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  • January 31, 2023 2 min read

    Is Saddlery a dying rural trade in Australia?

    Absolutely not, says Angus. There are alot of good saddleries in Australia and horses remain an integral part of the Australian rural industry and lifestyle.

    That said, its a handmade product,so keeping up with customer demands at an affordable price is a real challenge - you need to be adaptive and innovative to survive.

    Growing up on a property near Coolah NSW, Angus was a keen rider, using horses for both stock work and leisure as well as competing regularly in rodeo and horse events. "I had to work out how to make my passion pay. Thanks to a bit of encouragement from his mum and dad, from the ripe age of eight, Angus was plaiting and selling his own leather belts.

    After leaving Coolah in 1994, Angus travelled Australia, working in the rural and mining industries, all the while continuing with his saddlery.

    In 2000, Angus established the Angus Barrett manufacturing business in Orange and in 2007, he traveled to the US to enhance his saddlery skills and manufacturing techniques. He studied under two of the worlds's leading saddle makers, Randy Severe in Oregon and Joey Jemison in Texas.

    During this time it became clear to Angus that, in order to compete with the ever expanding foreign manufacturing industries and other more established saddleries in Australia, Angus Barrett Saddlery needed to be able to produce innovative designs and to adapt quickly to customer demands.

    As a result, Angus began to research different digital cutting technologies and soon discovered water jet cutting. Angus bought his water jet machine back in 2009 and became the first traditional saddler in the world to use water jet cutting technology to assist in the manufacturing of his saddlery products.

    He took a risk, but having the water jet has improved the production and designs out of sight. It allows him to continuously update and improve designs and create new products and new ways of doing things. He combines water jet technology with traditional saddlery techniques to produce a quality product designed to work and made to last.

    Angus' focus is on producing quality, Australian made products that are functional, durable and unique. Its a competitive game - if you want to sell saddlery in Australia, it has to be exceptional quality.

    What started as a small box of tools and a dream has grown into a successful, international and industry-leading business.

    Angus believes his greatest achievement is being apart of the Australian made saddlery industry - its alive and kicking and he's proud to think that he's contributing in some way.