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What makes a good western saddle?

Western riding comes from the Cowboys’ ranch work. These galloping down steep mountain slopes and sat in the saddle all day, which were completely different requirements than today in sport. Riding is almost always on straight riding grounds. Today it is much more about the movements of the horse.

Toni Mayerhofer is head of CR-Saddles in Lichtenberg, Austria. He has been developing Western saddles for years. “Horses must be able to move freely under the saddle. When we collect a horse, the back bulges upwards and that too has to work well,” he says.

“It’s easy to say: a saddle must be good at the bottom and beautiful outside!” Toni Mayrhofer, CEO

Toni Mayrhofer has learned to make a basic saddle in the USA, the home country of Western riding. But then he continued to research with Western riders and vets for years, which makes a good Western saddle. The most important thing is the optimal fit of the saddle tree, he says. “In modern sport, we need strong shoulder freedom to allow the front leg to swing freely and to enable optimum pressure distribution with the back up,” says Mayrhofer.

In the saddlery, work and elegant show saddles are created by hand. In order to stand out from the mass of competitors, they are also quite extravagant. “The design has to be beautiful. Individually. But the saddle must be good to keep the horse healthy. And it goes without saying, the rider must of course sit well on it, otherwise I can keep him right away.”