I'm Kate Athanas-Wilson, owner of Dutchess Bridle & Saddle LLC. I received my Bachelor of Art degree in Art from Ithaca College in 1995. The day after receiving my diploma, I began my saddlery and bridle making career with an apprenticeship to a qualified Master Saddler from The Society of Master Saddlers at Albion Saddlemakers' US importer and distributor of the Albion saddle. I have also trained with a 13 year veteran saddlery instructor from Cordwainer's College in London and Qualified Master Saddler through an intensive saddle building course. On multiple occasions, I have trained with the exceptionally skilled saddlers in the Albion Saddlemakers factory in England. I have also attended the Saddle Fitting Foundations Course given by The Society of Master Saddlers in England in August 2002 and their first ever USA course offering at Wilson College in May 2005. I received my certification as an Associate Overseas Qualified Saddle Fitter from The Society of Master Saddlers in August 2006. I completed the Qualified Saddle Fitters Referesher Course at Moulton College, Northampton, UK in July 2008. I also participate as one of the Lecturers for the USA Saddle Fitting Foundations Course given by The Society of Master Saddlers at Wilson College in PA. I have also had three articles published in 2006 in Practical Horseman about Suede Cleaning, Saddle Storage and Synthetic Tack Care in the August 2006 issue. I am also an active dressage rider and the owner of a lovely Georgian Grande (Friesian/Saddlebred) gelding!
My husband, Jim Wilson, is our saddler extraordinaire. He brings 30+ years of meticulous carpentry skills to Dutchess Bridle & Saddle LLC. He has spent time working with the saddlers in the Albion factory in April 2005, August 2006 and July 2008. He has become accomplished in all areas of saddle repair and has started to make Western saddlery his own undertaking. He was able to spend sometime with living legend Western saddle builder Al Gould in May 2011 at The Leathercrafters Expo in Sheridan, WY.
Maggie Mansfield is our Shipping, Consignment and Sales Manager. She does a wonderful job of shipping out the repairs we receive, listing and answering questions about the cosignment saddles and other products we sell. She's also a rider and horseowner of many years and understands our clients needs. We are so happy she's joined us!