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

Bespoke saddle Flap Bag

Old Saddles

“I’m loathed to throw these saddles away”

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.

I’m loathed to throw these saddles away and therefore, as a bit of an experiment, I had a go at up-cycling one.

So, here is the saddle that 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.

Pulling the Saddle Apart

I dropped the panel out (the bit that actually lies on the back of a horse)…

…then removed the saddle flaps from the saddle tree and cut them to size…

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

Using a girth strap, I stitched it onto the back saddle flap, in a position that will enable the girth strap to close the top of the bag, by tucking it neatly into where the end strap of a stirrup leather would normally go.

I added a new shoulder strap made from the finest of Sedgwick’s bridle leather, finished it off with a brass buckle and stamped it with the Lady Saddler stamp, for that added piece of uniqueness.

Feedback

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

What I love the most about this bag is that most saddles have a story to tell and if it is a family heirloom then it can be repurposed to fit modern day lifestyle yet still keep the story alive.

This saddle in particular has 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 has worn into different shades of tan where the sweat of the horse and just the general wear and tear has patinared the leather.

The fact that this saddle alone is over 40 years old and has now been remade into a functional bag just goes to show that it was made from some exceptional quality of leather in the first place which can now hopefully last another 40 years and still look as beautiful.

What do you think?

  • 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?
  • What else would you like to see a saddle be upcycled into?

Feel free to use the comments section below to leave your answer.

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