Wadesville, Indiana (812) 985-5550

Other Styles of Custom

Made Plantation Saddles

Kentucky Springseat Saddle

Eugene Minihan is credited with originating the "Kentucky Springseat" saddle. Mr. Minihan made these saddles in his shop in Owingsville, KY from the late 1880s to the time of his death in 1926. Many knowledgeable horsemen consider them the finest riding saddle ever. Minihan took a standard Somerset Broad Cantle saddle tree and removed the center of the tree bars, then spliced in pieces of stiff leather to make a sort of "hinge". This was the first, and most successful, flexible tree design. It is very labor intensive to construct, and new saddle trees of this type are not commercially available. Original Minihans are highly prized, and several skilled saddle makers rebuild them on the original trees. These trees, however, are becoming extremely hard to find, and when one does become available it may not be in serviceable condition. Also, the vintage trees were made at a time when horses were narrower and riders smaller, and the vintage tree seldom fits a modern day horse and rider.

In order to keep these remarkable saddles from fading into obscurity, I am making a limited number of them on new trees that I make myself. I believe I am the only person making new trees of this type. I strive to make faithful copies of the saddles Mr. Minihan made. These saddles can be had in either the "Kentucky Stitchdown" or the "Rollback" (also known as "Bluegrass") style. Both are built on the same tree but have different seat designs. Examples of each are shown below. A feature of the Minihan style saddle is the elaborate quilting pattern on the saddle seat. This is known as "trapunto". It is made by sewing the pattern on the seat leather and an under layer of fabric; then punching holes in the fabric and stuffing wool in the holes to give the pattern a three-dimensional effect. Many different patterns are available. Each of these saddles is a strictly custom job, so there is not a set price. Most will be in the $2,000 range

As a matter of clarification, the Kentucky Springseat saddle should not be confused with the "Springtree" English saddles. The Springtree saddles are built on a standard English saddle tree, but there is a strap of spring steel affixed to the bottom of each tree bar. Theoretically, this was supposed to be easier on the horse's back. The Kentucky Springseat is an entirely different saddle from the Springtree.

Kentucky Stitchdown and
Rollback Style Saddles

These saddles are basically the same as the Kentucky Springseat saddles, but they have a regular solid tree. They run around $1,700.

I would welcome any questions you have about these saddles.

Myron Razor, Owner

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Construction Process

Bare saddle tree parts
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Finished tree with steel reinforcing, rawhide cover and leather hinges
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Tree webbed up
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Ground seat installed and stuffed with deer hair
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Thigh rolls installed and flaps stitched to ground seat
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Thigh rolls covered and stuffed
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Seat pattern sewn and hand raised by stuffing wool in design
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Seat is "stitched down" to flaps
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Finished product
Hillcrest Saddlery Saddle

Wadesville, IN 47638 (812) 985-5550

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