Odd Jobs Colleges Brand's School of Western Saddlery

About the Brand's School of Western Saddlery for the aspiring saddle maker.



Brand's School of Western Saddlery

P. O. Box 748

Ralston, Wyo. 82440

Founder of America's first saddlery school, Hamp Brand intends to retire soon, after nine years of dedicated teaching. During this time, he has taught about 100 students, limiting his classes to 10 students at a time. Brand himself has 47 years of experience in the leather and saddle business, several of them as an instructor at a U.S. Cavalry saddlery. He insists that good horse furniture can be made only by hand, and he has serious qualms about some of the newer saddlery schools which teach students automated mass-production techniques rather than quality handcraft.

In the basic course (51/2 months), fundamentals such as stitching, cutting, and assembly of simple items like bridles and halters are taught. The advanced course (also 51/2 months) teaches students how to make saddles and instructs them in the decorative tooling of leather. Graduates can make quilted seats, rodeo chaps, and other horse show equipment. There is a big demand for saddle makers, but Brand says it takes 10 years to make a master. Although the emphasis is on Western gear at his school, trainees do get some experience with English, or "flat," saddle repair and construction.

Brand cautions his students (who have included one woman) that this is not a course for hobbyists. The basic and advanced courses cost about $1,200 each. Unfortunately, chances are that by the time you get around to applying, Mr. Brand, who is getting on in years, will have retired.

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