Migrated slowly from California over the plains, and was the first one to show the bulged front, and to change the narrow bow of the cow saddle to the bluff bow of the saddle as used to-day. It is claimed that while this protects the rider from injuries more or less, it has a tendency not to give a fellow the opportunity of as firm a grip with his legs as did the old narrow bowed cowboy seat. Later, in Oregon, they began to manufacture "incurved saddles," so that the rider's legs could fit better under the front, and the Wyoming saddle makers caught the idea, so that to-day the vanishing race of cowboys are using saddles, which it would have taken a brave man to straddle in the early days, not because the saddle is dangerous but because it would have looked funny to the old-time boys, and they would not have been slow in giving expression to boisterous and discomforting merriment.
It is an odd thing, this law of growth or evolution, and it is a law, and a fixed law, certain peculiarities go together; for instance, if one goes systematically to work to produce fan-tail pigeons, one finds that he is also producing pigeons with feathered legs. The breeders have also discovered that in producing a chicken with silky white feathers they unwillingly produce a fowl with black meat. What has this got to do with saddles? Only that the same law holds good here: the more the front bulges in the saddle the more the horns shrivel, developing a tendency to rake forward and upward; the stirrups also dwindle in size. The saddle, which the writer possessed, has stirrups made of iron rings covered with leather and the caps were lined with sheep's wool. We read that now the narrow half-round oval stirrup is a favorite with the cow-punchers, which the cowboy uses with his foot thrust all the way in so that the weight of the rider rests upon the middle of the foot. This is as disturbing to the European idea of "proper form" as was the Declaration of Independence, but the Declaration of Independence has proved its efficiency by its results; so also has it been proved that for those who ride all day long the nearer they can come to standing on their feet, and at the same time relieving the feet of the total weight of the body byresting it on the saddle, the easier it is to stay in the saddle for long stretches of time; in other words, the more comfortable the saddle, the longer one can occupy it without discomfort, and that is the reason a saddle should fit the rider.