Western Saddle Repair Questions - Page 2

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Western Saddle Repair Questions

This is a discussion on Western Saddle Repair Questions within the Horse Tack and Equipment forums, part of the Horse Tack category
  • Replacement burrs for stirrup leathers
  • How to repair/replace blevin buckle on saddle

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    08-14-2013, 05:51 PM
Well, the little belt looking thing is called a "stirrup hobble".

Those are different leathers than the replacement ones that I posted above. I've never handled one of those like you've got so I really don't know how it's supposed to work. I'd just have to finagle with it to figure out which way it went.
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    08-14-2013, 08:20 PM
I need one more pic - the backside of the fender.
    08-14-2013, 11:58 PM
It shouldn’t be too hard to fix if you just think it through. The only differences really between a western saddle stirrup leather and one off an English saddle is the fender attached to the stirrup leather on the western one, and the way it is hung on the saddle.
They can start to look different if the fender is incorporated into the stirrup leather. That is to say that the fender has the buckle attached to it, then the stirrup leather riveted to it at the top and then buckled back down onto the buckle on the fender. But even then it’s basically the same thing.
In this photo, assuming it works, are the fenders I made for a saddle I built. They consist of a 2.5” wide stirrup leather that wraps the whole way round from bottom part of the buckle, in this case Blevin’s Buckle, and all the way round so it buckles onto itself. Then the fender, which goes from the plate of the Blevin’s Buckle up to the top of the stirrup leather, about where it would sit on the saddle bar. I sewed the lot together, most people don’t do that. So, where the plate of the Blevin’s Buckle is, it (the buckle plate) is sandwiched between the fender and the stirrup leather. The other end of the stirrup leather has the holes for the Blevin’s plate and has the sleeve of the Blevin’s sliding over it.
Not sure how clear it will be from the photo but you should be able to get an idea of what it all looks like, the bound bit on the inside (that would be closest to the horse) above the stirrup, is called a rolled fender, that just makes the stirrups sit nice and straight, don’t worry about that. It’s all basically the same as a stirrup leather off an English saddle with a fender sewn into it.
What you can do is get a new stirrup leather, just a strip of heavy skirt or harness leather the same width of the broken one will do, and the same length. Get the old broken one and pull it off the saddle, it just hangs over the bar of the tree.
See the photo of the saddle I built here, it is a charro saddle without a seat so you can see exactly how the stirrup leathers go on, underneath where the skirts attach to the saddle bar there is a slight grove in the bars of the tree for the stirrup leather to sit in so when it’s all together there isn’t a bump putting pressure on the horse’s back (not all trees have this).
Once you have the fender off the saddle, put it next to the stirrup leather and pull apart the one off the saddle and reverse engineer it to build the new one. You will need an angle grinder (or a file will do if you are feeling energetic) and some pliers to get the rivets out, a hole punch for rivet holes and buckle holes, and rivets/burrs and a rivet burring tool and a hammer.
Just put the new one back together the way the old broken one comes apart using the same measurements off the broken one, including where the holes go for adjusting the lengths.
I would strongly recommend that you do both stirrup leathers, not just one, and when you put it together you have to get them precisely symmetrical. If one stirrup leather doesn’t match the other it can get seriously irritating riding with your legs uneven.
I didn’t think to take photos of the process of making the fenders unfortunately, but it really is about the easiest part of building a saddle, there’s probably some YouTube videos of it too if you have a look. It can be a good idea to glue and sew in some nylon or polyurethane webbing onto the back of the leather as well to give it added strength and durability, though I wouldn’t recommend trying to repair the broken one by doing that. Also to do that you will either need to know how to stitch leather together, or have access to a sewing machine that is for leather work. Otherwise, the rest you should be able to just rivet together.
bsms likes this.
    08-14-2013, 11:59 PM
You should be able to see here how the leathers go over the bars of the saddle, the go under, between the bars and the skirts.
    08-15-2013, 09:15 AM
Anrew, your saddle has a full stirrup leather to which you have attached the fender. Some makers economize and make the fender part of the stirrup leather, saving about 30" of stirrup leather.
    08-15-2013, 07:28 PM
Yeah, that's what I meant by people incorporating the fender into the stirrup leather, I don't like it personally, I have seen them snap.
smrobs likes this.
    08-15-2013, 11:31 PM
It must just be the cheapie saddles that do that. I've heard of it, but never actually seen one for myself.
    09-01-2013, 12:32 AM
Thanks everyone for all the help.
I knew what to ask for at the tack shop and will be able to get the repairs done for $25! A lot less than what I was expecting. They deal *heavily* in used tack, so I can bring my saddle in to color-match and they'll take the fenders/leathers off another saddle to replace mine all together.
And I actually sounded somewhat knowledgable when I was there!
Thanks again :)
smrobs likes this.
    09-01-2013, 12:47 AM
That's great news!
    09-01-2013, 01:12 AM
It really is.
The saddle originally belonged to my father-in-law.
My husband learned how to ride in it, and when we have kids, that's the one they'll be sitting in someday too.
It's nothing fancy, but it's really special to us.
It might have beed doomed to life as a decoration without all of you all helping me figure out how to fix it :)
smrobs likes this.

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