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 a buckle sticking into their temple.

Just think what it’s like having a pair of shoes that rubs a certain toe every time you wear them; or an annoying tag that sticks in your neck when you wear a top. These kind of things don’t cause us too much ‘pain’ but it’s certainly uncomfortable, right?

Well, that must be how our equine’s feel when we dress them up in their tack. If it’s not fitting correctly then it has to be uncomfortable. In some cases i.e. ill-fitting saddles, it can cause pain. So be mindful of this at all times.

Fitting for comfort:

As horse lovers, we have cottoned on to the importance of saddle fitting. Although, still today in 2020, not everyone does what they should do. Saddles are normally checked annually. The more serious equestrian riders get them checked every 6 and 12 months. It’s surprising how much a horse can change in shape with increased/decreased work and/or diet changes.

It’s the same with bridles. Although, not necessarily requiring as many regular checks as saddles. They must fit correctly and comfortably with the right bit in order to get the best out of your equine.

My response to this issue is simply to help! Help every equine I can, to become comfortable in a correctly fitted bridle.

“I want to help you, help your equine.”

It is relatively simple to either your current bridles adapted by a saddler. Or change certain pieces of a bridle, such as headpieces, nosebands and cheek pieces to ensure a correct fit.

A new service that I will start to offer shortly to you, is to provide individual sized bridle pieces, that are specifically made to fit your equine. Available in Black or Dark Havana Bridle leather, from the renowned Sedgwick & Co. They will match nicely to your current bridles. 

If you are interested in having your equine’s bridle checked for correct fit. Then you can send me images of them wearing their bridle. I will then advise you on what you may need.

This is a free service but will require you to take really good, clear images. Click the button below to send me an email now:


RIDER ACCESSORIES

My son on his pony Jakey

Another issue I faced when my children were small riders, was the lack of smaller stirrup leathers, thinner reins and grab (balance) straps that were suitable for their smaller hands and legs.

Very often my children had to ride with standard stirrup leathers wrapped around the stirrup iron two or three times before they were long enough to fit their legs. Or in the very early stage I just slipped their foot in between the stirrup leather and sat their foot ONTOP of the stirrup iron. I cringe now at the thought of how dangerous this was.

Reins were a nightmare. Being a standard width they were too wide for small hands. I can remember wrapping a knot in them at the end by the buckle. Even then they would still get looped under their feet in the stirrups. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

Finally, small grab (balance) straps were few and far between. You could get long ones (suitable for adults) but not smaller ones. Again the width was too much for a tiny hand. In the end an old flash strap looped through the D-rings of a saddle was used but it was too tight most of the time.

So, what can I do for you? I hear you ask.

In due time I will start to produce my own short and thinner stirrup leathers, reins and grab/balance straps that will fit tiny legs and hands.

If you are interested in any of these items now, then send me an email via the button below to discuss your requirements.


MADE-TO-MEASURE BRIDLES

Since qualifying as a (City & Guilds Level 3) Bridle Maker, I now take a keen interest in handmaking ‘REAL BRIDLE LEATHER‘ made to measure bridles, that fit the needs of the individual equine.

I’m a traditionalist at heart and I prefer to see a well made ‘traditional’ bridle that fits correctly. Rather than seeing a cheaply made new modern style bridle that fits terribly and is made with low quality ‘leather‘.

Of course, there are some equines out there that these type of bridles suit, and their owners swear by them. If that is the case then my services are of no use to you or your horse. Unless of course you need the new modern bridle repairing (and I get A LOT of them). 🙂

So, if you are looking for a bridle that is handmade with real bridle leather and checked for quality and durability at each stage of making. Then you are in the right place and I’m the Saddler for you.

I can either attend your yard to conduct a consultation (under current 2020 social distancing guidelines), or I can conduct a virtual consultation over the phone or computer. Where we can discuss your requirements, obtain measurements and choose a design to suit.

If this is something you want to discuss further. Then send me an email in the first instance and we can make arrangements from there.


So, there you have it…

A quick run down of what I can do for you, now that I have started to specialise in making bespoke bridles and their individual pieces and the correct fitting of them.

I still undertake repairs too but this often depends on time I have available and what the repairs are, but if you have something that needs repairing then just ask me and we’ll see what we can do.

If you enjoyed reading this post and think it may be useful to your equestrian friends then feel free to share it on social media.

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