Browsing Western Saddle Preference

Equitours offers a number of adventures where western style riding predominates. Good equitation is much the same for both English or Western riding and experienced riders can quickly adapt from one style to the other.

Either way the rider needs to have shoulders and hips centered over the balls of the feet in the stirrup and the hands should be independent of the seat to avoid jerking the horse’s mouth. The classical Western saddle with the horn for roping evolved from the style used in old Spain and came to the Americas with the Conquistadores. It was acquired in the US West through contacts with Mexican and Californian vaqueros or cowboys. The technique came into wide use in the late 19th century and spread rapidly across the West with the start of the epic cattle drives coming up from Texas to reach the transcontinental railway completed in 1868. These drives also provided stock for the ranchers beginning operations in the Great Plains and Rockies. Western saddles became a vital tool of ranchers throughout the West as cattle began to replace the fast disappearing herds of buffalo. The equipment and saddles used for English and Western riding styles of riding are obviously quite different. English saddles are not built to withstand the strains of roping and tend to be lighter and to offer less security than Western saddles. In Western style riding, the horses are trained to neck rein, leaving one hand free to rope if necessary and to allow the horse to go more independently with less contact on the bit. In working cattle, many cowboys often let the horse use its own natural instincts to get the job done. Horses with any “cow sense” catch on quickly. On rides in Wyoming, Texas and Utah you will find typical Western saddles. You can participate in cattle drives pushing the cows into the high country in the spring and rounding them up again in the fall to drive them to winter pastures in lower country following the old Western tradition. Cattle drives in Arizona and Utah are classical Western rides with 4th generation ranchers offering authentic week-long cattle drives. Trail rides take you through the awe inspiring Canyon de Chelly steeped in ancient Navajo history and culture and make excursions far off the usual tourist path around dramatic Monument Valley, so loved by film makers. Both Wyoming and Utah also offer adventurous wilderness pack trips to remote areas like the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The Western saddle with a horn is not widely used in most parts of the world other than in North America, but marvelous exceptions are Western rides in France where you can traverse medieval walled towns, visit old castles and taste the wine in various vineyards. The South American saddles in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay are much like the Western saddle though there is no horn because South Americans traditionally used bolas rather than lassos for cattle as well as wild game. The Gaucho saddles are heavily padded both below and above the tree and have a high cantle and pommel. The soft sheepskin cover on the seat makes it very comfortable for long days of working cattle. Australian cowboys (called stockmen or jackeroos) use a stock saddle like the Western except that again it has no horn and often it has a thigh pads (poleys) to give extra security in the saddle. You will be using this kind of saddle on trail rides in Australia. South African stock saddles are also shaped much like the Western saddle, but also without the horn. They have a high cantle and pommel rather similar to the old McClellan US cavalry saddle. You can find such saddles in Botswana and Namibia where our guests ride out to observe elephant, zebra, wildebeest, lion, cheetah and many other kinds of wild game.

 

Choose from 30 trips related to Western Saddle Preference

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Enjoy good riding on this equestrian holiday in Mexico at Rancho Puesto del Sol

Rancho Puesta Del Sol

This all inclusive ranch is surrounded by three waterfalls, and at an elevation of 7,500 ft, offers spectacular views and weather year-round. You will discover unsurpassed scenery and riding in an area that has no fences, and experience the... Read more

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Horizon Ranch

An unrivaled range of riding activities in the hospitable and relaxed atmosphere is included in this horseback riding vacation in South Africa at one of the region’s oldest farms. The flexible daily itinerary can include outrides across the bushveld... Read more

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Horses on Malbec trail

Castles and Caves in Malbec

The ride traverses a region of spectacular scenery considered by National Geographic to be one of the world’s last unspoiled and undiscovered earthly paradises. Experience the culture and history of the region, complete with visiting prehistoric caves, chateaux and... Read more

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Regina Liberatore Centered Riding Clinic

Regina Liberatore is a Level IV Centered Riding® Instructor, returning for her second clinic at the Bitterroot. She specializes in creating or increasing harmony and understanding in equine partnerships. Regina is trained to watch how the rider’s body moves... Read more

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Navajoland

The Navajoland trip traverses the most spectacular and interesting parts of the vast Navajo Indian Reservation. Cross three distinct portions of the Navajo Indian Reservation with several Navajo guides accompanying you throughout the journey, as well as your local... Read more

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Samurai Ride

This riding trip takes place on Kyushu island, the southwestern most of Japan’s main islands. The area is known for its active volcanoes, beaches and natural hot springs, all of which you experience on this itinerary, and the wide open spaces... Read more

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Homoki Lodge

The Homoki Lodge in Hungary offers fantastic riding opportunities in a setting celebrating the rich uniqueness of the area's culture, where equestrian traditions run deep. With options to stay in luxury yurts and ride Hungarian warmbloods through the southern... Read more

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Texas Cattle Working Clinic

Texas Cattle Working Clinic

This 3-day cattle working clinic is the perfect way to “get your feet wet”, or to improve your skill, as you learn more about the exciting sports of team sorting and team penning. Appropriate for all skill levels, and... Read more

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Domaine Des Garennes Ride

The Domaine des Garennes makes a fine central location to explore a charming region on horseback in France. A wonderful family or individual riding holiday option with comfortable rooms, warm hospitality and excellent food. Alternate full and half day... Read more

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On the King’s Trail in Périgord

Located in the Périgord and Dordogne regions in southwest France, the 18th century country house where you are based for the week is the perfect way to get away from it all. Its central location in the picturesque hills... Read more

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Centered riding clinic

Sue Falkner-March Centered Riding Clinic

Sue is a Level IV Centered Riding Instructor who studied under Sally Swift.  She teaches riding full time with students including world class endurance riders.  She is also a Connected Riding associate instructor and for 20 years has been... Read more

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Reach Out to Horses with Anna Twinney

In Anna Twinney's "Reach Out To Horses" horse communication course you will learn the language of horses and how to speak with them. Through demonstrations, lectures and exercises you will experience how all contact with your horse, your intentions,... Read more

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Ride the Trails of Texas Hill Country

Enjoy trail riding in Texas in this beautiful part of the state. The riding center is located at the former headquarters of a century old cattle ranch in the heart of the Texas Hill Country which is justly famous... Read more

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Hill Country Instructional Program- enjoy instruction tailored to your needs

Hill Country Instructional Program

Tucked away among the oak and juniper of the lovely, rolling Hill Country of Texas is a riding center where riders can take instruction or go for trail rides in the adjacent state park. The pleasant atmosphere of the... Read more

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Pack trip in Wyoming

Wyoming Wilderness Packtrip

A pack trip in Wyoming is a unique experience as you set off into the wilderness where you will be completely self-sufficient for six days thanks to the pack horses which carry all your food and gear.  You will... Read more

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Bitterroot Ranch

The Bitterroot ranch in Wyoming offers excellent riding for a broad range of ability levels. Everyone can enjoy varied trail rides through stunning scenery, with options for lessons weekly and cow work at certain times of year. A family... Read more

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Cattle drive in Wyoming

Bitterroot Fall Cattle Drive

The last week of September is spent gathering the Bitterroot herd before the winter arrives. This is challenging work since the cows are scattered over a 50 square mile area of aspen & pine forests and small clearings.  Groups... Read more

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Three Park Spectacular

The Three Park Spectacular Ride is on the border between Utah and Arizona and covers three of the most famous national parks in the world. This allows you to see parts of the country around the national parks which... Read more

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Ride through the Grand Canyon on this horseback riding trip in Arizona

Grand Canyon Winter Pastures

The Winter Pastures horseback riding vacation will take you far below the remote North Rim of the Grand Canyon into a microclimate which is sheltered from the cold and winds above. Once the trail drops off the north rim,... Read more

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St. Lawrence Ride

A relaxing journey through the mostly forested parks of Quebec, this riding tour also offers two days riding on the rolling hills of the host farm. It's a short trip with an attractive price tag, within driving distance of... Read more

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Toscana Cucina Ride

A perfect combination of horseback riding in Siena, cooking classes with the Chef and sightseeing to destinations of cultural and historical interest define this ride. Return to the convivial atmosphere of the Castello's spacious dining room and Tuscan kitchen for... Read more

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Saints and Warriors

This riding tour in Italy is a fantastic opportunity to experience the Italian countryside by horseback and enjoy local cuisine. Your host has great knowledge of and enthusiasm for the area, and offers a date each season to correspond... Read more

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Vineyards and Beaches of Bordeaux

Spend a spectacular week riding on the beach in France and enjoying the offerings of top-notch vineyards. The Gironde region, and its major port – Bordeaux, have a rich and varied cultural heritage, which you'll experience while riding well-trained... Read more

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Secluded Manor Ride

Located in the heart of the Dordogne, Perigord and Quercy regions, the secluded manor house where you will spend the week is the perfect place to get away from it all as you enjoy luxury riding in France. It’s... Read more

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Fortresses and Forests of the Dordogne

The Dordogne is a wonderful region in which to go riding in southwest France, known for its history, charming small villages, bastides, caves and regional foods. The beauty of its picturesque landscape of overhanging cliffs, cultivated plains and rivers,... Read more

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Rainforest Adventure- enjoy nature riding in Costa Rica

Rainforest Adventure

This stationary itinerary lets you enjoy miles of riding on nature, rural and coastal trails. Learn about the local fauna and flora with your knowledgeable equestrian guide but also enjoy the non-riding activities built into this itinerary to show... Read more

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Horse Speak® All-Inclusive Retreat

Join Laura and Sharon Wilsie and Heidi Potter for an unforgettable and enriching experience at the Bitterroot Ranch. Through observation, interaction, workshops and self-awareness exercises participants will develop a skill set that leaves them with a deeper understanding of... Read more

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Bitterroot Spring Cattle Drive

The spring drive week at the Bitterroot Ranch includes one day of pushing the herd to their grazing allotment on the adjacent National Forest, with additional opportunities for cow work during your stay. The rest of your rides are... Read more

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