team roping

Padded Seat vs. Hard Seat

Everyone has an opinion on what feels comfortable to them in a saddle seat.  Some folks like a plush cushy padded seat to make their ride more pleasurable.  Some prefer the other end of the extreme and want nothing between their tushy and the ground seat but a piece of skirting leather.

I believe the latter is the way to go.  As a craftsman, I spend quite a bit of time applying pieces of leather and sculpting/skiving each piece to insure the best possible balance and feel in each and every one of our saddle.  The last thing I want to do is cover up my hard work with a thick layer of synthetic foam that will completely change the way the saddle rides.

For the most part, consumers have grown accustomed to seeing saddles of all style with padded seats.  This has become the norm and because of that many folks judge the quality of the ride by the type of padding used instead of the quality of the ground seat the saddle has… in fact, many consumers have a limited understanding of what a ground seat even is much less what a properly crafted ground seat feels like.

If the ground seat is so important then why do so many manufacturers cover them up with padded seats?  The answer has two parts.  First of all, many manufactured saddles’ ground seats don’t get much attention in the build process.  Sometimes there isn’t even any kind of leather ground seat installed at all and the balance and feel of the saddle seat is left up solely to the tree maker… This seldom creates a seat that is properly fit for the rider.  With that, the padded seat is used to cover up poor craftsmanship in the ground seat and hopefully create a feel that is good enough to get the saddle from the sales rack into your tack room before the padding breaks down and you’re left with a poorly seated saddle.

The second reason so many saddles have padded seats is due to the more economical way manufacturers cut and install the final seat in their saddles.  The seat of a saddle is the biggest piece of leather that is cut in the entire saddle build and therefore the most expensive.  In order to cut cost some, the majority of manufacturers cut and install what is called a “three piece” or “split” seat.  Basically, instead of one big piece they cut two seat jockeys (left and right) that they skive and sew together in the middle of the saddle seat and then sew the padded seat over the top of the junction giving the finished product the appearance of a full seat.  Again, the padding they use covers the overlap and any bumps where the two jockeys come together… at least until the padding breaks down.

Padded seats definitely have a place in certain types of saddles and many manufacturers have a great seat in their saddles despite the three piece seat.  We often install padded seats in our saddles (no three piece seats allowed in our shop though) if the customer request it.  My only issue with them is the fact that the seat will change some over time due to the padding breaking down and also its something else to wear out and need replacing.  Since I work so hard to insure the quality of the ground seat in my saddles, I use a very thin foam that limits the change initially in my ground seat.

Many folks think the more padding the seat has the more comfortable it will be on longer rides.  This is not true at all.  A thick amount of padding lifts the rider out of the saddle to a position of being on top of the saddle instead of “in” the saddle allowing for a more balanced ride.  If the ground seat is done correctly, a hard seated saddle is much more comfortable and allows consistency over the life of the saddle.

If you want some proof of my opinion, look at the saddles that full time cowboys ride on big ranches where they ride from morning till night… you won’t see padded seats in many of those saddles.  Cowboys who are in a saddle all day seven days a week swear by hard seats.

Third year at the George Strait Team Roping

Well it’s upon us again. Seems like we just finished the Christmas season, and here we are set up at the George Strait Team roping Classic in San Antonio, TX.

This is our third year attending this event and we are looking forward to seeing our friends and making new ones. Like every year in the past, we try to start early and have two or three custom saddles made for this show. Again this year we were only able to bring one. With our growing order list and the demand our saddles have at home, we were only able to escape Brazos county with one.

This is the first time in our three years here that the weather has been bad. It’s currently raining and cold, so the ropers will have to contend with cold fingers if they want a chance at the money, truck and trailer.

Good luck to all the contestants! And to all the spectators, set back and enjoy some of the best team roping action on the planet!

First day of USTRC Finals

Jim and I are in the booth early this morning… Probably a little too early, but what the hell! Our good friend from All Around Perfmance Horse, John Klam got in last night and we ate and had a couple beverages. As usual we solved some world problems and made some predictions of the outcome of the finals.

It’s good to be here again and we are eager to see all our friends and make new ones. We made a new friend yesterday in Lawton, OK after spending the morning hanging out at Howard Council’s saddle shop. When it comes to saddle making careers, Mr. Council’s is by far the greatest. He has built saddles for over 250 NFR qualifiers and it was a true pleasure to spend the time with him.

Nine days of team roping and lots of money given away. If your around come by and visit. If not we will post frequently and fill you in on the excitement.

USTRC Finals 2011 is here!

Well it’s that time again… Almost! We are desperately trying to finish our products for our booth at the USTRC Finals in Oklahoma City. We have a little under two weeks and lots to do still.

As with every show we attempt to plan ahead and have a jump on our inventory, but with the orders we already have it always seems to create a crunch. We aren’t complaining! We love that we have a long list of customers that have ordered from us and they have priority.

Have no fear, we will finish and have plenty to look at and purchase at the show this year! We have five saddles that we intend to finish and many small items to help with those Christmas gift ideas.

As always, Jim and I will be prepared to take custom orders on any items or saddles to get you exactly what your looking for. Be sure and come by our booth in barn three and visit. We are really hoping you like our new bigger booth and look forward to seeing all our friends and make new ones as well.


This year will be our third year attending the USTRC Finals in Oklahoma City. We are so excited to see our old friends and make new ones at this event.

This year we have a twenty foot booth in barn 3 and hope to have many new and exciting products for everyone to enjoy. We would like any input from you about what you would like us to make for this show. Anything from belts to saddles or even stuff out of the ordinary. Please contact us with your ideas or suggestions at our website DGSaddlery or call the shop at 979-775-6300.

Our last stop before the finals will be Waco for the regional finals this weekend and we look forward to spending the weekend with everyone.

If we don’t see you in Waco come by our booth in OKC in barn 3 and visit.

DGSaddlery Roping a Success!

We at DG Saddlery would like to thank all those who attended our 3rd annual DG Saddlery Team Roping in Caldwell, TX this past weekend. We had 491 teams for the day and enjoyed spending time with all our friends and making new ones.

Congratulations to George Mueller for winning the high money of the day and a certificate for a custom saddle! We look forward to working with Mr. Mueller designing his new custom Don Gonzales saddle!

We hope everyone enjoyed our roping and for those that didnt get to make it this year, we will have another one next year and we hope to make it bigger and better than is year. Also if you forgot to purchase your DG Saddlery tshirt from the roping we have them available at the shop or you can contact us through the our website DGSaddlery or call us at 979-775-6300.

Thanks again and we hope the rest of your team roping season goes well. Come see us in Waco, TX this weekend!


DG Saddlery Roping

August 6, 2011 is the scheduled date for our DG Saddlery Roping to be held in Caldwell, TX. This is our third annual and we hope for it to be bigger than last year. As usual we will be giving a custom saddle certificate to the high money winner of the day.

We will also debute a new tshirt design that day and there will also be other events with give away prizes and lots if fun.

This is a one day event that we do every year and we hope that you will come out, rope, and enjoy the day with us. For more info contact us at

Big Loop Big Money Tour Finals

After almost a year of ropings, the end is here and all that is left is the Big Loop Big Money Tour Finals.

On the weekend of July 23, 2011 in Bryan, TX, cowboys who have attended at least three Big Loop ropings during the year will compete for custom Don Gonzales saddles and of course lots of cash!

This years event will also include a “Girls Gone Wild” horse sale, sponsor roping, and an all girls roping.

Don Gonzales Saddlery will have our booth set up displaying all 14 custom saddles that will be given away.

We invite everyone to come out to the Brazos Co. Expo Center to enjoy some of the best roping and visit our booth to see 14 of the best saddles that can be won anywhere. And if your not roping at the finals or don’t win won of these great saddles, we would be glad to build one just for you.

Cramped quarters!!!

I’VE HAD IT!!! Spending the day cleaning and getting ready for another great week of slinging leather. The one thing that is for sure is that we are pretty close to needing more space. We are doing our best with the space we have and as with most businesses, if they are lucky, they grow in production and need more space.

Although our workspace is tight and old, we will continue pushing onward and deal with our issues. If anything it adds a sense of great comedy to our day in day our work life. Blessed to have the pile of work that we have and blessed to have the sense of humor to enjoy it all.

After all, what is a saddle shop with out character. Ya, that’s what I call it, character! Those that work for me have become quite capable of dealing with the unconventional working environment, and we all patiently wait for the day when ample workspace will be a reality and coming from such sparse beginnings will keep us humble. The flip side is we could have a big fancy building and nice big retail floor with no work… I prefer our current situation.