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About Vaquero Saddles

Our goal is to build saddles that recreate the functionality, balanced seat and beautiful aesthetics of the old California saddles, while also fitting the modern horse.

These saddles are based on original pre 1900 California saddles. This style of saddle represents several hundred years of development by the horsemen of old California. These horsemen are considered by many to have been some of the finest the world has ever known. In this style of saddle the old California Vaqueros could ride every day, all day long and still keep their horses backs healthy. They would rope big bulls, grizzly bears and chase wild cattle through some of the roughest country imaginable. Those old time Vaqueros are even known to have ridden as much as 100 miles in a single day. They rode multiple horses in the same saddle using nothing but a doubled wool blanket under the saddle.

For many people this might seem impossible like some fanciful tale out of the past. This is all proven and documentable though. So how did they do this and why don’t the modern western saddles allow us to do the same thing today. The main reason is that modern saddle fitting theories are far different than what was used and proven effective in the past.

You will find that people have a lot of differing theories and opinions about saddles and saddle fit but the only opinion that really matters it that of the horse. The horse is NEVER wrong about saddle fit. No one saddle will fit every horse perfectly but if the saddle tree is built according to the old principals it will fit a wider variety of horses than the vast majority of modern western saddles.

Extensive historical research has proven that the horse needs 16-18 inches of weight baring surface to keep the back healthy. The old California saddles had this weight bearing surface but did not have a lot of extra length that is common in modern saddles. Our saddles have a 21 inch tree just like many of the old California saddles. You will find that many modern western saddles trees are as much as 4 inches longer, most of that length is in the back. This cause a lot of problems with fitting and makes it almost impossible to fit a short backed horse. The “rock” in the bars of our saddles is also like those old California saddles. This allows more freedom of movement in the shoulders, avoided excessive pressure in the front and back when roping and allows the horse to bend in the body without the restrictions common in most modern western saddles.

Because of the shorter tree and the old style rock in the bars, our saddles will fit a wider variety of horses than the vast majority of modern western saddles.

We are confident in the knowledge and experience of the old Californios and how they built their saddles. If you order a saddle and it does not fit your horse, just return it in as new condition and we will refund 100% of the purchase price of the saddle. All you would pay is shipping.