I’ve known my friend Rusty May for 10 years and for most of that time we talked about him building me a saddle, but I never could decide just what I wanted. Finally, a few years ago I saw one of his 1870’s style Texas stock saddles in a photograph and told Rusty that was just what I had in mind. A few weeks later I had one and loved it, slick fork, high back and all, and I get lots of compliments on it. By that time Rusty had also built chaps and saddlebags for me.
Then, the best thing of all happened; my first grandson arrived and I could think of nothing better for his first birthday present than a miniature version of the Texas stock saddle Rusty had built for me a year or so before. Rusty delivered it personally here in Santa Fe right on time for the birthday party, and I can honestly say that my grandson rode that saddle before he could walk. A proud day for his granddaddy and many thanks to Rusty.
In the course of interviewing craftsmen for four books on traditional craft. I’ve had ample opportunity to think about the characteristics of a craftsman. To me, Rusty embodies all the best traits; a strong work ethic, a passion for the craft, a desire to constantly improve, and humility. My husband and I consider ourselves incredibly lucky to own one. The saddle is a work of art, the patterns standing out from the leather as clearly as any painting in a frame. The fact that the saddle is comfortable is merely a bonus!
Chase Reynolds Ewald — Author of “Old Masters of the West”
which features Rusty as a saddle maker
As a leather worker myself, I can totally appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of the saddle we have, that you created. It is a true work of art. It’s almost too perfect. Recently my husband and I went to a horse auction & saddle sale. There was no comparison to your work, and the prices!
Mary & Jay Sharp — Leather Worker & Blacksmith
I have known Rusty May since 1989 and was drawn to his work by his leather artistry. In 1990, I commissioned him to build the pictured saddle. The saddle is a work of art, and occupies a place in my den, when not in use. I could not ask for a better fit for rider or horse from a saddle. The quality of Rusty’s work is a testament of Rusty’s many years of experience with horses. It is his desire to produce the best and his experience which sets him apart.
Ernest Carol — Attorney at Law
The moment I took my new saddle from the box, I could tell it was something very special. The feel of the leather in my hands was the first thing I noticed.
I asked you for a plain work-man like saddle. I should have known your work, Rusty. That is the fanciest “plain” saddle I have ever seen. Of course, the fancy is in the details, and over a month later, I’m still discovering your little touches. And those are noticed by the horsemen I’ve proudly shown my saddle. No shortcuts, and long way extra.
1494 Beers-Hubird Rd.
Sagle, Id 83860
Gabe Gabel is a well recognized sculptress.