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.