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A Slone Saddles Summer

When you hear summer, what do you think about? Does lake days, vacationing, visiting the beach, or relaxing frolic through your mind? Since we were children summer has always been the time that are brains were put to rest and relaxation and play time was about to begin. Now, let’s get back to reality as this is not the case for Slone Saddles! Slone Saddles’ summers are, without a doubt, the most hectic time of the year, but it is what we live for. From preparing for nationals to taking and processing around 400 orders, it can make your brain race ninety to nothing every day of the week!

A big part of our summer fun is due to being a sponsor for the National Junior High and High School Rodeo Association. This means that we go out of state twice a summer to go take over 400 saddle orders from contestants. Talk about busy, and as crazy as it might sound, taking the orders is only a small part of our summer. 

Now let us take it back to the very beginning where all of the organized and sometimes unorganized chaos begins. When at Nationals we have a booth for which we set our entire stock (ready to sale) saddles up in along with all of our accessories and tack. Of course, we do not just magically appear at the finals with a loaded trailer.  This process takes a lot of planning. It all starts around three weeks before we even begin the road trip to our destination for the Junior High Finals in June. To start, every stock saddle is taken out of our shop one by one to be loaded up in the trailer until there is not one left in the lobby. It seems as though our trailer is like Santa’s list on steroids as we check it once and check it twice, and continue to check it and check it to make sure we have everything we need. Once the trailer is completely loaded, there is hardly any room to walk it is packed so tight! So, while the guys are loading the trailer the girls are in the front office printing paper work and sales orders on saddles like you would not believe! 

Boxes and boxes filled with our products! (Front End)

Boxes and boxes filled with our products! (Front End)

Our stuffed trailer! (Back End)

Our stuffed trailer! (Back End)

When working in the office it is amusing to see customers’ faces when they walk in and see that a saddle shop has no saddles to be viewed! At first they are surprised and then a look of sadness and worry comes across their face as they think we are closing down! Of course we reassure them that we are not closing and tell them the whole story about going to nationals.

After everything is loaded and paper work is complete, it is finally time for Tod and Lacy to get into the vehicle and drive all the way to the host state for the National Junior High Finals Rodeo. Finally, everything is done and the chaos is over, right? WRONG! It seems as though just as soon as we send them off on their journey the phones ring like crazy with saddle order request or just Tod checking in to say hello!

Packed and ready to go!

Packed and ready to go!

When Tod and Lacy make it to Nationals they are immediately busy unloading the trailer and setting up the booth. Just as soon as they catch their breath it is time for them to fit horses, sell products, and take saddle orders. With orders being taken, this means that our home base in Cuero, Texas, is working to create quotes for those orders to get them sent back to the customer. It is all hands on deck around here! Soon enough the Junior High Nationals are over, the trailer is repacked with everything that was not sold, and Tod and Lacy make their way back to Cuero with around 100 orders to be processed.

Now that the National Junior High Finals are over we can finally rest, right? Wrong again! Not only are orders being processed from the Junior High Nationals, but preparation begins for the High School Finals. Thankfully, we still have the trailer loaded from the previous finals, so not much work has to be done there except to load the trailer with any of our new stock saddles. Not too much time passes before we are sending Tod off to the high school finals, and all of the fun starts again!

The finished product!

Throughout the craze, everyone manages to make it to the National High School Finals Rodeo. Whether it is by flight, driving, technology or spirit the destination is reached. For the people in the business that are not able to be there physically, they remote in to help out with writing up quotes for the contestants’ saddles. Around 300 orders are taken at nationals. Yes, you read that correctly, that’s 3-0-0.  This means that the 4 people who are working the booth will be taking 15 orders daily for the 5 days that we take orders. It is all hands on deck!

Fred in Sharon's car. 

However, with work does come some play as a bit of pranking takes place during nationals between our booth and the Hyo Silver booth. This year we reintroduced and spiffed up our mannequin friend, Fred, to our scheming neighbors. We gave Fred a makeover by decking him out with a new cap, fancy belt buckle and necklace, and a stylish shirt, making him look very realistic. When no one was watching we sneaked Fred into Sharon's, of Hyo Silver, passenger seat of her car. You can imagine what happened next. When Sharon went to her car she definitely was not expecting a human figure to already be there, so it is needless to say Fred scared her good! The best part is that she was not scared once, but twice by Fred as she forgot he was in her seat when she went to her car the next morning! Double whammy! We have had our fun this year, but now we wait with anticipation to see what Sharon has planned for us next year.  

So here we are, we have conquered the Junior High and High School Finals amongst taking around 400 orders! Hip hip hooray! So now, we are FINALLY done, right? Wrong again! With 400 quotes come 400 orders to process and sort. Slone saddles might be done traveling for the summer, but that does not mean that we are done working! Additionally, going up to nationals with a packed trailer means that once we return home the trailer has to be unpacked just the way it was loaded- one saddle at a time.

Even though it can get crazy during the summer, we at Slone Saddles are always willing to help in whatever way possible. As hectic as it might get, our amazing staff makes it all possible, and our customers make it all worth it. It goes without saying that if it were not for our customers Slone Saddles would not be where it is today. Therefore, we thank all of our customers for loving our products as much as we do and bringing some crazy fun to our summers! 

             

 

The ORIGINAL Contoured Saddle Pad - Tod Slone 100% Wool Felt Saddle Pads

 

So there are two categories that you can fall into when it comes to Tod Slone Saddle Pads -  

1.) You use them, love them, know they're the best and won't use anything else! 

2.) You haven't tried them yet but will soon be in Category 1 after making your first Tod Slone Saddle Pad purchase! 😉 

 

Here's the low-down on the original 100% Wool Felt Contoured Saddle Pad - The Tod Slone Pad. 

 TOD SLONE 100% WOOL SADDLE PADS

  • Contoured to fit horse's back which allows saddle to fit properly.
  • 100% Wool provides for comfort and care for horse's back.
  • Cut out in front allows saddle to fit lower to reduce leverage from saddle horn to horse's back.
  • Heavily oiled wear leather provides longevity.
  • Absorbs more shock than rubber pads.
  • Grey available in three thicknesses: 1/2", 3/4" and 1"
  • Black available in two thicknesses: 3/4" and 1"
  • Small Round: 28"l x 28"w    
  • Small Square: 28"l x 30"w
  • Medium: 30"l x 32"w
  • Large: 32"l x 32"w
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Click here to shop Tod Slone Saddle Pads.  

For Ropers, we recommend a 3/4" pad with a wool Navajo underneath. The Navajo will help keep your saddle pad clean. Find the Navajos we recommend here.   

For Barrel Racers, we like to recommend our 1" small round or square pad without a Navajo underneath to keep things as light as possible for fast runs!  

Now that you've joined Category 1 and purchased and love your Tod Slone Pad, you'll need to know how to care for it. One of the awesome perks of such a high quality product is that it doesnt require a lot of cleaning and maintenance.

You only need to clean your Tod Slone saddle pad after every 100 hours of use. You'll be able to tell when you're getting close to this when the pad begins to feel crusty or hard around the look and shoulder areas (aka pressure points).  In most cases, you can just use water to rinse your pad. In extreme cases when dirt and sweat is caked on the pad, we recommend using Woolite. Do not use soap. When rinsing pad, start at the center and move to the outside edges. Rotate the pad while rinsing it so that so that all the dirt and grime run off the pad and do not get stuck near the center. Here's the kicker - always either hang pad by gullet hole OR over a rail. This will allow it to dry and keep its natural shape. Don't lay your pad flat on the ground or upside down on its back to clean or dry as it will get misshaped and may not restore to its original and needed contoured design!

Hope this was helpful! Enjoy the best of the best and only ride a the original 100% Wool Contoured Pad - a Tod Slone. 

by Kailey Leske

Chevy VS Cadillac...In the Saddle World

Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.
— Peter Drucker

We've all heard it before...

"I don't want to ride a 'trophy saddle'".

"I want the Tod Slone...like, the actual Tod Slone saddle!" 

There are so many misconceptions and questions regarding the differences between our Diamond S line and our TS Tod Slone Series. Let's debunk the myths and get these two different saddle series straight.

I like to describe the difference between our Diamond S and TS Series as the difference between a Chevy versus a Cadillac. They both get the job done and have many of the same features, but one is considered more of a "luxury" than the other. It's the same with our Diamond S and TS Series saddles.

The Diamond S trees fit similarly to the TS Series. The difference is the TS Series trees are cut with a CNC router, so they are more precise than the trees used in the Diamond S line. They are on different trees, but both come with 10 Year Tree Warranties. Click here to see the different trees used in each line.

We believe that both lines are the best for the money, but there is a difference between a $1500-$2000 saddle and a $3500-$5000 saddle. Our Diamond S series is BUILT TO RIDE because, quite frankly, we wouldn't have wasted 20 years honing our trees and specs for saddles that are meant to sit in a living room and not be on a horse in the arena. In fact, Tod Slone rode a Diamond S saddle at the 1994 NFR ~ the year that he won the average! 

In our Diamond S series, the trees are built immediately before we begin the saddle building process so we can change any specs very easily and it doesn't slow the process down. In the TS Series, when a tree is ordered, it can take about 3 months for us to get the tree in before the saddle building even gets underway...which leads me to one of the biggest differences between the two lines.... TIME!!

Our Diamond S Series takes approximately three months (on average) from start to finish. This is because we have lots of people working on lots of saddles at the same time in more of an assembly type fashion. For example, one person may put on the saddle horn while another one is working on the ground seat. Our TS Series is a much more custom process (and believe me..you want it to be!). Only one person tools and one person builds each saddle from start to finish. It's the "CADILLAC" of saddles! So, because of this...a TS Series saddle typically takes about 6 months to build from the time we get the tree....but it's worth the wait!! 

You can customize both lines to your hearts content - from the tree fit to the tooling, seat color or wild print, to buck stitching, conchos...you name it...you can pretty much do it. (I'm pretty sure we are currently putting leather FRINGE on a TS Series saddle that was ordered at the NFR! That will be a first and exciting to see how it turns out!).. I'm sure you'll be seeing pictures when it's finished.

Just like with the truck you drive...it's up to you to figure out which of our saddle lines best suites your needs! I will tell you, just like a Chevy or a Cadillac....they will both get the job done and do it well!

So...WHAT WILL YOU RIDE?

Click here to check out our saddle galleries for both the Diamond S & TS Series.

 

Trophy Saddles - Getting the Most BANG for your $Buck$

When a rodeo association spends approximately $20,000 on trophy saddles alone, it is serious business. Awards committee members lose sleep over their decisions trying to make all contestants and their parents happy. They go cross-eyed looking at bid after bid that appears to be written in a foreign language of ½ breed this and combo-tooled that. To say it is overwhelming is quite the understatement. How do you make a decision? Everybody has an opinion about tooling, seat colors, price points, skirt styles, and tree fits, and none of them appear to jive with one single bid option you have in front of you. It is enough to make a sane person crazy all day every day!

Let’s break it down, calm those committee member’s fears, and allow them to rest well at night.  Slone Saddles has nearly 20 years of experience in this industry not including the thirty plus years that Tod Slone spent in the contestant world earning his own trophy saddles. (*Fun Fact: Tod Slone won the 1994 NFR Tie-Down Average riding a trophy saddle. It was a Diamond S.) To please the masses, you must find the perfect combination of structure, style, and price. Through years of honing these areas, we have created a saddle line, Diamond S Saddles, that is truly #FITTOWIN.

SADDLE STRUCTURE

The bare bones of a saddle, known as the tree, have two extremely important components to consider when choosing a trophy saddle provider: FIT and STRENGTH. Each rodeo event has a different “style” of horse that works best. There is no “one size fits all” saddle tree. The bottom of the tree is designed to fit the horse, and the top of the tree is designed to fit the rider. A barrel horse and a team roping horse are not always built the same. You can say the same for the competitors of the events. We set up Tie-Down Ropers to get to the front and get off quickly and our Team Roping saddles are designed to be able to rope, sit down, and get a dally. When selecting a trophy saddle provider, you want to choose a company that knows the ins and outs of what works and has trees designed to meet the specific needs of each event. In regard to saddle tree strength, you want to ask what the tree warranty is on the saddles being bid. Slone Saddles come with 10 Year Tree Warranties. When making a selection, red flags should be waved for any saddle with less than a seven year tree warranty. You also should be skeptical and ask for a definition when told a saddle tree has a “Life-Time Warranty.” We trust the FIT and STRENGTH of our trees more than any of our competitors. They are BUILT TO RIDE and not to sit in a living room, because we believe the amount of money associations spend on trophy saddles is the best advertising you do for your association. You want to see them in the arena and not locked up in a barn or living room!

SADDLE STYLE

This is the fun part and should definitely carry weight in your trophy saddle decision process. You want your trophy saddles to stand out in the arena; after all, this is a marketing expense as well as a prize! It can attract or deter future contestants. Use it to your advantage. Saddle design options are endless. There are hundreds of combinations of skirt styles, tooling patterns, seat colors and prints, conchos, spots, buck-stitching. The list goes on and on. Here is what you need to know. Choose a saddle provider that is willing to work with your association to get the design you want that fits within your budget! This is an important note; all of these options have a cost associated with them because they take time and materials. Figure out what is important to your contestants. Would they rather have more floral tooling or an exotic print seat? Do they want a ranch-style look or is your association a little on the wild side? Find out! We have more experience in saddle design that anyone else in the industry. We turn in saddle bids that are unique to your association, but if there is a “must-have” that is not on the bid, ask for it! The saddle bid that is turned in to your association is just a “first shot”. The best advice is to have an open dialogue about price, design, and the wants and needs of your association! We work hard to make your saddle dreams a reality!

SADDLE PRICE

Saddle price is extremely important when selecting a trophy saddle provider. You want the most “bang for your buck!”  You want the highest quality and best designed saddle you can get, which we know we have! The days of the $900 are over, and if you receive a bid in this price range, you need to question the aforementioned areas before making a selection. Slone Saddles offers something for every budget. We LOVE to work with associations to provide quality awards that you can be proud to award and champions are excited to WIN and RIDE! Here’s the kicker – your association awards prizes in other areas too! I advise you to see what other prize lines and awards are available to you. At Slone Saddles, we have an entire trophy awards line that includes Tod Slone Saddle Pads, breast collars, tack and accessories, Jon Hart items and more. The best news is – when you choose to award our saddles, we work to get you a great deal and the best price possible on additional prize items for your association. Ask for a trophy package deal!

CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

It should not go unmentioned that Slone Saddles has an unprecedented saddle certificate program. Our certificate program goes the extra mile to ensure that your association’s dollars are going to be put to good use and be seen in the arena! Saddle certificates allow contestants to design their saddle to ensure that each individual gets exactly what works for them and their horse. All saddles are required to have the association lettering and sponsors. Without spending any extra money, a saddle certificate allows your champions to get the correct seat size and tree fit. This is difficult to get correct 100% of the time when ordered in batches. However, there are pros and cons to both sides. We understand the thrill and excitement in walking away from your association finals with a shiny new saddle in your trailer!

Finally, let’s de-bunk these Slone Saddles Myths:

1.)    Your Association CAN afford a Slone Saddle! We are competitively priced and guarantee you the “MOST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!”

2.)    In the trophy saddle business, we go the EXTRA MILE to ensure that your saddles are designed specifically for your association! We WILL NOT let them all look alike!

3.)    The Diamond S Line & Tod Slone Custom Series BOTH come with 10 Year Tree Warranties! We absolutely do not believe in building a “trophy saddle” that cuts corners on quality! They are excellent quality and superior design!

At Slone Saddles, we build saddles individually and for YOUR association! We work with you to design a saddle within your budget that is #FITTOWIN and #BUILTTORIDE! Let us help you market your association and get trophy saddles out of the living room and barn and INTO THE ARENA where they belong!

The Old School VS. The Truth on Dry Spots

The "old school" says dry spots on a horses back are bad. This is not necessarily so...

A dry spot is a place where the saddle tree is applying pressure. They usually occur under the front part of the saddle. However, a dry spot that is slightly larger than the palm of your hand can actually be a good thing.

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