I picked up my new saddle today! Very excited. Unfortunately i've lost my good camera, so these were taken once I got home with mums new (cheap!) camera. So no pictures of me riding in it or him stitching in his workshop... ****!
It was really interesting. He left a lot of parts unfinished so he could fully fit and adjust it when we came. The serge holding the flocking wasn't fully stitched in case he had to add/take some out, the breastplate was still in pieces.
He uses unwashed wool for the flocking because the grease in the wool conditions the leather from the inside; Cool, huh? The girth is a wintec girth that he takes the guts out of. He replaces the guts, adds new buckles and a leather strap so it buckles onto the surcingle.
He moves the stirrup bars back on the tree so that it creates more of a centred seat. The entire saddle is hand-stitched except for two small spots he had to machine. The knee-rolls are four layers of sole leather, cheaper saddles use softer leather and a plastic filler. The flaps are American leather that is similar to english bridle leather, and the seat is english bridle leather.
We got to see a tree identical to the one in my saddle, which was pretty cool.
He got me to sit in the saddle on a model horse first, and put all the mounts on and adjusted them etc. We then went over and he put the saddle on Bundy and had a look, then I walked him for a bit and he tightened the girth. The girth points were too wide for the buckles, too tight, so later he whittled them down. He got me to jump on and walk BUndy around for 10 minutes so he could see how it settled down and how it sat with me in it. He then measured the pieces of the breastplate on Bundy and marked where to stitch it.
Went back into his workshop; We got to see him hand-stitching the breastplate together and dying the edges. He whittled the girth points (well only one was too wide) and re-dyed the cut edge. He also had to re-punch a few holes bigger. He flattened the flocking out and we put the saddle back on Bundy. I rode him for about 20 minutes, W/T/C, a few stops and rollbacks. He shadowed me at a walk to see if it sat straight, which it did. All good! I was happy with it, Bundy seemed really comfy (he didn't hump his back once, which he did nearly everytime saddling up before) and really goey, which I think is a combination of the new, fitting saddle and the chiro/laser therapy he had during the week.
He took the saddle back into the workshop and flattened the flocking back out and spread it out evenly. He then hand-stitched the rest of the serge to seal in the flocking. The saddle is guaranteed, and I will see him at a comp in October, so if anything needs changing he will do it then. I think i'm going to get him to make me a bridle as well, eventually.
It has a lower cantle and smaller knee rolls because I need to be able to lean out of it and vault into it for mounted games.
The saddle was $3,800 (comparison, cheapest similar one I could find was $6,000)
And the breastplate was $200.
Here it is!
Other side view:
Knee Roll and signature breastplate attatchment:
Back view of the cantle:
The panel with his stamp, serial number and tooling:
Wither peice of the breastplate:
The chest peice of the breastplate with Peter's stamp on it: