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Frequently Asked Questions

Why buy a custom saddle?

A custom saddle offers many advantages over a mass-produced saddle. A good saddlemaker takes pride in his work and will make every effort to build a saddle to meet the needs of both you and your horse. Since the maker puts his name—and reputation—on each saddle,  he takes great care in his workmanship and the materials used to produce a saddle that you will love and use for years. 

Why buy a custom saddle from Rio Verde Saddlery?

Rio Verde Saddlery has a unique line of comfortable high-backed saddles inspired by the saddles of the Old West that meet the needs of today’s riders.

We build each saddle from start to finish in our own shop. We start with a tree and build it to meet your specific needs.  A ground seat option includes a layer of semi-closed-cell foam for greater comfort to the rider.

To finish the saddle, we use U.S. vegetable-tanned leather and then line it with sheepskin, not artificial fleece. All quality throughout—and yet our ladies saddles weigh less than 25 pounds!* 

*Double rigging, silver and/or tapederos or other additions may increase the weight to slightly more than 25 pounds

Where do you get your saddle trees?

We build our trees in our own shop.

What type of tree do you use to make your saddles so light?

Our trees are built from pine laminated under five tons of pressure then covered with rawhide so they are strong yet light. The tree styles were popular at the turn of the century (19th, of course). The bars are modified to fit your horse, whether gaited or a trotter.

Are they fiberglass covered?

No,  all of our trees are rawhide covered.  At certain times of the year we even  make our own rawhide.

How long does it take to build a saddle?

That depends upon the saddle style and the time of year. The Cattle Queen takes about three weeks from start to finish if we worked on it continuously. This includes drying time for both the tree and the saddle. The Cheyenne Rose may take over a month from start to finish. The carving is very intricate and very time-consuming.

Can I make changes to the saddles you have pictured?

Yes, we can accommodate almost any request. Remember, though, that the  changes may increase the weight.

If I send you a picture of a saddle can you reproduce it?

Yes, we have extensive experience in reproduction and restoration of saddles.

I have a hard time fitting my horse.  Can you help?

Yes.  We chose the style of trees that covers the widest variety of horses’ backs.  The  gullet style of our saddles accommodates horses with withers.  Since we don’t build the tree until we have your order, the gullet and bars are adjusted to fit your horse. 

If we can make arrangements  to be in your area, we will personally fit your horse. If that is not feasible, we will send the tree to you before it is covered with rawhide so you can check the fit to your satisfaction.  We will provide instructions on how to fit a tree.

How long will it take for me to get my saddle after I order it?

It depends on the time of year and how many orders are before yours. Springtime is show season so the majority of saddles are built from June through December. We will provide a delivery estimate when you order. Please understand that we are not a factory and delivery dates can be affected by illness or other events beyond our control.