Saturday, January 16, 2010

The preparing stage

If you like researching tack--and what self respecting tackmaker doesn't?--the thinking stage can be a lot of fun. I can happily spend days looking at books and clicking through pictures on Google Images. Eventually, however, I do get the itch to actually make something. At this point I want to jump right in, but there are still a few things to be done before saddle construction begins in earnest. I call this the preparing stage. Here's a look at some of the preparing stage tasks for Kellye's Charro saddle.

First up, I had to prep, prime and paint those saddle trees. I want my tack to be durable, so I spent a long time on these using many, many thin layers of paint followed by several coats of protective spray finish.
You've probably noticed by now that "Kellye's saddle" has two trees... There's a reason for that. I'm actually planning to make two Charro saddles--one for Kellye and one for me!
While the trees were drying, I dyed a good sized piece of leather. I want to make sure that I have more than enough for two saddles including some inevitable "mistake pieces."
I also spent a long time working out exactly how I'm going to embellish these saddles. I'm realistic enough to know that I can't precisely recreate the embroidered pitiada decoration. Still, I want to do something that is reminiscent of that. Here I am trying out a geometric pattern that is commonly seen on Mexican saddle pads and breastcollars. At this stage I'm not aiming for perfection. Mostly I'm trying to see if this is a doable pattern.
More of the same. I don't want these saddle to be identical, so I need to figure out not one but two stitching patterns.
Not shown, but also included in the preparing stage are pattern making and silver gathering. When all this is finished, I will finally be ready to start the building stage.


  1. The first design is my favorite. I have not wanted to do any stitching, so.....cheated on my Charro saddles. I'm thinking your sets are going to be lovely!

  2. I was impressed with your "cheating" and was sorely tempted to go that route. I suspect I will be cross eyed by the time these saddles are finished. Still, Kellye has waited a long time so I want the end result to be worthwhile!

  3. I'm excited - it's going to be fascinating to see the process "live"!