What is a Roping Horse Saddle?

cowboy roping a steer

There are several different roping sports, the two most popular are team roping and calf roping.


Team Roping: Team roping can also be called heading and healing and is a rodeo event. There is a team of two mounted riders and one steer. The first roper is known as the header. The header is the horse and rider team that ropes the front of the steer, typically around the horns. The second horse and rider team is the heeler. Their job is to rope both hind feet of the steer. The run plays out like this. There is a barrier line across the horse and rider teams. The steer is attached to an easy release rope in order to judge length. When the header is ready he/she gives a signal. The steer is then released, the barrier line drops as soon as the end of the rope attached to the steer crosses the barrier line. This ensures that the steer has a head start. Then the header must rope the front of the steer. The header will then dally the rope (wrap it around) the horn of the saddle.  Once the dally is made the rider turns their horse causing the steer to follow.  Once the steer is turned the heeler ropes the two hind feet of the steer. Then the heeler dallies the rope. Once the heeler has made his/her dally the header turns their mount to face the steer. Then both horses are backed to stretch the steer, thus immobilizing the steer. This is when time is called. There are a couple of penalties in the sport of team roping which include a 5 second time penalty for only roping one of the hind feet, a 10 second penalty for breaking the barrier, and no time if the header or heeler fails to rope the steer. Overall, it is a very fast sport with times that range from 4-12 seconds.  Any breed of horse may be used for team roping, but the American Quarter Horse is preferred. If you plan on team roping then you are going to need a Roping Saddle.


Calf Roping: Calf roping is another rodeo event, which is sometimes called tie-down roping. Similar to team roping, the calf is attached to a release rope.  This gives the calf a head start.  Once the rope is pass the barrier line, the barrier line is dropped and the horse and rider ride out of the box after the calf.  The rider then ropes the calf around the neck.  The roper then stops his mount and dismounts.  The horse aids the roper by backing up to maintain tension on the rope.  The roper must then flip the calf on its side and tie three of the calf’s legs together.  This tie is called a half hitch knot.  When this tie is complete the roper signals by throwing his/her hands up.  This is when time is called.  The roper then remounts his horse and moves the horse forward to relax the rope.  The calf must stay tied before the official time is recorded. Top professionals of the sport can complete the run in 7 seconds. If you are considering a career in calf roping you need to consider purchasing a Roping Saddle.


Wade A Fork Ranch Roping Cowboy Western Horse SaddleRoping Saddle:  The roping saddle is designed to take a beating and is very durable. It must have a strong tree and horn. The saddle is also designed to allow the rider as much freedom of motion as possible, so that the saddle does not interfere in any aspects of the run. The saddle tree is wood and reinforced. Typically, the tree is covered in bull hide to ensure strength. The fork of the saddle is low and rounded. This keeps the leverage of the rope on both the horse and horn. The low standing of the fork also does not interfere with a swinging rope or rider movement. The horn is tall and thick and is usually wrapped for the aid of dallying. Roping Saddles contain the double rigging, both the front and the back cinches. This helps to prevent the saddle from riding forward when leverage is placed on the horn. The front cinch is most commonly found in the 7/8 position for the same reason.  The cantle is low so that the rider can easily dismount. The stirrups and fenders are hung more forward on the saddle. This allows the rideRanch Work Roping Style Leather Horse Saddler to brace on the stirrups when necessary. The stirrups are wide and deep, so that the rider can easily dismount from the stirrups when necessary. There is also a rope strap that is used to hold the lariat. Roping saddles, like ranch saddle, are very heavy. The heavy weight is a necessary design for a saddle that is made to withstand the punishment that a roping sport is going to take on it. So if you plan on competing in roping events, you are going to need a roping saddle or you are going to have a lot of broken horns and trees. To find the best Roping Saddle for you, check out SaddleOnline today!