Welcome to the Saddle Shop!

We are honored that you stopped in for a visit, and look forward to having you join us on this journey. This story began with a 15 year old girl and a plane wreck.

Once upon a time, our neighbor was involved in a serious air plane crash, in which he suffered a broken leg. As he already had one leg that had been damaged by polio in his youth, the wreck left him without a leg to stand on for several weeks. Boredom set in, so my Dad offered to teach him leather work to occupy his time while he healed. I convinced my Dad that he should teach me at the same time, and a lifelong journey began.

After carving one huge flower, I was hooked. My first project was a belt for myself, complete with white buck stitching and my name in the center, as was the style of the day. My fellow cowboy-kid classmates all wanted a belt of their own, and a career was born.
Nancy Martiny Saddle First Built
Fast forward to 1980, when I first had the honor of meeting Master Saddle Maker, Dale Harwood. Our family owned several Harwood saddles, and I was completely mesmerized by the quality of the craftsmanship and the beauty of the carved leather. My Dad had built himself a saddle as a young man, and it had always been a dream of mine to someday build a saddle for myself.
Life at the time involved raising three kids, helping on the family ranch, and producing rodeos. I continued to advance my leather working skills by making chaps, belts, tack, and any custom item that folks requested. In 1987, my husband somehow convinced Dale Harwood to build me a couple saddle trees. Over the course of several months, I would visit Dale's shop for a few hours at a time to learn the basics of building a saddle. Armed with a notebook, I would sketch every detail and try to absorb every last bit of information.

Nancy Martiny Kid Saddle
Dale made sure that any saddle built under his guidance was top-notch, so my first saddle looked impressive. I was totally overwhelmed with the amount of detail required to produce a hand-made saddle, but I had a tree for my kids sitting in front of me, so eventually I started my second saddle. Armed with my notebook, and occasional help from Dale when I was sure that I would have to throw everything away and start over, I completed a 12" Homestead saddle.

Nancy Martiny Kid's Saddle
As we were always traveling to rodeos, participating in team ropings, going to branding, and generally busy in the ranching community, that first saddle got a lot of exposure. I started getting orders, and began a new phase in my journey.

Art of the Cowgirl Saddle: Nancy Martiny

Over twenty· years, and 488 saddles later, I am still on the path of building, learning, and developing new skills; and still in love with the beauty of finely carved leather on a hand made saddle.

Happy Trails!

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