Practical Craftsmanship: Custom Tack Carts
Combine Beauty and Functionality

Article by Christie Gold originally appeared in Florida Sport Horse

Bob (left) and Mark Sprecher

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and as Mark Sprecher watched his wife, trainer Jane Whitehurst, lug her equipment from trailer to stall and back again at dressage shows, he put his background in woodworking and construction to work to build a tack cart that would be functional, maneuverable and attractive. “I noticed Jane struggling to get here stuff to the barn at shows on a cart with skinny wheels. It was tough to pull it through the sand.  I thought I could make something better,” Sprecher said.

That was 10 years ago. Today, Sprecher’s Tack Carts builds furniture-quality wood tack carts. He drew design inspiration from heavy duty hand trucks, an apparatus he found indispensible in his own career in maintenance and construction. The carts are built on the same principle. They tilt back onto 10” pneumatic wheels for easy transport while keeping the saddle secure and balanced.

Sprecher says the functionality of the cart has not changed since his first prototype, but it has evolved. Concerned with the weight of a wooden cart, he built the first out of poplar. “The wheels were the same as I use now.  It was functional, but it didn’t look nice.” He soon realized that weight was not a concern due to the balance and maneuverability of his design. He also understood the equestrian aesthetic.

“The basic design hasn’t changed, but today’s model looks better. I beefed up the wood, added finger grips and high quality hardware.” The end result is a furniture-quality cart that Wellington dressage trainer John Zopatti says is almost “too pretty for the barn.”

Building carts was a hobby until a few years ago when Whitehurst moved her horses to Keystone Sport Horses, a busy dressage and hunter/jumper facility, in Odessa. Owner Pam Aide liked the carts and Sprecher began filling orders for her boarders and clients, adding custom colors of stain and hardware. “Mark’s tack carts are wonderfully functional pieces of furniture.  With boarders numbering in the double digits, these beautiful carts keep our busy barn aisles neat and orderly regardless of traffic,” Aide said.

In 2010, Sprecher and Whitehurst opened Nosara Farms.  The property includes a spacious workshop that frequently echoes with the sharp buzz of saws and sanders.

For selling online the only obstacle was shipping. For years, Sprecher had focused primarily on durability. Now the challenge was creating a cart that was collapsible. Using furniture grade cross dowels and slightly altering the size of the original cart, he was able to create a cart that could be shipped without sacrificing structural integrity.

Sprecher convinced his brother Bob to join him in the business. The two are an efficient team, constructing carts in groups. The family element is just one more thing that makes the carts special. “Bob just loves it,” Sprecher said, “and working together has made us closer than we have been in years.” In an age where most furniture is constructed overseas from particle board, Sprecher takes pride in craftsmanship.  He uses mostly domestic wood and American-made components as much as possible.

Working toward growth and expansion of the woodworking business, Sprecher is developing new products targeted at show riders including a saddle cleaning stand, bridle and saddle racks and other tack room accessories.

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