have horse tack. The different types of ranch saddles are each designed to help a person do a specific job. When cutting cattle, the goal is to stay on the horse and not interfere with the horse's work. For this reason, the seat of a ranch cutter saddle is deep, and the horn is tall and covered with braided rawhide for a good grip. A ranch cutter saddle is more lightweight than most other saddles. This is one of the very few disciplines where holding on is not only allowed, it's critical to a successful run.
A ranch roping saddle is the exact opposite. For calf roping, you need to get off the horse fast so you can tie the calf and make your time. That's why roping ranch saddles have a shallow seat with a low cantle that won't hinder your dismount. Strength is also really important in case you have to rope a big tough bull, so the tree is thicker and built to withstand the additional stress and rigors of roping.
What Is a Ranch Cutter Saddle?
A ranch cutter saddle is designed for versatility and made for riding all day. Ranch cutters are heavier saddles but normally have a narrow seat for comfort and longer, square skirts. A cutting saddle is designed to keep the rider in place while the horse does the work. Ranch cutter saddles have a tall, strong horn for roping and for hanging on. They are a great choice for trail riding or work in the arena or on the ranch.
We have many fine examples of ranch cutter saddles for sale at NRS, so you are sure to find the best saddle for your needs.
What Is a Ranch Roping Saddle?
Ranch roping saddles are made to be tough, so they are heavy and durable. They are built on sturdy trees with reinforced rigging so they can handle the pressure of roping. Their main purpose is to give riders freedom of movement while they are roping without interfering with any aspects of their run.
The best ranch roping saddle features are:
- Low back for quick dismounts
- Pocket seat for positioning
- Lower cantle for an easy dismount
- Deep stirrups for bracing
- Tall horn to dally the rope
They also tend to have a longer or double skirt.
What to Look for When Shopping for the Best Ranch Saddle
There are a lot of quality ranch saddles on the market, but the best ranch saddles all share the same qualities. Leather is traditionally the material of choice; however, not all leather is created equal. A cheaper saddle that seems like a deal may actually be made of poor quality, imported materials. Choice leather wears and lasts longer, and the finish, stitching and fittings are all reflections of the saddle's quality. Buy the best ranch saddle you can afford because if you care for it properly, it will last for years.
Look for these key features when shopping:
- Weight - The saddle should be durable and heavy to stand up to the work.
- Seat – Look for a low seat for maximum comfort and communication with the horse.
- Swells – Low swells stay out of the way of work.
- Horn – The horn should be tall and thick for sturdiness and include a wrap for dallying.
- Fenders – Choose fenders that are hung directly below the rider for the correct working position and riding.
- Rigging – Always buy a saddle with double rigging. The combination of a front cinch and flank cinch secure the saddle on the horse. Plate rigging reduces bulk, provides maximum strength and prevents lopsided pulling.
- Saddle Strings – Lots of strings allow you to tie plenty of gear to the saddle.
- Rope Strap – This holds your lariat for lassoing or tethering.