The show saddle is designed specifically for looks, rather than for hard work. They may be based on cutting, roping or other trees, however they have additional character to them such as silver decoration or leather tooling. They are used for the horse show arena and are heavily impacted by current fashion trends. Particular features and styles come in and out of style, and if you want to be in the ribbons, you better know what is popular and what is not. There is nothing more embarrassing in the show circuit than to be caught with last year’s fashion saddle.
Common features of the show saddle include:
- Deep tooling and ornate patterns
- Silver trim on the cantle, horn, skirts, stirrups and fork.
- Short fork and horn to avoid interference with the reins
- Deeper skirts to show off tooling and silver
- Deeper Suede or padded seats that allows the rider to give the appearance of a smooth ride
- Low cantle
- Turned stirrups that can present a more proper proper line to the rider’s leg
Like all fashion, show saddles seem to run from one extreme to the other, from the tasteful to the truly tacky.