Careful attention to detail begins with the placement of the stirrup leather slots in the ground seat.
Though not necessary for the proper function of the saddle, attention to the tooling and finish of the saddle is held in equally high regard with every other aspect of the work. Distinctive tooling is a hallmark of Gordon’s leather work.
Hand stitching the saddle horn
Using the traditional double needle harness stitch.
This horn is also bound with rawhide.
Each stitch is pulled up with the proper tension.
Clean workmanship, and attention to each detail is seen in the finished work.
While earning an art degree at Utah State University I worked for saddle maker Mark Broughton. Marks business was called Buffalo Strong Saddlery and it was housed in the Cache Valley Horseman in Logan, UT. Mark learned from Jesse Smith and I used Jesse’s notes for the first saddle that I built from start to finish. I had done considerable repair work up until then, but had never stretched a seat in or carved a ground seat (two of the more important steps) and Mark told me what to do and gave me Jesse’s notes. Mark is a very generous man. He shared his patterns with me and let me work on the saddle after hours. It was a pleasure to work there. I can’t say enough how much it has come to mean to me, and how much I appreciate those folks that helped me as a young man just starting out. I’ve learned something from every saddle maker I’ve known, talking to them, and occasionally watching how others work. By studying as many saddles first hand as I can I’ve found that saddles themselves reveal the ways of their makers. I like to study original pieces of gear from the early saddle makers. I’m grateful to those who have gone before. They created a legacy for us to be a part of. I love making things that are useful and feel blessed to be working at something every day that I want to do.”