I have been working on a little project recently that has turned out to be something really quite special and I thought it was time I shared it with you all.

Since starting my Saddler training, three years ago, I have had a few old saddles gifted to me to use as examples to work on without worrying about putting them back together accurately. All these saddles have seen better days and are not really suitable to use on horses anymore, so I thought I’d have a go at up-cycling one into a practical bag.

So, here is the saddle’s I chose to use…

A plain brown traditional style GP (general purpose) saddle made by Eldonian Brookes Limited who were based in Walsall, West Midlands in the 1970/80’s.

I dropped the panel out…

Removed the saddle flaps from the saddle tree and cut them to size…

I prepared the flaps for stitching then hand stitched the bag together using a contrasting yellow thread and the leather from the panel as the bag’s gusset.

I then stitched a girth strap to the back saddle flap in a position which will enable the strap to close the top of the bag together and tuck in neatly where the end strap of a stirrup leather would go.

I then added a new strap with a brass buckle for the shoulder strap and stamped it with the Lady Saddler stamp for that added piece of uniqueness.

The amount of comments I have had already about this bag is phenomenal.

What I love the most about this bag is that the leather tells a story. There is wear on the saddle flaps where the stirrup leathers would have rubbed with constant use, the saddle’s panel which I used for the gusset is different shades of tan where the sweat of the horse and general wear has worn into the leather and given its very own patina and the fact that the saddle is over 40 years old and has now been remade into a functional bag that could last another 40 years and still look ace.

What do you think of it? Do you think it is a good idea to up-cycle old saddles rather than throw them away? Would you up-cycle a saddle into a bag of your choice?

Feel free to leave a comment below.