The Art of the Saddle

Back when Custer and the U.S. 7th Cavalry were having their Last Stand in 1876, a cowboy named Miles Lamonie Burns with his skills in blacksmithing and leather working opened a retail shop in Utah.  He sold handcrafted saddles and harnesses starting a legacy seven generations strong.  Burns is the world’s oldest Western retail business to stay in one family, and maintains the focus of handmade artistry that began in 1876 with Burns Custom Saddles.


A Burns saddle is bench made by a skilled craftsmen right here in the USA.  Each saddle is individually made with the highest quality Hermann Oak leather and the utmost attention to details.  Even though you won’t see it, each layer of a Burns saddle is bowling-ball-smooth and finished as if you would.  Next, saddle makers spend extra time on the seat position, carefully ensuring the correct location of the seat pocket to provide even weight distribution along the horse’s back and balance and comfort for the rider. There are two separate methods of installing the rigging to ensure that they are set perfectly square with the tree.  Using the traditional nail and string method checked by a laser level guarantees the riggings are correct. Burns pays particular attention to the leg swing on their saddles, making sure you get the appropriate positioning for whatever your riding application may be.  Tooling, carving, dyes, and all painted backgrounds are carefully done by hand.


The saddle tree used as the foundation for a Burns custom saddle has bars with a unique twist and rocker making for an exceptional fit.   Our trees are built using lodge pole pine as it has a smoother grain with fewer knots in the wood. They are finished for prevention of moisture that may cause warping and for added durability. Our saddle trees can either be bull hide rawhide covered and deer hide rawhide laced, fiberglass Kevlar covered or Durahide covered.


We only use Hermann Oak number one grade leather for our Burns custom saddles.  The Hermann Oak Leather Company began in 1881 in St. Louis, Missouri, and has earned the reputation of being the premier leather manufacturer in the United States.  Throughout the years they have developed a special vegetable tanning process that is designed to produce the best results in the finish work.

Stop by Burns Saddlery in Salina, Utah and see firsthand the workmanship going in to every Burns Custom Saddle.  It happens every day right in the store, 95 West Main, Salina, UT.

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