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Rodeo Queen

The September issue of Glamour SA featured all the new fashion trends for this summer and on one of their many amazing fashion photo shoots they featured some Stetson Hats sold by


The fashion shoot had great cowgirl inspired accessories, suede, and fringe details – see pictures below and get inspired!

Girl with a cowboy hat on and boots
Photography by Katinka Bester at Hero Creative Management
Girl with a cowboy hat on and boots
Photography by Katinka Bester at Hero Creative Management
Girl with a cowboy hat on and boots
Photography by Katinka Bester at Hero Creative Management
Girl with a cowboy hat on and boots
Photography by Katinka Bester at Hero Creative Management


Horse War Paint

Ever seen the old movies of pictures of Indian Painted Horses and wonder why and what it means? An Indian horse was often painted in preparation for battle, Native American Indians treasured their horses and held them in the highest esteem and going into battle was dangerous for both him and his horse. Because of this danger factor they painted their horses and themselves to indicate achievements and previous victories and they believed it held magical powers for protection in battle. Medicine Men often chose certain markings that passed magic through application to the rider and horse helping the warrior to believe himself and his horse invincible. They believed the use of certain symbols and colours afforded the wearer with ‘Magic’ for power and protection by drawing on natural powers and combining these with the power of the warrior and his horse. It was also used to recall meaningful events like Victory & Mourning and after a battle, when the battle was won, a warrior might apply paint to his horse so the tribe could see from a distance the outcome of the battle.

Some typical symbols that were used:zig-zag lines symbolize lightning

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Meaning of Horse War Paint Colours  
Red – War, blood, strength, energy and power

Black – Victory

White – Mourning / Peace

Blue – Wisdom and Confidence

Yellow – Death.

Green – Endurance and healing power, believed to improve vision – green circles might be painted around the eyes of a horse

Purple – Power, Mystery and magic


The sharp shooting cowboys that inspire us

Picture of Annie Oakley the Cowboy with a rifle and western hat

Annie Oakley may have stretched only 1.5 meters from top to toe but her legend stretches to the end of the earth. She joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show as the star attraction in 1885 with her husband Frank Butler. At 27 meters Annie could shoot a dime tossed in mid-air and in one day with a .22 rifle she shot 4,472 of 5,000 glass balls tossed in mid-air. Annie could also without too much effort shoot a playing card (thin edge facing her) at 27 meters and then continue to puncture the card five or six more times as it settled to the ground. Shooting the ashes off a cigarette held in her husband (Frank’s) mouth was part of the Butler and Oakley act. Amazing! Annie Oakley 1860 – 1901

An old picture of Annie Oakley the Cowboy, wearing a wetern hat
Annie Oakley

Big Horn

Engineered for Comfort

The Big Horn Company has been around for 30 years and for 30 years they have had but one motive- to produce saddles that are comfortable for both horse and rider at a reasonable cost– and oh how they have lived up to this.

For 30 years Big Horn Saddles have been the go-to saddle for Western Pleasure, High Performance, Show, Trail and Endurance riding. Big Horn has two elements that make them one of the best saddle brands on the market -1) an exceptional love for horses and – 2) a whole lot of experience. They know and understand different horse breeds and how they move, they pride themselves on building each saddle from the highest quality leather and hardware, they only buy the best trees and each stitch is perfectly placed.

Their reputation is built on their ability to create high quality, comfortable saddles at an affordable price. In addition to building all leather saddles Big Horn also produces Cordura saddles (engineered for comfort), which are extremely popular and for good reason. To distinguish themselves Big Horn sat down and thought of what their goal was with these saddles. They told themselves that they 1) wanted to produce a saddle that is lightweight saddle (that a person over 60 or under 12 can easily lift) and 2) that will allow the stirrups to turn easy. So they came up with the solution to replace the skirts, stirrup leathers, and fenders with Cordura© nylon. The Cordura enhances the light weight of the saddle (on both horse and in your pocket), improves ruggedness and comfort ability.

  • Lightweight and affordable, cordura saddles by Big Horn are made of padded Cordura nylon, the stirrup fenders are flexible and soft, making them naturally conform to your legs.
  • A padded seat gives you a more comfortable sit.
  • Many seats are suede which reduces the chance of sliding around.
  • Most Cordura saddles weighs less than 11kg, which means easy lifting and softer contact when hoisted onto the horse’s back.
  • These saddles have a leather front, jockey and cantle binding. The Cordura nylon skirts, fenders and housings are strong and supple and will without a doubt withstand the test of time.
  • Cordura skirt allows for unrestrained movement.
  • Cordura© nylon price like leather and is as stong as leather, but production is easier and faster that leather, as Cordura© can be cut and sewn like in a garment shop.

The nice thing about these cordura and leather saddles are the fact that you still sit on real leather, thus your seat still breathes. Big Horn saddles are made of stainless steel hardware, which prevents rusting problems down the road, they have a thick bottom fleece to transfer moisture away from the horse and fenders that allows easy mobility in the stirrups.


All and All, Big Horn saddles may just be the best western saddle for your money. They are a brand that is loved by the American Horse, for their fit, and loved by the American rider, for their quality and affordable price.

American Saddlery

Where Cotton meets Corn

Made in the USA by master craftsmen, American Saddlery’s saddles combine the finest of machinery and modernism, to create some of the best tack available on the market today.

American Saddlery is located in Chattanooga Tennessee (the ‘Scenic City’), at the shadows of the historic Lookout Mountain & the Appalachian Mountains near the banks of the Tennessee River. Because of pioneers heading West, Chattanooga became a hub for leather tanning and producers / builders of saddles and today the craft lives on using the same quality craftsmanship from years back but combined with modern innovations.

In November 2008, Big Horn was purchased by American Saddlery and together they work for the same goal- to produce saddles that are comfortable for both horse and rider at a reasonable cost.

American saddlery offers a growing variety of great saddles which are handmade in the in the United States of America and use the highest quality materials to assure years of trouble-free riding and enjoyable use.

RALIDE saddle trees

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Ralide, The Number one Saddle Tree in the World

Saddles trees were tradiaionally made from wood and rawhide. Later on fibre glass in combination with wood and rawhide was used. In all these cases however, different segments have to be pieced together and the problem then occurs that all these components have different stress levels which can not always be handled in the same way. This causes failure in saddle trees which in turn causes concentrated stress levels on the horse, limiting its performance, making it uneasy, hurting with move and all the consequences associated with that.


RALIDE saddle trees

“Trailsaddles” brings you a range of affordable original American western saddles of good quality (made in America) and bridges the gap between exclusive high priced western saddles and low quality Far Eastern and other imitations. Our large and regular import traffic from the US for other agricultural equipment sold within the group of companies allow us to save dramatically on the cost of imports and we pass this saving direct on to you. Special orders are always possible whereby the saddle of your dreams can be ordered from our large catalogue range of saddles.

“Trailsaddles” are aimed at the recreational trail rider and the daily range rider with the goal to supply a comfortable, attractive and safe saddle for both horse and rider. A combination of leather, suede leather and ultra strong genuine cordura fabric (used in US military webbing and other applications), built on Ralide and other high quality saddle trees, ensures long and comfortable riding life.

As recreational trail riders also include middle aged and larger persons, (in general South African men  are fairly tall and heavy) at “Trailsaddles” we ensure we have inventory of 16” to 18” saddles to cater for this group as well as smaller 13” to 15” saddles for youth and women.

Gullets widths of 6”to 7” are standard to cater for our smaller Boer-type 14 – 15 hand horses while wide 7+” gullets can be ordered.

A South African made cattleman saddle, built on genuine imported American Ralide saddle trees shall soon be launched, avoiding the high customs duty payable on fully imported saddles. You can also build your own saddle with a genuine Ralide tree available at “Trailsaddles”.

A showroom is conveniently located in a low traffic density area on the outskirts of Pretoria, off the N4 and near the N1 freeways where you can browse to find the saddle of your choice. Even our showroom, hosted within one of our group factory buildings does not attract overheads, so we are able to pass these saving on to you, again.

Where can you find high quality saddles from the US’s largest saddle making companies for under R2,500 including VAT? And its certainly no Indian made military style saddle, that’s for sure and you would agree!

Western Saddles

A wide range of, mostly western and trail saddle trees are cast in one piece from a polyethylene blend of advanced plastics with exact sizes as ordered. The material allows bending and stress over long periods, returning to its original shape with no biological factors influencing its deterioration.  Nails remain fixed in the tree and no moisture is absorbed by the tree. Saddles of consistent quality in the gut of the saddle, can now be made.

RALIDE saddle trees are subjected to severe tests for tugging, weight movement,  carrying capacity, flexibility to return to its original shape, resulting in RALIDE offering a 5 year guarantee on its saddle trees.
Insist on a RALIDE saddle tree when next purchasing a saddle. Or, if you wish, make you own saddle by contacting us for a detailed tutorial in the form of a book and DVD, including patterns for a true western trail saddle that you can customize to your own specifications. Fittings are also available and just a click away.