As a young man, Harwood learned the basics of his art in a shop in Soda Springs, Idaho. He worked hard at learning, and quickly gained a following. Trainers, pleasure riders, working cowboys, and ranchers became—and remained—the mainstays of his business. They depended upon his preciseness and perfection, and they were never disappointed in his product.
During that period of apprenticeship, Harwood practiced listening to the masters and following in their steps. Those years proved to be the best possible foundation for the lifetime of acclaimed saddlemaking that was to follow.
He opened a shop and retail business in 1961, which he maintained until 1982. At that time, he liquidated the business and moved his saddle and tree shop to his home on an acreage outside Idaho Falls.
His need for perfection continues. From start to finish, Harwood controls the quality of his saddles, processing his own rawhide, and making his own saddle trees.
His secret, perhaps, is that making saddles is all he ever wanted to do. He has followed a lifetime passion, and his commitment to the best possible work has added to his reputation as one of America’s finest western gear artisans.
He has a passion for the history of his art, and he is determined to pass these lost techniques on to tomorrow’s saddlemakers. But for Harwood, it’s more than just the creativity. Making saddles is about connecting with his western heritage.
His work is in demand by horsemen around the world and his work has been exhibited at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, where he received Best of Show in 1997, and at Trappings of the West in Flagstaff, Arizona. Writer Casey Beard included a profile on Harwood in his book, Tools Of The Cowboy Trade.
Mailing AddressDale Harwood
876 East 1500 North
Shelley, ID 83274