Martin Žalud

Martin was brought up in a stable at the race track in Prague, Czech Republic. His mother was a professional jockey, and he started riding and training at a young age. He raced as an amateur jockey and worked as an extra and stuntman in a variety of films shot in the Czech Republic.

His interest in traditional handcrafts and his working knowledge of saddlery led him to the Prague Saddlery School where he studied for three years while apprenticing with a master saddler. Martin put these skills to use in his own saddlery business, serving the equestrian community of the Czech Republic for three years.

In 2000, he partnered with a fashion designer and relocated to the US to pursue a business creating one-of-a-kind hand-made leather fashion accessories, which have won awards at a variety of festivals and craft fairs. Returning to his equestrian roots, Martin started Žalud Saddlery in 2008 in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.