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Saddlebag 03-24-2014 06:52 PM

The Life of a Saddlemaker
For anyone who gets a notion that saddlemaking is romantic or some other foolish adjective, I beg to differ. It is often hard work, hard enough to cause a sweat, frustrating and sometimes a real pain in the butt. There are many annoyances often beyond our control that forces us to think about alternative approaches. Needles break and frequently pick us. Bleeding isn't allowed on leather so a good supply of bandages is a must. Supplies don't come in when promised so a project can't be finished and out the door. Space can become a premium. Why did I get into it? It seemed to be part of a natural progression in my life with horses. Why do I, because I spent so danged much money learning and on tools that I feel the need to cover my costs. The best part - taking a saddle that needs TLC, refurbishing it and having a happy customer. Happy Trails I gotta go find a bandage.

tinyliny 03-24-2014 11:24 PM

can you post some photos of your work? I'd love to see it.

Foxtail Ranch 03-24-2014 11:26 PM

Me too!
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Saddlebag 03-25-2014 12:37 AM

Saddlebag 03-25-2014 12:58 AM

Most of my stash of pics were lost when lightening fried the modem. The was an attempt to salvage but most revealed only the top half of the pics. Usually I am well into the work before I think about taking pics. A lot of what I do is replacing saddle strings and conchos. Blessed are the puppies that like to chew on them. Lots of saddle cleaning, replacing stirrup leathers, shortened the fenders on one which included rounding and hand polishing the edges and dying the edges black if they were before. One stirrup leather was so thick where it went around the tree it made a lump which made the horse sore. The skirt had to be eased back to release the pressure on the stirrup leather and a handful of staples had to be removed instead of the usual few. The screws that attach the skirt in the gullet were rusted - junk. They were replaced with better. The black saddle in the pics was redyed and the back cinch ring removed at owner's request which enabled the leather to lie flatter.

Saddlebag 03-25-2014 01:08 AM

Foxtail Ranch 03-25-2014 03:33 PM

Wow! Nice work, Saddlebag! I especially like the stitching repair.

Saddlebag 03-25-2014 08:28 PM

Thanks. What seems like a simple task never seems to work out that way. I need to keep the camera handy and REMEMBER to take pics before I touch anything. Many times a saddle can be brought back to life without a great deal of expense. Many of the older ones are better made, thicker leather and quality hardware. The leather is thinner on the newer saddles as cattle are butchered at an earlier age than they used to which produces a thinner hide. This is why these saddles are still holding out well after 50-60 years with a modicum of care.

Foxtail Ranch 03-26-2014 01:16 PM

You do awesome work! I looked at your pictures again, with my glasses on (hate that I need to do that now!) and man, those are transformations!

We are about to get dad's old saddle reflocked, and I need help with my right stirrup. I have a fairly new Big Horn synthetic saddle that needs modification for my old injuries. I have to use endurance stirrups because I need a wide platform for my busted right foot because narrow is painful. And I need the dang thing to turn so I can keep my foot on it cause a I lost a lot of muscles and control of that foot. I put on a EZ UP on the left and use their swivel on the right but the metal rubs the skin off my inside calf because I have a skin graft there and its very delicate.

Foxtail Ranch 03-26-2014 11:15 PM

My saddle maker showed me how to twist the fender! All set for Friday
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