Sheridan School of Saddlery
TWO STUDENTS, TWO WEEKS, TWO SADDLES EACH
The saddle making course is designed for individuals who have a working knowledge of leatherwork and a desire to take their abilities to the next level. The overarching purpose is to teach techniques and the procedures of building the basic saddle. Students can expect specific instruction on the following: tools (purchasing, using, maintaining), set up their shop, shop etiquette, tree fit and ordering, detailed teaching about not just how to build a saddle but the "whys" involved too.
This is a unique opportunity to learn basic saddle making from a saddle maker who has learned and honed his skills in a traditional apprenticeship background, all but gone now in this day of instant information and the significant value placed on degrees. The Sheridan area is steeped in an old and rich tradition of different makers and still ranks as a mecca for people interested in this trade. It is the one place in the country where you can learn saddlery, purchase the complete tools needed to start a shop and have a source for all the supplies you need.
The course cost will include materials, but each student is responsible for food and lodging. Students are encouraged to bring tools. If they do not own them, a basic list will be provided along with supplier information. Learning to use and maintain your own tools is a critical part of being a saddler.
Contact me for more information.
Paul is a very patient and precise teacher. In the three weeks I was with him, he taught me many details regarding saddle making, like building the parts of the saddle that you can't see just as well as the parts that you can. Quality, inside and out, is something that he really believes in, and it comes across in all that he teaches.
He also helped me with finding and buying the right tools. I didn't end up with a hundred tools I don't use. Actually, we only bought about 10. But it was just enough to do the job well, and I was thankful to be able to start out with exactly what I needed.
Last, but definitely not least, we had a ton of fun together during the long hours of hard work at the shop. Thank you for everything, Paul. If I could come again, I would!
In January of 2022 I had an opportunity to spend 2 weeks with Paul learning how to improve my saddle making skills. I had previously built a handful on my own with help of books and videos to work through the process. The time spent with Paul has jumped my learning curve a head by years, and will vastly reduce the cost incurred in learning a trade on my own. During our time together we covered topics such as building a saddle that is square from side to side, tree fit and how measurements between different makers can differ, ground seat build and the effects on the rider, rigging position and the effects of moving it to accommodate different styles of horses and riders, exterior lines and proportions of a saddle that are more pleasing to the eye, creating flow in the lines of a saddle as well as in the tooling/carving, tool care and the all-important sharpening of the various tools, stamping layout, and much, much more. I will likely spend the rest of the year digesting everything that we covered.
Paul is a genuinely patient teacher, taking the numerous mistakes I made in stride and skillfully helped me through them. As a person, I found Paul to be a man of depth with interests and knowledge that range far beyond saddle making. He is well read, an artist outside of leather, a horseman, and a dedicated family man. Which, when you spend 10 plus hours a day together, it is welcome to take a break from discussing saddles and leather. As there is more that goes into being a craftsman than just skill and knowledge. Which became apparent as the hours ticked by. The qualities of a person are revealed in their work.
Having already started down the road making saddles, I was concerned that my investment in time and resources would yield a return in a class like this. What I left with is a renewed passion for the trade and feel that the value gained, well exceeds the price paid. I would not hesitate to recommend anyone to him, beginner on up.
757 Highway 14 East Sheridan, WY 82801