Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slaying the dragon

I have made hundreds of saddles in the last eight years.  The vast majority of those have been "English" saddles, but I've also built several different types of Western saddles, English and Western endurance saddles, Charro saddles and a whole slew of racing saddles...  And, oh yeah, there was also one Portuguese saddle.

You can read the whole sad saga of that first Portuguese saddle here.
Although Regan has won a lot of NAN cards with it, I was never truly satisfied with the way it was put together.
If I was smart, I would have quit while I was ahead. Unfortunately, I am a slow learner.  In December 2008, I agreed to take on another Portuguese saddle order.  Then, in October 2009, I did it again.  

I have tried and tried and tried to make those saddles.  I can not explain it, but it's obvious that I have a real mental block when it comes to this particular type of saddlery.

Yesterday, however, I had a breakthrough.  Today, I have most of a saddle.
As usual, this is not nearly as finished as it looks. I still have a ton of work to do, but the basics are there and this time, I'm much happier with the way it's going together.  It's not perfect, of course.  I still see things that need changing, but it really feels like I'm on the right track.  Finally--I'm on the right track.
Oh, you have no idea what a relief this is!  For the first time in a long time, I actually think I'm going to slay the Portuguese saddle dragon!


  1. Hey Jen, Remind me... I have a PDF somewhere in my files that goes through the construction of spanish saddles from the tree up.... If you think it might be of use to you, i'd be glad to send it. I know its a portugese saddle that you're making now & that they are different, but if you'd like extra reference for spanish tack, I'll dig it up and send it to you :)


  2. Oh, that would be awesome!! Please do send it along. A person can *never* have too much reference material. :)

  3. I think they look cracking. Such a lovely sharp finish to them but what do I know?!

  4. Looks like it's coming along splendidly, and it looks plenty good enough to me!! :-) I'm always amazed to see all of your finished pieces as they truly are works of art. One of these days, I'll have that Portuguese saddle from you for Orgulhoso, but then again, the horse still hasn't been painted!! :-D


  5. Congrats! :) I know the others have given you FITS.

  6. I'd love a copy of that pdf if possible! I have always found these saddles tricky too and am about to make one for myself soon. Pretty Please??

  7. Whoa. I thought it was a reference photo of a real one to begin with there! What material are you using for the seat? It looks really squishy and comfortable!

    Any chance of sending the PDF my way too? I'm trying to make a saddle for my OSC and don't really know where to begin!

  8. Wow, what an awesome saddle, looks truly real already, but then all your saddles do. Great work. :D

  9. "I actually think I'm going to slay the Portuguese saddle dragon!"

    You can imagine what my visual brain came up with for that one lol! Your saddle looks really great so far :)

    I'd also like to put in a bid for that PDF ;)

  10. I can check with the RMIHC group and see if someone will have a Portuguese saddle at Horse Expo. (Want to go???)

  11. I am constantly updating my Portuguese saddles...just revamped the design again!

    I'd love to have the PDF on Spanish saddles too if anyone wants to share. That is one that I have not attempted yet.

    Your Portuguese set is lovely Jennifer.

  12. The saddle is coming along so nice already!

    Please if possible, I'd like to have the pdf too. I want to make as spanish saddle for my Schleich horses and I don't know how or where to start....