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Saddle Production Techniques

Saddle production techniques can be classified into two broad categories.

  1. Handmade or Machine Made
  2. Custom or Mass Produced
While you'll find differences among saddle makers, the following are the most common saddle production choices.

Handmade Custom Saddle
A saddle made from hand completely to the individual customer's specifications. The only exception to total handwork is the possible limited use of a sewing machine/stitcher. The saddle is built to the customers's measurements and the customer chooses all features. It is generally the custom for a single saddle maker to make the saddle from start to finish, although some saddle makers work collaboratively or have an apprentice working on the the less critical itemsl. Many saddlemakers specialize in one or several types of saddles.

Handmade Production Saddle
A saddle that has been made by hand to general specifications for the general riding public. It is sold "off-the-rack." These are generally well made saddles that can be as high of quality as a custom saddle. If you can give up having the saddle custom designed for you, handmade production saddles can be a great way to get a top notch saddle at a more reasonable price.

Semi-Custom Saddle
A production saddle where the customer is able to make some decisions about the features and decoration. Typically with a semi-custom saddle, a customer chooses a basic model and then has the ability to make a limited number of selections such as stirrup type, cantle height, or carving pattern. The saddle may be made from any combination of hand and machine techniques.

Machine Made Production Saddle. (Also known as a manufactured or factory saddle.)
A saddle that has been made to general specifications with no ability for the customer to customize it. It is generally made completely with machine techniques, although some hand work might be involved on the higher-end production saddles.

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