These artisan-crafted saddles were in high demand for 100 years.
Many of those who settled in the American West in the early days required a few essentials to get started: a lariat, quirt, chaps, gun holster, bits, spurs, and saddle, etc. etc. This opened the door for craftsmen who could silversmith, and carve and engrave leather.
One of the most creative of the bunch was Mexican Guadalupe S. Garcia, who opened his first shop in 1884 in Central California. One of his saddles is held by these cowgirls of Salinas in 1938. An authentic saddle from this time period often ends up in museums.
Photo courtesy of California Rodeo