Within the world of saddles, there are many different types, shapes, and sizes. Each saddle containing its own style, design, and color. The many different parts of the saddle, the stirrups, seat, girth, and horn all work together to accomplish the task of the rider. But one of the most important parts of the saddle, is the seat. The seat of the saddle is the section that keeps the rider balanced, stable, and comfortable. The seat provides the main comfort for every rider. If the seat isn't comfortable, the rider isn't comfortable.Just like saddles, the saddle seat comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. The most common materials that make up a saddle seat include leather, ostrich leather, and suede. There are also different patterns such as alligator, quilted, and zebra that make the saddle seat more exquisite.
Saddle Seat Materials
A leather saddle seat is the most common among both English and Western saddles. It provides a sleek, smooth look to the saddle and keeps the rider comfortable for endless amounts of riding. The making and the production of leather is a three-step process. Theses three steps include the preparatory stage, tanning, and crusting. The preparatory stage is where the skin is made ready for the tanning process. The prep stage includes unhairing, bleaching, or soaking of the hide/skin in order to have it ready for tanning. The tanning process is where the protein on the raw hide is matched with a stable material. That way when the tanned hide gets wet, it won't petrify. And lastly, the crusting stage is where the skin/hide is thinned, retanned, and lubricated. This end product is then applied to the seat of the saddle.
Ostrich leather is known for its distinctive bumpy pattern. It gives the saddle an extra exquisite feature and it is used mostly for barrel racing and show saddles. The production of ostrich leather is a very intricate and specialized process. Therefore, making ostrich leather a very valuable and high quality product.. Just like regular leather, ostrich leather has a three stage making/production process. These three production stages are raw, crust, and finish. The raw stage has a fifteen-step process that the ostrich hide has to go through in order to be ready for the crust stage. Some of these raw steps include pre-soaked, then cleaned, trimmed, and treated with different chromium sulfates. The next stage is crust. In this stage, there are ten steps. Some of these steps include finer cutting/trimming, dyeing, and drying. And lastly, the third stage is finishing. This stage is eleven different steps. Some of those steps include conditioning (to soften the leather), staking, measuring, and packing.
A suede seat can most often be found in barrel racing saddles and endurance/trail saddles. The suede seat adds a little more traction and helps give the rider an extra "grip" when doing speed events or endurance trails.
Saddle Seat Patterns
An alligator seat pattern aids in the beautiful detailing of a saddle. Whether it is real alligator leather or cow hyde with alligator detailing, the alligator print is an exquisite pattern that is sure to catch your eye.
The quilted pattern is most often found on leather and suede seats. It is the hand stitched design that is found on the seat, giving the saddle a splash of detailing. Quilted seats are often found to be more "plush." Therefore, giving the rider more comfort when riding.
Every cowgirl wants to be the talk of the rodeo. And what better way than to have your saddle with glamorous zebra accents! A zebra patterned seat adds kick, flare, and sass to every roping cowgirl out there. Not only does it add pizazz to the saddle, it also (like the suede seat) give the rider that little extra "grip" when riding.
No matter what your favorite material, pattern, or color is there is a saddle seat just for you! With an arraying amount of different patterns, colors, and designs within the saddle world, there are plenty of different seat options to choose from. I don’t know about you, but my favorite seats are the Ostrich leather and the zebra print! What do you think? What is your favorite kind of seat? Please comment in the comment section below and tell me what your favorite kind of seat is!