Being a life-long english rider, I have to admit to a certain lack of knowledge when it comes to western saddles. I could tell you the differences between dressage saddles and jumping saddles etc., but I never really knew the difference between the various western saddles. It's the sort of information you just don't find in catalogs.
All the Pretty Saddles, written by Nick Pernokas, is written especially for people like me, who want to learn more about western saddles.
The first section of the book is a comprehensive guide, which shows you how saddles are made -- from the inside out. It explains what the various parts are and how differences in size and shape affect the performance of the saddle. Diagrams and photographs illustrate each point. Proper fit is emphasized, and the various factors that affect fit are discussed and illustrated.
The heart of the book is geared towards helping you select a suitable saddle, whichever western sport you participate in, from trail riding to cutting. Taking each sport in turn, the book discusses the ways in which that type of saddle is suited to that particular activity. It shows you what to look for in a quality saddle, and also what to avoid.
The book also includes sections on saddle cleaning and care, as well as examining a used saddle and assessing what repairs might be necessary.
I think All the Pretty Saddles is a good resource, whether you're a beginner in the equestrian world, or an experienced rider, considering purchasing a saddle for a specific activity.
Author Nick Pernokas runs a custom saddle shop in Stephenville, Texas with his wife, Lindy. He also shows Quarter Horses and rodeos.