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Help with tooling for new saddle!

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  • #21
    I ordered a semi custom saddle from Dakota. I took their basic roper and put this combo together. You choose your saddle style, tooling, seat, horn wrap and other finishes.


    Apparently they liked the way it came out and are selling it as I put it together; except I did a black leather seat not the suede. It is a Diamond pattern with oak leafs that they offer, I thought that was different with out being too heavily tooled.
    No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill


    • #22
      What are you going to be using your saddle for? Showing/competitions or trail riding?

      I personally will never own another basket weave saddle. I LOVE the look of them... hate to clean them after trail riding in mud/dust and we do a lot of that type of riding.

      Our trail saddles have simple barbed wire or floral tooling just around the edge of the saddle, but nothing too elaborate. My barrel saddle has basket weave just on the back. DH's roping saddle has oakleaf & floral tooling over the entire thing which can be a pain to clean, but is a beautiful saddle.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks everyone for the replies and ideas for tooling on my new saddle!

        This will be a work/trail saddle. I get invited to brandings and to sort/gather on occasion, so this would be the saddle I'd use. I also would alternate this with my dressage saddle for trail riding.

        I was thinking that the heavily tooled and basket weave saddles would be a bear to clean. So that would be a consideration.

        Actually my first thought was a plain roughout saddle with just a swivel knife border. Still considering that, but the half breed floral saddles look so pretty....


        • #24
          Marijuana tooling-- that is hilarious. I had mine tooled with wild sunflowers -- I'm a Kansas girl.

          For years, I had not seen basquetweave tooling for a whole saddle, that was just for some borders or fill in.

          I expect all that changes with the discipline, the region and tradition.

          The past 30 or so years, since cutting became more than one more rodeo class, those saddles are not any more tooled all over, more plain.

          I say, get what you like, that is what will be important, not looking like anyone else.
          Tooling also covers up cosmetic flaws in the hide. I had my saddle made ~15 years ago. The guy who made it complained that he couldn't get the quality of hide that he'd gotten years ago. Hence, I ended up with more tooling than I'd planned on. But it is beautiful. Tanned oak leather with braided rawhide trim. I'll take pic if I get a chance.

          Yes, OP, get exactly what you want. I still love my saddle and it rides like a dream. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit any of my round-bodied Arabs, but I will never sell it. I will buy my next horse to fit the saddle. Yes, I will.
          "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
          the best day in ten years,


          • Original Poster

            mp - I'd love to see a pic of your saddle! It sounds beautiful.

            And if it doesn't end up fitting my colt when he grows up, I too will by my new horse to fit the saddle...

            Here are some fully tooled saddles that I thought were pretty...



            And some amazing detailed tooling pictures...










            • #26
              Not my style of saddle, but the tooling is wonderful and very imaginative some of it.
              I don't see any unicorns there.

              The back of that saddle on the last link is absolutely beautiful, the kind that wins western saddlemaker's competitions.

              I would say that saddlemaker will make you a saddle to be very proud of forever, whatever you decide to put on it.


              • Original Poster

                The animal tooling isn't my cup of tea either, but I do think its amazing. Kent made the saddle with all the forest animals for his son who likes to hunt so it has a special meaning to him. He also made a saddle for one of his daughters that has a mix of flowers on it. His daughters are named after flowers so those flowers are on the saddle - which I thought was a really sweet idea too.

                I think Kent makes wonderful saddles - he's an artisan and understands saddle fit too. I think the trees he makes are some of the best, and his ground seats are so comfortable.

                It makes me a little queasy thinking about the $$, but I think I'll end up with a beautiful saddle in the end.

                Thanks for your comments!!


                • #28
                  Hi Bluey..the second picture in your post looks like my Bona Allen. I love that saddle and how it's beautiful hand tooling. I have tooled some leather in my time and really really appreciate a job well done! I have thought about parting with the Bona Allen...but I know I could never do it...they don't make them like that any more!

                  The greatest gift you can ever give is taking their pain away and making it your own. Wear that pain like a tribute to the love you shared. Laurierace


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by paulosey View Post
                    Hi Bluey..the second picture in your post looks like my Bona Allen. I love that saddle and how it's beautiful hand tooling. I have tooled some leather in my time and really really appreciate a job well done! I have thought about parting with the Bona Allen...but I know I could never do it...they don't make them like that any more!

                    That is beautiful tooling and it has the old silver lacing on rawhide border also, that makes it stand out.

                    I too would keep it around, if nothing else for decoration.


                    • #30
                      The basketweave doesn't seem to be very hard to clean, in my experience, in comparison to floral tooling which is a BIG pain.

                      I'm just having a saddle done. The tree was made by Warren Wright of New Zealand. I'm riding an absolutely plain Jane saddle made on the same tree (with a slight difference in the horn) and it is beyond comfortable, for me and my horse. If I don't like my new, flowers-and-pattern stamped saddle (can't imagine I won't), I'll keep the one I'm riding. It's on loan from the maker, since I prepaid for my new saddle.
                      If I weren't getting a Warren Wright tree, I'd sure wait for a Freckers tree.

                      Instead of the usual basketweave (or crazylegs or other geometric standard), I really like Jeremiah Watt's 'Navajo Rug' stamp:
                      I want to combine that with a bit of floral tooling, on a half-breed tooled saddle. We'll see how it turns out!


                      • #31
                        Here's a saddle I inherited in the winter. I cleaned it (still damp in this photo) and there is still some white soap/conditioner in the tooling which I have yet to tackle. What a giant pain, however I still love it.


                        I'm an eventer really, but appreciate beautiful work regardless!
                        "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."


                        • #32
                          I'd love to see your saddle, but the link won't display. (Facebook won't give permission to view content)