The term saddlery refers to saddles, harnesses and other equipment for horses. Respectively, it also describes the trade of making the saddles. A saddler is a professional who manufactures, repairs, rebuilds and designs equipment for all equestrian disciplines. Unlike other medieval crafts, the saddlery still flourishes. Most saddlers work in small, privately owned workshops with less than four employees, although larger establishments can also be found around the country where the equipment is made using hands and machinery. Discount saddlery can typically be obtained from such shops due to larger amounts of saddles manufactured at a quicker pace. Saddle fitting services are offered by many saddlers. The facility ensures that the saddle fits the rider and the horse correctly. At the same time, harnesses, bridles and other leather goods are offered and can be bought as a package at the discount saddlery shops. The process of making a saddle can take up to several days and involves the following:
- Choosing the best type of leather
- Selecting a frame (tree)
- Carving the pattern
- Padding (flocking)
A master saddler can make the saddle on his own, or in larger shops, the stages can be shared between several individuals. Many varieties of saddles are presently available.
- Side saddle : Originally designed for female riders. In present day it is only seen in parades, horse shows or other similar events.
- Endurance riding saddle : It is designed for the rider to be comfortable during the long trips over a rough terrain.
- Trick : It is similar to a western saddle. Special design includes extended double rigging.
- Police saddle : Manufactured especially for long hours of riding with greater security to the rider.
- Pack saddle : Heavy in its construction, but comfortable for the horse to carry heavy bags or luggage.
- McClellan saddle : Unique in its design, this type of saddle is divided into two sections with a space in the middle. Used in United States, it was modeled with English : type of tree.
- Treeless saddle : It requires the use of padding to ensure comfort for the horse. It is flexible, but does not provide the same support as the saddle with a tree.
Additional types of saddles are being crafted depending on the need. The art of saddlery requires certain finesse and love of the trade. Discount saddlery is not widely popular as the process is extremely detail oriented and requires special talents of the saddler to create the saddle of the highest quality.