Renee Matthews ~ Australian Saddle Maker

Renee Matthews

Oh how I love facebook. What a great place to meet new people. Sometimes you meet some that make you wonder about the human race as it is and other times you meet amazing young people like Renee Matthews. She had actually come across my TS Quarter Horse facebook page and wrote to me. I could not help but take a look at her site and facebook page and was really amazed by the work she does so I just had to share her with you all. Take a look….it is great to see young people with talent, work ethics and the drive to not give up when things get a bit tricky but to keep reaching for their goals and dreams.

“My love of horses started as soon as I entered the world, Dad had horses on the property when I was born and I started being led around bareback as soon as I could say ‘horse’. As I grew up I continued to ride, mainly involved in cross country and show jumping. I was lucky to have two talented coaches over the years who taught me discipline, courage and that nothing is impossible. If you fell off you just get straight back on. I grew up surrounded by a supportive family that taught me you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. But this is not a story about horses it’s a story about loving horses so much I wanted to find a way to earn a living in the horse industry so I could be around horses and horse people for the rest of my life.

My most valuable piece of gear was my saddle, I sat in it every day and the way it was made had always interested me. Dad knew one of the best Western saddle makers in Australia and when I showed an interest in wanting to learn he introduced me to him when I was 16 years old and still in Year 10 at school. From then on my goal was to become a saddle maker and start my own business when I finished school after year 12….little did I know the obstacles that I would have to overcome and how much my values and upbringing of never giving up would be put to the test to stay on track and achieve what I had set out to do. To start with I was a 16 year old girl with a small frame who did not fit the stereotype of a saddle maker, even my teacher didn’t think I’d be strong enough but since he was a friend of Dads he persevered. Over the next three years I juggled studying for my final HSC exams with learning to make saddles on some week nights and every weekend. The early stages of learning are very frustrating and stressful; there are many terms to remember and many skills to pick up. I was so amazed by the detailed hand carving that my teacher could create on his saddles and I was keen to learn this crafting skill as well. I needed to master the technique of cutting the design with a swivel knife and drawing my own patterns then turning all that into a masterpiece like my teachers work. My experience has taught me the following life lessons: If you want something bad enough, set working goals to achieve it, focus on your goals and never give up, you’ll succeed, challenges are not to be feared if something seems impossible you’ve just got to try harder.

I am now 20 years old and I run my own business called ‘Matthews Saddlery’ you can have a look at my work on my Facebook page or website

Kind Regards
Renee Matthews