Girth Straps – Shiny Side Up or Shiny Side Down?

Girth Straps – Shiny Side Up or Shiny Side Down?

Back in March, I asked my Social Media followers a question regarding girth straps and which side is the 'right' side. Don't Shoot The Messenger Well, before you all shoot the messenger, what I am about to tell you is what is known as the 'correct' way. Ask your Saddler/Saddle Fitter This doesn't mean that you have to go straight out and have your straps changed. The 'Correct' Way Girth straps should be stitched onto the webbs of your saddle with the dull side up (shiny side facing down). An awful lot of saddles are made with the girth straps the other way round (shiny side up). This is predominantly due to consumer requests. Whilst training for my City and Guilds Saddle Making qualification, I was taught to do everything the correct way. This includes hand-stitching girth straps into saddles with the dull side up as this is the safest and most durable way for them to be done. Customer's Preference Most customers don't like the look of the girth straps...
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Saddlery Competition 2019

Saddlery Competition 2019

This years National Saddlery Competition took place in February 2019. Organised by the Society of Master Saddlers it takes place every year at Saddlers Hall in London and is one of the main events of the year. My Entries This year, I entered four separate items into the following class categories: 2b - Level 3 In-hand Stallion Bridle 3a - Level 2 Trainee Saddle 5 - Special Open Class - Dressage Stirrup Leathers13 - The President's Choice Beta International One of the category's, 'The President's Choice', was displayed at BETA International during the 19th - 21st January 2019, to allow the public to vote their favourite. Can you spot mine amongst the other fantastic box work displayed? London Bound On Monday 4th February, my husband and I embarked on our 3.5-hour car journey down to London. We got there, had a meander around, and looked at all the entries including mine. There was some stunning work completed by trainee's, qualified and Master Saddlers. Prize Winners The prize winners were distinguished by a...
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Equine Tack Sales in Kinver

Equine Tack Sales in Kinver

A couple of years ago I started a monthly equine tack sale in my local village school in Kinver, it was an instant success. Since then I have changed the venue, set the dates in advance and only do certain months; it's sure been a learning curve! Check out the 2018 / 2019 dates for the Kinver Tack Sale HERE! When I Was Young I don't know about you, but when I was growing up second hand tack sales were few and far between. We would have to scour the local newspaper for-sale ads for any riding gear or equestrian items you needed. Nowadays it has becom more common for people to buy from eBay, Gumtree, Spock and even for sale or auction groups on Facebook. However, physical tack sales are also becoming more and more popular too. Why do you think that is? Networking I believe tack sales are becoming much more common now because people crave face to face interaction. We spend so much of our...
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Beta International 2019

Beta International 2019

On Sunday, I attended the Beta International event at the NEC in Birmingham. The BETA Group "The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) represents more than 800 British suppliers and retailers. Members include producers of famous brands and more than 400 tack shops across the UK. It supports riders and horse owners by striving for excellence on behalf of equestrian shops and shoppers - and protects consumers by making sure that only tack shops run in a professional manner are allowed to become members and display the trade association's logo."BETA Group Trade Exhibition BETA International is a world-leading trade exhibition that supports the equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet product sectors. In this particular year they are also celebrating its 40th anniversary. Usually held at this time of year [January] the event is on for three days and offers the ideal networking opportunity for members of the industry as well as a chance to see hundreds of the most exciting and innovative new products that are...
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January Sale Launched

January Sale Launched

I have decided to launch a January Sale. Not just any sale, but a splendid 50% off all pre-made items, sale. FIFTY PERCENT! I hear you shout....YES, indeedy! I have a few items that were either displayed on the trade stand or I made during my training and/or assessments that I no longer need. The income raised from this sale will be needed to reinvest in some more Sedgwick Leather. I have some exciting new projects planned for 2019 which this leather will be used for. If you want to have a browse at what is available in the January Sale then pop on over to the Lady Saddler Shop. ...
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The British Leather Industry

The British Leather Industry

The British Leather Industry became a global importance around the late 19th Century. Walsall, a town located in the West Midlands, became known as the centre of the British leather industry, producing and exporting saddles, bridles and harness. Why Walsall? It is unclear as to why Walsall became the centre for the British leather industry. Maybe it was due to the town already having an established Lorinery or Saddlers Ironmongery industry. What is Lorinery or Saddlers Ironmongery? Lorinery or Saddlers Ironmongery are specialist blacksmiths who produce horse-related metalwork such as stirrups, bits, buckles, spurs and saddle trees. In the 1830s it was a local Loriner ‘Thomas Newton’ who claimed to produce the towns first ready-made riding saddle. The Introduction of the Sewing Machine Around 1860 the sewing machine was introduced, which sped up the production of some leather items, particularly harness traces. By 1861 there were 60 known companies in Walsall making bridles, saddles and harness, as well as 15 Tanneries and Currying works that actually produced the leather. Export...
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Stirrup Keyring – The Making Of A Best Seller

Stirrup Keyring – The Making Of A Best Seller

"The Stirrup Keyring is one of the most successful accessories I have made to date" Using British Materials Using the best of British bridle leather, known in the industry as Sedgwick's Leather, I traditionally cut and prepare the strips of leather by hand with my saddler tools, many of which are more than 50 years old. After edging, staining and creasing the individual keyrings I punch a small 1/2" crew hole and 1/2" stitch marks. This is in preparation for the lace of leather that will act as the stirrup leather to the stirrup iron. The brass stirrup is traditionally made here in the UK in a foundry in Walsall, just 40 minutes from where The Lady Saddler is located, allowing the added advantage of being able to visit their showroom whenever I want. Next, I tack all the pieces together ready to be hand stitched. Using a waxed linen thread I hand stitch each keyring individually using the saddle stitch technique. Condition The Leather Lastly, I...
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Happy Birthday Lady Saddler – 2nd Anniversary

Happy Birthday Lady Saddler – 2nd Anniversary

Today is the birthday of my business; The 'Lady Saddler' turns two years old. Basic Leather Work After completing a basic leatherwork course in April 2015, and a further two more intermediate level courses in August 2015, I quickly fell in love with the idea of working with leather. City & Guilds Qualifications I eventually enrolled onto a self-funded Adult Training Scheme via the Saddlery Training Centre in May 2016 where I was to learn and be assessed on how to make saddlery to a City & Guilds Level 2 and Level 3 standard. Practical Experience I knew I needed to gain practical experience in order to improve on my skills and techniques, so I set up a social media account on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram under the name 'Boyden Saddlers'. There I could showcase what I did and hope to get some practical experience from people wanting repairs doing. It worked! I got bridles in for some stitching repairs to broken buckles or nosebands where the padding...
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A Saddle Bag – Made From A Saddle

A Saddle Bag – Made From A Saddle

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. 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...
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Spring Craft Fair 2018

Spring Craft Fair 2018

Craft Fair Sunday's are usually a day of rest for me and a time to catch up with the family before the working week starts again on a Monday, but today we had a table at a spring craft fair not too far from home. Networking Group A year or so ago I joined a free networking group called Networking Mummies (Wolverhampton) or NMW for short. Initially, I met them online via their Facebook group but eventually when my day job allowed it I attended a couple of their meetings that took place at a local hotel. The group membership is mainly of women who have their own business as well as juggling a full-time career and/or children. The group arranges seasonal events for the members to take part in where we can sell our wares or showcase our business service, whichever is most appropriate for us. Bantock Park The Spring Craft Fair was taking place at Bantock Park in Wolverhampton and is the first...
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