Meet the Boss

Welcome to Tully Hole Saddlery! Tully Hole Saddlery was established in 1998 and is a one man full-service custom saddle shop which specializes in creating fine custom horse gear in the rich California tradition. Everything hand crafted in this shop is made from the finest quality materials, and all the work is performed to the very best of my abilities. You can be assured that no inferior materials are used in this shop. All the materials used - all leather, trees, hardware, sheepskins, thread, you name it, are of top notch quality. This is simply because if you start with poor quality materials, it does not matter how good your workmanship is, you will still end up with an inferior product. All the workmanship is performed to the very best of my abilities. I do not claim to be the best in the world, but I do claim that I perform the best job that I am capable of on each piece of gear that comes out of this shop. After all, my name gets stamped on everything that goes out the door. You might say that at this shop the buck stops with... me.

Now for the disclaimer: Before going any further let me state that since this is my website... I will take the liberty of being as outspoken as I like. I tend to say it like it is, and have (thankfully) never been branded as a "politically correct" type. All my life I have been very proud to be an individual in the truest sense of the word.

I have always admired and valued fine craftsmanship, in any form. While today we live in a world where craftsmanship may not be as commonly found as it once was, there is still a lot of fine craftsmanship to be had if you are willing to beat the bushes a bit. My personal horse gear has always been of the highest quality, starting with my very first saddle. I never sold out for the cheap stuff. And by the way, I learned a long time ago that you pretty much get what you pay for in this world. I also learned that you can frequently gauge the skills and knowledge of a horseman by the quality of his gear and his attitude towards it. Many years ago my interests in the skills of the Californio vaquero and his quality horse gear, and of course horses, led me to begin hanging out in the shop of a master craftsman who in turn became a good friend. The talk always swirled around horses, saddles, horse gear in general, people, history, politics, dogs, philosophy, religion, horses, and how we were so smart that we could fix all the problems in the world. While the opportunity to fix all the problems in the world thankfully never arrived, eventually an opportunity to begin learning how to butcher perfectly fine sides of leather came my way and I jumped on it.

Running a custom saddle shop will never make you rich financially, but then that was never the point. It is very rewarding work, certainly far more rewarding than sitting in a veal fattening pen at some pointless corporate office job. And it goes without saying that you don't have to deal with any pointy headed office mullahs either. My customers - working cowboys, ranchers and horseman who care about the quality of what they put on their horses - are some of the best customers that you could possibly have. While you won't get financially rich doing this, you will find the work to be most rewarding and you will meet a lot of genuinely nice people, see some spectacular country and make some great friends.

As this is a one man shop, that means that it is yours truly who is the... purchasing agent, bookkeeper, bill payer, ad man, stevedore, long haul trucker, janitor, electrician, secretary, salesman, moving crew, computer geek, machinist, receptionist, carpenter, mechanic, customer service agent, warehouseman, maintenance crew... you get the idea. Did I forget anything? Oh how about the guy who also makes the patterns, cuts the leather, makes the swivel knife cuts; does the skiving, stitching, carving, lacing, stamping, edging and finishing; puts in the ground seats, installs the hardware, stretches and twists the stirrup leathers, trims the sheepskins, wraps the horns, blocks the skirts, sharpens the round knives, misplaces the tools, cuts the fingers, whacks the thumbs and gets barked at by the dogs. You probably get the idea - that this is one busy place. In short, you could say that I am a perfect... fool!

People frequently ask me what part of California I am in. They want to know what the country is like. Well, let me tell you. Tully Hole Saddlery is located in San Benito County, situated in central California inland from the Pacific Ocean but west of the San Joaquin Valley. We're about an hour drive south of San Jose, and a two hour drive north of Paso Robles. Still open and agricultural, it is a very beautiful area blessed with a mild year round Mediterranean climate and very unique topography. While wineries have made some inroads here, the cattle industry is still dominant and there are still many ranches and more than quite a few top horsemen hidden in these hills. San Benito County is home to fault lines and earthquakes, figure-8 roping, mucho cattle and horses, and mucho wildlife. Go for a moonlit ride and you will be amazed by how many owls and bats you will see flying about. The hills are alive with wild boar, coyotes, deer, bobcats as well as a few cougars. Rumor even has it that there are even one or two liberals running around in those hills as well! Past visitors have included coastal and valley Indians, Spaniards, argonauts, vaqueros, William Tecumsah Sherman, The Pathfinder - the great John C. Fremont, Will Rogers as well as the legendary Joaquin Murrieta and his horse gangs. There is a lot of history hidden in these hills! And then just as today, there were many raptors soaring above these oak studded golden hills looking down on all of it. To better acquaint you with this part of the world, I have begun adding some pictures of this unique country to the website.

I also get asked about the name, where did the Tully Hole name come from? Tully's Hole is a beautiful spot along the Pacific Crest Trail in the central Sierra Nevada that I have packed into on many occasions. The first time I packed into it, it was late in the day after a full day's riding as we made the final descent down into Tully's Hole. It was overcast, and then the thunder began booming and the High Sierra trail dust began getting wetted down by the rain and hail being tossed down upon us by the passing thunderhead. I never forgot that day as it was so much fun! Tully's Hole was named after a California Ranger by the name of Tully who was sent in to calm things down between the cattlemen and sheepherders ("range maggot herders"?) who would graze their stock in the backcountry during the summer. As luck would have it, some of Ranger Tully's descendents presently live in... San Benito County.

Browse my website, and if there is anything that I can help you with or if there is anything that interests you feel free to contact me. Likewise, if there is something that you are interested in but do not see then simply contact me and let me know what it is that you are looking for. Custom orders and repairs are my specialty! If I can do it I'll tell you, if I can't I'll tell you that as well. Remember, that this is full custom shop, so there are many options available. In short, I can probably fix you up with whatever it is that you are for, so just... ask!

Adios Amigo!

Bryan Kunic
Tully Hole Saddlery


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