Tribute to the Troops Saddle

I, like so many Americans, want to share my appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed in so many ways in order to serve in the American Armed Forces; they give to their country and mankind internationally, and protect the freedoms in the U.S. we so greatly value.  Because it is so difficult to share in words the true appreciation I have for those who serve, as well as my respect for their families and their supporters who also give the most of themselves in order to honor the ones they love, I put my committed thoughts into what I know best, my art, in order to create homage that would last a lifetime.  It is the most detailed saddle I’ve tooled; each inch of it crafted and carved, including the inside and outside of the tapadaros and fenders.  The saddle is a tapestry of images that tell the story of the common day and iconic war heroes since WWII to the present, from the five marines raising the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima, Rosie the Riveter, to a tribute to the Gold and Blue Star Mothers, this work is an accolade to all who’ve shared their patriotism and pride in the United States in order to protect and serve; i.e. the all branches of the Armed Forces, the American Legion, the VFW, the U.S. Veterans Administration, and the Red Cross just to name a few.  “Some Gave All” is tooled on the back of the cantle, and on the front of the seat is “All Gave Some.”  I spent countless hours on this piece because everyone who sees it is so emotionally impacted by it, bring tears to the eyes of some, so I’m inspired to create more and have involved more individuals and their stories into the larger conception of my own vision.  Vietnam Vet and local craftsman, Michael Bregenzer designed, built and donated an oak saddle stand.  Colorado artists Wade and Marianne Truitt of T3 Weavers are creating a custom made, hand-woven alpaca saddle blanket and reins which include the American flag design. The project continues with the creation of an artistry headstall and serape as the “canvas” for the individual stories to continue to be told through process or creating this leather art.  The saddle is truly embodies the ideals of art as it travels through the community and encourages dialogue about military, war, and the U.S. history.  This Veteran’s Day the saddle will visit two local schools,  and a 4-H club is creating a video to accompany the saddle, sharing the voices and sentiments of those who have seen the saddle and want to share their message of support to the troops who are currently serving and those who have served.