Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Somewhere, a dressage queen shrieks in horror

NOTE: No usable Passier saddles were harmed in this homage. Promise.

As you might have noticed I am a person who likes to take things down to the basics and see what builds something. Training horses, braiding, helmets and saddles. Everything can be taken down to basics. This is why when I was offered an old, brittle, unusable saddle I took the opportunity to do some back alley brain surgery on it. Or to be correct, a barnyard science dissection. Minus the pig preserved in formaldehyde.

This saddle happens to be a Passier Hannover dressage saddle. I know, I hear the dressage queens crying right now. A shame someone let it get into this condition.
This saddle could not have been saved with any amount of leather conditioner in the world. When you can literally rip leather on the flaps apart with your two bare hands it is time to retire it.

Someone at some point attempted a crude and uneducated hack job at re-stuffing it and stitching it back together. Frankensaddle. It's a waste someone did this to such a great saddle at the time. Ask any knowledgeable dressage rider, Passiers are great. I have ridden in a few and loved them. They made you find your own seat without all the put you in proper riding position knee rolls and other security blankets that need to be replaced with learning how to actually ride.

The leather was so brittle when I started to poke around and bend it, the panneling split open and stuffing spilled out.

So many lovely colours of stuffing and what appeared to be some sort of grass or straw mixed in? I don't think this is the quality of an original stuffing job.

Saddle, meet leatherman. How I love my leatherman. Love, love, love, love. I use it so many times a day I would probably cry and pitch a fit if I lost it like I did my old one that lies at the bottom of a deep creek. RIP.
If you haven't experienced the usefulness of a leatherman I demand you go out right now and use someones; if you can pry it away from their hands and get them to stop calling it their firstborn.

Nice hack job there. Whoever sewed this back together, yeesh!

Time for some specialty tools now. Old rusty hoof nippers. Perfect for pulling out a bazillion little nails.
I never quite realized how many nails held an old english saddle together. Over 100 thats for sure. I lost count and lost a lot of nails through the boards on the trailer where I worked.A pile of leather, wood and nails.

The felt that makes the cushy seat.

Peeling back the felt in layers.

Finally. Saddle tree. Only an hour or two, a lot of dirt, dust, mould, one bruised nail bed and a bloody knuckle later. My allergies are going to thank me tomorrow... not

Ahh, the culprit.
This is why you store your saddle on a saddle rack!! Not on the floor or against something for a prolonged period of time. I bet the old owner never even knew this was broken.
See the cracks there along the top? Theres two large chunks that would come right out. That was caused by the saddle being hit repeatedly dropped/stored leaning on the cantle. Of course the tree can be damaged this way or similar from a horse rolling or falling on the saddle wile it is on.
So think about how you store your saddles. A good saddle should last you a lifetime or more if properly cared for. I have a better understanding now of why saddles cost so much for a little bit of leather and wood.
Oh and 3489387246739287480932 nails.

Quick message- Sorry to those people whos blogs I haven't been to visit. The last few weeks getting in before 8 pm is a challenge. Work, work, work and no play. Speaking of playing I need to see toy story 3. I mean I waited what, 15 years for this? Get out of the way little kids, Sydney has been waiting a long time. Now I just gotta find someone to drag there to see it with me. No fun going to the movies by yourself.


Anonymous said...

Fun deconstruction!

juliette said...

Sydney - You amaze me. You find time to ride, build stone boats (or whatever they are called), rip saddles apart, saw helmets in half, travel to Ireland, and post absolutely hysterical blog stories. Are you a comedian? I am not joking - you have so many funny and subtle references that I know you are well-versed in many different life lessons! Thanks for sharing the deep underbelly of the saddle. I can honestly say, I've never known too much about saddles before. I do keep mine on a saddle rack, but I also plead guilty to quickly leaning it up against the barn when I remove it from Sovey and he is "helping" me with the tack and brushes.

Sydney_bitless said...

LOL Thanks Juliette. I am flattered you like my writing that much.

gtyyup said...

That saddle was in awful shape! What a shame...everyone should see that mess.

lisa said...

Oh my! What the hay, that is in horrible shape, now its really bad;)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well that was a messy job. Now I know what's in all the layers of a saddle. Thanks for the tour. You can bet some dressage queen's head imploded reading this and seeing the destruction.

Glad I take good care of all my saddles. I'd hate to hold a funeral like you just did for one of mine.

Jen said...

Loved the inside look on the saddle - pretty cool. As to Toy Story? You'll have to let us know if it's good, because I want to see it too ;o)

Dreaming said...

Thanks for the great pictures. Love it! I've always wondered what all was under that leather!

Meghan said...

I can't stand it when people don't take care of their nice dressage saddles! Ugh, ugh, UGH!!!

*ahem* Had to get that out of my system. It must have been fun to dissect the thing, though.

from my front porch... said...

I love a good Passier, too!
I cannot stand it when people just
throw a $$$ saddle on the ground. Especially when it is mine!

I cannot wait to see Toy Story 3!
I will go with you, Sydney!

xo, misha

Jame said...

Tearing old things apart is quite fun, isn't it? I highly recommend taking a day to go see Toy Story 3...it's well worth it! Especially cause I saw it on my one day off in 10 days worked 13 hour days....see, I'm so tired my brain can't work!

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