• Saddle Making Training – Week 1

    Back in November (2017) I attended another training session at the Saddlery Training Centre in Salisbury...to embark upon the Level 2 Saddle Making training. According to the City and Guilds Level 2 Saddlery specification I am required to make a pony saddle using a wooden saddle tree. The seat must be pigskin or hide, the skirts and flaps must be solid with knee rolls and gussets being optional. The panel should be a Continental or Saumur type and the filling should be wool only. Here is my 16.5" pony saddle wooden tree that I was welcomed with...

  • SMS Saddlery Competition

    On Monday last week (5th February ’18), my husband and I travelled down to London to attend the Society of Master Saddlers National Saddlery Competition evening presentation as earlier this year I had submitted an entry form. It is one of the most anticipated events of a Saddler’s diary especially if they have entered one or more of the various classes that are suitable for varying skills from Trainee/Apprentice Saddler to Master Saddler. I had originally entered three classes: Class 2b – double bridle made to Level 3 specification; Class 4 – Leather Girth and Class 5 – A monkey/grab (Oh Sh!t) strap. When it came to the final day…

  • 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…

  • Making a Browband

    Level 3 Bridle Making…the final week (Part 1)

      ,Hi Everyone, I am sat on the bed in my guest room at Websters B&B in Salisbury on day 2 of my week-long training and assessment for the Level 3 Bridle Making qualification. On Monday I started the journey to Salisbury which usually takes me 2Β½ hours (120 miles) mainly down the M5. I reached the Saddlery Training Centre 10 minutes early, for a change, and settled in. I had already completed most of my double bridle at home which is the 2nd piece of work that will be assessed later this week. However, there was a bit of stitching left to do, blocking up, creasing keepers and polishing…

  • A Dream Becoming Reality…

    I have always had the desire to become self employed and although I have had several businesses of my own I have always been a hard working and dedicated employee alongside them; after all this was always the wage that paid the bills at the end of the month. I have set up and run four businesses so far in my lifetime and although all of them have not been a raging success, nor survived to be five years old or more, I truly believe I have learnt invaluable lessons from each and every one of them. Since having the desire to become self employed again, I decided to move…

  • Starting Level 3 in Bridle Making…

    A couple of weeks ago I attended my fourth week of training at The Saddlery Training Centre. Following my successful completion of Level 2 Bridle Making, I was now to go straight onto Level 3 (in Bridle Making). So for my first practical piece I was tasked with making a stallion in-hand bridle with a fixed nose band, fancy stitching and a clencher brow band. I chose a rich brown coloured leather called ‘Conker’ from the store and decided to use brass clenchers and buckles as well as stitch it in a yellow contrasting thread. I like working with a contrasting thread because if you go wrong it stands out…

  • I Made A Martingale!!!

    Friday’s are always a bit of a rush, or at least it seems like it and today was no exception, with most of the trainee’s (except for me and one other girl) doing their assessments. It’s only technically a half day till 1pm and most of us want to finish what we’re doing or at least be at a point where we can carry on at home with no issues. I did finished the martingale I was making in time but didn’t have time to do another one in the allocated 4Β½ hours for the practical aspect of the Level 2 exam, plus you have to sit two written papers,…