Saints & Crosses – with Craftsmen Ernie Marsh and Wilson Capron

Story by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.89 Craftsmen Ernie Marsh and Wilson Capron discuss traditional bit styles and cheek designs. We’re leaving out a number of styles, but let’s discuss the Santa Barbara, the Santa Paula, the Santa Susanna, the Santa Maria and, breaking with the saint theme, the […]

Subtle Contact – with Ernie Marsh

Story by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.88 Ernie Marsh explains the connection between horsemanship and spur design. Every veteran horseman has had the experience of overhearing another rider critique a pair of spurs as “excessive” or “harsh.” Often, such verdicts are based on nothing more than the aesthetics of […]

Rigging Insight with John Willemsma

Story by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.87 Oklahoma saddlemaker John Willemsma sheds light on a fundamental part of a saddle’s architecture. In the horse world, the concept of saddle rigging can be confounding, to the point that many longtime riders throw around terms like “double rigging” or “centerfire,” or spout […]

Hidden Harmony with Wilson Capron

Story by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.85 Subscribe Today! According to bit and spur maker Wilson Capron, the secret to effective design lies in a ratio that’s all around us. In mathematics, there’s a formula known as the “golden ratio” that’s frequently encountered in measuring distances within basic geometric shapes. Expressed […]

Effective Saddle Design – Saddlemaker Troy West explains five traits that contribute to a well-designed saddle.

Story by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.83 “Imagine you’re driving down the road and you see a beautiful car,” says Troy West. “You pull up beside it and it’s a Mercedes or a Lexus. The beautiful cars are always high-end, from makers whose designers take the time to really […]

Quality Rawhide – Texas rawhide braider Leland Hensley shares insight on his craft.

Story by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No. 82 Leland Hensley is driving across Oklahoma, bound for Kansas, when he answers my phone call. I’ve arranged to interview him about his craft, braiding rawhide. When I learn he’s behind the wheel, I offer to reschedule, but he declines. Having spent […]

Quality Control

Story and Photos by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.80 For saddlemaker Chuck Stormes, independence has allowed an unrestricted pursuit of quality. In the late 1960s, Alberta saddlemaker Chuck Stormes was at a turning point. He had begun his career earlier in the decade as an apprentice for master saddlemaker […]

Western Buckle Design

Washington silversmith Mark Drain shares his insight Silversmith Mark Drain’s career took root in Reno, Nevada, in the early 1970s, during the city’s heyday as a mecca for western craft. Influenced by iconic western craftsmen such as Al Pecetti, Fran Harry and Dan Murray, Drain became known for his custom buckles and saddle silver, and […]

Cultural Exchange

Story and Photos by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.75 Argentine rawhide braiders Pablo Lozano and Armando Deferrari are ambassadors for their art form It’s a chilly spring morning in Salmon, Idaho. The sky is overcast and the Beaverhead Range sports a fresh dusting of snow. Inside a basement classroom of […]

Cutting a Path – Rawhide Braider Nate Wald

Story and Photos by A.J. Mangum This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.71 When Nate Wald was a student at Bozeman’s Montana State University, he took a short road trip northwest on Interstate 90 to Three Forks Saddlery, one of the West’s key suppliers of handmade saddles and tack. Row after row of […]