Saddle Makers of the Southwest

legends in leather

The Museum’s Horse & Cattle Barn is the site of a new, long-term exhibit celebrating the art of saddle making.

Saddles and saddle makers are an important part of ranching history in New Mexico and the Southwest. The saddle was the most critical tool of the cowboy; it was one of the most expensive purchases he would make, so he wanted a good, durable saddle that was specific to the work he was doing – whether it was riding the range on a cattle drive, roping and branding calves, or at the rodeo. Cowboys sought out particular saddle makers for their custom orders and based their selections on the makers’ reputations for making exactly what the cowboy needed and used. It would be impossible to talk about all of the important saddle makers in the Southwest. Instead, we will focus on four individuals whose saddles are representative of the many well-known southwestern saddle makers.

This exhibit also provides a leather-stamping activity for children.

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