Stephanie and Ryan McGilvray stand between two saddles in need of repair. The McGilvrays run Mr. Hide’s Leather Shop on the Burnet square, where they do custom leatherwork and repairs. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
A new shop on the courthouse square in Burnet continues a longstanding tradition of the American West: leather working and saddle repair. Mr. Hide’s Leather Shop opened its doors in March of this year.
“It’s a rewarding job. It’s therapeutic for a lot of people,” said Ryan McGilvray, master leather worker and owner-operator of Mr. Hide’s. “I get to work with my hands and create things.”
Mr. Hide’s is a full-service leather shop that focuses on repairs and custom work. McGilvray trained under master saddle maker Rosemary Wilkie in his home state of New Mexico. He has 13 years of leather-working experience.
McGilvray makes custom leather products such as belts, wallets, knife sheaths, and phone cases. His skills really shine when it comes to saddle repair and custom saddle crafting.
According to McGilvray, saddle work is the most challenging. It requires a broad knowledge of multiple leather-working styles, materials, and tools.
McGilvray emphasized the various levels at which a saddle needs to function.
“It needs to be comfortable. It needs to work,” he said. “People want it to look good, and it needs to not hurt the rider or the horse.”
McGilvray and his wife, Stephanie, moved to Burnet in 2019. Stephanie is a high school agriculture teacher, but she also works with Ryan in the shop, especially during the summers. The couple compete in cut horse riding, and some of their customers are fellow competitors.
Ryan began doing leather work from home in 2018, and it quickly grew into a galloping business.
“There’s a significant amount of people who are shopping for handmade United States products in the last two or three years that weren’t before,” McGilvray said.
Mr. Hide’s business isn’t limited to the Burnet area, or even Texas. McGilvray’s leather work has been commissioned from customers as far away as the United Kingdom and Australia.
If you’re looking for a handmade gift, needing a saddle fixed, or even dreaming of a one-of-a-kind personalized saddle, ride over to Mr. Hide’s Leather Shop.
Mr. Hide’s Leather Shop is located at 138 S. Main St. in Burnet. Visit its website for more information.