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Lonetree Leathercraft — A Farm-Based Business

One set of chuckwagon harness that I made won World’s Best Dressed at the Craven Country Roundup.

DO YOU RUN A FARM-BASED BUSINESS? Sue Armstrong

Have you started a farm-based business venture? Share your experience and a photo or two with our readers. Email me at [email protected]

— Sue

As I grew up on a farm that was worked with horses, I did quite a bit of driving, and was always interested when my father repaired harness. I later trained as a teacher, but only taught in rural schools for three years, then was married to a farmer. We raised four girls and two boys on a family farm north of Kuroki, Saskatchewan, and when our girls were in their early teens, they talked their dad into buying them

a saddle pony. Our youngest daughter bought an Arab colt and trained it to ride. At that time, our eldest daughter had taken a leather-tooling course from the community college, and we tried our hand at making purses and wallets. An uncle had given us an old saddle that needed some work, and after repairing it I tried saddle making.

When Valerie, our youngest daughter, expressed an interest in training her horse to drive, I decided to make a single driving harness. I discovered that I enjoyed the work, but saw that I needed some equipment to work with leather. I was able to buy out a local harness maker, and harness making became a hobby. A local member of the Northeastern Pony Chuckwagon Association gave me a harness to copy, and I made him a set of nickel-spotted leather pony harness. After that, I received orders from other drivers, and my hobby quickly turned into a business, making harnesses, and doing repair work for the drivers. One set of chuckwagon harness that I made won World’s Best Dressed at the Craven Country Roundup.

Although my husband and I have retired from farming, we continue to live on the farm, and still help with the farm work when we can. I have been kept as busy as I want to be, with mostly word of mouth, and a little advertising. I still do quite a bit of work for the chuckwagon drivers, and some draft harnesses, but lately I have been making many sets of harness for miniature ponies, mostly made from black nylon webbing, with stainless steel and chrome hardware. It seems that the miniature ponies have become very popular.

Marguerite Halvorson writes from Kuroki, Saskatchewan

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