IN THE SADDLE SHOP
In October we made another extended trip to the Lone Star State to teach classes and spend some time working in the saddle shop under the supervision of Master Saddler, Blake Kral.
We are¬†getting to know our way around Texas and we really enjoy the rural Texas landscapes and lifestyle -- God Bless Texas -- Don't Mess with Texas and Get Er Done!
Blake's expanded shop is near the towns of College Station and Madisonville.¬† Madisionville is known for it's Mushroom Festival and Country Music Radio Station -- Texans take their county music very seriously..so do us saddle makers.¬† We don't like that whiney¬†pseudo country music.¬† We like classic kick-ass country -- Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Bob Wills, Waylon & Willie, Loretta & Patsy ¬†just to name a few...¬†
Current country favorites that made the saddlemaker's hit list¬†were Billy with his Beer Googles, Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off, She Don't Like My Kind of Music, Don't Touch My Willie and Beer Bait and Ammo.¬† These songs were imspirational and set the pace for productive saddle making, we can't imagine why not one of these songs did not receive an award from the Country Music Association!!
Besides listening to country music, drinking coffee and a little George Dickel, we got some serious work accomplished.
Blake and Lisa focused on building the prototype of their new Western Trail saddle, The Essential.¬† This saddle has all essential features for both horse and rider without unnecessary weight -- The completed saddle weighed in at 34 pounds!! This is the saddle pleasure and trail riders are looking for.¬† The trees are custom fit to the horse and the seats and stirrups are custom fit to the riders.¬†
The finished saddle was a work of art!
¬†Lisa was tempted to keep it for herself and her Palomino, Alex.¬† But it was already sold to Cathy & Dakota.¬† When it was delivered, both Cathy & Dakota were overjoyed!¬† Cathy was amazed at the change in Dakota's behavior.¬† "She is standing still under saddle!¬† She never stands still under saddle!¬† This is amazing!" (Dakota finally has a saddle that fits).¬† Likewise Cathy was amazed at the comfort the saddle offered her....I thought that because my horse is so broad that the seat would feel really wide to me...it doesn't...it feels like a recliner!"
Donald's shop time was spent building more of our Legacy, full-tree throughbred exercise saddles.¬† The Legacy was designed by Donald & Blake to address the huge need in the racing industry for proper training equipment.
Most of the back pain, injuries and behavior problems of thoroughbred race horses is due to the use of cheap, poorly built, half-tree exercise saddles that are used by the majority of exercise riders.¬†¬†Imagine paying $100,000+ for a yearling¬†and trying to train it in a piece of equiptment that is GUARANTEED¬†to cause pain.¬† It is no wonder the horse has an "ATTITUDE".
Our¬†clients who¬†are¬†using the Legacy¬†on their horses¬†have seen tremendous improvements in the attitude of the horses.¬†¬†Excessive back pain has been eliminated and muscular soreness is now manageable.
We are compelled to learn saddle making because few saddles on the market meet our standards for the horse.
We encourge you to join us in one (or more) of our saddle fitting classes to learn about saddle fit from the horse's point of view.
Our Western saddle fit classes¬†¬†are ¬†held once a year in Texas and¬†are led by Master Saddler, Blake Kral.
Our English saddle fit clasess¬†are held twice per year at our farm in Reddick, FL.
There saddle fit classes are divded into Levels 1 & 2.¬† After completing Level 2, students¬†must pass¬†a written examination in order to be on our recommended fitter list.
Dates for 2006 will be on the calendar soon.
Improper saddle fit is the #1 cause of pain, lameness, injuries and behavior problems in the horse.¬† If you are serious about your riding and/or equine therapy work, you need this information..¬† Saddle fit knowledge is a craft.¬† You cannot master it by taking a one week class, but the longest journey starts with the first step.¬† Our Principles and Fundamentals of Saddle Fit courses is a great way to start the journey.