This saddle is built on a 15 1/2-inch traditional Wade tree made by Warren Wright, New Zealand. The saddle is full basket stamped with floral accents and trimmed in a Carlos design. The saddle has a 4-inch straight cantle, 7/8 flat plate rigging and 4-inch Wilson stainless steel bound Moran stirrups. All hardware is stainless steel.
MICHAEL BETHEL, Saddlemaker, Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia
Michael Bethel grew up on a cattle station in North Queensland’s gulf country originally owned by his grandfather and now operated by his parents. In 1988 he built his first saddle after studying a book on the subject, and through trial and error his saddle making business grew. In 1994 he traveled to the U.S. for a couple of months to study with master saddlemaker Dale Harwood. In 1998 the family settled on a property north of Charter’s Towers in the heart of North Queensland’s cattle country, where they stay busy in the saddle shop, operating their web business, and working cattle and horses. Michael specializes in the "Western stock" saddle, a hybridization of the Western and Australian stock saddle, and the Wade saddle.
Photos by Adam Jahiel