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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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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