Friday, May 17, 2013

A visit with Susan Bensema Young and Skyhorse Saddlery

Living in southwestern Colorado I rarely get visits from model horse hobbyists, we are a bit off the beaten path and usually the only reason someone would be here while traveling is they specifically wanted to visit Durango. Such was the case with Susan Bensema Young and her husband George. Susan is a Colorado native being from Boulder where she met her husband who was soon hired by Penn State and off to the east they went. On this Colorado trip they decided to spend some time in the Durango area so I had the pleasure of a visit and then a field trip to Skyhorse Saddlery. What a fun filled few days I have had!

When Susan was at our place we had a show and tell, Susan pretty much covered my dining room table (not small!) with her AMAZING tack, and some equally amazing tack by others as well. It was major eye candy, wow, WOW! You can imagine what a heady experience it was for me to show her the three saddles I have made and have her actually like them and have lots to say about them. I am not really a tack maker, but I do love doing it and it's on my "someday I am getting back to that" list.

Here is Susan and I with my mare Jypsi:

On Susan's wish list for her Durango trip was a visit to Skyhorse Saddlery, and as luck would have it I knew them a little bit as they were friends of and aunt and uncle of mine when they lived in Northern California. I arranged for a visit to their place and Lisa graciously took several hours out of her day to show us their gorgeous home and saddle making shop. Their home is adobe and upon entering we were overwhelmed with handcrafted masterworks everywhere we looked. This is in their living room:

At first glance I thought the large panels with the horses were wood carvings, but as Lisa told us about their place I learned that she had actually done the carving in leather. Wow. They also have several skulls like the elk in this photo that were leather covered and carved by Lisa. All the furniture was made by the Skyhorses, sometimes in collaboration with furniture makers and ceramicists. I LOVE places like this that were not put together by designers and a large pocketbook, but by the creativity, passion, and skills of those who's home this truly is. Inspiring!

Here is Susan checking out a fancy display saddle in the dining area:

In the saddle shop Susan brought out her stuff and I think Lisa was as impressed with her work as Susan was with Lisa's. It was fun to see them trading ideas back and forth. Lisa kept called her husband Loren over to see Susan's stuff, he was working in the shop refurbishing and older saddle of theirs that someone had ridden the tar out of. It was obvious by the wear that the owner of that saddle loved it and it's seen thousands of miles.

Thank you again Lisa for the inspiring and memorable visit, and to Susan for visiting me and blowing my mind with her amazing and delightful tack in miniature. Two amazing ladies indeed, it was a pleasure to be a small part of your meeting :)