Saddlemaking Course

Learn to build a saddle one-on-one with acclaimed saddlemaker Ben Geisler.

A full time saddlemaker, Ben studied saddlemaking under NEA recipient and TCAA founding member Dale Harwood. He has appeared in Pendleton Whisky’s “The Hands that Build the West” and he’s also been featured on Don Gonzales’ “Lost Trade” and We Are Makers podcasts.

In this 60-80 hour one-on-one course you’ll learn the fundamentals of saddle construction. You’ll build a plain saddle of your choice from the ground up in a show-one do-one format in a modern, fully-equipped saddle shop using a mechanics-based approach. By the time you leave, you will have the knowledge to to make a saddle that’s safe, functional, and comfortable for both horse and rider.

Students are encouraged to take photos, video, and notes. At the end of the course the student will take home their completed saddle (a $5,000 value).

Whether you want to pursue saddlemaking as a career, build saddles part-time, or want to try your hand at building your own, this comprehensive course will meet your needs.

While no prior experience is necessary, an intermediate level of leatherworking skill and a working knowledge of horsemanship will allow you to make the most of your experience.

In addition to saddlemaking, we’ll also cover:

  • Basic Equine anatomy, saddle tree fit and selection
  • Pattern making theory, and rigging considerations
  • Tool and machine selection and maintenance
  • Material suppliers and sourcing best practices

Currently booking classes for 2024. Due to high demand and limited availability for saddlemaking classes, I require a $500 deposit so secure your space. If you are unable to attend a class booking, your deposit can be applied toward a future date, transferred to another student, or used as credit toward a saddle, tack, etc.

2024 Course Tuition is $7,500 USD and includes all required materials. Tuition must be paid in full prior to class date.

For more information, please email me at trailsendsaddleshop@gmail.com or call the shop at (208) 680-3264 M-F 8-4 CST.

Location

Trail’s End Saddle Shop is currently located in Enterprise, Alabama.

The nearest airports are:

  • Dothan, Alabama (DHN) located about 45 minutes away
  • Montgomery, AL (MGM) located about 2 hours away
  • Pensacola, FL (PNS) located about 2 hours away

Students are responsible for arranging their own meals and lodging. There are many hotel/ AirBnB options to choose from in the Enterprise, AL area.

Pensacola International Airport (PNS), 2430 Airport Blvd, Pensacola, Florida 32504

Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM), 4445 Selma Hwy, Montgomery, Alabama 36108

Dothan Regional Airport (DHN), 800 Airport Dr, Dothan, Alabama 36303

Enterprise, Alabama

Sample Itinerary

Week 1, Day 1Week 2, Day 1
Tree Fit Patternmaking Theory/ Rigging Considerations Tool Maintenance Hide Selection/ Pattern CuttingSeat fitting  Horn Wrap, Rope strap/ Keeper, Latigos, Collar D’s (high/ low)
Week 1, Day 2Week 2, Day 2
Gullet Cantle Back (roll/ straight up) Fenders / Stirrup LeathersCantle binding (roll/ straight up)
Week 1, Day 3Week 2, Day 3
Riggings (flat plate/ skirt/ double D) Strainer and Ground seat Pt 1.Skirts (lining and braiding)  Billets (laced/ sleeved) / Back Cinch 
Week 1, Day 4Week 2, Day 4
Ground seat Pt 2. Fork cover (standard/ welted)  OR Horn Cap (wing wrap/ baseball wrap/ sewn-around)Oiling  & Assembly 
Week 1, Day 5Week 2, Day 5
Fork cover (standard/ welted)  OR Horn Cap Skirts (blocking) Jockeys Oiling & Assembly Cont’d.