My name is Bob Jones and I am a tiny saddle maker.
What I do is share information about how to make tiny western Wade saddles.
I have not always been a tiny saddle maker. In fact, before 2004 I was not involved in making saddles.
The story begins
The story about the tiny saddle began after I read a Wade saddle article in a western magazine.
I began seeking more information by reading saddle books, trade journals and western horse magazines.
What was once an interest slowly turned into a passion especially when I asked myself “How can I make a big saddle small?” followed by the next question “How small is small?”
Researching the Wade saddle I came across several articles and web sites about model horses. Breyer, a model horse manufacturer, makes the model horses based on the traditional 1/9 inch model horse scale.
The scale numbers answered the question of how small is small. A Breyer model horse measures 11 inches long by 9 inches high. The dimensions of a life size saddle were converted to a 3 1/2 inch long model horse size using the 1/9 inch scale.
The articles and the web sites about the tack makers’ model horse saddles did not offer any assistance to make a 1/9 inch scale saddle.
A Rio Rondo Enterprises saddle pattern (found while searching the web) was used by many tack makers to make and to display a saddle. All the saddle details such as the horn height, the horn cap, the rigid seat line, the fenders, the rear jockey and the leather (not wood) stirrups are identical.
One person’s saddle was copied by others including the errors and the inferior craftsmanship. A few saddles are slightly different with the out of scale stamped decorations.
The tack makers’ saddles displayed on the various web sites look boring and are uninspiring.
Mediocrity destroys creativity
Boring and uninspiring is the name of mediocrity. Mediocrity is the below average working standard of the tack makers that destroys creativity and personal effort.
The individual tack makers shoulder the responsibility for not taking creative action to make the saddles better. Each tack maker is able to change one small part to get a different result such as the width of the fender. A simple change means a different result.
Mediocrity flows from one person to another because it is easy to do what someone else did. The poison of mediocrity flows from one person to the next when he convinces himself that he has done the best he can do. Wrong! Mediocrity is not a best effort.
Individuals stop mediocrity
Mediocrity kills creativity. Individuals stop mediocrity. Personal effort and pride makes mediocrity disappear. Throw the mediocrity standard on to the muck pile.
All members of the model horse community whether connected directly or indirectly as participants, collectors, investors or spectators can stop mediocrity simply by not buying inferior products.
The tack makers have held the community members hostage long enough with inferior products. The tack makers will experience change when better value products are available. The time is now.
A surprise for tack makers
This surprise applies to all tack makers. It’s not the tack makers’ fault!
The tack makers did not and do not have any written instructions to make a 1/9 inch scale saddle. Without written instructions, the tack makers can only copy other tack maker’s work.
My real story
I was angry with the tack makers for not providing or sharing any building information. I was even more angry with the tack makers for copying each other’s work.
My reading and research was about life size Wade saddles and I wanted to make a miniature vanilla style Wade saddle.
I began making a saddle following the Rio Rondo saddle kit pattern sheet. Then I realized I was making a mediocre saddle just like the other tack makers.
I stopped making the saddle and threw the pattern sheet and the cut-out leather pieces into the garbage.
I knew I could make a better saddle. I wanted to make an authentic, working miniature replica Wade saddle.
During the process of making five Wade saddles I made building notes on paper scraps, 3×5 note cards, sheets of paper and notebooks. The notes were not organized.
One evening I was looking through my notes for a specific answer and I remembered why I felt so much anger towards the tack makers. They did not have any written information to share.
I looked at my notes and realized I had a lot of written information. Useful information to others interested in making miniature and scale saddles.
I made a decision and a commitment to write a book about how to make miniature western Wade saddles.
The book (e-guide)
The e-guide provides some of the missing information and instructions on how to make a miniature saddle.
A 136 page e-guide provides the detailed step by step instructions including 29 pages of patterns and illustrations to make a saddle. The e-guide specializes in making only a western Wade saddle.
The e-guide is titled “The Art of Making Tiny Saddles” and is based on the building notes plus the actual trial and error experiences of the author and tiny saddle maker.
The e-guide fills the gap of missing information. Now tack makers can apply their skills and knowledge to be creative tiny saddle makers who design and make authentic tiny Wade saddles.
Any person, beginner or advanced, can learn the skills to make a museum quality western Wade saddle by following the easy step by step directions.
I am a tiny saddle maker and I am proud to share my joy of making tiny saddles with you.
Imagine how her eyes lit up . . .
My friends laughed at me when I told them I have a 3 inch western saddle for my granddaughter’s birthday present. They laughed even more when I said I made the saddle.
The laughter turned into awe when Ashley removed the saddle from the wrapped gift box holding the saddle above her head for all to see.
I will always remember how her face lit up and her eyes sparkled as she gently took the saddle out of the box.
She gave me a hug and held me tightly as her moist tears slowly ran down her cheek on to mine.
The warmth of my granddaughter’s hug and her love is a precious gift I will always cherish.