The Western Stock Saddle

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Saddles are an intricate part of Western history. Although they may not be the star – you can’t
picture a cowboy riding into the sunset without his saddle. Saddles have carried knights and soldiers
through battle since the Dark Ages. Saddle styles have changed and adapted to
work for specific uses. The Western stock saddle originated from the
Spanish war saddle and the design has evolved into a tool for the working cowboy. The western stock saddle is unique from others
because it has a tree, sturdy stirrups, a cinch, and a horn. The horn is used to dally a lariat when the
cowboy has roped an animal. The cowboy’s connection to nature is evident
through the construction of a saddle. Although some parts of a tree are now synthetic,
a traditional saddle is made of mostly natural materials. The tree is made of a combination of hard
woods and lighter woods such as maple, aspen and pine. It is wrapped in rawhide to make it strong. Layers of leather are then cut and molded
to make up the parts of the saddle. Saddle makers can produce beautiful works
of art with intricate floral designs carved into the leather. A well-built and cared for saddle will hold
up to many years of hard riding. Thankfully, the art of traditional saddle
making lives on because there is no better way to experience nature in Wyoming than horseback
on a hand-crafted saddle. From the University of Wyoming Extension,
I’m Mae Smith, Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.


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