What is a cutting horse saddle, and what’s it used for? A cutting horse saddle is designed to be used for separating a single steer, cow or calf from the herd. “Cutting” can be used as a sport or a job.
Depending on what you’ll be doing, you’ll either be using what’s called “ranch cutters” (working saddles) or “cutters” which refers to competition saddles.
In either case, the saddle you’d use is called a cutting saddle. The main function of this saddle is to maximize the rider’s ability to balance himself during quick starts, stops and turns on the job or competition.
Features and Benefits
All saddles are made for riding. But because you’ll be steering cattle, or competing, you’ll need certain features that will enhance the functionality of your cutting horse saddle. Trying to steer cattle means you’re in for quite a wild ride.
Here are the features and benefits of the cutting horse saddle that will keep you secure during your ride.
- Tall Thin Horn – for easy hand grip
- High, Wide and Straight Swells – designed to hold the rider in the seat during sharp turns
- Flat, Long, Smooth Seat – allows for maximum maneuvering
- Rough-Out Jockeys and Fenders – for better grip
- Forward Hung and Free-Swinging Fenders – allows the rider to stay balanced and dig deep during the horse’s sharp stops and turns
- Narrow, Slim Stirrups – designed to keep the boot sturdily in place
- Low Cantle – a low cantle means it won’t hit the rider in the back
- Double Rigging – front cinch and flank cinch keeps the saddle from slipping forward
A Word About Double Rigging Feature
Cutting saddles have double rigging –front cinch and flank cinch. The cinch is not a decorative accessory for your Western saddle. It’s a crucial safety piece. Its function is to stabilize your saddle by attaching, with the help of rear billets and a leather hobble strap, to the front cinch.
The back cinch keeps your saddle snuggly in place and level to your horse’s barrel – alleviating pressure to his withers because the saddle won’t shift forward during maneuvers. A back cinch isn’t usually used in certain riding, like Western pleasure trips. But for events such as reining, hilly trail riding, and cattle events, the back cinch is essential.
Versatile Means Economical
Because the cutter horse saddle is versatile, it makes it economical to own. Not only can you use this saddle for cutting, but this saddle is a great choice for training, penning events and even reining.
Why? Because all of these activities require close contact and movement with the saddle by the rider in order to stay out of the horse’s way.
What to Look For When Buying a Cutting Saddle
So, what should you look for when buying a cutting saddle? Look for a low cantle with a high pommel and horn. You’ll want a flat seat with a slightly raised pommel.
You’ll also want a good suede seat, roughout-jockeys and fenders so that when your horse makes sharp cuts, you’ll stay firmly in place. Lastly, look for reinforced rigging and reinforced leather wear straps on the skirts.
If you want even more affordable cutting saddles, try buying a used cutting saddle.