Photo: Flickr

If you’ve watched a “Western” lately—and you have—and you’re smart—you’ve likely wondered, to yourself, “Are those horse saddles really everything they’re ‘cracked up’ to be—and why?” Great question.

Picking up where we left off above, watch any “Western” movie (or even TV show) and you see immediately that these people were riding horses all over the place. Often on the plains and elsewhere. And they sat on saddles on these horses all day, sometimes trotting and sometimes riding fast and shooting rifles. Either way it’s a long time to spend on a horse and when it comes to protecting your backside from the feeling of sitting on a damn horse all day there’s nothing more important than an ergonomic saddle.

Common sense.

But if you’re anything like me, you analyze and examine those saddles they had in the Old West and you see immediately that those things look pretty hard. Made out of leather and not much else. Often times you see that they had a blanket somewhere up on the saddle, rolled up. I ask myself: How does having a blanket rolled up on the back of the saddle help your ass when all of the force of the walking horse is going up and down directly under you? Doesn’t help a bit. This is just one example of the ways in which technology, considered “magic voodoo” in the days of old, is now better for modern Americans.

We, meaning you and I, want answers. The next time Hollywood big shots expect us to just “shut up and take it” when presented with an image of Old Western people riding those horses, first, I want them to really tell me the truth about the big questions that conveniently never seem to come up in the “dialogue” of the script.

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  • Why not put the blanket on the saddle when you ride the horse instead of roll it up on the back? Seems like it would be softer.
  • More to the point, why not make saddles with some padding built in already? Foam rubber was not commercially available until the 1940s. I grant you that. But how about a pillow sewn in there right under the butt? Sometimes I see saddles that are padded against the horse but not against the human butt. What genius came up with that—ruthless torturer Pol Pot?
  • When you look at pictures of saddles today honestly they still look pretty hard. Are we still perpetuating the “macho” myth that you’re not a “real” cowboy or cowgirl if you have an ergonomically padded saddle? Absurd.

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I bet you could make a memory foam saddle that would look stylish and still perform well on the trail. All it takes is one visionary who’s not afraid of the jibes.