Some of my students upon
completion of their courses
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Congratulations Ken
Ken was one of my first students
way back in 1982
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 In the four weeks Darcy was with
 us taking my Saddle Making Course
 he completed the saddle pictured above.

"Congratulations Darcy" on the extraordinary job
you made in the construction of this saddle.

Bob and Lila,

Well, I came for Bob's saddle making course and stayed for Lila's cooking. I have to say that making a saddle was a lot more involved than I imagined. When I first got the idea in my head that I wanted to make a saddle, the books that I read made it seem very simple. I think the most fortunate thing that could have happened to me was to find you. After the first time I spoke with you in the shop, I knew that what many people call saddle making was simply putting leather on a tree and calling it a saddle.  All the important details of saddle making are not something you learn on your own, or at least not very quickly. To see how a saddle pulls down on a horse and how the skirts are strung to reduce shock on the horse's back really made me realize how important it is to learn this craft under the eye of someone with more than just experience making saddles. Years of hard riding in a saddle give you a different perspective on what is really important to both the rider and the horse. It almost frightens me to think of what I might have built had I not come in contact with you. Your knowledge and experience has made this an invaluable learning experience. Your patience and ability to explain what needs to be done, why it is done a certain way, and why it is not effective when done other ways has made me confident that I can continue making saddles  which will both serve their function and have a nicely finished appearance. I suppose when I started with the idea of making a saddle I had some kind of vision of what it would look like in the end I can honestly say that the saddle I turned out in your course exceeds all expectations of that vision. Standing in the shop looking at my finished saddle really astonished me; A rig which I know will not sore a horse, will outlast me in life, and looks as good as anything I have seen from people who have been making saddles as a career. I will certainly not hesitate to recommend you to anyone who may be looking to make their first saddle thank you both very much

Sincerely, Darcy Kabatoff

                                       Congratulations are again in order


Congratulations to Darcy Kabatoff, winner in the pro category,
in the Professional Saddle Makers Division
of the Kamloops Cowboy Gathering March 13th to 15th 2009
The judging was by Chuck Stormes
a founding member of the TCAA

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Congratulations to Darcy Kabatoff, again the winner in the pro category,
in the Professional Saddle Makers Division
of the Kamloops Cowboy Gathering March 13th to 15th 2011

Rick,  building an Association Saddle
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Rick's first attempt at making a saddle,
Congratulations Rick on a job well done

Bob & Lila
I have been working with leather on and off before and have wanted to build a saddle for quite some time. After seeing a brief article in  " Saddle Up" magazine I gave Bob a call and decided to take his saddle making course. Bob has many years of experience and I found his knowledge to be of great help. I have learned techniques for building top quality saddles that are comfortable to ride and will not sore a horse. Bob is truly a craftsman and I feel that this type of craftsmanship is getting hard to find. Therefore I feel fortunate to have trained under Bob.

Sincerely Rick

Dale,  building a Form- fit saddle
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Congratulations Dale, you built a saddle
you can be very proud of.

I would like to thank you and Lila for your hospitality while I was taking your saddle making course. People asked me why this "country boy" from Oklahoma would go all the way to western Canada to learn how to make saddles. The answer was easy. I wanted to learn from the best! As I researched the saddle making process, I realized how important it was for the saddle to fit the horse and I could tell from our telephone conversations how passionate you are about it. Your 40 years of saddle making and your lifetime spent in the saddle shows in your excellent saddle building methods. I know I will be able to make quality saddles that will make both the horse and rider happy. The experience of taking your course will help me tremendously with my new saddle making business.

Thanks for everything,  Dale

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Congratulations Art
All the best with your

new Custom Saddle Shop

The decision to learn how to make saddles was a lot easier than finding the right teacher. I researched courses and instructors for quite some time and I always came back to Bob at Okanagan Saddlery. After talking to him and visiting him at his shop I came to fully appreciate his knowledge, and experience. His emphasis on the traditional methods of saddle making and concern for the comfort of the horse and the safety of the rider puts his course far ahead of the others. The past three weeks have far exceeded my expectations and I came away knowing I made the right decision. There simply is no substitute for quality. I would like to thank Bob and Lila for their Friendship and hospitality. I would not hesitate to recommend Bob to anyone wanting to learn saddle making. I feel confident I can continue to make quality custom saddles.

Thanks Art

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Congratulations Ian
All the best with your
saddle making venture in England .

Until I came across Bob's web site, whilst searching for second-hand tack on the net, I'd never thought about making my own saddle. The only leather craft I'd done was to repair an old 'Mexican Special', but never the less I called Bob and as luck would have it he could arrange a course during the time I was visiting my brother in Vernon. Bob was very helpful in arranging to get the type of tree that I preferred and over several weeks we chatted by email about the style of saddle I would be building. It was obvious then and throughout the course that his vast experience and knowledge was going to make the whole experience of building my
own 'custom saddle' something to cherish. Not only did I learn the basics of custom saddle making, Bob also taught me what to be wary of when looking at factory produced saddles and how much better a custom built saddle should be. This information will be invaluable when I start to market my own custom saddle making company back here  England. I thoroughly recommend anyone who's interested in doing a course to check out Okanagan Saddlery.

I'll keep in touch, thanks again for an excellent course, Ian.

 In the six weeks Dan was with
 us taking my Saddle Making Course
 he completed the saddle & gear
 pictured above.

Congratulations Dan
All the best with your
new venture.

  After  taking my Saddle Making Course
Rob also attended my Braiding Course
What a great job he did.
Congratulations Rob
& good luck in your future ventures.

Dear Bob & Lila

It has been a week since I returned from my Advanced Western Saddle Making course and I have been reflecting what I learned in my three short weeks that I spent with you in Vernon. Above all the hospitality and friendship that you offered me made my course very enjoyable. What I found most impressive about your instruction Bob, was the in depth horse experience and saddlery knowledge that you shared. Making working gear that is safe and serviceable for a life time of use is the first principal that you strive to pass on. Your 40+ years of making gear has let you try all the different methods of saddle making and hone it down to a fine art that lasts day in and day out for the hardest working cowboy. Fine saddle making is a dying art, saddles that are beautiful to behold and take any amount of work. I have been privileged to learn from a master who learned his art through a lifetime of work dedicated to making each piece better than the last one.  Hearing about your life growing up in the B.C. interior was a glimpse back in time Horses were a normal essential part of life. Hearing what you did as a packer, guide and logger high up in the mountains: taking horses down trails most people would fear to walk on; taking pack strings 120 miles a week, week after week; cowboying in rough terrain, out there alone, just you and the cows; logging in the bitter winters with teems of heavy horses doing all of the log skidding; riding stock horses who had an edge which would give you own personal rodeo before they got down to work. All of these experiences have given you a unique perspective on the necessity of good working gear. I have had the excellent experience of seeing how good safe horsemanship begins with properly made gear, designed and crafted to give long years of safe hard wearing, comfortable service to the horses back and the riders but. I will put all of the knowledge that I learned from this course onto carrying on the tradition of Western Saddle Making. My philosophy is that you have to learn from a master craftsman to become a master craftsman. I have a way to go to be called even a craftsman but you have given me a solid foundation on which to build.

Thanks a million for sharing the trade!

Sincerely, Rob

 In the three weeks Patrick was with us
taking my Braiding Course he completed
the braided headstall above.

Congratulations Patrick on a job well done.

Dear Bob,                                                                   

I just wanted to take the time and let you know how much I got out of your
leather braiding course, I know of several people that have been braiding for
years and the quality of their braid work does not compare to the braided work
that I accomplished through your instruction. Additionally, when I returned to the
states I took a few days away from the braiding. When I picked it back up,
I remembered all of the knots and the different phases of braiding that we
covered. Everyone that has seen the braid work that you taught me has raved
of its beauty. It certainly proved to be an excellent course and I would recommend
it to anyone. Again Bob, many thanks and please use me or this letter as a reference.                                                   

Best Wishes, Patrick

 In the three weeks Walter was with
 us taking my Saddle Making Course
 he completed the saddle pictured above.

Congratulations Walter
on a job very well done.


In the three weeks Doug was with
 us taking my Braiding Course
 he completed the headstall pictured above.

Congratulations Doug
on a job very well done.

 In the three weeks Paul was with us
taking my Saddle Making Course
he completed the saddle above.

Congratulations Paul on a
job very well done.

Dear Bob, Lila, Shane and Taylor,

I am now back in The Netherlands and it is now one week ago since I left Canada and
you all. I must say that I sometimes still can not believe I did the saddle making course
because the 3 weeks period was over before I realized it, but it is really true, time flies when
you are having fun. Bob I would like to thank you for introducing me in the world of saddle
building and special thanks for being such a patient and understanding teacher because I had
no experience of working with leather at all. You also learned me a lot about horses and other
horse related stuff but also how to run a saddle making shop. Bob I hope that in the future it is
possible for me to come back to Canada and do an other course. So for people who really want
to learn more about making saddles (and horses) check over Okanagan Saddlery because it's
worth it. Lila thank you for the home cooked meals , I really miss the pancakes with home made
jam and also thanks for the fine conversations at the diner table. Canada and saddle making
were a great experience for me. Thanks for everything. 
Say hello to Shane and Taylor.
Miss you all!!!


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Congratulations Mavis,
on the completion of
your Harness Making Course,
 good luck in your future ventures.

Congratulations Todd & Whitney,
on the completion of your
Saddle Making Course


 In the three weeks Whitney was with us
taking my Braiding Course she completed
the braided headstall above.
Congratulations Whitney,
on the fantastic job you did braiding your headstall.


Santa Ynez Style Romal Reins

 In the three weeks Doug was taking my
Braiding Course he completed a
set of Santa Ynez Style Reins

Congratulations Doug, on the fantastic job
you did braiding your Reins

These reins feature 3 strands of 1/4 inch thick  8 plate braiding in the center
joined to 2 strands of 5/8 inch thick 12 plate braiding at the bit ends.
The Romal is 7/8 inch thick, 16 plate braiding, the knots are of the Herringbone style
with a tan interweave


June 2006.

Few people have a clue of the breath and scope of Bob Land’s knowledge and experience when they first meet him. His is unassuming, a little rough around the edges, and direct in his language and sentiments. My experiences with him as a mentor have been both humbling and enlightening. He is a consummate artisan with a profound knowledge of the leather industry and cowboy history.  He is the stock of true frontier’s men. I want to thank him for the patience and love that he shown to me as my friend and teacher, and I would like to extend that thanks to his lovely wife, Lila. There are no better folks. They are truly ethical and inspiring.  I don’t know where to start, but the work I have produced with Bob’s tutelage is a testament to the total person he is as artisan, teacher, historian, and human being. I just seem to be the instrument through which the projects  have been created. Bob is the Muse! Thank You Again, Bob! And to all those who truly wish to learn to make a saddle, braid a Bosal, headstall, or reins, or whatever your dream might be, this man will walk you through your path, and be there for you. Don’t miss this experience. It’s once or maybe twice in a lifetime if your lucky.

 All the Best!
Doug Ficocelli

In the four weeks Dan was with
 us taking my Saddle Making Course
 he completed the saddle and chaps
 pictured above.

Congratulations Dan
on a job very well done.

Mr. Land

It has been an amazing experience working with you these past weeks, I have learned more than I ever thought possible
in this small period of time. Thanks to you I have an awesome saddle as well as the tack to go with it. I have also gained
the knowledge to become successful at saddle building. Thank you for all your time knowledge, coffee and stories.
Dan Berry

Congratulations Tom
on a job well done.


In Lee's  three week Saddle Making Course
 he completed the saddle pictured above.

Congratulations Lee
on a job very well done.

Cynthia completed the Western saddle
pictured above  in my three week 
Saddle Making Course.

Congratulations Cynthia
on a job very well done.

Cynthia completed the  saddle
pictured above in my four week
English Saddle Making Course.

Congratulations Cynthia
on a job very well done.

William completed the saddle &
tack pictured above in my five week
Saddle Making Course.

Congratulations William
on a job very well done.

Oct. 2007

What a wonderful gift you've shared with me. You are indeed a talented master craftsman and a wise, patient teacher. From selecting my tree of
preference and the first measurements of me as the rider, our saddle making journey began. A bare rawhide covered "Association" tree was
transformed by way of exact measurements and became the bass for the creation of many patterns. Patterns drawn and redrawn to be balanced:
left side/ right side, to achieve exactness. When the balance was finally achieved, only then did the pattern get etched on the hide and cut. Your
years of skill and knowledge always showed as you coached me and demonstrated how we put it all together. I continuously appreciated the lessons of why this way and not another. These learning's of integrity for one's work. Done without your help, the cutting, skiving, gluing, stitching, braiding, shaping, forming, would have been a disaster. As it is, I have a beautiful custom saddle, a head full of knowledge, hands that remember, and an eagerness to transfer these skills to my next saddle.

Thank you for your historical stories and all the questions answered. And thanks to Lila for keeping you well.


Congratulations Harvey
great job
Congratulations Sheri on the completion
 of my saddle & tack making course.
All the best with your new
saddle making venture.

Congratulations Lynn on the
completion of my braiding course.
Very nice headstall.
Congratulations Lee on the completion
of my four week braiding course,
your Santa Ynez Style Romal Reins
really stand out, well done.
Congratulations Jason on the completion
of my three week saddle making course

Dear Bob & Lila,

I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful teaching skills and professionalism, I have enjoyed very much the exceptional
art and skills of Saddle Making under your guidance, I am sure it will keep me in good stead, when I start making saddles in
Australia for other people, you made it a memorable experience that I will always cherish, and one day hope to return for another
visit with my son. My finished saddle exceeds all my expectations. The web site is a wonderful tool for families and friends back
home as they have enjoyed watching my progress

Sincere and best wishes,
Jason Griener (Australia)

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Congratulations Margaret Ann on the completion
of my three week saddle making course

Dear Bob & Lila,

Thank-you very much for the memorable 3 weeks.  I never imagined that there was so much involved in the construction of a saddle. 
Thank-you for sharing your knowledge, for your patience, and for putting up with all my questions. Your website was enjoyed by my
friends and family, as they charted my progress.  I had wanted to learn the art of saddle making for many years, and I am so glad that
I had the opportunity to be your student.  I will ride the saddle that I made under your guidance with pride.  It is currently being used
as a reference for the saddle I’m working on now, along with the photo journal that you supplied at the end of my course.  I’m also
finding your next student’s photos, on your website, very helpful as well. Thanks again.

Margaret Ann

Margaret Ann & Bob Bugeaud have opened there own saddle shop in Rock Creek
Stop in and visit them, they are building some top rate saddlery.


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Congratulations Jason on the completion
of my three week saddle making course

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 Congratulations Rob, on the completion
of my three week saddle making course

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Congratulations Norm on the completion
of my 4 week English saddle making course.

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Congratulations Ian on the construction of your first saddle.
It is great to give instruction to someone that is able to
concentrate on the total aspect of building a saddle.
All the very best of luck in your quest for excellence in saddle making.

Dear Bob & Lila,
When I came across your website a year ago while looking for a place to create my own saddle and after doing more
research about your saddles, my mind was set on where I was going. Your years of knowledge and experience along
with all your patience and guidance have let me create a saddle that far exceeds anything I could have ever bought
in any store, as well as gave me the skills to now make more saddles with the same level of craftsmanship. I thank you
so much for your patience and your willingness to explain everything we were doing, step by step in detail, I'm sure
going to miss Lila's baking at coffee time and your dog Scruffy as well!

Thank you so much,

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Congratulations Lawrence, on the completion
of my three week saddle making course

All the best in your new endeavor,
You will find saddle making,
a great way to earn a living.

      Many years ago, I started working with leather but stopped due to a growing family.Recently, what started
with a conversation with a friend about leather work, lead to me finding out that Bob was teaching the art
of saddle making. With my prior experience with leatherwork, saddle making was an area that I was very
interested in and saw the opportunity to learn new skills and bring back a love of leather working that I had.
      I enjoyed the course very much. I quickly learned that there was much more to making saddles than I had
initially imagined. Bob was an excellent teacher and is very knowledgeable with working leather. Combine that
with his years of riding and making saddles, he is definitely an expert in the field. He gave great directions and pointers; such as, pointing out areas where to make sure not to take any short cuts or the quality of the saddle and rider's comfort would be compromised and ensuring that the horse's comfort is also not compromised.
      Bob and Lila welcomed me and made me feel at home. I would not hesitate to recommend Bob to anyone wishing to learn more about saddle making,

Thanks again and wish you the best in the future.
Lawrence Connolly

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Congratulations Jaia, on the completion of my
seven week Saddle & Tack Making Course

it was a pleasure having you as a student.

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Close-ups of some of the accessories,
Jaia made with her saddle.

Bob & Lila,

I could spend years there learning all the things you have to teach, and I hope I can make it back
for at least one more course. These past seven weeks have been an incredible learning experience
and I can't wait to get started. At the beginning I didn't know how we could possibly turn out a
finished saddle in that short amount of time, but we did so much more. Your experience extends
so much further than just saddlery, you are an incredible instructor and helped me so much. Thank
you for putting up with all my mistakes and extra buck-stitch, I have a feeling I'll be going through
a lot of rawhide in the future!

Can't wait till spring shows up and I can test out all my new gear ( and work off all Lila's baking ).
It's good to know you're only a phone call away, and a close drive if I'm really stuck. This was an
experience of a lifetime and something I will always treasure. Thank you both so much for everything.
All the best,

Some of the saddlery made
by my students after taking

my courses
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saddle13.JPG (109877 bytes)

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Bobs sadd.jpg (77983 bytes)

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Braided Shoo Fly








The latest work from Darcy

Darcy made his first saddle in my saddle making class in 2001.
This is the work he is doing now.


Old Style Visalia with a Texas Dally horn

Made by Dale for the town of
Meeker Oklahoma's
100 year Centennial  June 2003

This is Dale's 3 saddle since taking my course
way to go Dale

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