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We meticulously hand shapes each groundseat in every saddle we build. See below for the shape and height you prefer to specify when ordering your saddle. We take pride in Charon's ability to create a balanced, comfortable seat for the rider that is second to none!



For years our equine industry has produced saddles for professionals and serious non-pros that, although being a little more expensive due to better tree and materials, would last a competitor twenty or thirty years with normal maintenance. That is in all events but barrel racing. Due to the use of in-skirt rigging, while giving a great ride because of its flat profile under the rider’s leg, these saddles have worn out much faster. This is because the purpose of a skirt is not only to balance a saddle across the horse’s back, but to absorb and keep sweat away from the front rigging, which is what ties the saddle onto the animal.

A saddle with the rigging “hung” over the skirt and mounted by nails, screws, and sewing to the tree is stronger and much more durable than in-skirt rigging. A hung rigging is also much cheaper to repair should there be damage or an accident because regardless of what we better saddle makers use, it’s still leather, not steel.

There are other disciplines that have a limited availability of in-skirt rigged saddles. These, however, are accepted as a less expensive version. But with barrel racing, there has never been much option out there.

We at Caldwell Saddle are offering a “Performance Racer”, Front Rigged off the tree with the same look of a pocketed “Mother Hubbard” style rear skirt. For strength and durability we recommend a leather covered horn or exposed white bronze horn, and the use of latigo tie strap and harness leather off billet or latigo half-breed strap.

This saddle will last as long as any contemporary hard used saddle such as a cutting or roping style saddle. The initial price is less than 10% increase, yet this is easily compensated by not only longer and harder usage, but increased resale value.

In skirt rigging on a Reiner.
In skirt rigging on a racer
standard double rigging
Flat Plate Rigging...great improvement over standard double rigging

Latigo Halfbreeds vs. Off Billets

I saw a lady from Iowa almost killed at the NBHA World from an improperly hung lattigo halfbreed. These are softer for the horses' comfort and longer for more adjustment on different sized horses. They are mostly used by trainers saddling lots of different sized animals from 2 - 8 year olds.



Picture #1 shows a standard doubled & sewn, shorter off-billet which is hung over the saddle's front rigging on the off side; then both ends are passed through and buckled into the girth.

Picture #2 shows finished hanging lattigo halfbreed. The following pictures show how to do this.


  • NEVER cut these halfbreeds shorter and use as off-billets. Single ply around saddle riggings and girth buckles can break 1st time they are used.
  • Saftey comes from having double layers at riggings and triple layered at the girth.
  • Always tuck ends into girth loop or pockets that are found on quality girths.
  • NEVER use girths with chrome or nickle plated buckles because rust will unknowingly eat thru your girth.
  • Squared off buckles will not wear out your ties & off-billets the horseshoe curved styles.
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