CourtneyLynn

Removing the horn from a saddle... is it possible?

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... Can I cut the horn off a western saddle without damaging the tree?

I know, I know... you're asking yourself why on earth I'd do that. I have a really nice Wade saddle, but I'd like a second saddle for my less *rotund* mare with slightly higher withers. The Wade fits her decently, but I feel like she would prefer a smidge more wither clearance. I've been hunting around for endurance or stock saddles... but it seems the only ones I can find have horns or are the english style ones. I'd like a saddle without a horn because variety is the spice of life, but the mare I'd be using the saddle on DESPISES the weight distribution of English saddles. She likes western saddles and I like not eating dirt (which happens when I get stupid and put any English saddle on her). I'm all about compromise, which is why I'm considering buying a cheap western saddle and lopping off the horn.

I'm still hunting around on Facebook groups for the ideal endurance/stock saddle, but in the event I can't find one... is it possible to saw off the horn on a western saddle and just patch over the area? I feel like it's been done before... but my concern is about damaging the tree itself. Is the horn an integral part of the tree's stability or is it safe to remove it?

And thus concludes the strangest thread you'll likely read today.

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oltoot   

Yes, if you want it off and aren't planning on replacing it, it won't matter how the treee is constructed, you can just saaw away, it wont matter if the horn and fork are one piece of wood or if a metal horn covered in wood putty is used. at any rate plan on covering up the raw surface with a leather or rawhide cover. Be advised that if it is of one piece construction and you cut the horn off, plan on keeping it the rest of it's life cause no one will want to undertake what it would take to put a horn on  it. It would be daunting enough it had had the top of the fork inlet for a cast metal horn. Have you looked at a plantation or endurance saddle, they are made without horns and will always have some resale value as opposed to a butchered up Wade.

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The saddlemaker in me wants to ask - "Why don't you have a saddle made?  Of course you could do it yourself, and start by ordering a custom tree - they really aren't THAT expensive - and have it made without the horn.  I see way too many instances of people trying to cut corners on their saddlery and although they never come back to admit it, I'm guessing that most end up abandoning the project or starting over.  I'd just do it right the first time.  And by the way, cutting the horn off won't give the horse any more clearance.  It's the size of the gullet that makes the difference. Take a picture of the saddle on the horse and post it here.  You're certain to get at least as much advice as you want.

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1 hour ago, cowboycolonel said:

The saddlemaker in me wants to ask - "Why don't you have a saddle made?  Of course you could do it yourself, and start by ordering a custom tree - they really aren't THAT expensive - and have it made without the horn.  I see way too many instances of people trying to cut corners on their saddlery and although they never come back to admit it, I'm guessing that most end up abandoning the project or starting over.  I'd just do it right the first time.  And by the way, cutting the horn off won't give the horse any more clearance.  It's the size of the gullet that makes the difference. Take a picture of the saddle on the horse and post it here.  You're certain to get at least as much advice as you want.

Cutting the horn off a cheapie western saddle with wither clearance would be a temporary thing... I'm actually waiting for another post to be approved where I'm looking for a saddle maker that would like to take on a project. :) I don't plan to butcher my Wade in any way, maybe my thread was a little unclear, but was planning to find myself an old saddle that fit my higher withered mare and hack that apart. I like having a second saddle and I figured a western without a horn would be interesting because Stock Fender saddles are hard to come by up here in Canada. I just didn't know if it would compromise the tree in any way. As for resale, I know no one would want a butchered saddle so I have no issues keeping it or at the worst case scenario, taking it apart to learn how everything goes together so I can eventually build one of my own in the distant future.

 

But the long term plan is have one custom made. It's just a matter of finding a saddle maker that would be open to taking on such a project or maybe one that has experience in hornless Endurance type saddles. I've actually managed to track down a saddle maker that makes almost the exact saddle I want and I've sent her an email... but I'm also shopping around for other makers just in case this saddler can't make the couple changes I want.

 

Thank you!

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I would suggest, (if you have not already) you check out Australian stock saddles.  pretty much like the western saddles, but no horn.

 

Paul

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1 hour ago, sheathmaker said:

I would suggest, (if you have not already) you check out Australian stock saddles.  pretty much like the western saddles, but no horn.

 

Paul

Hi Paul. I've checked out the Aussie stock saddles, but in my next of the woods... the only ones to be found are the ones with English style flaps with a useless little horn. It doesn't appear that the fender stock saddles have made it over from Australia yet and people that have them for sale don't want to deal with the hassle of shipping to Canada. I've managed to find one saddle maker in Australia who will ship to Canada, so she's on my list of considerations. Base price is around $4000 AUD and there are certain changes I'd like to make that will drive the price up even further, if she's even willing to make those specific changes. But it's definitely a consideration.

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Big Horn Saddlery makes a good endurance saddle with a western look; and, there is a maker called Stonewall Saddles (located in So. California) that make a nice endurance saddle at a reasonable price.  Stonewall Saddles is more likely to design a saddle specially for you.  You mentioned cable rigging; I believe Freckers saddlery (in Idaho?) can make you a cable rigged saddle without a horn.  However, cable rigged trees are only made by two brothers: one is called LaPorte saddle trees (out of Cheyenne, Wy.) and the other is LiteRide or Chicago Stockyard Saddle Trees.  Both makers use composite trees and can install the cable when the tree is made.  I personally have used a Big Horn endurance saddle for over 30 years.  It has worked well with Arabs, Appys,  and Walkers.  It's cheap enough for you to take it to a saddle maker and have him/her to do any custom modifications you'd like, and a shop in Canada is more than likely to carry this brand.  I would recommend staying away from flex-style trees.

Ron

 

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