It was along in the fifteen hundreds when Spanish explorers brought horses and cattle to America.  Over a period of several hundred years descendants of the original stock worked their way up through Mexico Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.  Horseback riders tended the cattle and became known as Cowboys.  As the cowboys needs changed so did the saddles they rode until they have evolved into what is known as the Western Saddle of Today.  Each part of it relates back to a cowboys need at some time or another.  The biggest changes have taken place in the last one hundred and thirty years as the cattle business in the United States flourished.

Even the earliest saddles in history show a sense of pride of ownership with decoration and ornamentation on them.  As America flourished so did the saddles, decorative carving and stamping have become common.  During the height of the Cowboy movie era many saddles were made with lots of silver, sometimes gold and diamonds also adorned them.

In recent years custom saddle making has moved from large shops to individual artisans who generally work at home as they create individual artistic masterpieces.  These beautiful pieces of art still represent the needs of the rider and are capable of withstanding many years of hard use.

Bob Klenda
Klenda Custom Saddles
33323 Highway 13
P.O. Box 2166
Meeker, Colorado 81641
970 878 5382

Work Saddles vs Show Saddles


  • Flatter seat to allow movement and adjustment of rider.
  • Seats are often padded suede.
  • Often close contact skirting to help in the leg cues.
  • Reinforced rigging for any type of light roping.
  • Strong wooden tree.
  • Strong horn, made higher for holding on to.


  • Very detailed tooling.
  • Comes with silver on the skirts, cantle, pommel, horn, and stirrups.
  • Seats are often equitation, which are balanced and have pocket to keep rider in the proper position.
  • Turned stirrups.
  • Padded suede seats.
  • Often close contact with lower pommel and horn for better cues and rein control.