I have always felt that if I can become a better horseman then I could apply that skill set to become a better saddle maker. By this I mean that I could better understand the factors that are important in a riding discipline and how equipment could effect performance. Not all saddle makers agree on this and there are many who feel that you don’t need to ride to make a good saddle. It is in fact true that there are good saddle makers who do not ride. However, for me I believe horsemanship does have an effect on my understanding and for that reason I will continue to try to improve my horsemanship skills and try to apply that knowledge and experience to my saddle making.
This past weekend I had a rare opportunity to ride with one of the best. Bruce Sandifer and his assistant Jeff Derby put on a three day workshop in Sultan, WA. I have been wanting to ride in one of Bruce’s workshops for some time and this was only a 6 hour drive away so I jumped at the opportunity. It more than exceeded my expectations. By day three both my mare and I were making some great progress and I was feeling some things I had never felt horseback. Now comes the challenge of continuing to refine and practice. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s ride!