Asked in Horse Tack
Is an endurance saddle a type of western saddle?
September 13, 2011 12:46AM
Contrary to another site out there, an endurance saddle came about when long distance trail riders "cut the horn off" of their western saddles. The AERC (American Endurance Riders Conference) was formed in 1972 but the modern day founding ride was the Western States Trail Ride, better known at "Tevis", which first began in 1954 on a dare. The dare was that modern horses were as good as horses from the 1800's. So the bet was on that the horses could ride 100 miles in one day. One rider one horse.
The evolution of the saddle has come about largely due to the time spent in the saddle. This has huge impact on the horse and the rider. The reason the horn was cut off was while out on wild and wooley trails, when you duck low branches, you would impale yourself on the horn. Since the horn is there to use on the ranch for roping, endurance riders had no need for that horn.
Because there is no regulation as to the type or style of saddle or other tack for that matter, anything goes. Even nothing. I have seen horse/riders compete bareback, with just a neck rope and everything in between.
Some riders come from a more diciplined background, so they often prefer an English style saddle. It was also much lighter than a traditional western saddle. Some didn't want to give up the security of the western saddle, so the endurance saddle came about by lightening the load. Then trying to perfect saddle fit for the horse. We are still trying to make it perfect.