Charro saddle

Posted by RodandDenise on July 9, 2013

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our website.


A while back we posted pictures of a Charro tree we had built.  That post has had more inquiries than any other on our website.  So today, we can finally show you pictures of the finished saddle!!  The description below is what the saddle maker, Frank Zera of Spring Grove, Illinois, has sent us.  Mr. Zera has been making custom saddles since 1985.  He terms this one a Charro style saddle.


This saddle is built on a wooden rawhide covered tree made by Rod Nikkel. The saddle seat is 16” long, the cantle is 5” high and 13” wide. The slots in the cantle can easily accommodate the average-size hand. The swell is approximately 19¼ inches wide from point to point. The horn is 7 “ in diameter.


The saddle is made using Wickett and Craig 13-15 oz. and 10-12 oz. black saddle skirting leather. The fenders and stirrup leathers are one piece. The fenders are lined and laced for adjustment.


The saddle pockets are built into the skirts and the saddle pocket flaps are part of the back housing of the saddle. Each saddle pocket is closed and secured by a leather concho strap which feeds through a brass keeper stitched to the top of the saddle pocket. The leather concho strap is attached to a brass D-ring on the rear of the saddle. The saddle pockets are approximately 8” wide by 7” tall and the gussets are 3” wide at their widest points.


The saddle skirts are approximately 27” long and 18” deep. They are lined with 5/8“ white felt which has been pinked around the outside with a ¾” round punch. Felt was used because it is used on Charro saddles in Mexico.


The saddle skirts are laced behind the cantle so they will be able to flex individually with the movement of the horse.


The four saddle strings are made from 6-8 oz. black latigo leather and are approximately 30” long. The saddle seat is a three-quarters style. The ground seat is an all leather construction. The cinch straps are both made from 9-11oz black latigo leather.


There are 2 pairs of stirrups. One pair is laminated oak with a 3” neck and 3” tread. These show slight signs of wear as they were used to test ride the saddle. The second pair are shown in the photos. They are synthetic deep roper stirrups with a 3” neck and 3½ “ tread. They are covered with black saddle skirting leather and ornamented with brass acorn nuts and three brass Yuma berry conchos.


The rear billets are made from 10-12 oz. black skirting and lined with 6-8 oz. black latigo leather. They are 1½” wide. The back cinch is made with built-in tunnel loops and 1½” brass buckles. It is lined with 6-8 oz. black latigo leather.  The front rigging rings are flat solid brass with a 3½” inside diameter.


Including the conchos on the stirrups, the saddle is ornamented with 15 brass Yuma berry conchos.


The one on the saddle horn is 3” in diameter.


It turned out real nice, Frank.  Thanks for building such a nice saddle on our tree!

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