Western riding

Western riding is a style of horse riding which evolved to meet the needs of the American Cowboys.

The Cowboys worked long hours, riding their horses over many miles of rough terrain roping and herding cattle.

The saddle was his work place and had to be comfortable and be able to carry all his supplies, ropes, rifle and bedding.

Western saddle parts

There are five types of Western saddles and the ranch saddle is the heaviest with some weighing as much as 21kg. That's pretty heavy!

The ranch saddle

The ranch saddle is the heaviest of Western saddles with a low cantle.

It is designed for working ranch horses.

Typical ranch work would take place over rough terrain and would include ranch cutting work (separating an animal from the herd), combining reining, roping and working cow horse.

Barrel racing saddle

This saddle is the lightest and specifically designed for barrel racing. It has a narrow seat and forward sloping fenders.

Equitation saddle

Western riding saddle, also known as the pleasure saddle.

This is a comfortable saddle and very decorative.

Competition cutting saddle

Western riding cutting saddle

This saddle is designed to make the rider secure as he rides at high speed, twisting and turning the horse.

The cantle and swell are positioned high and the seat is flat in order for the rider to maintain a firm position.

In cutting events the rider and horse will select a steer or cow from a small herd of cattle.

The rider will then release the reins and let the horse prevent the animal from returning to the herd.

Western endurance saddle

Designed to be lightweight and comfortable for both horse and rider, which tends to have a padded seat.

Western saddle blanket

This is traditionally a thick woollen blanket for added protection under the saddle against saddle rubs.

Western bridle

The western bridle is very distinctive with usually a fancy curb bit and long shanks, although young horses are started off with a snaffle bit or bosal style hackamore.

Western bit

Decorative western bit


Western reins can be split (they do not fasten together like English reins).

When the horse is tacked up and you are holding him, the reins should be crossed over the horse’s neck to stop them from trailing on the ground.

The cowboys trained their horses to stand still when they dismounted and left the reins hang down to the floor.

Building a successful web site is easy. It worked for me and it can for you!

Scroll down from Western horse riding for more information


Western riding > > Home

What saddle do I need? – GP Jumping showing dressage etc

Saddle care – Preventing damage

Saddle problems - Parts of saddle

How to fit a saddle – Does my saddle fit?

Saddle slips forwards or backwards

How to choose the correct girth size – What type of girth should I buy?

Which type of stirrup irons should I buy?

Horse training aids

Equine aids

Parts of the driving harness – How to harness a horse – Different types of horse harness

The blinker bridle – Horse driving bits – Harness information

Bridle parts – How to put a bridle on – How to take the bridle off

How to saddle up – Numnahs and saddle cloths

Cleaning the saddle

Cleaning the bridle – Taking the bridle apart – Putting the bridle back together – Oiling the bridle