A saddlemaking legend

Trevor Able of Able Custom Saddles.

By Jess Baker

20 years of hard work has earned Granite Belt resident Trevor Able a reputation in custom saddlemaking that few can match.

His status as a leading saddlemaker solidified at last month’s 2021 Sydney Royal Easter Show, where an Able Custom Saddle won first place in three categories: Western Saddle, Australia Equine Related Exhibit and Standard of Excellence.

Trevor said he is thrilled to have won, particularly given the 2021 Easter Show was the first he had ever entered.

“I don’t know how often that’s been done, winning all three classes,” he said.

“But it’s a pretty special thing. I’m pretty happy.”

Trevor said he spent 23 days making the saddle he submitted to the show, as it was an elaborate piece of work with an intricate design.

At present, he is working on three custom saddles for customers in Victoria and across the world in Italy, each of which will take around 12 days to complete.

The waiting list for a person to get their hands on an Able Custom Saddle is long, but evidently worth it.

“There is currently a 13 month waitlist for custom orders,” said Trevor.

“I’ve got 17 to build right now.”

Trevor’s saddlemaking career began 20 years ago while working as a contract musterer, but his passion for building long-lasting leather items started when he was a boy.

“I made my dad a belt when I was 12 years old, and he still wears it,” he said.

Trevor spent 25 years in Far North Queensland, mustering cattle six days a week, and would spend any time he had spare teaching himself the art of saddlemaking.

“I rode a lot of horses, which helps as a saddlemaker, and I would do saddles on the weekends or until 1.00am or 2.00am in the morning and get up for work at 4.00am,” said Trevor.

“It gives me great satisfaction, building saddles. Your heart goes into every saddle you make.”

Trevor said he would happily live out the rest of his days building saddles in his workshop at The Summit.

“I’ll probably die here working on a saddle,” he said.

Though Trevor specialises in building saddles, breastplates, bridles and belts, he also offers saddle-making and leathercraft tuition classes.

He has big goals, and hopes to one day host a Custom Saddlemakers weekend at the Stanthorpe Showgrounds.

The event would be an Australian-first, with horse and western-related vendors from across the region, saddle-making classes, silversmith stalls and horseman clinics.

“It would be a great thing for custom saddlemakers in Australia,” said Trevor.

To view Trevor’s work, or to place an order for a custom saddle, visit Able Custom Saddles on Facebook or call 0488 680 550. Any announcements about a Custom Saddlemakers weekend will be shared online to Facebook.