Donald E Frederick was born many, many years ago in Pine Island, Minnesota. His interest in leather works began at the tender age of five when he would cut up the fly nets used on his grandfather's work horses.
"As a youngster I cut off a few of the straps and thought I would braid them," he muses. Coincidentally, this was also Donn's first experience with hide tanning, "Mine."
But the lesson didn't stick, and leather works became a life long hobby and passion. After marrying his wife Lynn in 1971, he built tack and other small items part time for years, while serving in the US Army Reserve MP and working at Sears.
But the corporate job was a thankless one and he used to joke that "for two cents I would quit." Then one morning in 1990, Lynn handed him those two pennies and the decision was an easy one, "that day I turned in my time."
As luck would have it, a friend would reach out that year and ask if he built saddles, to which his response was a slightly inaccurate "yes!" Since that first build, he has created 260 saddles and counting, and been a vendor at too many horse shows to count.
He specializes in the custom fitting of saddle trees to fit particular horses, ensuring a one of a kind, comfort fit and attention to detail that his products are known and loved for. He also harbors a passion for passing on the craft, believing that it's important to share knowledge and keep close those in business who ask for his help.
If you're ever in the neighborhood, a stop by his workshop is a must. But make sure you schedule an appointment first, as he's scaled back his time to half days now. "6 am to 6 pm," he jokes.
You can also always shop a selection of his goods right here. But check back often! Inventory is always changing and you never know what treasures you'll find.