There are many saddles and saddle makers out there. I would like to explain how and why I make saddles, the way I do. I have ridden horses since I was 12 (I am now 36). I understand that every rider is different; has a different shape to their body, with his/her own style of riding, preferred riding position, meaning that some require a narrower seat or a wider one. For different riding styles, some people like a flat seat, others like a deeper pocket and higher front rise. Some prefer higher cantle, some others do not. When I make a custom saddle, I always ask as many questions as I can, to find out my client’s riding style and requirements to make sure that the saddle will be comfortable and functional for the purpose of riding. My clients can choose the horn size, seat length and shape, cantle size and of course, the type of the saddle they are looking for (wade, reining, roping, cutting, etc.).
Debbie Cocklin explains the craftsmanship of leatherwork.
Items made from leather have been found to date back to prehistoric times, when leather hides leftover from animals that had been hunted for food, were used as clothing and to form shelter against harsh conditions.
Over time people learnt that drying out leather prevented it from rotting and the early days of tanning were started, a process that changes the structure of the cells.
Various methods were tried and tested over the years to preserve leather including smoking it and even using urine collected from the locals!
Give your western pleasure horse a leg to stand on, says Tom Chown.
In today’s western pleasure, it is a sad fact that many horses are trained and shown with little regard for natural movement. They are forced to move uncomfortably causing them to appear laboured or lame. While we do have many great horse trainers that are doing an excellent job, and some amazing horses that look comfortable and happy doing theirs, there are many more that don’t.
The only way any positive change can come is through knowledge, and I want to share with you my ideas of good, natural movement.
Try to put a silhouette of a great horse moving around in the front your mind. Compare this to the ones that you see in the show pen today. That can be a problem if you have never seen a great horse move; you have no frame of reference, nothing to compare the ‘bad’ ones too. So the bad ones end up looking good, especially after they have placed or even won the class!
As a horse trainer, I not only train horses, I try to teach my customers as well. Not my way of thinking, but what is correct - how a horse carries himself. I like to look at a horse for its conformation and the real beauty that it possesses and teach what a great mover looks like by watching them running around in the pasture. When you see how they, in their own way by using their own momentum, come back to the lope you want in the show arena, you will start to understand how a horse can use their body to the best effect. That is what western pleasure horses are supposed to look and move like. Anything else is an imitation.