Bitterroot Close Contact Saddle

Starts At $4000 - Call Bob at 406-961-3978 to Order

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This saddle may not be for everyone . . .

A very long time ago we encountered a man who enjoyed working with leather and let’s just say, the results were interesting. He was fond of stating “my saddles aren’t for everybody”.  That became a favorite catch phrase around our shop for anything that was somewhat ‘different’. Well, this saddle fits that description for sure, but at the same time it solves some really thorny issues.

Does the saddle fit the horse, is it in the right position?  It’s very easy to tell-there are no skirts to obscure your view-you can see if it fits and if it’s in the right place.

Can I lift it into place without hurting myself or being rude to my horse? I will not compromise when it comes to materials-handcrafted rawhide covered wood tree, Hermann Oak leather, the best hardware-but I can make the saddle lighter by eliminating or reducing anything that is not essential for horse or rider. The result is a real saddle that’s several pounds lighter than it would have been had it been built in the usual way. The compact style also makes it a lot less awkward to handle.

In some ways it works a lot better. Without skirts the rider has a much closer, quicker feel of the horse, reaction time is shortened when it no longer has to be translated through  added layers of leather and sheepskin. This saddle is ideal for trainers who may have to saddle many horses in a day, for trail riders who want a streamlined rig they can tie their gear on and for those people that just like efficiency.

Does it look good? As stated these saddles are different; some of the rawhide covered tree shows at the fork and the cantle area, the skirts are gone, the fenders are slimmed down a bit, but good design is still beautiful. We pride ourselves on ‘fit and finish’ and no effort is spared to make this saddle a piece of equipment to be proud of.

If you’re not afraid to be ‘different’ this saddle may be for you.

Average weight is 28 lbs. Saddle weight can differ from what is listed because of fender length, seat size and the different weights of the tree's. There is no way that we can compete with the fabric saddles or the injected plastic tree saddles but our saddles will fit your horse much better which will give you much better performance from your horse and a much happier horse.



The saddle is perfect. I could stop there, however, I’m quite certain you’d like to know the details. The weight of the saddle is of course important to a short, older lady like me and it is indeed light. The construction is matchless and the horses appreciate your consideration in the finish in places of contact with their body. The point of contact below the withers where there is the first touch with their shoulder is most important, especially for my mare. You read those photographs incredibly well.

In a similar regard I am pleased to tell you that the seat of this saddle is particularly suited to my anatomy. Together with the position and flexibility of the fenders, this type of comfort encourages a confidence in my ability to “feel” my horse. I’m hoping you understand here that when I say that I do not mean "touch", but rather the disposition of energy between the horse and myself.

The response of both horses to being saddled was an immediate drop of the head as if to confirm agreement that it is a well fitting saddle. The seat is a definite improvement over the seat in my older saddle as it is narrower and a bit shorter. My hope would be that you are able to use the same tree to yield a matching seat in a forthcoming saddle.

The tooling is lovely and I especially like the border of sunburst hearts, perhaps that is a custom stamp of yours? The night latch works for me, simple, functional and well positioned. Again, I would like the same on the next saddle.

Please thank Julie for suggesting the Close Contact model. I feel as though this saddle will see me through to retirement


Thanks, Renee Caples


~ $4000 Base Price Includes ~

•Custom made rawhide covered wood tree • High quality stainless steel hardware • #1 Hermann Oak skirting leather  • Flat plate rigging with rear rigging dees • Full fork cover • Partial cantle back •1 3/4″ tugs and 3 1/2″ rear cinch • Top grain leather, rough out or halfbreed • Mulehide horn wrap • Latigos • Rawhide stirrups with leather treads or leather lined monel stirrups • All saddles and accessories sewn with brown thread. *

*Please note, we use the finest quality materials available to us, however, the finish on the nickel-plated copper nails used will tend to rub off over time.