How-To Do a Texas Roll

Ever purchased a new saddle and after the excitement of you new ride wore off, realized your legs would take a beating as you try in vain to mold your fresh leather stirrups fenders into a comfortable position? You constantly turn your ankles outwards in an attempt to get that perfect placement and lose your horsemanship in the process… OR you get the brilliant idea of leaving a broomstick handle through your stirrups, with the fenders flipped outwards when the saddle is not in use?

Well, never again! Here\’s a quick and easy fix to get your stirrup fenders in the perfect position for your ankles – with your toes facing forwards.

Here\’s what western stirrup fenders look like after they come out of the store:


The leather is wrapped in a loop back toward itself, hanging the stirrup iron in the process. Can you see how your toes must reach in from the outside and then swing back to the left, to get your ankle hanging in a natural position? (Please keep in mind, this is not a new saddle…)

Now here\’s a shot of the same stirrup fender, with a Texas Roll:


Can you see how the rider\’s ankle could sit comfortably in this stirrup, with toes facing forward instead?

Yes, when my husband taught me about the Texas Roll, I nearly jumped for joy too… The Texas Roll (or Texas Twist as it also known), is a method of physically twisting the leather to turn the stirrup. Some people would argue that it creates additional bulk down by the ankle, but I have never found this to hinder my riding. And my ankles have thanked me, many times as we go through A LOT of saddles around here. So if you\’re interested in creating your own Texas Rolls, all you need is a lengthy, thin leather strap with a buckle on the end for each stirrup fender.

1. First, undo the Blevins Buckle from its current position underneath the narrow leather strap of the stirrup fender that lays underneath the wide part, which is what lays directly below the rider\’s leg.

2. Twist the Blevins Buckle and re-inset into the holes of the narrow leather strap, so the Blevins buckle is now laying directly under the wide part. You won\’t leave the buckle like this for now, but this process helps to visualize how things will be positioned and where the twist in the leather will occur.


This way, the leather will have one twist in it and will hang as so:


3. Take one of your long leather straps and begin carefully wrapping it around the twist in the leather, which occurs just below the Blevins Buckle. Ensure to leave a tail (as shown at red arrow) and…


4. …wrap the leather strap back upwards toward the tail and around itself (as shown in the green arrow).


5. Insert the tail of the strap through a small incision made at the top of the strap, near the buckle.


6. Insert the Blevins Buckle on the front side of the thin leather part of the underneath fender.


7. Using the remaining tail of your thin leather strap, wrap this part around the thicker fender, near the bottom.


8. Attach to the buckle.


9. And Voilà! You have a Texas Roll.



10 thoughts on “How-To Do a Texas Roll”

  1. While this article does give good advice regarding why the twist and wrap help your ankles and knees, I would point out a few things here that are not so obvious to the layperson. I live in Texas. I ne
    am a custom saddlemaker, and my husband a NRHA pro trainer. This application was originally from up North, and called a Nevada Twist, as far as I know. Outside of buckaroo saddles, the first time I saw it on anything else was when Don Leson started putting it on his saddles. I try to put it on all my custom saddles. I do a ton of business with the cutters in our area (cutting capital of the world), and this was pretty much a foreign concept until I started doing it for some of them. Anyway, to the issue I have. This particular saddle started off with this originally. Most saddles, if they have a conventional fender setup, are a bit more involved getting this done. Usually, 99% of the time, when I add a twist to a set of fenders that have never been done, the first thing I do is make sure I have enough leather in the neck of the fender to do the job. About 10″ is adequate, less is difficult. Then I remove the rivets in the Blevins buckle and flip that over and rerivet. Then I soak the fender neck in very hot water, clear thru. This makes it pliable, and, most fenders done this way after being built will have been oiled and likely some sort of finish that seals the topgrain, and this is a difficult, if not impossible job, if not soaked first. I also have to see if the fender has a stirrup liner. That may need trimmed out once the twist is made. There is also a specific direction you have to twist each side in order to make the leather hold the fender correctly. I will first wrap with wide lacing tape once I’ve got the twist set. Then you need to set the fenders and let it dry in place. At this point, you don’t have to wrap it, as it will stay, but I do wrap, after removing the tape, as I like the look as it looks more ‘finished’. (The wrap can be done various ways and be correct) Turning the buckle over is critical, especially if the stirrup leather on your fenders hang on the outside of the fender, and you typically have it hanging, or folded back under, (due to it hanging your toe, which could be dangerous)…I also check to see where my customers usually set the length. Typically, on most saddles off the floor, the stirrup leathers are too long, and either get chopped off at the bottom or folded under. I find out if anyone else rides the saddle and the inseam of that person. Then I suggest to shorten the stirrup leathers at the same time as doing the T/W. (As long as they didn’t chop them off, anyway!) This means taking out rivets and stitching at the top of the fenders and cutting the stirrup leathers to the right length, skive the edge and re stitch and rivet. I also check fenders to be sure the length is the same for both and all holes are the same. I also add half holes for finer adjustments and number the holes if needed. As you can see, this can be a rather involved process.

  2. I also would have shortened the stirrup leathers on the demo saddle…about 2″ for sure. As long as nobody else needed them that long. But I don’t see any wear marks indicating a longer legged rider.

  3. Adrian Lopez

    I have had several saddles over my life time and I would get the new one and soak the fender with water then use the broom handle thur the sturrups. After several days I would spray oil on the fenders and let it dry. I would ride horses every day working them for several hours a day. I never had any problems with my saddles turning.

  4. I didn’t wet leather at all. I used the broomstick through the stirrup. You just have to use a little patience. I left mine about 2-3 weeks and they are now turned. I may take a yard stick to barn to keep them that way between rides as I break it in!

  5. I just purchased stirrups that have a pivotal adjustment that let’s me set the stirrups at the angle that is most comfortable for me…or the next person riding in my saddle. They work great! Easy too.

  6. Good idea , I just bought a Julie goodnight Circle y and they come with pretwisted softee ready to ride fenders,soft seat and it is heaven to sit in

  7. Great article. Pictures were helpful an content easy to comprehend. Also liked the addition of the buckle on the leather strap, kindofa nice finish for the rig. I’m sure a guy could use bailing twine to the same effect. Some of the posts here kind missed the point though. Sure you could soften the leather and use a stick or dowel to hold the stirrups in place while the saddle is stored, majority of folks I know do this, nothin wrong with it, it works, but… you don’t always have the luxury of a saddle rack. For instance a crowded outfitters tack shed with 20 deckers and a dozen dude saddles, or the back of a pickup truck, or the nose of a horse trailer. If you use a texas roll, you don’t need to worry about getting your fenders/stirrup leathers/panties in a bunch. Its gonna happen sometime whether its you or someone else knocking a dowel out or storing a saddle improperly. Sure the leather might get bent out of shape, but when you hop on that saddle with yer texas roll, yer stirrups are gonna be more or less where you want em. Sayin “Oh, I just use a stick and condition the leather with swass,” completely misses the core values of the article. You don’t need the stick with the roll. “My saddles always go on saddle racks.” So what, texas roll will still work on a saddle rack just fine. Keep them glasses half full people this ain’t even a new idea and just cause you’ve haven’t tried it don’t mean it won’t work better or just as good.

  8. Michelle (Texas saddle maker) – thank you for these much more detailed steps to take in this process. I plan to do this to my saddl3; one I created by taking apart three old saddles, using the best parts of each, and making it fitted perfectly to my rather small frame. The ONLY part I couldnt figure out was this way of making my stirrups face forward. Thanks again!!!

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