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Horse and Saddle Diagrams

Posted by on November 15, 2012
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Bob Ward

Fiction author with a zest for adventure travel. Blogs, tweets, videos, and pins for research and fun. He also hosts Ward's Adventure Travel Research & Trip Journal, a weekly podcast available on EFN, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and more.

Below are a few diagrams I found helpful in my research of Mountain Cabin. The process of saddling a horse is very interesting. You first lay a felt pad over the horses back, pulling the front edge up to where the withers begin (to about where the below horse’s hair starts, not to where the diagram points). Then, mostly for color decoration, you add a wool blanket on top. Then you lay the saddle on the blanket. Lift the left stirrup and lay it over the saddle to get it out of the way. The front cinch (from the opposite side) is brought under the horse’s belly. The front cinch has a d-ring buckle on the end. The front billet strap is connected to the front rigging Dee (shown here as the burgundy strap coiled up). That strap has holes punched in it and is fed through the d-ring on the cinch, then brought back up and fed through the front rigging Dee from the front side. Pull the billet strap through and down behind and feed it through the cinch strap buckle again. Repeat maybe once more until you run out of available strap, pulling everything tight (cinching) as you go, then buckle the front cinch into the holes on the billet. Tuck the excess to keep it from flopping around. Next, the back cinch. Again, the only thing shown on this diagram is the billet strap. This back cinch just needs to be fed through the back cinch d-ring buckle like a belt and buckled into the holes. It does not need to be fed back up through a Dee like the front billet or pulled extra tight. You should be able to easily slip your hand under the back cinch. Finally, before you mount the saddle, you should check the front cinch billet and tighten it more if necessary. Why? Because horses are smart, and sometimes they will inhale and hold a big breath while being saddled just to let it out when they think you’re done.

Studying the color chart below is vital if you hope to effectively watch Bonanza, Lonesome Dove, or any of your favorite Clint Eastwood western classics. Why? In Lonesome Dove, for example, Clara says to Call, “Captain, see that little sorrel over there with the star on his forehead? I’m giving him to Newt.” She’s referring to the horse by its color. In Eastwood’s Unforgiven, a townsman tells Little Bill, “…he seen three men, right after sunup, headed out east, and one was on a dun, and another was on a flea-bit gray, only he didn’t know what the third one was on…”  Then later, Fuzzy tells Little Bill, “…bunch of us boys from bar-t went out looking on account of them killing one of our own, come upon this son of bitch on a roan heading south…” Anyway, there’s the reason to study the color charts.

 

Western Saddle Parts
(image via finesaddles.com)

Parts of a Horse
(image via phantomriders.weebly.com)

American Quarter Horse Color Chart
(image via diamondsranchonline.com)

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