Sunday, June 7, 2009

Western saddles at the Carriage Museum

Colorado is a state with a rich Western heritage so it's no surprise that the Carriage Museum in Colorado Springs has several nice old Western saddles in its collection. Perhaps the most impressive of these is Spencer Penrose's parade saddle which is proudly displayed on the main floor of the museum. Here's the signage:And here's the saddle itself! I think this is an absolutely lovely parade saddle. Of course, I'm biased. I like saddles of this era with their stand up cantles (no Cheyenne roll), hard seats and long saddle strings.
The matching bridle hangs over the saddle horn. You can see it here, but you have to use your imagination a bit. It would have been better if it had been displayed on a fiberglass horse head. Oh well, you can't have everything!
Unfortunately there is not a lot of information about the rest of the museum's Western saddles.My memory is a bit hazy, but I am relatively certain that this is the Lancaster. Look closely at this one--at first glance it looks all Western, but closer inspection reveals an English type flap and stirrup leather. It's a very interesting combination of styles.
A closer look at the tooling.This is the saddle made by Frank Carrick.
It is a loop seat style saddle. The stirrup leathers loop through the seat-cover as they pass over the bars.
This saddle is undated, but the loop seat style was most common from the early 1900s to the 1920s.
Here's a good look at the tapaderos. Western saddle makers should pay close attention to the shape of these. I see a lot of parade saddles in the hobby that have simple hooded stirrups rather than true tapaderos.
I am almost to the end of my carriage museum pictures--hope you've enjoyed the photo tour as much as I have!


  1. I'm really enjoying the museum tour!

    Help yourself to the knight photo. With I'd been able to get better pictures of a couple of the others. The armor the horses were wearing was really neat.

  2. These are great pics! One Day I want to make a historical western set...

  3. one of the reference books that I have "Cowgirls, Women of the Wild West" Has several pictures of saddles very similar to the "Lancaster" saddle and calls them "ladies astride saddle" the exposed stirrup leathers allowed a lady to move her legs freely with out allowing her riding skirt to become dirty from rubbing on against her horse.

  4. Hi Karen, You must have a great reference library!! I googled "ladies astride saddle" and came up with a lot of old timey Western saddles but also some goodies like this:
    and this:
    I'd say you are spot on in your assessment. Thanks for the input!!

  5. The Cowgirl book is great, lots of pictures and history. I also have one on Cowboys and Packing Iron written by the same authors.

  6. There are many products of different brands in the market .You can try out new saddle which are less slippery.One of my friend bought new western show saddle, when he used this new saddle he was impressed with the quality and comfort, and it was not slippery also.