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The History of Saddles

The known history of the saddle can be traced back to the Moorish horsemen and warriors of the Dark Ages.

The Moors invaded Spain in the 700’s and brought with them a unique style of riding and tack. With high cantles and forks for protection and security, their saddles were designed for battle. They included stirrups to accommodate riding with armor. The knights rode these saddle on the crusades.

The Spaniards brought their Spanish War Saddle to the New World. These saddles evolved from a military saddle into a stock saddle, becoming a tool for the working cowboy.

Two schools of preference developed – the Texicans and the Californios. The Texican style was popular east of the Rockies and up into Canada. These saddles were big, plain, heavy square-skirted, double-rigged saddles. They were suited for the heavy brush of the region and the hard riding and roping style.
The Pacific coast, Great Basin country, and the Northwest were dominated by the Californios style saddle. Their saddles were lighter, round-skirted, and center fired rigged for the dally style of roping they used. The vaqueros had more free time because of the climate and terrain of the area. They used their time to begin to highly decorate their saddle and established the tradition of saddle decoration.

These two distinct styles can still be recognized in the Buckaroo slick-fork saddle (Californios) and the swell fork, square-skirt saddle (Texican).

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I love the wind in my face, the open sky before me, the romance and flavor of the West, but, most of all, our loving and living God, who created it all. I love how He works out His plans in the realm of human events, which is His Story. I have been blessed with a gift: a compulsion to write Historical and present-day novels set in the American West that demonstrate His power to transform ordinary people into true heroes and heroines. I am just a scribe really. I find the joy of participating in the creation of inspirational fiction indescribable. May our Lord Jesus Christ receive all of the credit and be glorified.

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