all around performance horse

Big Loop Ground Seats

Here is a quick run down of what projects are in process within the custom saddle department of our shop (this department consisting of Jim and I, ha ha): we have four customers’ orders from our list, each different and uniquely complex, two ranch saddles for the All Around Performance Horse crew (due in two weeks), and all fourteen of the Big Loop saddles.  This is all happening at the same time that the rest of the shop is busy on multiple belts, wallets, scabbards, holsters, saddle repairs and handling customers on a daily basis.  The oppurtunity for chaos is so great that it makes for an exciting work week this time of year.

My goal this week was to finish all the ground seats for the Big Loop saddles and get horns started.  Some of the saddles

saddle tree and ground seat
Working hard on the Big Loop saddles

had been started already, some ground seats were done and I wanted to get them all done completely so that Jim could focus on getting the All Around saddles to a point where I could get to tooling fronts or swells (my favorite… not).  Starting Monday with that goal in mind, I made progress and got all the ground seats completed by the end of the week.  Since this is usually the part that Jim takes care of, I was sure to check with him off and on to insure that I was putting the ground seats in the way he had been doing them.  It took me a couple times and a bit of Jim giving me hell, but in the end I got them all in.

Even though Jim and I both build saddles, we each do things a little different and consistency is what we want especially with this project.  For the last couple years, our partnership on saddle making has been him building and me tooling/designing all the artwork.  He is much faster than me at building and I am much faster than him at tooling, so this arrangement works well.  Since these are all rough out, and there is fourteen of them, I have custom saddle seatsto help him with a lot of the building and keeping up with changes he has made all year is something I have to be mindful of.  Even though my name is on the sign and stamp, Jim has the lead on this project… And I think he takes a little pleasure in bossing me around.

As the week went along uneventful and productively, it didn’t start off that great.  By Monday afternoon we were met with 85 degree temperatures in the shop.  Our air conditioner was froze up and not cooling at all.  Thinking back on the last few weeks, we realized that the filters hadn’t been changed and they really needed it.  In a shop like ours the dust can get pretty bad due to the sanding from the finisher so we have to change filters every two weeks or so.  It wasn’t till Tuesday afternoon late when our AC repair guys got us back up and running… till then we just tried not to drip sweat on the leather.

As we set now: ground seats are done, all the horns are cut out and skived, no major mistakes as of yet, a few shop pranks (involving an air horn) were conducted and the new guys haven’t quit yet.  It’s still early with lots left to do…


All Around Performance Horse Ranch Rodeo Challenge 2012

It’s here again!  The world’s biggest ranch rodeo featuring some of the countries greatest cowboys and cowgirls competing for $50,000 and prizes from some of the greatest craftsmen and artist our western heritage has to offer.  We are talking about the All Around Performance Horse Ranch Rodeo Challenge!

We have worked with All Around Performance Horse since they started this ranch rodeo and this year is no different.  This year we are adding the Top Hand award to our saddle build sheet as part of our sponsorship.  The Top Horse and Top Hand saddles will be the awards that these athletes will be competing for second only to the cash.

As we begin designing and building these saddles we will update with video and photos so that the competitors and fans of this event can see the great craftsmanship that goes into building a custom Don Gonzales saddle.  If you are looking for more up to date information on this event and the creation of these awards along with other projects DGSaddlery is creating daily, visit our website at where you can stay connected through facebook and twitter.

Also be sure to check out our friends at for event dates, their blog, and other great All Around Performance Horse info.


All Round Ranch Rodeo 2011

Don Gonzales Saddlery would like to thank All Around Performance Horse for another great show at their ranch rodeo. We have been working with the rodeo and the All Around crew for five years now and really appreciate the opportunity and great times.

The rodeo in Clovis, NM was great and the cowboys that competed put on a great show. Congrats to Arndt Bailey Ranch for winning the $50,000 and to Eng Ranch for their second place. A special congrats goes out to Jake Conrad for winning the Top Horse Award which was a bit made by Joe Spillar and a custom saddle made by DGSaddlery. Jake is a long time customer of our shop and a close friend and it was a great honor to award the saddle to him.

I would also like to thank Matt Stockton the 2009 Top Horse winner who allowed us to showcase his two year old DG custom saddle in our booth during the short round.

Mark your calendars and plan on attending the worlds biggest ranch rodeo in 2012!



Scotty Cobb Spring Gathering 2011

Well I guess it’s that time again to spend the weekend at Scotty Cobb’s ranch cooking for his spring gathering. Jim and I went last year for the first time and had a blast. I was the head cook for the function and since no one died from my cooking we were invited back to handle the food again.

This year John Klam is having The Big Hat Classic which should be a very interesting take on ranch life and team roping. Look out for this all to air on RFDTV in the future.

I will be sure and take photos for our Facebook page so that our customers can have a sneak peak of the event. I just hope I can come up with better fixins then I did last year. Any ideas? Please comment with any help you may have.