The Western Saddle Skirts

Saddle skirts are thick, heavy leather pieces that attach to the underside of the saddle tree bars. The skirts’ functions are as follows:

  • To keep the horse safe from the bars
  • To spread the rider’s weight across a larger surface area
  • To protect the rider from the perspiration of the horse

saddle skirtsThe skirts are constructed of two hefty leather pieces that are linked together at the rear. Screws and nails secure them to the bars, and the saddle strings keep them in place.

Skirts come in two basic shapes: round and square. The circular skirt, sometimes known as a California skirt after the state where it was most popular, reduces the saddle’s bulk. The square skirt, sometimes known as a Texas skirt, is a more traditional form that protects the horse from heavy brush. Round skirts have become increasingly trendy in recent years.

The skirts have a sheepskin lining on the inside. The sheepskin acts as a cushion between the horse and the saddle, but it also acts as a friction surface to hold the saddle blanket in place. Natural or synthetic sheepskin is available. Natural sheepskin is thicker and more durable, but it attracts insects and rats who eat it. Synthetic sheepskin is not as thick as real sheepskin, but it is cheaper and will not be eaten.

A Dee ring near the front of many skirts is used to connect a breast collar. To protect the skirt from hard use, some skirts will feature a “wear leather,” a patch of an additional layer of leather under the rigging Dee rings.

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