I just shipped out my 2014 TCAA saddle to the National Cowboy Museum yesterday. It’s always a good feeling to get a demanding project finished and off the stand. The last sixteen summers have been consumed with doing work for our show that opens in October. I say ‘summers’ but actually most of the work began months ago. It is a juggling act to get everything ready by deadline and keep up with all the other work that I need to do. Thank God for patient customers who have been on the books way too long. Projects almost always take longer than you think they should including the work I do for customers. Even though my efficiency has never been better through all the years of experience and repetition, I can’t resist the urge to add features to each piece that also add time. An example would be the hobble straps that hold the stirrup leather together right above the stirrup. I have been hand-sewing the buckles onto these straps for a number of years now. Bottom line for me is to send work out the door knowing that I’ve done everything in my power to make this saddle work for my customer both in function and the way that it looks. The added time it takes to do the many small things that make it just a little better is worth the effort for me. It’s an addiction, a journey, an obsession…whatever you want to call it. The objective is that my customers will benefit from the care taken in all things great and small.