The western stock saddle as it is known in the 21st century is the result of the Spanish War Saddle evolving over the last four centuries. The Spaniards brought their war saddles to the New World (Mexico, Central America, and the Western United States) when they explored and claimed these territories. The saddle evolved over time into two styles. The Buckaroo slick-fork saddle used west of the Rockies and the Texican swell-fork saddle used east of the Rockies.
Today saddles are designed for a wide variety of uses and riders. All American saddles regardless of style are designed with slight deviations from the western stock saddle. Less significance is placed on the Buckaroo and Texican styles in modern saddles.
The Collingsworth County Museum has several older saddles on display. One of these is a Coggshall saddle made by Miles City Saddlery in Miles City, Montana. Coggshall saddles are one of the most treasured of old saddles. This saddle was purchased in 1910 by a man in the Bean Hill Community of Collingsworth County. After four generations of the family used the saddle, it was retired and given to the Museum.
A side saddle made by Padgett Bros. of Dallas was purchased by a man and given to his wife as an anniversary gift. She rode sideways on a regular saddle. He thought this was too dangerous, so he gave her a real side saddle.
Also on display, among other saddles, is a 1918 twelve-inch seat U.S. Army saddle.
Other saddles in the Museum’s collection include one ridden by a local cowboy in a rodeo in Madison Square Garden, and another saddle that was in early Collingsworth County then passed down through three generations.