Western Saddle Guide

Western Saddle Guide > Saddle Parts > Fenders

The Saddle Fenders

The saddle fenders are the long vertical pieces of leather that lie underneath the rider's legs. They're designed to protect the legs from the horse's sweat. Since fenders receive a lot of wear, they should be made of heavy weight, top quality leather.

Saddle fenders come in different shapes and sizes. A well-designed saddle will match the shape of the fender to the style of the rest of the saddle. For instance, a round-skirted saddle would have fenders with rounded corners.

A fender will taper at the top to lessen the bulk under the seat jockey and the rider's legs. This shape also allows for the stirrup leathers to have full swing. At the bottom of the fender there is a vertical strip, or extension. In modern saddles, this extension is cut from the same piece as the body of the fender. The extension provides clearance between the stirrup and the bottom of the fender enabling the stirrup to swivel and move freely.

saddle fenders

Fender diagram courtesy of "Saddle Savvy" by Dusty Johnson

The fenders are joined to the stirrup leathers by one of three methods:

  • Old Style The full length stirrup leather lies on top of the fender. This style is being revived in the modern buckaroo saddles.

  • Full Length The full length stirrup leather lies behind the fender and is stitched to the bottom of the fender extension. This is the most common method among modern saddles.

  • Half Length The half length stirrup leather is stitched to the top of the fender. This style lessens the bulk under the rider's legs. On lesser quality saddles, the half length stirrup leather can be a cost saving tactic and poor construction can compromise the strength of the assembly. In higher quality, custom saddles with top-notch construction, half length stirrup leathers have proven to withstand the rigors of hard use.



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