Instructions for the
Sopris Rookie Saddle and
Rookie Lite Saddle

Recommended for pack goats, adult alpacas, and young llamas in training. Use with Sopris Rookie Panniers and Sopris Intermediate Panniers.

The Rookie Saddle is a scaled-down version of our popular Lumbar saddle. Because of its lightweight support structure and flexible design, it soon became a popular saddle for goats and alpacas. The original Rookie saddle (without pad), now called the Rookie Lite, was first introduced in 1996 as a training saddle for llamas. In 2017 we attached a Split Pad for added comfort when carrying heavier loads. The saddle with pad is now called the Rookie.

The support structure for these saddles consist of two nylon fabric cylinders. These cylinders, tied together with 3” webbing, are lined on the inside with 5/8” thick closed cell foam. A 2 ½” solid foam cylinder which includes a 1” diameter flexible plastic slat completes the saddle structure. When weight is added and the cinches tightened, the saddle conforms to the animals’ back muscles, creating a comfortable fit and stability under load. Our “Split Pad” design also allows body heat to vent. The Rookie saddle comes with its own felt lined cinches and chest strap and breeching.

It is important for the animal’s comfort that you be able to distinguish the front from the rear of the saddle: The Sopris logo, sewn to the 3” webbing marks the front. 

Two quick release buckles on the front of the saddle/(saddle pad) connect to the chest strap which is marked with a Sopris label. Two quick release buckles to the rear of the saddle (the draw string ends) connect to the breeching strap.

Two Accessory Straps located between the cylinders are used to tie on top loads.

A ring at the rear of the saddle is used to tie another animal behind to lead in a string.

Toward the bottom outer edges of the Intermediate Panniers there will be two brass rings for attaching the Sopris Small Deluxe Rain Cover.

Instructions for attaching the panniers to the saddle:

1. A Pannier Bar Security Strap is located on each cylinder between the pannier hooks. This strap is looped around the Pannier Bar, fed through a buckle and tightened to hold the panniers down firmly on the saddle hooks.

2. Along with the Pannier Bar Security Strap, two Pannier Stabilizing Straps on the bottom of each pannier clip into the saddle’s front and rear cinches to keep the panniers from flying up when your animal is jumping. Pull on the straps to tighten the panniers down on the saddle hooks.


  • Outstanding support structure- will comfortably support a 40/50 pound load

  • The load is supported by the animals back muscles, not the spine

  • Rookie Saddles adjust to a wide range of sizes and shapes

  • A ring at the rear of the saddle is used for tying animals in a string

  • Materials: 1680 denier nylon, webbing, closed cell foam, plastic and metal

  • Colors: Red, Navy, and new colors Olive Green and Royal Blue


The Rookie Saddle with Pad

  • Vertical clearance: 2 5/8”

  • Horizontal clearance: 2”

  • Length:14”

  • Support structure length 12 ½”

  • Rookie Saddle weight (with pad) including cinches & chest strap & breeching: 3 lbs. 4 oz.

The Rookie Lite Saddle

  • The Rookie Lite Saddle without pad is its own shock absorbent padding

  • Vertical clearance: 2”

  • Horizontal clearance: 2”

  • Length-12 ½”

  • Saddle weight including cinches & chest strap & breeching: 2 lbs. 5 oz.