Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, 1981 - Crafts & Hobbies - 391 pages
2 Reviews

Saddles is the first complete work on the subject to appear in print. It is an exhaustive survey, in words and more than eight hundred illustrations, of the one indispensable item of horse equipment, whose history began about the time the horse was domesticated, in the dim mists of unrecorded time.

More than history, Saddles also explains the construction of the basic saddle, describes the different saddle types, and explains how they have been altered to meet the changing needs of riders down through the centuries.

Those who work with horses for pleasure or profit, from novices looking for suggestions on buying saddles to professionals who want to round out their knowledge, will find this book useful, absorbing, and a delight to the eye. It covers virtually every aspect of saddlery, saddle measurement, selection, and care, plus tips from a knowledgeable horseman on the intricacies of fitting horse, rider, and saddle into a dynamic whole.

The aesthetics of the craft are also presented in detail: the uniquely American leatherwork of the show saddle, the elaborate use of silver (now undergoing a revival), the adoption by American saddlemakers of useful accessories from other lands (the tapadero from Mexico, for example).

The construction of the saddle is described and illustrated in careful detail, along with descriptions of the many accessories of early and modern times. The section on famous saddles shows now-priceless gem-studded examples of the saddlemaker’s skill.

The first compilation of American saddlemakers is given in the appendix. A glossary of saddle terms and a thoroughly researched bibliography conclude the book.

In undertaking the enormous task of compiling this work, one of the author’s underlying purposes has been to enhance interest in the few surviving old saddles as collectors’ items and as artifacts of American history. For, as he says, "Much of that history was made on horseback."

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SunnySD - LibraryThing

Although it lacks a few years of being up-to-date, this is a fascinating, well-researched window into the history and development of the saddle. Detailed drawings and diagrams, plenty of black & white ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Saddles evolved over time and still are. This book is now only relative to Custom made Saddlery, not Commercial. The 'Mother Hubbard' style refers to a single hide (side) of leather (cowhide) for the entire seat & skirting cover over the saddle tree. Protecting women as this unique & very innovative style seat & skirt kept females from chafing, pinching & dirt, as saddles were rather piecemeal & nails at the time. Both an economical & weight issue was solved, men eventually rode this style of Saddlery especially for the Pony Express & days on end herding cattle. As a Custom Saddlemaker, this book is required reading for anyone researching Saddlery: highly informative . 

Bibliographic information