Monday, April 13, 2009

My NAN Auction donation

The pony huntseat set is on its way to South Dakota and I am gearing up for the next big project--my NAN auction saddle. You may remember earlier this year I asked my readers for input on what type of saddle to make. I received lots of good suggestions, but the two most popular choices were a sidesaddle set or endurance tack. Both of those sounded good to me so I remained undecided until my husband came home with this book.Seth loves to bargain shop. He can not pass a yard sale without stopping and he is well acquainted with all the area thrift shops. He found The Illustrated Guide to Horse Tack at a library sale, and of course he had to buy it for me. Most of the book is pretty basic information, but there was one picture that made me sit up and take notice. All of a sudden I knew exactly what kind of saddle I would be making for the NAN Auction!I've made several Endurance saddles in the past but they were all of the Western variety. This particular saddle is much more of an English type, which plays into my strengths as a tackmaker and also adds an element of uniqueness to my donation. I haven't seen many English-type Endurance saddles in the hobby, and the few I have seen don't look anything like this.
With that decided, my next goal was to find more pictures of similar type saddles. Google searches for "English Endurance Saddles" yielded some pretty interesting results. I'm including some of my favorite finds here.None of these were exactly what I was looking for, but they did give me ideas for future projects.Can you imagine the looks you might get at your next live show with a model sized version of this Courbette saddle?
I am intrigued by the spareness of its design!
And this one is even stranger! I am having trouble seeing how it could possibly lie flat on a horse's back.
My patience was finally rewarded with this next photo. This saddle is of the same style as that in the book. Unfortunately, its quality is significantly poorer. I try not to use reference pictures of low end tack when I work because I do not want my saddles to look like cheap knock offs.
I'll bend my rules, however, when the cheap tack comes with good detail shots like this.At last, the picture I was looking for all along! This looks just like the saddle in the book.
I now have enough reference photos to start designing my pattern. Keep an eye out for progress pictures!


  1. I think this is the Exmoor Endurance saddle once produced by Shires Equestrian. Unfortunately I don't think it's produced anymore unless another maker bought the patterns. Shame as its also one of my favourite endurance saddle designs too!

  2. Hi Lauren! Thanks, as always, for the input. I checked the only Shires Equestrian catalog I have (it's for 1999-2000) and unfortunately it's not there. The site I stole the picture from did not have any specific information about the origin of the saddle. While I was googling, I did see English styled endurance saddles that used the Exmoor name, but they looked a bit more like a traditional English saddle. Still, I found three pictures of that exact style so it must have been reasonably common at some point.

  3. I would like one of these for a key chain please?

  4. I think those third and fourth saddles would look really cool on a model! I like the one you picked as well, but the others I think you'd get very strange looks indeed. Maybe that would be the fun of it.

  5. How very FUN! I love endurance saddles. I still want to make a Wintec Pro set for my models.

  6. Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you like the book reviews.

    And I'm amazed by the detail work on your saddles. Wow! So gorgeous!

  7. I have this saddle (the last one that you have three pictures of). It's amazing! :D I bought it brand new for $165, which I knew was a bargain then because the lady had paid $500 for it but never ended up using it. Soon after I bought it was looking for a bridle to match. While I was searching I found a store online that was selling them brand new for $1000! So I was pretty happy when I realized I got a $1000 saddle for $165 bucks! And to add to it, I'm a young rider(still living under my parents roof and in high school) and I paid for the saddle with money I'd saved up working around the farm.

    I LOVE this saddle! It's so comfortable and I fit in it well, and it fits all of our horses as well and is very versatile. I've been keeping it in the house and taking amazing good care of it since the day I got it. I don't plan to sell it anytime soon - hell I think I'd sell me horse before I sold my saddle. I know - what's a saddle without a horse?! It's just something I'm proud to have gotten for myself and would hate more than anything to give up. I've only had it a few months but have been taking great care of it and only used it gently and it still looks brand new like the day I got it. The only thing I've had bad to say about it is the length of the stirrup leathers - they are too long for me but I haven't had the money to get new ones so I've just punched holes in them myself for now until I can get shorter ones. But of course that's not really a big problem.
    Anywhooot.... I love my saddle. I think it's the best thing in the world. Just my opinion.

  8. I am looking at buying this exact saddle (the black endurance) I took a lot of photos of it if you need more. It is not the finest cutting or sewing but it sure is cushy. Nowadays Down-Under seems to be making an Exmoor Endurance which is similar, and sells for 450$ most places. Does anyone know where find the orignal after all? Thanks, Kimberly