Whether you’re buying your first roper or you need to compete with the pros, the best roping saddles in the industry are available here. Come see our lineup of America’s best calf roping and team roping saddle brands.
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You’ll find a real good variety of used roping saddles too – pre-owned, inspected and cleaned, with a two week return policy.
Imagine Roping Saddles Back in the Day…
One original purpose of the western saddle was to work cattle. The cowboy of the old west had many duties, one of which was to rope cows. Roping was all part of a day’s work. With a good horse, herding, handling, penning, branding and caring for calves and grown cattle became far more productive through the art of roping.
The job of roping takes a stout saddle that can stand up to the impact of an unwilling cow on the other end of the rope. Early vaqueros (cowboys of Mexico and the Southwest) added one particular item to their saddles that proved to be invaluable when working with cattle. The add-on was the saddle horn.
The addition of a horn escalated the cowboys’ ability to handle the cattle with greater control and technique. The handler could now tie the rope to the horn, or dally the rope (where the rope is wrapped several times around the saddle horn, but is not tied so it can slip and get free.) The addition of the saddle horn was crucial to the evolution of today’s modern roping saddle.
Ten Attributes of a Good Roping Saddle
Whether your rope cattle for a living or recreation, certain structural features have become universal to roping saddles today. From calf roping to team roper saddles, the top ten traits you’ll find in all of them include:
- Roping requires a stout saddle – A roping saddle must be able to stand up to the thrashing of an unwilling cow or calf on the other end of the rope. It is also imperative that a roping saddle needs to be able to absorb the impact when a steer hits the end of the rope as the horse stops. The weight of a roper can easily exceed 40 to 45 lbs.
- Part of the strength of a quality roping saddle comes from a strong tree – The preferred tree for a roper is wooden with a bullhide covering. This type of tree will have some give, or flex to it.
- A prominent, beefy horn – There must be a muscular saddle horn to stand up to the demands of roping, especially the incredible jolts and jerks of the cow, calf, or steer on the end of the rope. The saddle horn has thickness, height, and strength to absorb the pull. It is not unusual for the roper horn to be bolted through the swells. The roper horn is usually wrapped in order to aid in securing the dallied rope.
- Swells and cantle should be low profile – This configuration allows a rider to dismount quickly while the horse is still in motion. For calf roping this is a necessity to allow the dismount without the chance of interference from the saddle. In addition, low swells offer the lower leverage for the rope against the horn.
- Full double rigging is the standard for ropers – The cow, calf, or steer puts extreme forward pull on the saddle so the rigging must be very solid. Rigging in the skirt should not be used for the front cinch in a roper since it cannot provide the strength necessary for demands of the sport. The rear rigging is for saddle stabilization. A flank cinch is added to stop the rear of the saddle from tipping forward. The flank cinch should be constructed of very thick leather and is sometimes extra wide for the comfort of the horse. A cinch hobble should be used to keep the rear cinch in the proper placement.
- It is not unusual for the seats of roping saddles to be narrowed a bit – By narrowing the front end of the roper it allows the rider to stand up in the saddle with greater security. This aids the rider in roping the cow, chasing the cow, and also offers less interference to a quick dismount.
- Saddle skirts are normally square and very thick – This ample and stiff skirt greatly aids in saddle stability because they inhibit the twisting of the saddle.
- Deep and wide stirrups should be expected on a roper – This aids in rider stability. Stirrup fenders should be hung in such a way as to enable the rider to hold an upright position when needed. The fenders are constructed using fairly thick leather.
- A roping saddle should have a strap for holding a lariat.
- Roping saddles are typically very heavy – A roper can easily exceed 40 to 45 lbs.
Where rope meets cow.
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