Monday, September 6, 2010

Saddle Safety: Saddle Fit & Storage

It is disheartening, as saddle maker and one who also repairs saddles, to look at saddles that have been abused and not cared for by the owners. A saddle in poor repair can lead to a serious accident and even to a fatal accident.

A saddle must fit well on your horse, for your horse to perform at his fullest. The saddle must also fit the rider properly. There are many factors to look at when fitting a saddle to your horse; these factors are for a later discussion.

When purchasing a saddle for your horse, first look at the construction of the saddle, especially if it is a used saddle. Secondly, will this saddle fit your horse? Thirdly, will the saddle fit you? If unsure about the saddle fitting your horse; ask if you could take the saddle home, so you can check the fit on your horse, with a custom made saddle you will not be able to do this. When the above questions are satisfied; then look at the color, glitter, fancy lacing and silver looking hardware.

When you bring the saddle home, store the saddle in a well ventilated room, out of direct sun light and off the ground, critters like to chew on leather. Leather exposed to the sun will darken and even burn. Do not store your saddle in a damp area either!

Take care of the saddle, clean the saddle on a regular schedule, especially after heavy use, like a long trail ride or roping event. The tack stores sell many products for maintaining your saddle. A well maintained saddle makes for an enjoyable and safe ride.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Basic Western Saddle

. Use 12-15 oz domistic leather, border stamped only.

. SF Bowman rawhide covered tree, wood, w/ Arizona bars, 13" fork, 4" dally horn, 3 1/2" cantle, seat length depends on the physical size of the customer.

. Use only flat plate rigging, 7/8 position.

. Brass rigging plates (5053).

. Stainless steel rear rigging plates.

. 1" Stainless steel flat dees for the breast collar

. Wool shearling, bark tanned, golden or natural your choice, 3/4-1" thick.

. Leather covered stirrups, 1/2" thick hickory wood w/galvanized bindings, visalia, 2 1/2 tread.

. Brass Blevin Buckles, 3" improved.

. 22 gauge galvanized sheet tin for ground seat.

. 1 3/4" latigo leather 72" long

. 1 3/4" half breed latigo. 72" long

. 100% mohair cinch, 32" long, 19 strand w/stainless steel buckles.

. 4" wide, lined and stitched rear flank cinch w/flat stainless steel buckles, border stamped.

. 8 ea leather conchos.

. Latigo wrapped horn.

. Brush popper loop style rope strap.

. 1/2" latigo saddle straps.

. Safety straps around stirrup leather

. Stirrup leathers are twisted so stirrups are perpendicular to the saddle to relieve strain on the

. Natural oil finish.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Purchasing Saddles from Catalogs

I subscribe to a number of horse related magazines, in turn I receive a number of catalogs related to the horse industry. They market many products, some offer saddles for sale, some costing as low as $250.00 and others as much as $1000.00 or more.

Catalogs are a great place to purchase products but in my opinion not the place to buy a saddle. Pictures can be misleading, I want to be able to put my hands on the saddle, pick it up, turn it over and really give it an inspection because I have a horse that I love and care for, and I care for my own safety. I want to make sure that the saddle will fit my horse, an ill fitting saddle is like a humane being wearing a backpack that doesn't fit well, you will become one cranky hiker.

The same with the horse, if the saddle doesn't fit well he can get very cranky and that puts my safety at risk. I have paid a great deal of money for my horse and paid trainers to make my horse a better horse. Why would I put a $250.00 saddle on my horse's back and risk the health of my horse and risk life limb using such a saddle. Drive to your local saddle maker or tack store, pick that saddle up, turn it over and give it an inspection, don't you believe your horse is worth the effort.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Historic Bridle/Halter Combo Brings Great Convenience

This Bridle/Halter is great for trail riding enthusiasts or people into mounted shooting such as in the Single Action Shooter's Society (SASS). Historically, this style of Bridle/Halter was used during the Civil War by both the Union and Confederate cavalry. The Bridle/Halter combo enables the rider to remove the bit without taking off the entire bridle during breakes. This piece features 9-10 oz bridle leather (Herman Oak) and all fittings are brass or stainless steel. For Civil War re-enactors the rosetta's on this piece can be done in either a Confederate or Union Insignia. For all others the rosetta's may be a heart-shape or plain-round.

Get Back Here You Horse!!!

Lets say your out on a trail ride and your taking a lunch break, you would use these Hobbles to keep 'em from wandering away. They are made of 9-10 oz leather with stainless steel roller-type buckles. Easy to put on and small enough to carry in your saddle bag. Convenience!

Saddle Making Training with Dusty Johnson

After dreaming of working on saddles for many years I finally got the opportunity to make a dream come true. In 2006, I participated in Dusty Johnson's ( ) saddle making school in Loveland, Colorado. Spent time studying 1:1 with Dusty, it was a great experience that launched the Parshall Saddle Shop (more about the meaning of this later)! Here are some pictures of the first saddle I built with Dusty's meticulous guidance. The saddle can be used for roping or pleasure riding. It's very comfortable and will fit you well.

Since my instruction, I have set out on my own, making saddles and many other accessories for the avid horse person.

Some of the gear I make includes: saddles, bridles, halters, chaps, holsters (great for the cowboy re-enactment enthusiast), trail riding accessories, and other speciality items on request. All work is custom made by me.

About my style: all my saddles are handmade using the same techniques as Dusty Johnson.

This basic western saddle is only made with flat plate rigging and is not made with a Cheyenne Roll, fancy lacing or elaborate stamping or carving. The Skirts and rear jockeys are cut with rounded corners.

Not slowed by the recession

Well the Parshall Saddle Shop is still in business, the recession hasn't slowed the shop down at all. Still building saddles, repairing saddles and making holsters.