Craftsmanship, Six Generations in the Making: Pro Saddles and Spurs

From the MiTek series on the American Craftsman, comes the story of Pro Saddles and Spurs. This story comes from the visual storytelling artist, Tadd Myers, a photographer who has captured the heart of the American craftsman in a pictorial masterpiece. 


The story of Pro Saddles and Spurs, based out of Gainesville, Texas, is the story of the Cheaney family—pro saddle-makers since 1850, the days of the Wild West. Founder Bruce Cheaney started Pro Saddles and Spurs as heir to a long family tradition. In fact, he spent most of his childhood in his dad’s shop, watching his dad make saddles. He would use the scraps to make and sell leather goods of his own including belts, chaps, and wallets.


He spent over ten years as his father’s apprentice before starting the company that became Pro Saddles and Spurs, then known as Bruce Cheaney’s Custom Saddles. Every saddle he creates is handmade. He often makes them to the customer’s specifications—although many trust him with the details. As well they should. Six generations of knowledge go into each saddle.  Riders choose Cheaney’s saddles not only in the US, Canada, and Mexico, but also further afield in Germany, France, Australia, Italy, and Switzerland.


Everything a Rider Needs


As you might guess from the name, Bruce Cheaney expanded his business from saddles to encompass other kinds of gear riders need, such as bits, spurs, stirrups and straps. Cheaney learned from fellow craftsman H.D. Gaither to make this kind of gear. Then he paid the favor forward by producing a series of instructional videos on tools, tricks, and secrets of the trade. He also created a pattern book for bits and spurs.



Best of all, today’s riders can trust that the expertise they’ve depended on for six generations, will endure for years to come. The craftsmanship and knowledge of the Cheaney family will live on. Bruce’s son Tom has stepped up to the plate to continue the family tradition…. That makes seven generations of excellence.


This story was sourced from the American Craftsman Project website, with permission by the author, Tadd Myers. MiTek appreciates the heart of the American craftsman – the men and women who perform their work according to principles of integrity, hard work, quality and a desire to forge something that will create not just a lasting product, but a lasting relationship.