How do you make a saddle?
How do you learn to make a saddle?
“Poco y poco (little by little),” Armando Delgado, saddle maker at J.M. Capriola Co. in Elko, said.
Delgado has been working with leather since he was 18 and living in Mexico. He learned to make saddles at Capriola’s, a longstanding western wear and gear store.
The store sells western wear, including hats, boots and Garcia bits and spurs, among other authentic cowboy items. The saddle making takes place upstairs, in a room packed with old sewing machines, an assortment of pliers and of course, saddletrees – the frames used to make saddles. The process remains much as it has been for decades.
“Very little has changed,” Eric Bushong, who is learning to make saddles, said.
A saddle from Capriola’s, custom-made to fit the cowboy and the horse, can take as many as 200 hours to make, and can cost around $6,000. Other places produce saddles on a massive scale, Bushong said, but their products may not fit as well – which can be a problem when you’re spending hours in the saddle running cattle on the range.
“Anything that makes you or your animal sore, that’s not good,” Bushong said.
Capriola’s is at 500 Commercial St. in Elko. Details: 775-738-5816.
For more on visiting Elko, contact the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, 775-738-4091. For more on the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, currently happening in Elko through Feb. 3, visit the website www.westernfolklife.org.