About us

Lisa and Loren with the Big 5 Saddle and a Sacred Skull
In front of her first saddle shop, The Arcata Saddle Co., pictured with her first saddles
Lisa and Loren with their work
Lisa as an invited member of “The Gathering Of Masters” leather toolers

Lisa and Loren Skyhorse have been a wife/husband team since 1977. Their full-time passion for saddle making has taken them around the world and has overflowed into many forms of leatherwork.

Lisa began leatherwork while attending UCLA as an Art Major. This, along with her lifetime love of horses, blossomed into an apprenticeship with Master Saddle Maker Lawrence DeWitt in 1973. The first saddle she ever built began her love affair with saddle making. She was twenty-four years old.

Loren began as a Biologist, doing much of his work on horseback. Loren and Lisaʼs mutual love of riding brought them together. In 1977 they homesteaded 45 acres on the Northern California coast. For 20 years they produced all their own power, built their own home, boarded and bred Arabian endurance horses, and pursued their saddle making careers. In 1996, Lisa and Loren moved to Durango, Colorado where they still live today. Their two children and two grandchildren also live in the area. They are still happily building saddles, creating leather art and riding their horses.

Check out our Press & Awards

The Skyhorse Way

Saddle Under Construction

Saddle under construction

Saddle Making Process

We start with a hand-made wood tree, covered with either rawhide or fiberglass. Each tree is built to the horse and riderʼs specific needs and carries a life-time guarantee.

The groundwork is hand-carved to provide a balanced and close contact seat. The rigging style and position are also matched to the saddle style and client we are working with. Each padded seat is uniquely inlaid to provide even more contact. The skirts are cut up under the rider’s leg, regardless of the skirt style. Each fender is turned and set before the oiling process to embed a memory into the twist, to ease the rider’s knees.

The beauty and artistry of the saddle are completely unique to each client. Lisa draws each pattern to reflect the taste of each owner – it can be any personal mark, along with any flower, pattern or style. She then hand carves this into the leather, leaving a lasting impression and creating an heirloom piece of ridable art.

Lorenʼs famous braiding is a Skyhorse trademark. His edge braiding using a fine silver lace is unique and magnificent. Loren uses kangaroo lace for all his leather braiding. Silver or leather braiding edges most every one of our saddles.

All the materials in a Skyhorse Saddle are the finest available, and all from the USA. Since 1974, we have used Hermann Oak Leather from the oldest tannery in America. The skirts are lined with real sheepskin. Our saddle conchos range from our proprietary “Skyrider” conchos up to custom sterling silver concho sets. Our most popular and collectible conchos are created with Navajo jewelers, as well as world-class engravers.

Another special feature of our work is oiling. Loren is a master at achieving many different deep and rich hues in the leather. This accentuates the beauty of the lines and carving, as well as adding suppleness to the leather.

When you own a custom Skyhorse saddle, you are assured of the most elegant, high quality, unique piece of art available. Made personally by Lisa and Loren Skyhorse, you will own a piece of leather art that can be used and enjoyed for many generations. Together we have over 75 years of experience. You will be guaranteed a piece of work that will bring you a lifetime of pleasure.

Galleries & Shows

Manitou Galleries – Santa Fe, NM
Toh-Atin – Durango, CO
Fleisher Private Collection – Scotsdale, AZ
Smithsonian Private Collection
Sartini Private Collection – Las Vegas, NV
McKinley Private Collection – Arlington, VA
Abercrombie and Fitch
Sorrel Sky Gallery – Durango, CO (2004)
Burns Cowboy Shop – Park City, UT
Burns Cowboy Shop – Carmel, CA
Fort Lewis College – Durango, CO (2004)
U.S Arabian National Championships – (1979-2009)
Scottsdale All Arabian Show – (1979-2012)
Salon du Cheval – Paris, France
Equitana – Germany
Race of Champions – Trophy Saddle
International World Championship Endurance Ride Trophy Saddle
Levi’s Ride and Tie Trophy Saddle
Olympic 100 Mile Endurance Race in Holland – Skyhorse saddle in Top Ten Quarter Horse World Championships
Canadian Arabian Nationals
National Finals Rodeo – Las Vegas, NV (1996-2012)
ACC (American Craft Council) Juried Show (1990-1995)
International World Championships – Louisville, KY (2010)
Rolex Show – Louisville, KY (2010)

Organizations

CMSA – COLORADO SADDLE MAKERS ASSN. – Since 1994
AWA – ACADEMY OF WESTERN ARTISTS – Since 1999
ASMA – AMERICAN SADDLE MAKERS ASSN. – Charter Members