The Fernando Saddle: Designed and Made by Mustangers for Mustangs

Copyright 2009 Vickie Ives and Tomlyn Grey.

The new Fernando Saddle by Kyle GermanyFernando and Tomlyn perform at Breyerfest 2004

Once upon a time, a girl loved a little black horse. In fact, her love for her very special friend Fernando inspired Elizabeth Shepard of Dreams 'N Color Ranch to design a saddle just for Tomlyn and "Ferdie". She wanted it to be a saddle for Tommi to do everything on Fernando--distance riding, American Indian Horse Shows and their period costume classes, pleasure riding, even lessons with Ferdie's beloved kids. The saddle is built on a wooden rawhide wrapped tree, covered with vat dyed black latigo leather, and hand-stitched (with lots of love). Liz put all brass fittings on the little saddle to keep it of frontier period type and very long strings plus lots of rings and straps (four total) so that it would be ready for carrying anything Tommi might want for distance riding.

It worked! The little black saddle became Tommi's only one. Fernando went on to become the world's most decorated Spanish Mustang, Indian Horse or Colonial Spanish Horse. He won a NATRC National Championship, numerous AIHR championships and even raced in a couple of 50 mile endurance rides. And all in the special little saddle that Liz built.

Tomlyn does a judged mount onto her original Fernando saddle at Heat 'Em Up CTR

Ferdie trots over caveletti at a CTR in his original Fernando saddle.

Folks began to notice the little saddle. After all, it didn't really look like any other saddle they had seen--and Ferdie seemed so happy and comfortable in it--so full of life and ready to tackle anything Tommi wanted to do with him. Soon people were requesting Tommi to let them try it and inevitably then asking where she got it. It was so comfortable, secure and well appointed. They were usually very disappointed to learn that Liz no longer had time to build saddles and Ferdie's was likely the last of its kind. "What a shame," they always said. "I'd buy one of those if I could. Our Colonial Spanish Horses are so hard to fit."

Enter Kyle Germany of Wild Star Ranch. Kyle had been studying saddle-making from one of the best teachers in our area. He had been restoring our antique saddles for years. In fact, Vickie rode one of Kyle's restored saddles (a Myers) at Breyerfest in 2004. He took the original Fernando home with him where he measured and photographed it, including studying how Liz had built the simple and lightweight breastcollar and crupper that went with the saddle. He searched for a treemaker would would customize a tree for us, one that would be as multi-purpose and sturdy as the original, one that was narrow enough for our antique horses and of a type that could be built as a frontier period saddle. He thought about it and even made a few minor changes that make the new Fernando Saddles even easier and quicker to put off and on at a pulse and respirartion check than the old one. Kyle also found a source for the quality latigo leather we needed, the kind of leather that a saddle that works as hard as ours has to have. Then he built a few for our clients.

Laura Christensen tries out her new Fernando saddle on Ferdie himself just for fun.Then Laura rode Ferdie at the Horsemasters CTR in her new Fernando Saddle and won Novice Sweepstakes!

When her new Fernando arrived from Kyle, Laura Christensen tried it out at Karma Farms on Ferdie himself just for fun. Then Laura rode Ferdie at the Horsemasters CTR in her new Fernando Saddle and won Novice Sweepstakes! Tommi rode Laura's gelding Baby Driver in the original Fernando saddle and won second in Novice Lightweight. Baby Driver ended 2008 in fourth place in the Region 4 NATRC Novice Lightweight division standings in only 4 rides, and never lost a point on back or saddle fit--all four rides were done in a Fernando Saddle.

Jose Guerrero bought a super nice Karma Farms bred Grand Canyon gelding named "Ticket To Ride" from our friends the Halupas at Karmalita Farms. He had a very special ride over rough terrain from Montel, Texas northwest of Uvalde, Texas to San Antonio, Texas (137 miles) that he wanted to be able to finish in fine style on his new Colonial Spanish gelding. But when he got Ticket home, Jose's own saddle just didn't fit. Jose had trusted us to find him the right horse so he trusted us to get him the right saddle for "TTR", as Jose called his boy. He got our first burgandy Fernando in a 15" seat.

Jose Guerrero and Ticket To Ride practice for their trail ride.Jose's Fernando Saddle in burgandy harness leather.

They went up and down and over all kinds of ground, and little Ticket kept up with the Big Boys just fine. In fact, here is the email Jose sent me after his ride:


I hope you all are doing fine; TTR and I just got back from the trail ride, and he behaved like a real CHAMP. Im attaching some pictures that we took although the areas that I really wanted to have pictures taken from us was not possible because the climbs were very steep and it would be very dangerous to have some one stop to take pictures never the less I got a couple of shots taken. TTR did real good he was very strong and never gave up nor gave me any trouble I will keep and treat this horse like family. These are some of the comments that I heard in reference to TTR
. One older man came to me and said these little horses are the best they are as tough as nails, some time back he had one now was riding a Peruvian horse.
. Another lady came to me and said that if this horse was for sale she would buy it on the spot, of course I gave her your info.
. I overheard a couple of ladies on the back saying that little horse must be very proud for keeping up with the BIG guys, and the other lady said well I hope he can keep up the pace.
. Also a lady commented to her companion that these horses were the ones the Indians use to ATTACK US.

I hope you get all the pictures that Im sending you, and I will never forget the help you gave me in order to find TTR, if there is ever anything I can do for you please do not hesitate to let me know.

Thanks a million.

Jose R. Guerrero

Jose and TTR on the trail.Jose and TTR climb a rise.

Jose Guerrero's gelding Ticket To Ride tied during the ride. Note how there are attachments for all of Jose's stuff.

We'll be adding more pics of our riders and their Fernando Saddles as we collect them this spring. I know we'll see lots of action from Dorene Scanlon and her lovely mare Sing In the Sunshine and Patricia Leopold and her long-striding gelding Shazam. Dorene's Fernando Saddle is a 14 1/2" in black, and Patti's is a 16 1/2" in burgandy. So those pics will give us a look at the larger seat sizes at work. Dorene's is here and being ridden now in its first events. Patti's is still at Kyle's being built for the 2009 season.

The Fernando Saddle in black from the rear.

The Fernando Saddle in burgandy from front. The Fernando Saddle in burgandy from the rear.

Ready to ride the only saddle custom crafted for the Colonial Spanish Horse? Order your Fernando Saddle now. Allow a full 3 months for delivery since each tree and then each saddle is custom made to YOUR order. Choose black or burgandy and tell us your desired seat size. Each Fernando saddle comes with matching breast collar and crupper at NO additional charge. Buyer may choose period type western stirrups or endurance type stirrups. Price: $1300 payable $650 when ordered and $650 before delivery. Kyle wanted to be sure you knew that you can add his matching custom made saddle bags for your Fernando Saddle for $125. Yes, we take Paypal!

You can see more of Kyle Germany's Custom Leather Works saddles and other great leather gear at at

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Phone: (903) 935-9980. Leave message, please.

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