One of the things I like about Longmont is its proximity to ranches, farms and ranges. Go a little way in any direction from the outskirts of the city and you'll find that the old West remains. Saddle Up, a tack and saddle shop at 12490 County Road 1 between Ninth and 17th avenues, reflects Longmont's Western spirit, and is a great place for both beginning and seasoned riders to buy their gear.
The first thing you'll notice when you walk through the door is the faint but unmistakable smell of saddle leather. Then you'll see the plenum of saddles perched on their stands, and the dozens of lariats, bridles, halters, stirrups, bits and reins hanging from the walls, and you'll know you're in rider's heaven.
Dick Van Proosdy, the owner and manager of the store, is a congenial, mild-mannered man, the type of person to put both horses and people at their ease. This is important because Dick spends a lot of time fitting saddles to horses. "The most important thing about buying a saddle," Dick told me, "is making sure that it fits your horse." A poorly fitting saddle can damage a horse. At the very least, it can make him cranky and reluctant to be ridden.
Dick's daughter, Danna Golden, who partners with her father in the daily management of the store, informed me that the second most important thing about buying a saddle is fitting the seat size. "There are lots of different saddle styles," she told me, "so what you want is the optimum combination of style and size for the desired function."
I tried a roping saddle on for size. It was a little too small, and the cantle was higher than I would have liked. After some discussion, Danna and I decided that I would probably be more comfortable in a trail-riding saddle with a 2-inch larger seat. I didn't put Danna and Dick to the trouble of finding the perfect saddle for me, but I knew that if I should ever buy another horse, they would have the expertise to help me.
Indeed, people from all over the country rely on Dick and Danna's expertise. They've had customers from Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana and even Holland. Most of their clientele are team-ropers, cutters, barrel racers and show people, but they also do business with ranchers and trail riders. They'll take your old saddles in on trade. And if you love your old, dilapidated saddle too much to part with it, their repair person, Bill Jesser, can make it serviceable again.
All in all, Saddle Up is a horse person's paradise. I'd recommend it to anyone who has a horse and wants to ride comfortably on the trail, range or arena. Contact Saddle Up at 303-772-7821 or visit saddleupcolorado.net.