Level 3 Bridle Making…The Final Week (Part 2)

What an exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable week I’ve had.

So Friday was meant to be, or so I thought, my assessment day but there was no Assessor due in so I was just training and practising doing my practical piece to the clock.

I certainly wasn’t as nervous as the last assessment I did against the clock for Level 2 Bridle Making.

I spent all day on Thursday practising making up the paper pattern of an Atherstone girth as well as making it out of leather. I’m not really sure why we have to make a girth in a bridle making qualification but it probably has something to do with different stitching techniques and the actual making of paper patters probably??? Also, you have to learn to stitch on an industrial sewing machine which after donkeys years spent sewing on a domestic sewing machine as an amateur seamstress this was not a daunting task at all, in fact I couldn’t wait to be let loose on one of the machines 🙂

So from a pre-made adjustable template to a paper pattern, my 50″ Atherstone girth emerged. I transferred the pattern from paper to soft leather, a filler material and two straps of bridle leather. I glued the filler to the panel hide and wrapped the hide around the remaining filler. I prepared the two strips of bridle leather and went on to glue and machine stitch one down the middle of the girth (covering the seam) and the other strip of leather was to make 4 leather chapes which hold the girth buckles and these had to be hand stitched to the girth to finish it off.

This whole process along with a separate project of stitching a double pointed leather chape to a 3 folded piece of elastic had to be completed in 3 hours.

For some stupid reason I had it in my mind that the exam was 3hrs 30 mins and it was only after I finished the girth that I found out I was 40 mins over. So I tidied up, dusted myself down, looked at my notes again and prepared to do a second girth the following day.

I did it! I managed to complete the making of the girth within the 3 hours with just minutes to spare. I have to wait now till the end of August when an Assessor is due in.

My 50″ Atherstone girth and elastic chape piece

I shall let you all know how I get on

I can feel my confidence and skills growing each week I spend at the Saddlery Training Centre and as an extra bonus I have met four other trainee saddlers who have not been with me on a training week before. The support and encouragement you get from everyone during the week is second to none and really makes me feel part of a little community of which we all share the same passion for saddlery and the making of it.

Good luck to those who are also sitting exams shortly and thank you for being you! 🙂

Proud of my Atherstone girth.
Very proud of my Atherstone girth


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