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Saddle Stand

for display and storage of a working western saddle
Or as we discovered, English saddles, too

©2013 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas, USA

Plans to help you build your own saddle stand like these are available.

Housebroken saddle stands

Three Saddle Stands

If you have three horses, named Indy, Edna, and Q (okay, those are their nicknames), and don't want to keep their saddles (two western saddles and one English saddle) in the barn, you can have us build three saddle stands out of fine walnut. And if you would like something nicer than your ranch's cow-brand on the front, we can inlay a Texas map (maple) with the horses' names. (With the inlay, the front of the stand is smooth, with the map and name, about 1/8 inch thick, embedded in the wood.)

The saddle stand can be built for you in a variety of woods. This is pecan - a wood with a lot of varied color. It is very similar to hickory - so similar that the federal government allows both woods to be mixed and sold under either name. A wood botanist explained that in the north is is likely hickory, in the south it is likely pecan, and in-between, the trees are often biologically mixed. Other examples of pecan furniture is this table and desk.

Saddle Stand in Pecan 1656
Red Oak Saddle Stand

Another wood you should consider is red oak. It is very strong, and the least expensive of the hardwoods I recommend. It starts very light color, but will darken slightly (yellow) over the first year or two to be more like the red oak in the floor under the stand (but without the darker streaks in the oak flooring).

A requirement from one customer was "no visible screws" - mission accomplished with glue and wooden joints. This rustic walnut stand weighed 26 pounds. If you don't specify otherwise, or if you need to have it shipped, it will be built for you to assemble with screws.

This "tail" has a distinct notch, in theory to hang the bridle or other accessories. Customers reported the tail was quite useless, perhaps even in the way, so that won't be on future stands unless you specifically request it.

Rustin Walnut stand 153
Furniture grade Walnut Saddle stand 1753

This stand is made from furniture grade walnut, rather than the rustic walnut used in the walnut stands above (note the lack of light sapwood). The finish on this stand is oil rather than lacquer, as requested by the customer - it is hard to tell the difference in a photo.

This stand was built from Sipo, a wood with many of the characteristics of mahogany (although technically not from the mahogany family). It has a Texas inlay in maple wood, flush with the surface. This has a notch in the "head" as a potential storage hook. The customer promised to report if it worked well for storage... bottom line, we won't put a notch in the head unless you specifically request it. The finish on this stand is oil rather than lacquer, although they look the same in a photo.

Sipo saddle stand with Texas inlay 1724

The stand is made so that it can be disassembled to ships flat and you assemble it (with screws provided - no glue required). One way is with 15 screws that show, as with many of the pictures here. The stand can also be made with semi-hidden screws (using pocket holes on the under side). The pocket screws are almost as strong as the visible straight screws. Most of the screws I use can be installed with either a Philips or a square (Robertson) drive, although sometimes the pocket screws are only available with a square drive. Assembly of the stand isn't hard - see the "instructions" here.

Packing and shipping is frightfully expensive. I would be glad to deliver it to the UPS store or FedEx store without charge, and will pass on whatever they charge me. With packaging, a stand weighs about 30 pounds, but is bulky enough that it is charged "by volume" as if it weighed about 60 pounds. If you have a UPS or FedEx account (which may include a discount) I would be glad to have the packing and shipping charged directly to you. The most recent price was about $70, but the cost has been as high as $90. If you would like me to prepay the packing and shipping you may include $70 in your payment and I will bill you or refund the difference. (If you have a residential address or are at the far corners of out country, increase that to perhaps $80). Of course if it is shipped out of state by common carrier, you save the Texas sales tax. I asked how much more it would cost to pack and ship one fully assembled, and UPS estimated at least $250, and later showed me one that they had crated for $1,200 packing and shipping - if you want it pre-assembled, we would look for a different shipper.

How to order

All my work is custom made, and with larger projects I collect a 50% deposit with the balance due when the item is ready to deliver or ship. With a small project like a saddle stand, I normally collect the entire cost, plus estimated shipping, in advance. When the actual packing and shipping is known (after the item is enroute), I either bill you or refund the difference between estimated and actual packing and shipping cost.

If you want a "standard" saddle stand, in one of the listed woods, you are welcome to send a check for the amount of the stand (specify which wood and whether you want visible or hidden screws). Add 8.25% sales tax if you are in-state or will pick it up. Add at least $70 estimated cost for packing and shipping it flat (ready to assemble with the screws included), and we can settle up at the end based on actual shipping costs. As soon as I get the check, mailed to Charles Plesums, 5702 Puccoon Cove, Austin Texas 78759-7177, (phone 512-349-0740). I will get started - as a small project, I will try to squeeze it in with the other work in the shop, as soon as possible.

Saddle Stand with working saddle

The first saddle stand was built from "rustic" walnut with lots of sap wood. We also considered oak and pecan (up north, it would be hickory, but this is Texas). One of the requirements was that there be a place for the ranch's cattle brand on the front of the stand (a real brand - no longer used, but officially registered - not just artwork). It is relatively lightweight but quite sturdy (I rode it - as I have others - over 200 pounds of bucking cowboy - with no wobble).

The first one had a diagonal brace, but later versions had more discrete triangular supports. The structure is fairly straightforward, but it takes a surprising amount of wood (almost 10 square feet of lumber is delivered, requiring purchase of 12-14 board feet of hardwood).

Underside of saddle stands

Saddle stand (no inlay, clear finish, 2015 prices)
Red Oak $250
Pecan (Hickory) (lots of character) $285
Maple (almost white) $285
Sipo (a mahogany-like wood with even color) $285
Cherry or Furniture Grade Walnut $350
Rustic Walnut $285 ... (when available)
Walnut or Sipo can be oiled rather than lacquered if desired - same price.

Inlay: Many of the pictured inlays were hand made. I now contract with someone who has a computerized cutter (CNC) to do the inlays. A simple name, in any computer font, engraved in the front, is $75 (or $85 filled with black epoxy). A Texas or Oklahoma "map" is $75, or a map with name is $125. If you have a different state or symbol, and can provide a suitable DXF file, that is the same price. If you are interested in other types of computer carving, lets talk!

Picture of inlay horse names

The History

I was asked to build a stand for a saddle, to display the saddle in a home, or possibly in a steak-house restaurant. This was a working western saddle. Not a 7 pound racing saddle, nor merely a riding saddle with a decorative horn, but a heavy duty working saddle. With the rubber wrapped horn, so the roper can just spin the rope around the horn, and it will hold the calf without a knot. With the pocket for the fence pliers... it is unthinkable to not fix a broken fence when out riding.

There are lots of grandkids (and great-grandkids) that might visit the home, and will undoubtedly sit on the saddle at some point. In fact, it was ultimately moved to the Barn Door Restaurant in San Antonio. Although there are signs to "keep off", there will undoubtedly, at some time or other, be wild cattle roaming that have to be roped by the nearest kid. Therefore this stand needs to be sturdy enough to not just hold a heavy saddle, but also a vigorous cowpoke.

Having me build a saddle stand is ironic... I only ride well broken horses. The last time I rode a (retired) working horse, I couldn't find the neutral gear...every time I tried to stop, the horse was sure I wanted to tighten the rope on the calf, so shifted into reverse. So as the least experienced cowboy in Texas, I had to do some research.


I was loaned a reference book on making and maintaining saddles, where I got many of these dimensions. The fact that stands are available for purchase, without sizes like shoes, suggest that a wide range of saddles that fit different horses would be able to use the same size saddle stand.

Shape: About two thirds of the designs in the saddle reference book have the saddle rest on two flat boards, at about a 30 degree angle from horizontal, with a gap between them (Two 8 inch wide boards at an angle, with a space between them, will be about 16-17 inches wide.) The other common shape is a semi-circle, like a half-barrel, but one web site suggested that you should never store a western saddle on a circular stand. Since saddles have two halves that straddle the horse's backbone, without rubbing on the backbone, it seems like the flat boards would be just fine, like the examples in the saddle reference book.

The reference book suggests a height of 36 inches above the floor, but their two plans for building a stand are 33 inches high (they didn't follow their own advice in either example). The height above the floor for commercial stands ranges from 30 to 37 inches. That reference book points out that stirrups cannot be allowed to touch the floor, or the fenders may be permanently bent. The ones in most of the pictures are 33 inches without the spine (see below), so that has become my "standard" height.

The two examples in the reference book both had bases/supports that were 12 inches wide. The width of commercial stands ranges from 15 to 20 inches. The base on my stands are about 11-13 inches wide.

Only one of the examples in the book shows a length on the part that supports the saddle itself (what I call the seat), which was 27 inches, and recommends a length of 27-29 inches. The first one I built looked too long at 29 inches, so I trimmed it to a little over 26 inches. A different saddle looked good on another 26 inch stand. Therefore my "standard" length for the seat is 26 inches.

Backbone? Spine? Nothing is supposed to touch the horse's spine, so the saddle has a hollow area so that it will not touch the horse's spine. The first saddle stand started without a backbone since the area above the horse's spine doesn't touch the saddle. "No spine" worked fine for storage, but the saddle wasn't as stable as I would like, especially if it was ever mounted by a bucking cowpoke. Several pictures had a small board down the center. A little extra support under the horn made sense. Overall the flat part of the backbone was 1 1/2 inches high and 18-20 inches long, but only extended slightly above the sloping sides. Then it sloped up an additional 3 inches over a 5 inch length, and the "head", about 4 1/2 inches high, was another 5 inches long. The front of the spine (that I call the "head") might touch the saddle under the horn, but does not provide support in the main part of the saddle - saddles are not designed to be supported there - but it does make it more difficult for the saddle to slip sideways if someone gets on the saddle when it is on the stand.

Standard configuration

Given all the discussion above, I have concluded that "my" standard size is 33 inches high - which has worked for many saddles for tall riders (long stirrups). I will be glad to make it as high as 36 inches, at your request, at the same price.

The standard length (of the flat "seat" boards the saddle rests on) is 26 inches (The "book" length of 27-29 inches looked too long in practice - stuck out too far behind the large western saddle on the first stand, so was trimmed shorter. I will be glad to make it up to 30 inches long, at your request, at the same price.

The "tail" proved useless as a hook to hang things on, and sometimes was inconvenient. Neither the tail nor the notch in the head will be included in the future unless specifically requested.

Other Sources

Commercially available stands are available from the King Ranch Saddle Shop. They now have a wide variety, and may be very nice, but the choice in the past was rejected by my early customers because of excess decoration (thus no room for the owner's brand).

A lighter pine stand was considered and rejected, because of the cowpokes that might ride it in the restaurant. The kind folks at "The Carpenter's Shop" in Pennsylvania who made and sold this line of equine products have stopped production (their son moved to a ranch in Texas), but gave me permission to use their picture.

I am not interested in making a pine stand like this, because my stands are only slightly more expensive and the hardwood is more durable and (personal bias) much nicer.

This also shows a curved type stand, rather than flat boards at an angle. The "how to build a saddle" book that I used as reference when I designed the original saddle stand recommended two flat boards, at an angle, as the preferred way to store saddles.

Saddle Storage Trivia

If you do not have a saddle stand, the alternate methods of storage (according to the saddle reference book) are

  1. Hung from a rope. Put a heavy rope with a loop on the end under the front of the saddle (gullet), under the fork, through the hole behind the horn, and place the loop around the horn, as in the picture.
  2. If it must be placed on the ground, set it on the nose (with the horn touching the ground, seat up as if the rider had fallen on his face - see the picture at the right.
  3. If neither of the above work, place it on it's side, rider seat down (in this position it seems almost upside down).

Saddle stored on it's horn

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We primarily serve Austin and the Central Texas area, but travel to the DFW area periodically and are glad to serve the Garland, Plano, Dallas, and other North Texas areas. We are willing to ship anywhere.