From left to right: Abby (11), Blake, Beau (10) and Amber.

the Wighton family

We were driving in the car to school one morning when Abby (then 8) told me (Amber|Mom|Narrator) she wanted to start a business. I thought maybe she'd say she wanted to set up the lemonade stand in our rural neighborhood. It wasn't a lemonade stand.

She started by describing the problem she was having with her heavy saddle and how she thought we could fix it.  She mentioned making something light enough where she could hoist the saddle up alone onto our larger horses backs.  We've never had a pony, so tacking up was even more challenging.  She then went on to talk about how "saddles are sooooo boring" and how she's like to make them in "super fun" designs for kids.  I thought to myself, "Could she actually be on to something!?"

I knew what I grew up with and remember the frustration I felt when I had to call an adult over to help me with my heavy saddle and here my daughter was with the same problem.  I flashed back to the days of feeling like I just wanted to do it without my parents and how irritated I felt before even mounting my horse.

I researched for what felt like a lifetime and included Abby in the process.  We looked at what was already out there and what the price points were.  We saw an opportunity for a more affordable lightweight option for families.

We got our very first sample to test out in 2018 and started with just three styles in a couple sizes. We've since expanded to creating over 40 unique products and designs. We have truly found our passion and want to encourage the entire family to saddle up!

It all started with an 8 year old's dream...

a little more about each of us....

We got our very first sample to test out in 2018 and started with just three styles in a couple sizes.  We've since expanded to creating over 40 unique products and designs.  We have truly found our passion and want to encourage the entire family to saddle up!

Hi! My name is Abby Wighton (CO owner of Riding Free Tack). When I first started riding I had very big dreams, but to a five year old girl that all seemed hard. Our goal with RFT was to make fun, confidence - boosting saddles for all our customers. What I love most co-owning a business is that I get to watch as other kids become independent with themselves and their horses because of something we created. I started a business originally because I wanted other kids to be able to enjoy riding and saddling with out help all the time. My horse Bandit is a great super model and loves to ride free in our saddles. My favorite saddles are the Serape and the Buckstitch. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about our family!! Happy Shopping Ya'll!! 




a note from Abby

Blake

Blake was born and raised on the Central Coast of California where has worked for his family HVAC company for over 18 years.  Blake grew up riding horses and loves to hop on our mare Jesse any chance he gets.

Amber

Amber was born in Southern California and spent most of her younger years on a ranch in upper Ojai below the Topa Topas.  Her Mom is an avid horsewoman and  competed in hunter jumper and barrel racing.  

Blake is a man of few words but gives you that assured feeling with just a look.  He'd rather be in the wilderness any day. He can fix anything and loves to hunt, shoot and fish. He's a man's man and the rock of our business. He helps keep us grounded but pushes us to go after our dreams.

Amber started her horse journey showing western pleasure and endurance riding. She started her career in the corporate world where she worked in marketing and product development. However, she found her passion working with Abby and the equestrian industry she loves. Her barrel horse "Kiddo" is her pride and joy.

Abby

Abby is nurturing and kind but definitely stands her ground.  She started riding horses at 3 and has been obsessed every since.  She loves art which explains why she loves designing our saddles so much!  

Abby started Riding Free Tack at 8 years old when she went to her Mom with the idea on the way to school one day.  She's passionate about helping kids become independent with their horses.  She loves trail riding on the beach with her Mom, gathering cows and rodeo!  Abby's first year of CHSRA was this year and she's hooked!

Beau

Beau is the fun-loving life of the party! He is completely obsessed with all things baseball and hunting and has recently gotten into Junior Rodeo on our mare Jesse, where he competes in various speed events.

You can find Beau helping us pack up orders, write notes and test all our boy products.  He has big dreams of playing in the major leagues and can be found practicing baseball anywhere he can, including the arena.  

Let's  Saddle  up

It took over a year to find someone we trusted who would make our saddles exactly how we wanted and most importantly, our trees.  Trees are the very foundation of any saddle and good fit is our top priority.

We found a fourth generation saddlery in India that was willing to develop a relationship with us and listen to what we had in mind. Something we couldn't find anywhere in the US.  We even had a baseball saddle that had real baseball stitching on it!

Now, making things overseas has the stigma of being "cheap" quality-wise.  However, because we are able to control everything from the tree to the materials, we are able to make a quality product.  Since we don't have the factory overhead, we are able to offer our saddles at a 

OK, first, check out our testimonials.  We receive messages all the time about the quality of our saddles, so take it from our customers.

Now to answer the main question, "Why are our saddles affordable?" 

I (Amber, Mom, Narrator) have a sourcing background.  When I worked for other people, my job was to develop products that no one else had and find an economical way of making them.  I would write extensive "spec sheets" that defined every aspect of a product.  I learned that other countries have some great skills and that manufacturing with them could create a better price point for customers.

So, that's what I did with our saddles.

Why are your saddles so inexpensive? are they low quality?

The question we are asked most often...

more reasonable price.

OK, first, check out our testimonials. We receive messages all the time about the quality of our saddles, so take it from our customers.

Now to answer the main question, "Why are our saddles affordable?"

I (Amber, Mom, Narrator) have a sourcing background. When I worked for other people, my job was to develop products that no one else had and find an economical way of making them. I would write extensive "spec sheets" that defined every aspect of a product. I learned that other countries have some great skills and that manufacturing with them could create a better price point for customers.

So, that's what I did with our saddles.

It took over a year to find someone we trusted who would make our saddles exactly how we wanted and most importantly, our trees. Trees are the very foundation of any saddle and good fit is our top priority.

We found a fourth generation saddlery in India that was willing to develop a relationship with us and listen to what we had in mind. Something we couldn't find anywhere in the US. We even had a baseball saddle that had real baseball stitching on it!

Now, making things overseas has the stigma of being "cheap" quality-wise. However, because we are able to control everything from the tree to the materials, we are able to make a quality product. Since we don't have the factory overhead, we are able to offer our saddles at a more reasonable price.

We live in the small town of Arroyo Grande, California.  Our downtown is one of those cute western inspired towns with roosters literally wandering through the streets.

Our little farm consists of 5 acres.  Our home and land is a work in progress.  We are constantly working on something!

We have 4 horses, 3 dogs, 7 cats, 10 chickens, 3 ducks, a jersey cow, a goat and a guinea pig!  We love animals and because I lived in an apartment once we moved from Ojai, I dreamt of owning a place where I could have all my animals close to me and teach the kids the value of hard work! 

Located on the Central Coast of California in Arroyo Grande.

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