#WesternWomenWednesday, Lisa Earley, Braider, NZ
Lisa is a quiet achiever and a ground breaker - in New Zealand, where the prevailing culture is more about chasing foxes with hounds rather than chasing cows, Lisa has carved out her craft braiding and gear making for the slow advancement of the buckaroo culture in New Zealand.
Here she shares a bit of her story - Enjoy!
1. Name, age, location.
Lisa Earley, 26, Taranaki, New Zealand
2. Tell us about your journey into saddlemaking and gear making and how you got interested in the Buckaroo style?
I guess it all came from a place of necessity. I needed to learn how to get along better with my horses, so I studied a lot of clinicians and just so happened to pick up on the cultural aspects as well. Then of course I needed the gear and I was never particularly flush so I thought surely I can do that, so I bought a book on Rawhide braiding and went to work. The saddle making was much the same except my uncle used to make saddles when I was younger and I could never seem to get my hands on one so I finally got around to making one for myself. So you could say I got a bit carried away with the whole thing.
3. It seems the Buckaroo style is gaining more ground in NZ - a country more familiar with sheep and dairy cows than tapaderos and ropes - how has this culture flowed through the country and gained momentum?
We have some great NZ based clinicians that have taken it upon themselves to promote this style of riding and it's really taking off. We now have annual gatherings in both the North and South Island, We have at least one or two US based clinicians visit each year and now we can pretty much buy all the gear we need without importing it. The only thing that slows us down is the rain and mud along with the amount of gates we have to open.
4. What is it like trying to break those cultural barriers and especially a woman, promoting your business?
I think in New Zealand the majority of people following this culture are women so that is really cool. The teaching side of things seems to be more male dominated. I'm not really sure why that is, maybe as it keeps growing we will have more ladies pushing those boundaries. As for promoting my business, everyone has been super supportive and they send people in my direction so I've been pretty lucky in that respect.
5. It seems you aren’t much for following the norm - even jumping on a bronc recently - tell us what that was like!
I have to say it was honestly the best thing I've done in a long while. I don't push myself out of my comfort zone very often so it was a great experience and I can't wait to get on more.
6. What is your day job and how do you fit gear making around that?
I work on a dairy farm over calving season which is pretty handy as I get time off in the middle of the day to braid. Over summer I'm a working student for a clinician and colt starter in the Waikato. I've got a handful of horses to start this time round which is pretty exciting and next year I'm hoping to take on a few orders for saddles. I'm in the midst of trying to be self employed full-time which I honestly never thought would ever be an option for me. I'm really trying to avoid having a 'real' job.
7. What is some advice you might give other women starting out in saddlemaking?
Just do it. Don't wait on other people to get you started, take control. But also do your research, I had some books, pictures and conversations with my uncle and other saddle makers. If you take it upon yourself to get started others will see how serious you are and be more than happy to help you out.
8. What are you listening to whilst in your shop?
It's a bit of a shambles really. Mainly Dave Stamey, Ian Tyson and of course Adrian Brannan mixed in with some modern country. I could really use some new artists so I'd love some suggestions.
9. What is your go-to motivator, head space maker or getaway from life to get your head back in the game?
I am a terrible self motivated, I honestly don't know how I've come this far but some how I always end up getting things done. My getaway is either a long ride or a walk in the bush or on the beach. There's nothing like the sound of the trees and birds to bring things back in perspective.
10. Favourite quote?
'Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today' haha I seriously don't do this but I'm hoping one day I'll be living by it. I'm also a big believer in making things happen for yourself, you are in charge!
Keep up with Lisa here -