Western Saddle Guide

Western Saddle Guide > Saddle Parts > Cantle

The Cantle

The cantle is the upright portion at the back of the seat. As an important part of the saddle tree, it holds the bars together at the back of the tree. It also provides a backrest and secures the rider so that they don't slide off the back of the saddle.

There are a number of different style options:

  • Height. Old time saddles had heights of 5-6 inches. Most modern saddles now have 4 inch heights, with some competition saddles (cutters and ropers) having heights as low as 2 inches.
Cheyenne Roll
  • Slope or Angle. Options are low, medium and steep. Medium slope is what you’ll find on the majority of saddles today.

  • Shape. Options include "regular" (oval), "comfort" (flat-topped with rounded corners) and "shovel" (tall)

  • Dish. The depth of the recess in the front side. Can range from almost no dish to a two inch dish. Most common is 1 to 1/2 inches.


Cantle Binding
A Cheyenne roll (thought to be named after the town where it was invented) is a flat piece that extends backward and down off the backside. Cheyenne rolls are now found on most modern saddles. Some misguided people believe that the Cheyenne role is simply ornamental. These people have obviously never discovered what a handy grip the Cheyenne roll makes when trying to keep your rear in the saddle at the canter.

Some saddles have a bead binding instead of a Cheyenne roll. And some saddles have both a bead binding and a Cheyenne roll.

In addition to its function, the cantle has become an important surface for decoration on the western saddle. You’ll often see elaborate carving and bindings on this piece.



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