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What Is A Slick Fork Saddle?

The fork of a Western saddle is either a "slick" fork or a "swell" fork.

On this page, in text and photos, we describe what makes a saddle a "slick" fork saddle. You might also like: What Is A Swell Fork Saddle?

Below: An a-fork saddle, which is a type of slick fork saddle. The arrow is pointing to the widest part of the fork, which, on this saddle, is at the bottom where the fork joins the bars.

A slick fork saddle 

A "Slick" Fork Saddle Is...

A slick fork saddle has a fork that is widest at the bottom where it attaches to the saddle tree bars.

Below: The blue arrow is pointing to the bottom of the fork where it attaches to the bar on that side. The green arrow is pointing to the the fork above that point. Since the widest part of the fork on this saddle is at the bottom where the fork joins the bars, it is a “slick fork” saddle.

Arrows illustrating the widest part of this saddle's fork is at the bottom

Slick Fork vs Swell Fork

If you're still a little fuzzy on what a slick fork saddle is, it might help to compare it to a swell fork saddle.

A Refresher: A Saddle's Fork Is...

If the above information is confusing, it might be helpful to have a refresher as to what a saddle's "fork" is.

A Couple Of Slick Fork Saddles

The Circle Y Walnut Grove trail saddle and the Big Horn Extra Wide 908 trail saddle both have a slick fork. That's unusual in a trail riding saddle, since most of them have swell forks.

Wade saddles have slick forks. Wade saddles are popular with a lot of working cowboys and cowgirls.

Did you know? A Western saddle fork is also frequently called the "swells" or the "pommel." With English saddles, though, it's more common to only use the word “pommel.”


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