We are often questioned about coloring or making saddles black. This is not something we recommend due to the overly dry condition created by the black dye that has to contain formaldehyde usage to set the pigment. We can offer a “near black” called Show Finish for those preferring that dark of saddle. This color looks better to most than true black; creating a more natural and less chemical look.
DUE TO “CORRECT SADDLE FIT”
We, here at Caldwell Saddle Company, have personally noted some interesting developments recently. A correct saddle that fits absolutely perfectly may not be the end of your saddle woes. Three months ago, our barrel racer employee found a nice five year old that fit under our TG Racer just right. Now, after working the mare 3-5 times a week, she has put on about a hundred pounds, obviously mostly muscle. She has gone up two saddle sizes and is now riding with our Rocket tree. I have long suspected that too narrow of a tree can restrict muscle and bone development much like a corset can cause a woman’s rib cage to bend inward, distorting the bone and muscle structure. So, although after waiting a year to receive your new Caldwell that fits perfectly, please keep an eye on the way it continues to fit. As well as our employee, we have had at least 4 other customers have this happen – that we know of. While this may be discouraging news because you thought you had solved your saddle fit problems, a responsible horseman has to keep a constant vigilance for the benefit of our four legged partners. All of us at Caldwell will work with our customers to properly re-fit your horses when this occurs. But, please be patient, we are custom builders with over a hundred saddle orders to work through. We do not have a production line.
I know that this sounds like a picky little thing. But if I told you that the day you brought your new saddle home, I could tell you whether you where going to spend another $100 to $300 in repairs (even some within the next year) or not, would you be interested?
The flat-topped leather horns, as shown in Picture #1, have a projecting lower jaw. This bottom leather foundation of the horn is by nature thin and pliable; probably no thicker than 1 to 3 oz. in weight. The saddlemaker then mounts the top foundation flat on the horn head and folds the bottom up to meet the top. This creates the bulldog looking lower jaw. When there is this square projection, the palm of the riders' hand will rest against it. When held hard for events like cutting and barrel racing, it does not take long for this thin leather to wear through against the metal of the horn underneath. It can also cause pretty severe blisters. So this area will wear out while the rest of the horn is still solid and serviceable. It will have to be replaced soon or the whole top of the horn will flip or twist off.
As shown in Pictures #2 and #3; when the top foundation is brought down to meet the bottom foundation at the steel horns mid-section, the thickest and strongest part of the horn will rest in the rider's hand. This area is triple thick and rounded for comfort. These horns can last 50 yrs without undo wear. The bulldog styles are doomed to failure by design and in turn....an expensive repair bill.