own a saddle customized for me?
The largest problem I
see when helping horse owners, or owners to be, with buying a
used saddle? People get caught up in the “deal” with little
regard to their true needs. Often, if the saddle seems to fit
the horse, it's priced somewhat right, and especially if used
and “Good shape”, or “fixable” shape, there is this
“gotta have a deal” mentality which will tend to push your
purchase into a big WRONG!
We all spend very much time at work, or with other very
necessary distractions, don't we! So we think about our horse,
our last ride, our next ride, our best ride, until we are really
ready to go hit the trails, or the arena. We want our chance to
even better our best experience! - This day might be “the”
“There is something about the outside of a horse that
is good for the inside of a man.” - Sir Winston Churchill.
Our imaginations are full of combining our balance with the
strength of our steed. We yearn for massive meaning through such
discovery as can be accomplished with an animal this large.
Some of us feel united
with movies, or heroes, or warriors, of the past.
Some of us like the wind through our hair, the gentle
bounce of a canter, the strength we feel in an extended trot, or
jump over a fence, or refining our dressage or reining movement.
Some of us see ourselves wade though creeks. Some of us jump
& splash through creeks. Some of us love to show off the
ribbon or trophy that holds all the effort, time, and focus to
earn it. Some of us just need a time of quiet, to hear the
stillness, with reflections, honor & grace. Some of us need
to tend herds, inspect fencing, check trees, or smell the fresh
earth, taste the terrain as we plan for the next seasons.
Time with your horse
definitely invites romance, has led to extended families and
children, has led to better business decisions, has led to
sanity in an insane world! It invites a time of gratitude; a
time of bringing back to mind the best of the best things that
happened during the past year(s). Riding encourages a person to
realize that all the stresses of life are there so you can have
these few moments of “Real Life” between God &Nature.
For some, it is the
ultimate in competition among peers; for some, riding maintains
a learning experience that holds instant reward because we know
we are really, gradually, improving our whole Self. We escape,
not comparing our abilities to impossibilities we face in other
facets of life. For most of us, it is simply a comparison of, a
knowledge of, a presence of: We
hold a place in this life, this world, our lives, which offers
meaning, entreats growth, & affords opportunities that
without team of horse & rider, could never be understood,
except through this experience.
So, if any of this
reasoning identifies why you have a horse, Why
would you settle for anything less than the best contact
between you and your horse?
I understand temporary. However, you could walk
everywhere you go. You could ride a moped. At times you do. But
you usually chose the protection, the speed, the safety, the
security of a truck? Yes. I own a bicycle and love that
experience too. But I need better means to be able to accomplish
all I need to accomplish. And
if you did not identify with any of the feelings of power, and
authority, and awe, and belonging, above, maybe it's time you
Don't you deserve
better? It's not
just the used saddles. I have from 130 to 150 new saddles most
days, in stock, ready to try on.
I say try on, because today, you don't settle for what I
or any other dealer has in stock. The saddles are here to
discover your best choice. (And sometimes, one of them works
really well for you!) I remember being 17, starting Cultured
Cowboy as Walking T Stables & Tack, with 3 Simco saddles. 1
barrel 1 pleasure 1 roper. I rode English, but my major market
did not. (I had another half doz saddles in the barn to try on
too. – They weren’t for sale.) In those days, all we knew
was either round skirt, or full skirt, seat size, (usually too
big), and lots of pads to make stuff work.
Today we have more pad
selection than ever. That's good! Most of the padding we used in
the 70's is (thank goodness) long gone. Much has improved over
the years. Gels, foams, fleece, covers, even wear leather
positioning, the way we join sides to make better air channels
& wither relief, and pockets on pads are so much better,
today. We understand everything from chiropractic to bridging
much better. WE know there are specialized saddles today for
every event. The opportunities for fit & function are
tremendous now. So
why are over half our riders settling for less?
Perhaps because of the
same reasoning of much unhappiness in life, from families
splitting to lack of confidence. - Not having the right
guidance, the right instruction, going by the “seat of our
pants”, or hearing from influential others who know less than
they should, to be giving you advice. Sometimes we trust a name
brand. But the brands usually make a large selection, while only
specializing in a couple things. Brands understand target
marketing, and confusion too. Brands
are great! Ya just gotta know how they think!
I began this writing
with used saddles. If the saddle is in good shape, will it
perform for you as you need, fits both horse & rider as it
should? Get it. If not what works, just resell it, right? Well,
what about new saddles? They
come with warranty to the original purchaser. Not the second
guy, unless the maker is exceptional. (Some Are!) With
new saddles, You have a lot more options available to get
exactly what meets your needs, than you might think.
And semi-custom, or customized saddles are really the
best bargains for most riders. Read
more to see what to avoid:
Two saddle examples I
recently took on trade (and Why they were traded) were: 1st)
made in India. (India is best known for water buffalo tack:
often belly leather, stretchy, Tarnished “before you get it”
silver plate, lots of open pores, not tightly bound, cotton
stitching, low wages, accused of child labor whether true or
not, ‘nough said. Yet,
I love “Bobby’s Tack”, best maker of English bridle
leather stuff! His quality is unsurpassed, and made in India
too. He is one of life’s exceptions. Ya can’t slam a country
that is trying hard to change! They are on the “uplift”.
Both India & China understand and relish the horsehair &
leather potentials!) (God
Bless that we are all understanding economic dependency, and may
this begin more unity which leads to a whole world that treats
our “neighbor” as our self.)
(OK back to relevancy)
Customer bought brand new, as a deal! Rubbed blisters under the
rider’s thighs. Manufacturer’s warrantee – You return to
the maker for inspection. Cost too much to return (more than
paid for the saddle) to the maker out of the USA. (Buyer beware
of auction rules.) Buyer Dealer was USA addressed, but was
actually the agent for the company in India.
2nd) Supposed to be Cordura nylon combo saddle. It was
not Cordura. Looked great when rode the 1st time.
But, a few rides later: Edge binding on the skirt tore out. The
leather got so stiff… Cultured Cowboy has conditioned it 3X,
and it still won’t soften. OK,
3rdsurprise) another trade–in was supposed to be leather. Hand
laced. Buckstitched. Good lookin. Loosened
up as it was ridden. A very thin piece of tooled leather was
glued to what is in effect pressed paper, even the skirts. When
damp, you can dig it out with your fingernails! What was
supposed to happen when it got wet from sweat, or rain, or
riding through a creek? Again, buyer beware sales.
Why did I take ‘em on trade? To show people some of
what/why not to buy!
The first two: traded
for a saddle they really needed. The last one: lost their dream.
Got out of the horse “business”.
So are you worried about
price? Saddles depreciate, but not at the thousands of $$$ that
your truck will. Or your trailer.
Still you buy a truck. What is the cost of trading
saddles till you get the right one? If yer tradin’ horses
every week, go ahead, you’ll pair it with an animal, if it
halfway fits the rider, yer OK, huh?
If you’re trying to outfit your 1 or 2 personal horses,
without some guidance from a riding coach, or a dealer that
actually works with horses, and riders, I’ve heard from
hundreds of horse people, that they trade a few saddles till
If so, the average
expense of getting towards the correct saddle is about $600.00,
or a $200.00 drop per, thrown away as “learning”
experiences, before you ever buy a saddle that works. Studies
show that the average price of a new saddle sold on the Internet
is about $1680.00, US. Most
horse owners have income enough to afford this easily. Cultured
Cowboy can fully customize saddles starting at $1900.00 and
semi, starting at $1300.00. (Fall 2017 pricing)
We have some production
imports that sell pretty low, and can ride pretty high. (Cheaper
silver plate parade/show/pleasure saddles sometimes start at
$650.00. Finished in USA, mostly built overseas.)
Cordura cross, (worth riding) start at under $600.00. Ave
about $750.00. We have a line of JT International saddles,
treeless, very adjustable, modeled after a $2800.00 Australian
saddle, (but all synthetic) for under $320.00. (This saddle has
to be ridden to be believed. Beats a bareback pad all to death!)
We have Kathy’s Tack & Sterling P, and Bowman saddles that
are available for the more discriminating competitors. All these
are custom made for high end clients. As an investment, one of
the best! (When the
prize money available is well over the investment required,
experienced competitors understand that the 20 – 25% of 1st
through 5th place rating is upon the tack & dress
The best deals for usin’
saddles – we got ‘em. Figure $1600 to 2800.00. Trail
saddles? BigHorn has Sil-Cush, a dream come true for older
riders. And they have variations made for those under 60 too! Our
Dakota 213 can be customized with almost any tree, any seat
size, any inseam need, at pricing we are not allowed to
to fit horses, Call us. Does the rider have a previous injury
that is of concern: knees, lower back? Call us. Young rider?
Mature rider? 1st time rider?
Professional horseman? Call us. Reinsman,
Tucker, Circle Y? Garoutte,
Dakota, BigHorn, American? Many of these companies are onto 2nd
or 3rd generation. Did
they pass forward their legacy?
Some did. Some great makers are so busy that they do not
advertise like other major brands. They choose to spend time
doing what they love – making quality saddles.
If your legs are short
or long, will you buy a truck whose reaching the petals will
make driving dangerous? Then,
why not so with your saddle?
GET THOSE STIRRUPS WHERE YOU NEED THEM. Not all saddlers
offer this option. Yes, all saddles stirrup leathers have a lot
of adjustment. But, do you want a great big glob of bulk under
your leg to make the things short enough to touch your toes into
the stirrup & not lose them?
NO. You want
proper leg contact with your horse. You need to be able to place
the weight of your leg onto the ball of your foot with your
heels downward. You need to have this relaxed position to better
cue your horse as well as for proper balance. And without a
“bulk” under your leg to interfere.
What about seat size?
Are you buying a 16 inch seat because it's the most popular? It
is, but that does not mean it’s best for you. I had one PRCA
professional rider downsize just 1 inch in his seat. His
position improved enough to make him a lot of money he would
have never made before. I had another rider go up an inch. This
allowed better positioning on her horse. It relieved lower back
problems for both horse & rider.
For most rides, have 2 fingers between the cantle top
& your back. And 2 fingers between front of your thigh and
the base of the pommel. (this can change with certain horse
sports, “growing kids” and rider agility)
What about cantle
height? What if you ever/never had a lower back injury or
defect? You have certain foams available, that the US government
spent NASA millions to develop. Could the right seating make the
difference in how long, or how comfy, or how supportive you
ride? What if you like to stand in the stirrups to ease yer body
some from all that sitting, or to throw a rope? Would a bicycle
seat make all the difference, or is a full seat best for you?
Almost everyone is
familiar with gullet width, and some with gullet height. These
play tremendous importance in fitting your horse. But did you
know that center fire rigging, which actually adjusts from 7/8
to center, can affect more than most standards in many riding
endeavors? This allows you to find that “sweet spot”,
(forward to back,), where the saddle rests comfortably, with the
girth positioned as is needed for rider security. No elbow
you know that Semi QH bars are made to fit more on the top of
rib cage for speed, and getting out of the way of a barrel
horse, while Full QH bars wrap around most horse side a little
more for security when turning or roping? They both fit 80% of
horses running. It's a lot of other little subtle differences
that cull the winners from losers.
I could spend 30 – 60
minutes discoursing the advantages of roughout/ smoothout/
sanded topgrain leathers next to the rider. Or, Real Sheep Vs.
Better Synthetic bottoms. (I hate the slick acrylics & will
no longer give them as an option, though they may save $50.00 on
the price of a saddle.) Or,
fender styles, or short back horses & weight distribution.
(Don’t assume the skirting is too long. Skirts flex out of the
way. Where does your tree bar hit?)
Or “does a 19 lb saddle” have any advantageous
influence on the affect of your horse of 950 lbs. (As a 14 yr
old Boy Scout, I carried 45 lbs on my back for 10 mile hikes,
without any undue distress. I weighed about 135 lbs. What
was the percentage distribution of even 35 lbs on two 1.5 inch
straps over each of my shoulders, pressing into my small
clavicles, Vs. 45 lbs of tack plus your weight on a 1000lb
equine with bars of 5 inch width & 20 inch length along both
sides of the ribcage?) If
the saddle is a properly designed trail saddle, one that weighs
35 lbs will be as easy to lift as a 25 lb saddle which does not
allow you to lift as close to your body. (Call
Your boney structure of
horse worry should maybe concentrate on the amount of closure of
leg bones, the
epiphysis & diaphysis of the leg bones. (wikipedia.org). This
is indicative of the rest of the horse’s body structure. A 16
hand 2 yr old has no business doing the loads expected from a
14.3 hand 4 year old! Over
45 years of experience tells me, you either have a great mature
horse, or a “wonder” young horse. My bro-in-law is a scout
for the Atlanta Braves. He will quickly advise that young
pitchers develop skill. Diversity, rather than a 90 mph fast
ball is key in a young pitcher. Throwing too fast too early is a
path to injury! Ditto, your horses! Wrong tack, as well as
starting too early, will emphasize injury in young horses. Got a
good horse? Take the time the “HORSE” needs.
TIME BITCHES, CONCERNS:
Regardless, … saddles made just for you, can usually be
delivered from 6 to 12 weeks., depending on the tree maker’s
availability to the saddler. (yeah, those custom show saddles
from our best makers can take up to 6 months or even a year,
depending on your requests.) There are limits on the number a
person with quality of skills, can deliver. Ya want ‘em
delivered right! If
it’s worth having, it’s worth waiting on!
Plan ahead, or borrow till yours comes. When you purchase
your horse, you could make this time of tack, a condition of
your total purchase.
OK, so I have a lot of
saddles ready to go. With makers who have stuff on the floor
& my inventory, over 2000 saddles. I
don’t care. I do care that you get what you want so your rides
are “dreams come true”; not “masters of disaster”.
If ya want the
“BEST” experience with your horse, give this experience all
you can! I’m not bashing anybody. I am suggesting that you
search for long term satisfaction, rather than spur of the
moment gratifications. How
many of you have called, and I advised you think about it a day?
Send me pics of the horse? Tell me more about your riding? What
are your goals? If your horsey dream came true, what would that
be like? I purposely delayed a day or two …Most of you.
I’m not in this
business for just the $$$. Or, I’d have “buy” buttons,
overnite shipping, cheap crap sold high, and such. Rather, I
help people with saddles, boots, chaps, and bits, because of my
love for this God-given opportunity for us all to have our
“experiences” of our lifetime!
God Bless you all.
Do me a favor…
Write questions, comments, concerns, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t expect an immediate response, just a reasonable
response time. I’m 61 & have a family life too. And I like
to play with my horses, as do you.
This ain’t a foreign deal. Not an automated click deal.
It’s a real deal.
I get somewhat
frustrated about people coming to me after
they made several mistakes. Though I’m more than happy to
help, their frustrations could have been avoided. Please
copy/paste to your buds, so we can, together, best help everyone
own their best choice!
OK, it's TDay - here's an article I found helpful
(from my other career}
Thanksgiving Rituals of Connection
are defined as meaningful activities that families create to
bring connection and stability to the family dynamic. Rituals
hold relationships and family life together and create
cohesiveness within family identity.
you want to plan your Thanksgiving meal in a specific way, we
recommend going over this list a day or two ahead of time with
your partner so that you can approach your Thanksgiving with
some rituals of connection already in mind. Here are some ideas
to help you plan.
a walk with your family before dinner, or between dinner and
sharing what you are grateful for, specifically mention what has
gone well for you or your family in the last year.
you express gratitude around the table, try to think of two or
three specific things you are thankful for.
relatives and friends who will attend your Thanksgiving meal to
write down a short list of things they’re grateful for before
coming to dinner. That will give them a chance to think
privately, on their own time, about how they want to express
gratitude. You could even do this between dinner and dessert.
family traditions regarding Thanksgiving with your partner and
choose which ones you’d like to include this year and why.
there was a tradition that your family has done in the past, but
perhaps doesn’t do anymore, consider reviving it this year if
it would be appropriate and meaningful for everyone attending
you have family members who live far away or cannot attend
dinner, ask them to do a video chat with you and your family
when you go around the table to give thanks.
there are specific cultural or spiritual practices that you or
your partner have used in the past around Thanksgiving, discuss
how to integrate those practices into your dinner this year.