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Horse Saddle Reviews

Crates Reining Saddle 2221 Review

Crates reining saddle 2221 is as good as its price tag suggests.

Crates saddles are among the elite class of lightweight comfortable saddles. The Tennessee manufacturer has been around since the 1940s when Robert H. Crates and T. Fletcher Sims came together to form Simco Leather Company.

After World War II, rising popularity of rodeos created a new market and demand. In the 1950s Crates took over Simco and eventually renamed it Crates Leather.

In 2016, an agreement between the Crates family and owners of Fabtron signaled a new era where Fabtron would have exclusive manufacturing and marketing rights to Crates products. The two families are heavily involved in their businesses, which means these saddles aren’t only made in the USA, but also family-owned and operated.

Before going into the details about this saddle and why it’s a bargain, remember what a reining saddle needs and why.

Crates Reining Saddle 2221 – What Exactly is Reining?

Reining was created by cowboys to judge which horses would work best on ranches. Think about it. A quality ranch horse needs to be able to stop quickly, run and turn just as fast, and respond to light guiding. On top of that athleticism, the horse had to have a good attitude and a solid mind.

If you’ve never watched a reining competition, it’s a western riding competition where horse and rider go through a particular pattern of circles, spins, and stops. Many liken it to figure skating or ballet for horse and rider.

If you’re familiar with dressage, reining is similar (though not to be confused with western dressage). Throughout the ride, a rider controls their horse’s movement, whether they’re standing still or on the move. The key is to make it look effortless and like the rider isn’t doing anything but sitting on the horse.

Because of these rigorous requirements, every rider competing in reining needs to have equipment that allows for close contact and excellent communication.

Crates Reining Saddle 2221 vs Regular Western Saddles

A great reining saddle will allow the rider to sit the sliding stops as well as minimize any interference by aiding in balance and stability during a ride where precision is paramount for higher scores.

They need a low horn so they have free movement for the reins and their body. They also need a cantle that won’t hit the rider’s back when they’re sitting that drastic but impressive sliding stop.

15″ to 17″ Crates Classic Reining Saddle 2221


Tree: Crates exclusive Equifit Reiner, Quarterhorse bars or Full QH Bars (16″ and 17″ Only)
Gullet: 6 5/8″ (QH); 7″ (FQHB) available in 16″ and 17″ only
Rigging: In-skirt, Stainless Steel, “C” Plate
Skirt: Saddlefleece lined, 27″x13″

This particular Crates reining saddle features a butterfly-shaped skirt. Never heard of it? Most western saddles figure into two categories: round or square skirts. Round skirts are made for horses with shorter backs, like Arabians, while square skirts are for horses with longer backs, like Quarter Horses.

A butterfly skirt is an added bonus for a reining pair.

The cutouts in the skirt that create the shape give the rider more leg freedom, and the close contact helps the rider cue the horse. This is important because if a horse pins its ears or gets frustrated, the pair are judged accordingly.

This model is incredibly light at about 30 pounds, and it comes in three different finishes. With a wider gullet size, it’s sure to fit most horses. The tree is made with the Crates Equi-fit reining tree, which means the tree is solid wood covered with fiberglass.

This gives it extra strength and prevents the wood from decaying. Overall, this isn’t a bad investment for trails, ranching, or reining.

crates reining saddle 2221

Was this Crates Reining Saddle 2221 review helpful? Would you like to read more of my horse saddle reviews? Read my blog which has all of my Western saddle reviews.


  • Jannette says:

    I like knowing that the history of where the Reining Saddle is made. It’s important to me because I don’t like to purchase saddles made outside of the U.S. I’m going to have to save my money to buy the Crates Reining Saddle,  as I just bought one of your recommendations last week. I have bookmarked for easy access. 

    • Shalisha Alston says:

      Hi Jannette. Thanks for your feedback. Yes, the Crates Reining saddle is a beauty.  Also, I’m so happy you purchased a saddle based on one of my recommendations.  May I ask, which saddle did you purchase? I’d love to hear about it. 

  • Paolo says:

    I would like a saddle that has the most leg freedom. And I think I have found it in the Crates Classic Reining Saddle. I have always wanted a butterfly-shaped skirt saddle. And reading that this one is very light, it has made me make up my mind. Thank you for this review.

    • Shalisha Alston says:

      Hi Paolo. Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, this particular crate saddle gives you plenty of leg room. Nothing to get in the way of your reining. And short skirts make for lighter weight saddles. I really think this is a great saddle choice too. Please stop by again. 

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