Horsemint

First Wade/Montana Horseman Saddle Building School

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In April/May I attended the Montana Horseman Saddle Building School that Dale Moore runs in Belgrade. I completed my first saddle there (and had a great time). I've been busy since getting my own little saddle shop together and putting miles on it since then, but now that I'm about to start #2 I thought I'd share.

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It's a 16" seat with flat plate rigging and what Dale has terms a "balanced ride" stirrup strap setup. Maybe there's another name. Basically instead of forming a loop around the bars, the stirrup strap is severed at the bars and the buckle connects to a separate strap that hinges a couple inches forward on the tree. The idea is that it allows more free forward swing. I set my "regular" stirrup strap to a more equitation-friendly position than normal. Riding in it, it's been easy both to keep my feet under me without being restrictive, so it worked out the way I wanted it.

The tree is from Timberline ("Montana Horseman" bars... which are a slightly more Hape Hape bar), the leather is "russet" W/C (it's been oiled and sun-tanned a bit). The designs are mine. The layout suffered a from time crunch, but I like it fine. They're deer, by the way... something about at least the bucks really says "unicorn" to some people, which is alright I guess although it wasn't my intention.

There are many things I would do different on it, but as a first saddle I think it came out well. It is honestly the most comfortable saddle I've ridden in (me not having had a custom saddle before), and my less-than-tolerant mount hasn't offered any objections either, even after about 50 miles in it. The difference was really kind of shocking-- getting much better movement out of a horse you've known for years just by throwing a better saddle on is enough to give you a pang of conscience. I rode in my old production saddle once since and was more surprised than I thought I would be, to find it... wanting. Haha.

While I was in Belgrade I also had the pleasure of becoming friends with Rick Reed and his wife Halli of Double R saddle trees, by pure coincidence. Their trees are simply works of art... Rick is much too modest to ever say that about his own work, but after working on one of Randy's semi-custom trees (which are good-- and Randy himself is as nice as can be too) it's clear that handmades are on a different level. I was favored with their kindness and mentorship over a couple weeks and have nothing but good things to say about them.

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Good Job Horsemint!

for a 1st saddle it looks very well done.

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23 hours ago, Billy H said:

Good Job Horsemint!

for a 1st saddle it looks very well done.

 

On 8/2/2018 at 11:50 AM, hunter255 said:

Beautiful work

 

Thanks, I appreciate it!

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