A roping saddle is made for heavy use and the rider’s maximum range of movement. A rider may easily chase, rope, and dally a cow to the horn in a well-designed roper. The saddle must have a very strong saddle tree and horn to withstand this stress.
- For maximum strength, a wood saddle tree with a bullhide cover is preferred.
- A rounded, low fork. This will reduce the rope’s leverage on both the horn and the horse while also preventing the rope from swinging.
- For dallying, a tall, thick horn with a horn wrap.
- Full double rigging — both front cinch and flank cinch, with the front cinch in the 7/8ths or full position most typically.
- For maximum traction, a deep, rough-out or suede seat is recommended.
- A low cantle makes dismounting easier.
- Stirrups were hung a little further forward than usual to allow the rider to put their feet forward and brace against the stirrups when needed.
- Roper-style stirrups that are deep and wide.
- A lariat is held by a rope strap.
- Added weight
Roping saddles built expressly for roping are most commonly used by people competing in roping competitions. Ranch-style saddles are a superior choice for general-purpose ranch labor and riding. They are designed for long hours of riding comfort, but they also have features that make them excellent for roping.