Types of Leather for Saddles
In the interesting world of saddles there are many different shapes, sizes, colors and makes. Each design is purpose built to aid the rider and horse in that specific discipline. There are some general terms that mean the same thing through out the saddle world. Suede being one of the most common terms applied to saddles, specificity the seats. However, there are more than just one term, here we will detail the meaning behind the words in the world of saddles.
When referencing saddles, the type of leather comes up a lot. Cow hide leather is the most commonly used leather in the horse saddle industry. Some English saddles use pig skin for the seats. On a Western saddle you are most likely to find a different type leather on the seat. Some saddles have a smooth, regular leather seat, these are great for someone who is getting in and out of the saddle repeatedly for work or other things. But now a days there are seats and extras made with all kinds of decorations, embossing, prints, and colors.
The Suede seat is split grain leather that is soft and has a “grip” feel to it. Suede has a nice soft feel to it. Suede can come in many colors and is used for establishments on the seats as well as for chaps and other items.
Rough out leather is the flesh side leather opposite the smooth grain side of leather. Like suede the rough out leather has a gripping feel to it and is often used in barrel saddles on the seat jockey and fenders.
Ostrich print leather is leather that is embossed with the ostrich print skin and pores. The unusual design of the Ostrich leather is due to the feathers of the bird. This type of leather is often dyed in bright colors to accent the unique design.
Alligator print is just like the Ostrich, just a different pattern, you will mostly find this style in darker colors to match what would be in the wild on a real alligator.
Stingray is also coming back as a popular choice in leather for saddles due to its distinct patterns and look.