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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What I can do for you.

What I can do for you.

Every day, I have messages from people asking me all kinds of questions regarding leatherwork. So, I thought it was about time I put it into a blog post of 'what I can do for you'. INDIVIDUAL SIZED BRIDLE PIECES The above image is of our 11hh Welsh Pony, called Jakey. Whom we once owned when the children were young and interested in riding. I can remember struggling to get him a bridle from a saddlery shop that actually fitted him correctly. In the end we had to buy two complete bridles. Two, in different 'off-the-shelf' sizes, just to make up one bridle that fitted correctly. Now that I'm a Saddler and I know what I'm looking at, I cannot stand seeing ponies in ill-fitting bridles. Mostly I see them with the cheek piece buckles sitting right up by their browbands. This is far too close to their temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Although it won't cause a lot of 'pain' it certainly cannot be comfortable having...
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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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5 Years A Leather Worker

5 Years A Leather Worker

This week (just gone) marks 5 years of me becoming a leather worker. How time sure flies when you're having fun. Although it hasn't all been plain sailing. There has been many peaks and troughs to this journey. First Ever leather workshop This time, 5 years ago, I completed my first ever week of leatherwork training. I had booked onto a privately run beginners leatherwork workshop at Saddlers Den, in Southport. Where under the guidance of Chris Taylor, Master Saddler, I attended 7-hour sessions each day for 5 days. What an amazing experience; I loved it! In those 5 days, I managed to learn how to stitch a traditional saddle stitch into 3.5/4mm bridle leather, using just two needles and a thread. I then made a belt; a magic plaited bracelet and a simple snaffle bridle before the week was up. I went home really pleased with myself and proud as punch. Gaining qualifications Since then, I have continued my training journey to become a qualified saddler by completing...
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National Saddlery Competition 2020

National Saddlery Competition 2020

The annual National Saddlery Competition 2020 took place at Saddlers' Hall in London on Monday (3rd Feb). I only entered the one class with my 17.5" GP Saddle that I made for my Level 3 saddle making qualification assessment last year. Amazingly, I WON my category and received a premium award too. HRH Princess Anne, who is a Perpetual Master of The Worshipful Company of Saddlers was in attendance also but unfortunately, I missed out shaking her hand and shook the Lord Mayors instead. Due to having a young family, we always drive down to London and back on the same day so we can be there for the children the next day but many stay over. The evening starts around 4.15 pm where we browse the entries and see what has potentially won a prize, but we never know who's won what until the actual prize-giving event. At 5.00 pm we were all ushered into the main hall for the prize-giving. Always a great spectacle....
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