About Cloete Saddles

Being family owned and operated, Cloete Saddles prides itself in good, old-world business courtesies, making our clients’ needs a priority and ensuring the equines that carry our saddles are well taken care of.  Cloete Saddles offers personalized service throughout the entire process of identifying a rider’s specific saddle requirements to acquiring the ideal saddle package.

Saddle Maker

Franco was born and raised under a generous African sun and has been a horseman since a very young age. Years of riding, piqued Franco’s curiosity for designing trees & creating saddles, eventually kindling an acute awareness – and subsequent research & study – of the unbound potential for the improvement of the saddle systems used in the worldwide equine community. Having been established in the international saddle industry since the 90’s, Franco’s journey as a trendsetting saddle designer & saddle maker continues on its dynamic course, as he follows the ever-changing needs of riders and equines in the market. Cloete Saddles are purposely designed and crafted with both horse and rider in mind. Today, Franco can affirm that Cloete Saddles’ products are well tried and tested and that Cloete Saddles is one of few saddle manufacturers in the equine saddle industry that designs and builds custom fitting saddles & trees, incorporating the 5 key points of adjustability.

Executive Manager of Cloete Saddles

Madeli Cloete takes care of client correspondence, manages the order processing, shipping, finance, social media posting, ordering materials, scheduling & event planning and more. She really does everything Franco does not do, to keep Cloete Saddles running smoothly.

Apprentice Saddle Maker and Artistic Carving & Design

New to our team is Franco’s daughter, Tamara, as of 2023. Originally, she started working part time designing and carving under Franco’s experienced direction, and quickly mastered the art of carving and tooling. After a few months she then began working full time in the shop alongside Franco, absorbing as much of 25 years of his expertise as possible. Tamara is an artist by nature and a chef by practice, but saddle making has proven to be a great opportunity to widen her skill set and take her creative interest even further. Tamara finds it an honour to be a part of our family trade.

Photographer, Social Media Manager and Website Design

Cheyenne Cloete-Williamson has been involved with updating the website, doing product photography and tending to marketing on social media for a few years now. She is called on occasionally to take on business projects and update the website with new information and the Instagram Page with new content.

Part-time apprentice and production

Levi Williamson, Franco’s son-in-law,  helps fill in the gaps when production picks up and occasionally makes molds for the trees. They enjoy working together.


Barri Gerber is also part of the Cloete extended family. He has been recruited to take care of the new stirrups and pack saddle production.