Western Art

Artistic Saddle Collaboration

Adam Schwalm and Josey Butler collaborated on this saddle.

Two makers combined their talents on an artistic saddle that features elements of the West.

Attendees to the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Snaffle Bit Futurity see top-notch horse flesh and dirt-slinging action. There is usually some good shopping at the trade show, too. Yet this year, an artistic saddle made to encompass the excitement and tradition of the West was on display at the event.

The Saddle House owner Adam Schwalm, who sells cow horse saddles, tack and other items, joined with Western artist Josey Butler of Streakin B Art to collaborate on an artistic piece of tack. Schwalm met Butler when he purchased some of her art.

Adam Schwalm and Josey Butler partnered on this saddle
Adam Schwalm and Josey Butler collaborated on this artistic saddle.
Photo by Kate Bradley Byars

“I wanted to get something that was Western and still art that would appeal to a lot of people,” says Schwalm. “I chose a saddle that was pretty plain and something where Josey’s art would show up.”

It took Butler less time to design the art piece than it did to determine the best medium to use to implement it on the saddle seat.

“It took some time to figure out how to make it look different than simply painted tack,” says Butler. “I wanted to make it look like a tattoo. It is the same color as the saddle but darker. We decided on a bucking horse, because who doesn’t love a bucking horse!”

Josey Butler painted a bronc rider on the saddle
Butler painted this bronc rider on the saddle’s seat using ink.
Photo by Kate Bradley Byars

Butler used chalk pastel to outline her creation on the seat, filling in shaded areas. Then, she painted the image with ink.

As soon as images of the saddle seat art collaboration hit social media, Schwalm and Butler were inundated with positive feedback. And Schwalm was juggling potential buyers. In only a day, the saddle found a new home—and one where it would never sit horseback.

“It is going to a lady in Gainesville [Texas] to sit in her living room as art,” Schwalm says.

The crowd’s enthusiasm for the unique, one-of-a-kind saddle has both Butler and Schwalm considering more limited, event-specific collaborations. Nothing is set in stone, yet.

Schwalm, who resides in Richmond, Texas, sells Western performance saddles to fit barrel racers, reiners, cutters, stock horse versatility and cow horse competitors at events and online. Butler was featured in the May 2020 issue of Western Horseman. She resides in Sulphur Springs, Texas, and competes in barrel racing and working cow horse. Her work can be seen at Streakin B Art online.

Josey Butler painted a bronc rider on the saddle
The painted saddle is a timeless piece of art that can be used or displayed.
Photo by Kate Bradley Byars

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