Saddle Maker

Design, create and decorate custom made saddles for horses.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $36,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Saddle Makers do?

A standard horse doesn’t have a flat back that stays still while the horse is running. Instead, it has a curved back that tends to move from side to side as the horse moves. Place a person on that curved, shifting back and the horse is liable to feel pinched and the rider is liable to fall off. As a Saddle Maker, you solve this problem by creating saddles to help support the weight of the rider.

Saddles often have stiff centers so they can hold their place over time. When the Saddle Maker starts work on a saddle, they cut out pieces for the center and attach them together with tiny, strong stitches. Then, you cut out pieces of leather to cover this center, and you place a layer of cushion between the center and the leather. Using a needle and thread or a sewing machine, you sew the leather pieces together, with the center and the padding sandwiched.

Decorative pieces such as fringe or studs may be part of your saddle design, and you attach these items with skill and precision. When the saddle is all put together, you may dye the pieces a particular color, or apply a treatment to the leather to make the surface shine and the color stand out.

While your saddles are built to last, they may need repairs after heavy use. When you need to make repairs, you, the Saddle Maker carefully assess the saddle first and determine what needs to be corrected. Often, you take out your stitches and replace the padding in the saddle. Then, you re-stitch and clean the saddle to make it seem shiny and new once more.

Should I be a Saddle Maker?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Saddle Mechanic, Shoe Maker, Skate Maker, Western-Saddle Maker

    How to become a Saddle Maker

    Most Saddle Makers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9sbaab&chl=no+college+%2874%25%29|certificate+%2822%25%29|associate%27s+%282%25%29|||doctorate+%282%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,74,74
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