Trail / Pleasure Saddles

The trail saddle is also known as a pleasure saddle as it’s specifically designed for pleasure riding. Comfort is the main goal. Hours in the saddle over uneven terrain can make you quite appreciative of a saddle that’s designed to lessen the wear on your body.

Since you won’t be doing heavy work on your pleasure rides, this saddle is much lighter weight than working saddles such as roping or ranch style saddles. Because trail saddles are so popular and the choice of so many riders, they come in more styles than any other western saddle type. You can choose from a wide variety of trees, horns, swells, seats, and skirt styles. Typical features of a trail saddle include:

  • Higher fork for keeping you secure in the saddle
  • Thinner horn designed for holding on to rather than for dallying a cow to
  • Often has a padded seat
  • Medium height cantle with a pronounced dish (recess in the front side) for comfort
  • Often has cutout or round skirts to lessen weight and bulk
  • Fenders positioned underneath the rider’s body to put the rider in the proper riding position
  • Wide stirrup tread for stability and comfort
  • Double rigging to hold the back of the saddle down
  • In-skirt rigging to lessen the weight
  • Breast collar to stop the saddle from sliding backwards when climbing hills
  • Multiple saddle strings for tying jackets and gear
  • Lighter weight

Trail or pleasure saddles make up the largest group of saddles purchased today. Most riders simply ride for pleasure and don’t require heavy working saddles. Because of their popularity, the trail/pleasure saddle type is also where you’ll most often see new materials (i.e. synthetics) and new concepts (i.e. treeless saddles) first appear and gain traction.

While some pleasure riders prefer the comfort, security, and tradition of the ranch-type saddle, the trail saddle, with its many varieties and lighter weight, will be the ticket for the majority of riders.

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