Talk to me about a trail riding saddle!

Got the boyfriend into trail riding this year. I ride in my cushy English f saddles but he wants/needs the security of a western . Especially for mounting lol.

The only western I had for him was my old Billy Cook roper that is my colt starting saddle, and occasionally goes in a ranch riding class at local shows to get greenies more ring time. And back cinch desensitization … that’s always a show.

Well the Billy Cook roper is tough as nails and classic looking in the ring. But it’s not comfy . After the first hour boyfriend is walking and whining. Asking to “take a break” and ride in my County.

So … what western would be more comfortable? Reiner , cutter, wade , slick fork ? I know OF them but don’t have any experience in which ones would be comfortable for 4-5 hours of pretty extreme bush riding.
Pre-turned stirrups would be a HUGE bonus .

I’ve seen “trail saddles” at a local tack store and to be honest they all strike me as kind of …… cheap. Low quality. And something I’d never walk into a show ring with … not even a local riding club schooling show.

Any suggestions?

If the saddle is good otherwise, how about a fleece or gel seat saver? And offset stirrups?

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I agree that if the only problem with the current saddle is comfort , I would look at the cushiest seat cushion you can find.

A roper has a low candle. He’d likely feel more secure in a deeper seat. A reiner would be a nice fit.

Trail saddles can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. My custom trail saddle cost about $2600 4 years ago, and would probably be closer to $3K in today’s market. The Martin Cutter I also trail ride in would retail at over $4K.

Allegheny Mountain Trail Saddle

Martin Cutter


I actually already sold the saddle . I’m not starting colts or buying auction horses anymore so don’t need my colt starting saddle. And it was too wide for the mare my BF rides …. Little too much for long hours on the trail.
So now it’s time to shop and I don’t know where to start !

Horse Saddle Shop and many other websites show their used saddle inventory.


Sadly I’m in Canada , so am limited to Canadian sites …. Which there aren’t a lot of great ones.

Try Pleasant Ridge Saddlery.

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@cutter99 I lucked into a used Alleghany Mtn Trail Saddle a few years ago and snapped it up. I hate the horn on it, but the good news is that my husband loves it (it’s his saddle). It weighs next to nothing and is very balanced and comfortable.


I’ve been trail riding in ranch-type saddles for years. I typically ride from 2-4 hours at a time, and have ridden a lot more when I had friends to ride with and we would trailer out.

I find them very comfortable even with the hard seats. A hard seat almost HAS to be made right, if it is asymmetrical or has lumps it will show. So in my opinion, saddle makers take more time with hard seats. I have (personally) never owned a padded seat that was as comfortable as my hard seats. I do usually put a sheepskin seat saver in them for grip. The real sheep hide type because the back of the hide grips the leather of the saddle. They mash flat over time, so I can’t say they create a whole lot of long-term comfort, but they give grip to an otherwise comfortable seat, which is important if your horse is spooky. If the horse isn’t spooky, I actually like the little bit of “slide” a hard seat gives you because it allows you to sort of let the saddle move underneath you and smooths out the ride going down hills and cantering.

The main negative I’ve found with ranch saddles is they are made to be roped with so they are heavy. But they usually have the higher cantle and slick seat that I love. And I also am a fan of A-fork swells.

I had a friend that swore by Tucker trail saddles but I’ve never had the money for a new one and I’ve never found a used one…so I think they are good but have never tried one myself.

This is one of my saddles that I really love (when it was new, it’s since gotten a ton of mileage!) It’s made by Rider’s Choice.

And this is one of my favorite saddles of all-time. And again, it has a LOT more mileage on it now. (I guess I tend to take pictures of my saddles when they are new). It’s a Saddle King Ol’ Timer. I don’t think they make them anymore, which is a shame.

What they both have in common is the trees are made by Steele. I think Steele makes fabulous trees. The top saddle is FQHB and the bottom saddle is regular QHB. Both are extremely versatile and fit horses really well.


I have always wanted to try an Alleghany Mtn. saddle but have never found a used one. Congrats on the find! :slight_smile:

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[quote=“Mountain_Trails, post:11, topic:767867”]Text
I think Steele makes fabulous trees.

Steele also makes their own custom trail saddles. I have one and it is absolutely the best saddle I have ever ridden in. They ship internationally too.

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Tucker trail saddle. Rode in one during a long trail ride on a horse we were trialing and did end up buying – wow, so comfortable. Put me naturally in such a good position, I didn’t have to fight the saddle, and the seat was comfy. I ride almost exclusively hunt seat, I should note.

we used lessor expensive saddles. When we bought our Wintec trail saddles nearly 30 years ago they were about $300 each. We have put many thousands of trail miles on these saddles with nothing ever breaking. We got Wintec for a few reasons, cost but primary weight… the ones we have are about 16 pounds with fittings. Our leather western saddles weigh between 40 and 55 pounds.

Really was not expecting much from these saddles but we still have them and they are used daily…without ever having to repair anything on them.

Our horses won several regional and national championships in NATRC using these saddles, the buckskin is my daughter’s and the bay is my wife’s (her bay trail horse is actually a pony at 14.1+ which made mounting much easier)