Selection Guide Index
Montana 4-H Clover
and funded by
Agriculture and Extension Communications is part of MSU Communications Services
Edited by: Karen Johnson, Marla Goodman, Suzi Taylor
Contributors: Rae Lynn Benson, Wendy Gerky, Chery Ann Weatherell, Jennifer Wells, The Livingston Enterprise, The Great Falls Tribune
What is MSU Extension?
|2003-2004 Montana 4-H Clover
A new generation of craftsmen saddles up
With the help of 4-H, a special skill is passed on
Left: Kyle Pennington works on a saddle for his 4-H leather craft project.
When it came time for Tyler and Kyle Pennington to pick a 4-H project, the decision was an easy one. Since both their grandfather and father are saddle makers, the 4-H leather craft project was a natural choice for the boys.
Tyler, now a student at Dawson Community College, spent 11 years in 4-H working on leather craft projects. His brother Kyle has been doing the same for 9 years. They started out with simple projects, but as their talents grew, so did the complexity of their projects: from hat bands, comb cases, breast collars, lamps and waste baskets to chaps and bridles. But by far the biggest challenge for them has been making saddles.
The construction of a saddle is very time-consuming work. The most difficult part is molding and cutting the leather to fit the tree of the saddle. The boys learned how to locate "breaks" in the leather. It takes three sides of leather to make each saddle.
Making their own horse tack is important to Tyler, 20, and Kyle, 16, who have also done horsemanship and colt projects. Living and working on a remote ranch in the northeastern part of Big Horn County keeps them busy and puts the fruits of their labor to the true test of usefulness and endurance. They work on their saddles after school and on long winter evenings.
Tyler and Kyle have also honed their leadership skills in 4-H. They have conducted leather craft workshops for younger members, gave demonstrations and provided leather craft items for fund raisers.
With the help of 4-H, Tyler and Kyle are not only learning a valuable skill -- they're carrying on a family tradition of leather craft that they can someday pass on to their own children.
The programs of the MSU Extension Service are available to all people regardless of race, creed, color, sex, disability or national origin. Issued in furtherance of cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, LeRoy Luft, Interim Vice Provost and Director, Extension Service, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717.
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