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Saddle thieves hit Montana family-run horseback guide business

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Posted at 12:54 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 14:56:31-05

BIG SKY — Nine saddles were stolen from Jake’s Horses, in Big Sky, during the early hours of Oct. 15.

Seven of the saddles were widely used and able to fit a wide range of horses and riders; the remaining two were personal saddles. One of them was Jake’s daughter's saddle that she was gifted when she was 13.

Camera footage shows three people making their way to the door of the tack room and breaking in. The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office is investigating the break-in, and any tips or information can be sent their way.

The saddles have been used by this family-run outfitter for years and would likely sell for $500-1000. The two personal saddles have custom tooling and sentimental value — priceless to the owner. A $1000 reward has been placed on the return of Jake’s daughter Julie’s saddle.

Tayler Stobaugh, manager of Jake’s Horses, was the one to notice the missing saddles and has stressed the increase in security and presence around the ranch. Stobaugh and Jake will check periodically throughout the night on the property.

“It’s a family business, a family-run business. So it hits hard when something like this happens to you. It kind of feels like a personal attack, just to take our saddles for really no good reason,” Stobaugh said.

Stobaugh and the rest of the wranglers have been keeping a close eye on websites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and even different thrift stores throughout the region. Stobaugh also made sure to contact neighboring ranches to alert them of the situation and to prevent further theft in Big Sky.

“We’ve never had something like this happen before. They were in this shed right here, usually the shed is filled with saddles, but since nine were taken, it’s pretty empty now,” Stobaugh said.

In total, she estimates around $5000 worth of saddles were taken during the robbery.