What Exactly Is A Handmade Bridle?

What Exactly Is A Handmade Bridle?

"What exactly is a handmade bridle and why do I need one?" may be a question you ask yourself when you see Saddler's post about their handmade bridle work. The Making Process Firstly, everything is cut, prepared and stitched by hand, hence the word 'handmade'. Preparing the Leather A Saddler selects a leather hide, brushes it and checks for scratches, stretch marks and any other imperfections that could affect the overall strength, durability and look of the bridle. The leather is cut into strips using one of three Saddler tools; a plough gauge, a strap cutter or the round knife. The edges are rounded off by shaving them with an edge shave tool and then stained with a coloured edge dye, usually to match the colour of the hide. A creasing iron is warmed and run along the edge of the leather to form an imprinted line which has been traditionally done on bridle work and saddlery for decades. Skiving Leathers used for bridles, saddles and harness...
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Are Your Pony’s Cheekpieces In The Right Position?

Are Your Pony’s Cheekpieces In The Right Position?

Source: Laura Fiddaman Photography Next time you put your pony's bridle on, take a look at where the cheekpieces are lying. Do they sit alongside their eye? If not, then it is possible you may have the wrong size fitted. Every day, whilst scrolling social media, I see lots of our equine friends in bridles that are incorrectly fitted. This is mainly because owners and riders are just not clued up enough when it comes to correct bridle fitting. Off The Shelf Bridles Most people buy their bridles 'off the shelf'. What I mean by this is that they usually buy a standard-sized bridle from a saddlery shop, second-hand sales sites or word of mouth. The standard sizes are generally Pony, Cob and Full, but over the years Small Pony and Xtra Full started hitting the shop floors too. However, even with the extra couple of 'standard-sized' alternatives, a lot of owners and riders still have to either buy two different sized bridles to...
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Gaining The ‘SMS Qualified’ Status

Gaining The ‘SMS Qualified’ Status

Ever since I started my journey back in 2015, my desire has always been to become a Master Saddler. Not just any Master Saddler; one that makes a difference and contributes to the future of saddlery and leatherwork. Since then my goal has been to gain as much knowledge, experience and qualifications along the way. This has consequently led me to become a fully-fledged City and Guilds (Level 3) qualified Saddle and Bridle Maker. My Student Years During my student years, I was adamant to find the very best support, guidance and knowledge I could find. Being an adult trainee saddler without an apprenticeship or placement with a Master Saddler was always going to be a difficult road to follow. Nevertheless, I was determined to succeed. Becoming A Member Of The Society From the start I was determined to become a member of the Society of Master Saddlers (or the SMS as they are commonly known). They provide advice and guidance, support and...
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An Intro To Bridle Fitting

An Intro To Bridle Fitting

On Saturday 28th September, I attended the Society of Master Saddlers' Introductory Bridle Fitting course that was taking place at Moulton College in Northamptonshire. Theory Session At 9 am, we all went into the lecture room and sat down. The morning was to be our theory session. We had a workbook given to us which followed the schedule of the day. The Horse's Head - a Veterinarian's Perspective Photo: SMS Website The first presentation was by Dr Jane Nixon, the consultant veterinarian for the SMS who talked us through the horse's head and the consequence of bits and bridles. As a once aspiring vet myself, I find these sorts of lectures really interesting. The horse's anatomy never fails to amaze me. This presentation specifically touched on the skeleton, the circulatory and nerves systems of the horse head and how a bridle can affect these areas. Dr Jane Nixon also advised us on the best practices of biosecurity when visiting yards and potentially touching various horses. Most of it...
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Bespoke Bridle – Tracey & Elfie

Bespoke Bridle – Tracey & Elfie

Tracey contacted me recently to ask about my made to measure bridle service for her horse, Elfie. Elfie Elfie is a 16hh coloured cob mare with a HUGE head, which means that an ‘off-the-shelf’ bridle does not fit her correctly unless Tracey buys two different sizes and piece them together to make one bridle that fits. If you’re having the same issue then you too might be better off with a bespoke made-to-measure bridle made by a professionally trained saddler, as it will often cost the same as a designer brand bridle but instead you have a choice in the design and the colours to use. Bespoke Bridle Tracey decided to purchase a bespoke bridle so that she could have everything she wanted in one simple design. Tracey loves the colour orange and wanted her bridle to reflect this so it matched her orange saddle cloth and stirrup irons. Another desire was to have a shaped headpiece, a wider noseband at 2.25”, a v-shaped browband and plaited reins, all in...
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