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About McDaniel Custom Saddles

McDaniel Custom SaddlesThe dedication to quality is a hallmark of every generation at McDaniel Saddlery, whose slogan is “We make the best, and repair the rest.” Preston McDaniel learned the craft from his father, John, a master saddle maker who specialized in repairing saddles for cowboys in the Texas Panhandle in the 1920s. “My daddy said, ‘First you need to build the saddle to fit the horse. If he’s not comfortable, he’s not gonna work for you,'” Preston recalls. “Then you build it to fit the rider and to last, and you put a lifetime guarantee on it.”

Preston constructed his first saddle in 1965, and has seen business grow steadily. These days, there’s a six-month backlog of orders for the family’s handcrafted saddles. When his health allows, the elder McDaniel works alongside his grandson, crafting leather accessories. “It’s been a blessing,” says Preston of the family business. “A man puts in all his life doing something, then his family gets interested in it.”

His son Ron couldn’t agree more. “One of the biggest joys for me in this whole operation is working with my family,” he says. These days Ron leaves most of the saddle making to the younger generation, and instead focuses on assisting customers and bookkeeping. “I don’t look at myself as a salesman,” Ron says. “I just show people our saddles and explain to customers how they are built. I believe the more a person knows about saddles, the more they’re going to want one of ours.”

On a typical afternoon, Ron is busy fielding phone calls. “That last call was from a couple from Tucson,” he says. “They’re flying in to Dallas on business and are taking time to come by our office to be fitted for saddles. They know I travel a lot and were just checking to make sure I was going to be here.”

“We want our customer to be 100 percent satisfied.” he says proudly. “A saddle has to have integrity. It has to be of good quality, fit the horse, and fit the rider; that’s a package. Integrity of the saddle comes from the maker. We are not building a saddle just to have something to do; it’s a work of art. The way I look at it, that’s my name there on the back of that saddle. It’s got to be right.”