Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Designing Saddles, Riding the Trail By Gina McKnight

Designing Saddles, Riding the Trail
An Interview with Tina Mae Weber
By Gina McKnight
Archived from the July 2018 Issue of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication without permission.

It has been a pleasure meeting Tina Mae Weber through horse connections. I was intrigued by her career as a horsewoman. Not too many women have the opportunity to design saddles and tack, create trail equipment, and inspire other trail riders to saddle up! Tina is the proprietor of "SADDLE UP LET'S RIDE!" ™ where she writes and affirms "This is God's Country, I want to See it from the Back of My Horse" ™.!

GM: Welcome Tina! Tell us about your horse history and how it all began...
TW: WOW! Horses have always been in my life. I guess I need to give all the credit to my Momma, she instilled the love of horses in my soul.

GM: What horse(s) do you currently stable?
TW: I have three horses and a Jack Ass named Amos. My two personal horses are Nugget and Tuff. Nugget is a 17-year-old Quarter horse that I have owned since he was three-years and have ridden in 23 States. I crossed South Dakota with him. Then I have my new guy, Tuff. I bought him as a yearling, ponied him with Nugget for two years and now at three-years, I am riding him. He is an excellent partner/companion and will be an awesome trail horse. We will be going on a month-long journey soon.

GM: And, your other companion - your dog. Tell us about your sidekick...
TW: I have two sidekicks – an eight-year-old Blue Heeler named Taz, and a two-year-old Heeler/Catahoula named Cinch. Both are great trail dogs and wonderful sidekicks.

GM: You ride a lot! Where in the world is your favorite trail?
TW: Oh, my! Every time I'm on the back of my horse, it's a good ride! If I was to pick certain "favorite" rides, I must say, my favorite riding with the most beautiful scenery was in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming at the Hunters Trail Head. The most adventurous riding was in the Bob Marshall on a packing trip with Chuck and Andy who had a show called the Dead-end Express. Then to just go camp and ride, I love Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, southern Illinois; well, shoot, parts of Alabama, Kentucky, Colorado... did I mention every time I'm on the back of my horse, it's a GOOD Ride?!?!? ;)

GM: Do you have a favorite trail story to share?
TW: Back in 2009, I rode with Best of America by Horseback on their Border to Border Ride. What Impressed me the most is that we started each ride each day with PRAYER. I Guess that isn't really a "story", however, It stood out for me... I have many "stories" to tell and each one is my favorite.

GM: Designing saddles requires a lot of research and hands-on development. You worked with Tex-Tan/Hereford to create a dynamic trail saddle. I have a (very old) Tex-Tan saddle. What improvements have you made? Where can I purchase your tack and equipment?
TW: Well, there is a lot when it comes to "improvements" -  quality, structure, customer support, differences in design, safety, and paying attention to what works best for both horse and rider. I have three saddles I have designed. The first is the TnT Trail Blazer Saddle made by Tex-Tan/Hereford, the TnT Trail Adventure Saddle made by Tucker Saddlery, and then the TnT Blazin’ Trail Saddle made by Circle Y Saddlery. You can purchase on my website –

GM: In creating and designing horse tack, what do you consider a top priority?
TW: Safety and comfort.

GM: Besides saddles and tack, what other products do you design?
TW: I have designed the TnT Camp Kitchens and TnT tack storage boxes to mount on your trailers.

GM: Do you have advice for novice riders and those looking to purchase their first horse?
TW: Take someone with you who knows what they are doing. A good mind and confirmation are worth more than "pretty".

GM: Besides trail riding and horses, what do you do in your spare time and for fun?
TW: I am a very outdoorsy kind of gal. When I'm not riding on my horse, I'm usually on the river, fishing, boating, canoeing, 4-wheeling or hunting! Quality time with family is very important to me.

GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?
TW: Listening to your horse; they do speak, we need to learn to listen. Consistency is key.  "The horse you get off of is not the Same as the horse you got on, it’s your job as a rider to make sure the change is for the better!"

Connect with Tina…

Gina McKnight is an author and freelance writer from Ohio USA.

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