More than just saddles, Glenn Davis’ work can be described as handcrafted pieces of art … Each saddle is created with so much care, skill and attention to detail; they rightly deserve the awards they’ve won. Glenn and wife Victoria have been around horses all their lives; they have a true insight into what not only is comfortable and works well for riders, but for their mounts …
Hi Glenn. What’s your background in the Tamworth region … and specifically, what brought you and Victoria to Hallsville?
I grew up here! Hallsville has always been home for me. This is where my father is. My workshop adjoins our house, so everything I need is in one place.
Victoria moved back to Tamworth after a long stint in Sydney, returning home to the more relaxed country lifestyle. With a background in show riding, competing in many Royal Easter shows, it was inevitable that we would come together – and together we are a formidable team.
What’s your relationship with horses?
Horses are such a large part of our lives – not only with the business but also as part of our family. They are such gentle animals. All of our children have grown up riding and loved being around them – not without some lengthy arguments about whose horse is whose!
They each have their own personality, and it’s great to develop special relationships with each of them as we break them in and watch them grow and compete.
How did you get into the business of crafting beautiful leather saddles?
I don’t think I could’ve escaped being a saddle maker. I had the privilege of learning alongside my father, whom I watched day in and day out as a child craft the most amazing “Stockman’s Thrones”. He’s 82 now, and his stitching to this day is impeccable.
I love creating such a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, but for the working man/woman.
The saddles are handcrafted, and it’s rewarding knowing they are going to be put to work. Our saddles are built to last the longest days in the outback, whatever terrain and job at hand.
What types saddles do you make … can you accommodate different riding styles, such as dressage, eventing, western?
We currently make a traditional stock saddle, but the more versatile and popular style is the fender saddle. Both saddles cross all borders – used for show riding, polocrosse, ASHLA classes and camp drafting.
The hardest customer is the working horseman – the customer who spends 12 to 14 hours a day, rain, hail or shine, in the saddle. Our saddles need to keep on giving. If the saddle is not comfortable for the horse or the rider – we haven’t done our job.
How does your ordering process work … do customers order custom saddles, or do you keep a variety of saddles in stock?
Each saddle is handcrafted and custom made to the rider’s measurements. We aren’t looking to produce the most; we are looking to produce the best.
Where do you source the leather used in your work?
All of our leather is sourced from Australian importers, which comes from England, and other leather comes from America.
How long would a saddle typically take you to make?
Typically, we turn around one fender saddle in two weeks – that includes making the tree from scratch.
A traditional stock saddle takes four weeks, which is all handcrafted and hand-stitched and takes a lot of patience and precision.
While we do have those typical turnaround times, no saddle goes out unless I would use it myself – so, in essence, it takes as long as it takes.
What are some of the tools in your workshop you couldn’t be without?
A round knife, which made it from England, given to me by my father.
I couldn’t do without my best mate, our red cattle dog, Fred, who sits at my feet every day in the workshop – he’s a lousy assistant though!
What are some of the accolades or
acknowledgements you’ve received for your work?
We are deeply passionate about our craft, and each year we enter a saddle into the Sydney Royal Easter Show in the Arts and Crafts Pavilion, to ensure we keep our craft alive.
In 2018, we were humbled to receive the Frances Binnie Memorial Perpetual Trophy for Standard of Excellence, which is awarded to the most meritorious exhibit in the Arts and Crafts Pavilion.
What are your plans for working with horses and saddle-making moving into the New Year?
At the moment, we are just focusing on taking one step at a time!
Unfortunately, the drought has been savage to lots of people in the region. We’re moving forward slowly but surely. Each day is a day closer to rain, and we are praying for rain for everyone.
What’s the best way for us to contact you/find out more about what you do?
Photo of saddle in gallery courtesy of Steve Gonsalves Photographics.