Tom and Tad Knowles, who own and operate Wildflower Saddles & Tack in Elizabeth, Colorado, have proven valuable resources for how-to tack-repair features. Here, Tad uses a saddle string to replace a broken connector strap between the front and back cinches.

Maybe you have a saddle that you consider the perfect ride – with one exception. There's no rope strap on the swells, and you like packing a rope when you're horseback. It doesn't matter if you work, compete or play with your rope, as long as it's handy on your saddle.


Thanks to all that hay twine, the stable’s garbage bin needs to be emptied again. But wait, why throw away something that saves time and money? Tuck that twine over in the corner where it can easily be reached. It’ll come in handy in the near future.

The term “piggin’ string” has special meaning to cowboys who rope wild cattle and doctor and brand calves. There are other names for this handy piece of rope, such as “hoggin’ rope” or “tie-down rope.”

In the July print issue, Tom and Tad Knowles of Colorado’s Wildflower Saddles & Tack in Elizabeth explained how to replace broken saddle strings or add strings to decorative conchas. Strings are great for tying gear onto your saddle, but also can be used to make equipment repairs, if necessary, when you’re on the trail or working cattle and can’t get back to the barn immediately.

Bitmakers Greg Darnall and Ernie Marsh agree there’s nothing wrong with using vintage or antique spade bits. The market for the better-made bits by known makers has exploded in recent years. And a person might find that his prized Guadalupe Garcia, Raphael Gutierrez or Al Tietjen bit has become too valuable to use on a regular basis.

In the November 2003 issue of Western Horseman, I provided tips on how to negotiate various trail terrain. To further prepare you for the trail, I offer tack-selection tips in this exclusive online article.