Monday, May 12, 2008

Western Saddle Makeover

This was my very first saddle. It is extremely lightweight and fits my kids, though they don't care to ride. I now use it with my 3-year-old filly while starting her. The suede on the seat has rubbed away, the cinch is worn and cracked, and the latigos are worn as well.

Here's one shot of the cinch. The rubber has cracked and probably pinches the horse's hair.

Here's a deeper shot of those cracks.

The latigo doesn't look too bad from this angle, but once I opened it up...

I found that the holes had practically worn into each other.

I replaced the original nylon latigos with new leather ones, but found that working with leather is like giving birth: Very painful. I could not get the leather strings through the holes in the strap, so I broke out my leather hole punch tool, but did not have a bigger punch than the size of the hole. I ended up wiggling a pair of needle nose pliers around until I widened the hole. I then had to use those pliers to pull the strings through. Once I pulled the strings all the way through, I discovered that I had the D-ring between the strings instead of having the thick leather strap flush against the D-ring, so I had to start all over. The entire process took about an hour.

I attached a fresh cinch and wallah! A western saddle makeover!

8 comments:

onthebit said...

yikes...that was a bit of a project there...I know it was a pain in the ass but I am positive it was worth it. Just think if you were less attentive something might have broken at somepoint and you would have been looking at feet instead of ears. An hour well spent in my book.

sue said...

good idea... that way you aren't "worried" about anything "new" being ruined... my friend looks for "old" saddles in yard sales that she can use for "breaking".... nice story....

Pony Girl said...

Good project. It reminds me I need to do a post-winter check on all my gear before we really hit the trails this spring!

Lulu said...

To make your new leathers easier to deal with, rub them with baby powder every time you ride. The baby powder allows the leathers to pull past each other (while tightenting or loosening) without near as much friction.

After a few weeks of doing this, your leathers will have broken in and you will be able to put the baby power back on the shelf for next time. Works like a charm without compromising the leather.

Callie said...

Awesome project. Both my saddle are a mix of leather and codura. Love the light weight saddle.

Rising Rainbow said...

I giggled at your descriptiong of putting on the new leather latigo. It's not so long ago I went through exactly the same process.

Shirley said...

Guess it is time to overhaul all the tack; thanks for the reminder! I use reins that tie on like your latigo, so whenever I get a new bit, it goes on it's own bridle so I don't have to deal with undoing those ties. They are a pain, aren't they? But I like them better than Chicago screws, which can loosen off.

Twinville said...

Alot of work, but looks so worth it.