DJ's Old Western Roundup

Saddles & Tack
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BRIDLE: (la brida, el freno) the head harness for a horse, basically consisting of the headstall, bit, chin strap and reins, but often including also a brow band, nose strap, and throat latch.

BIT: (el freno) - metal mouthpiece on a bridle, when connected to reins, used to steer the horse. There are a great many variations on bit shapes and severity. Some types include half-breed, spade, snaffle, curb, and ring bits.

BOSAL: (bozal) noseband, usually of braided rawhide, used with headstall to make a hackamore. Usually used with a mecate for reins.

BREAST COLLAR: strap, often made of leather, that passes around the animal's chest and is attached to the saddle. Used to keep the saddle from sliding back.

BRITCHIN: (Breeching) Leather strap arrangement fitting over an animal's hind quarters to keep a saddle from slipping forward. Essential on mules because of their slim shoulders.

The term breeching also refers to a permanent identification mark made horizontally across both sides of a cow's rump (in the same place the leather strap is shown on the mule in the photo).

BUCKING ROLLS: padded attachments at the front of the saddle to supplement the swells to help the rider stay in the saddle. Most often used on A-fork saddles.

CANTLE: (la teja) arched, rear portion of the saddle tree.

CHOKER: different style of breast collar. Also called martingale.

CINCH: (la cincha) a leather or fabric band (or girth) that holds the saddle on the horse's back by being tightened around its body just behind the front legs. Usually it is fastened to leather straps (latigos) that hang from the rigging on each side of the saddle.


double rigged - two cinches, one forward and one (flank) behind the seat.

single rigged - one cinch which can be different distances back on a saddle.

CONCHO: (la concha) a metal disk, often of silver, set on a leather rosette that secures saddle thongs or used as other decoration.

ROSETTE: (la roseta) a circular design; on western stock saddles, a small leather disk with two slits for thongs or saddle strings to pass through, securing skirts to saddletree.

CRUPPER: A leather strap that goes around an animal's tail to keep the saddle from slipping forward.

Dally: When roping, wrapping the rope counter-clockwise around the saddle horn to hold the animal or object roped.

FIADOR KNOT: (Sometimes called Theodore knot) This knot is used to tie a hackamore in conjunction with the hackamore knots and tie knot. This is known as the hardest knot to tie in horse gear.

HACKAMORE: (la jaquima) consists of a noseband (bosal), usually of braided rawhide, that fits over the horse's nose, a strap behind its ears, and reins (usually a mecate) forming a type of bridle or halter.

MECHANICAL HACKAMORE: metal version of the above with metal side pieces that work on the nerves of the nose and a chain under the jaw that works on the nerves there. Sometimes called a broken-jaw hackamore.

HALTER: (el cabestro) a headstall usually with an attached rope or strap, for holding and leading an animal.

Harness: Sets of straps, collars, reins, and hardware that are used on horses in order to have them pull a wagon.

Headstall: Straps that go over a horse's head which, together with a bit and reins, form the bridle.

HOBBLES: (manellos) straps placed around a horse's legs to keep it from wandering off.

HORN: (la cabezal) the projection, often bent forward, above the pommel used for dallying a rope. Different style horns are regional. Different style horns are used for cutting and roping.

KEEPER: piece of leather attached to the saddle through which loose equipment or saddle parts can be hooked.

LATIGOS: leather straps to which the cinch is secured, each suspended from a latigo ring (or rigging ring), one on the near or on-side (el latigo) and sometimes one on the off-side of a single rigged saddle; on a double-rigged saddle there is also a second (flank) cinch. Some saddles have an off-side billet to secure the cinch instead of a second latigo.

MARTINGALE: (la gammara) strap from the (front) cinch to the bridle, or ending in two rings through which the reins pass, to help control the horse. Also used to refer to the "choker" style breast collar.

Macardy (el mecate) A rope, often of braided horsehair, that is used as a combination rein and lead rope.

McClellan: style of military issue saddle used by the U.S. Cavalry.

MOCHILA: Mail pouch the Pony Express riders carried on their saddles to hold the mail.

MORRAL: A feed bag for a horse that fits over its nose. Also called a nose bag. It is a handy method of feed a horse grain or pellets. Little feed is wasted and one animal cannot eat another's ration.

NIGHT LATCH: Safety strap attached to the saddle for the rider to hold on to in order to stay on a contrary horse.

SAWBUCK PACKSADDLE: (la albarda) (juste) simple wooden framework with crossed ends placed on animal's back to carry loads.

DECKER PACKSADDLE: different style pack saddle with metal rings to support the load. The saddle pictured is made by Tom Padgitt, Waco, Texas and has metal arches with "horns" for tying, rather than traditional rings.

REIN: (la rienda) strap or cord (in pairs) that runs from the bridle bit around the horse's neck, to be held and manipulated by the rider. These straps manipulate the bit and apply pressure on a horses mouth and neck in order to steer the animal.
Reins are of two general types, open (split) and closed. Texas cowboys prefer open reins. One advantage of that type is that they are not joined together, so that if a rider is thrown, he is not in danger of becoming entangled.

Ropers and California buckaroos are partial to closed reins. Closed reins are attached to each other and

California style reins often have a long flexible quirt called a "romal" attached.

ROMAL: a quirt or whip attached to a set of California style reins.

RIGGING RING: (la argolla) latigo ring.

ROPES: Extensive look at different type of ropes

SADDLE: (la silla) (Also called a "wood.") seat type device set on an animal to facilitate riding it. Different styles are used in different parts of the country and for different uses.

POMMEL: (la campana) forward, arched portion of saddletree.

SWELLS: bulging shoulders of the saddle pommel

FORK: (el fuste) saddletree, bows of saddletree.

GULLET: (el interior del arzon) inside of the pommel or the front edge of the forward arch of the saddle.

SADDLE BLANKET OR PAD: (el cojin, el baste) heavy blanket or pad placed under the saddle to protect it from dirt and to help conform the saddle to the animal's back.

SADDLE BAGS: (las cantinas) (bolsas) large leather or canvas piece with attached pockets, placed over the rear extensions of the saddle to carry extra gear.

SADDLE STRINGS: (los tientos) narrow strips of tanned leather, usually in pairs, that lace through the saddletree or coverings, and are held on surface by rosettes; the long ends are decorative and also serve to tie on ropes, and other pieces of equipment.

SADDLETREE: (el fuste de silla) framework, often of wood covered with rawhide, consisting of two side-boards connected by two forks for the pommel and cantle; the conformation of these parts gives the saddle its characteristic shape and name. There are many different styles of saddletree.

SIDESADDLE: ladies' riding saddle. Women began to ride astride when they needed to do real ranch work. The style of riding sidesaddle began to go out of fashion around the turn of the 20th century.

SHOO-FLY: tassel like accessory, often made of horse hair, that swings as the horse moves scaring away flies and other insects. Often attached to the front cinch.

SKIRTS: (las faldas) large leather panels attached to the saddletree, to protect the rigging and give form to the saddle.
The skirts on this saddle are square.

SNOWSHOES for horses...? That is what we are told this devise is...Shod horses will build up snowballs in their hooves making it difficult to impossible to travel. Shoes are usually pulled in areas with heavy snowfall during the winter months. This clamp-on shoe would help that problem. It appears to have been wrapped with burlap for padding against the hoof.

SOOGAN: (also: sougan) Quilt or comforter in a cowboy's bedroll.

STIRRUP: (el estribo) a device hung from each side of a saddle to receive the rider's foot. Stirrups come in different widths and cowboys prefer different style stirrups for different tasks.

Oxbow stirrups: Narrow stirrups sometimes made of metal and sometimes preferred by bronc riders.

TAPADEROS: also called taps. Stirrup covers to protect rider's feel from brush and weather. They come in different styles.

Eagle bill (or eagle beak) taps: Tapaderos with long pieces of leather hanging below the stirrups. When moving cattle, a cowboy can slap the pieces of leather together by wiggling their legs and the noise helps push the cattle.

Monkey nose taps: Blunt nosed stirrup covers used strictly to protect the feet & stirrups.

STIRRUP LEATHERS: (los arciones) adjustable straps that suspend the stirrups from the saddletree

FENDER: (el alero) leather piece projecting back from stirrup leather to protect the rider's legs.

WOOD: Another term for "saddle

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