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If it fits, I sits…

7 Jul

Took the Raewyn saddle up to the stables today, and plonked it on Blue’s back (with some padding, of course)

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His Blueness didn’t seem too fussed. I think it will fit him!

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It’s obviously pressing on his wither here, because there’s no panels or flocking, everything needs to come up a few cms. But the points follow the curve of his shoulders quite well, they don’t dig in or gape.

Off to the saddler tomorrow, for the diagnosis – is she salvageable, and what will be the damage to my credit card?

Introducing…. Raewyn

5 Jul

 

So I won this saddle on TradeMe (NZ’s version of Ebay, but sooooo much better) for $100. It’s very similar indeed to Somerset, but it was 1/3 of the price and x3 in better condition. And x3 better packaged for shipping.

Offside

Offside: with intact flap, coin purse, billets, Y balance strap and what I think is a stirrup leather. None of the billets are particularly worn, so I wonder how much this saddle was used

Underside

The underside: will need new panels

Seat

The seat: will need more webbing, it’s all there but the nails have popped or torn out

Near side 2

But the leaping head is fine, and the safe is mostly intact. It needs restitching around the edges, and there’s some rubs and holes that might be okay

Near side

Nearside: fixed head needs putting back together with new padding and leather, but the overgirth and all three billets are there are remarkably intact with little wear

Front view

Front: the back half of the seat leather is perished and needs replacing, as well as the fixed head

So like Somerset, it lacks a cutback head and has a rather dippy seat. But this is NZ, where a Whippy would fetch $4000.  I may be shopping on a concussion, but even I wouldn’t splurge on that.

Also, I am in luck – the NZSSA recommended saddler for the North Island lives just 1.5 hours drive from where I live, where my Grandmother also lives. So I will see about dropping this beauty into him next week.

I purchased this from a lass who had purchased it, intending to get it restored, but never got around to it. She purchased it from a town 45 mins from me, from the widow of a saddler, it was a saddle he’d been meaning to restore for years.

Thanks to a bit of TradeMe stalking (the things you have time for when you have a concussion) the widow’s name is Raewyn, so the saddle is named in honour of her.

A super-overdue update

5 Jul

Its a bit embarrassing to realise that my last post was about 2 years ago. Lots has changed… I no longer live in Australia, I am gainfully employed, and I own my own horse.

Yes, finally, my childhood dream has become reality. In March this year, I was declined Life Insurance. It was a shock to be told that my health and life expectancy is so poor that I was un-insurable. Well fuck you, I thought, if my life is going to be short then I’ll have fun while I’m here. So I purchased a horse on my credit card.

His name is Blue, he’s a 15 year old grey thoroughbred gelding. And I fell off him for the first time on Friday. I have no recollection of the incident, or of the 4 hours after it, but apparently he shied at something, and I was tired and just went splat on the ground.

It’s given me my very first concussion. They are awful things, one thing people never warn you about is how incredibly boring they are. So I got stuck into online shopping.

One thing led to another, and I now find myself the owner of another sidesaddle.

What happened to Somerset? Well, when I was leaving Australia I had to make a hard choice. I’d finally seen the light and realised that most of the saddle was unsalvageable, the leather was just too degraded. The tree was mostly sound, but without a cutback head, is worthless. Wendy Tidbold must have had 20 or 30 of them stashed around her workshop. I was shipping my stuff back to NZ, and NZ Customs is super-strict about anything organic or having been in contact with animals, it would have put my whole shipment at risk to include antique saddlery. So sadly Somerset went in the rubbish. But I did learn so much about saddles from taking her apart and trying to salvage the leather, so it wasn’t a waste.