This saddle, built on a Wade tree, has a 15 1/2-inch seat, 4-inch roll cantle, post horn, and full quarter horse bars. It is three-quarters flower carved with a rope border woven through the carving. Jesse has also added some decorative scroll work on the Cheyenne roll cantle. Other features include 21-inch eagle beak tapaderos, 7/8 skirt rigging, one-piece back housings, and a 3-inch back cinch. The silver conchos and horn cap were made by Silver King, Chatsworth, California.
JESSE SMITH, Saddlemaker, Pritchett, Colorado
Jesse Smith was born and raised on a cattle ranch in southeastern Colorado. He made his first saddle in 1963 after returning from service in the Air Force. In 1965 he was recruited to work for The Tack Shop in Spokane, Washington, and in 1972 he bought the shop part of the business. In 1969 Jesse started teaching the custom saddle making course at Spokane Falls Community College and taught this two-year program for the next 21 years while maintaining his custom shop. In 1978 he earned a degree in commercial art from the college. In 2001 Jesse received the prestigious Al Stohlman Award for his long dedication to leatherwork and teaching. Jesse retired from the college in 2000 and moved with his family back to the home ranch in Colorado where he makes custom saddles, tack and leather goods, and still teaches a few students.
Photos by Adam Jahiel