Back in May before we moved to our new apartment, I was working on a stablemate sized English saddle, using Dreamflite Design’s tutorial as a guide. As I was working I took photos to accompany Anna’s tutorial so that I could make a post that details my experiences with this great guide. Before I had to pack up my studio I had completed the basic saddle (it still needs stirrup leathers, skirt and a girth).
Anna is now working on a new, updated saddle tutorial, which I’m looking forward to very much. But while we wait patiently, I thought I’d post these pictures and comments for other mini tack makers. This is my second saddle using this tutorial. The first one is in Schleich pony scale and turned out just lovely.
Please keep in mind that this post is meant purely as an accompaniment to Anna’s tutorial. It is only pictures of my process using her work as a guide.
Using the tutorial’s attached pattern as an example, I made a pattern out of paper. This took several attempts to get the shape and size correct for my model.
Using the pattern I cut my tree shape out of a clean pop can. Once again this takes several tries for correct fit, and particularly to attain the correct shape with the bends. My tree is a little different than Anna’s because I left out the stirrup bars. I will attach my stirrup leathers under the saddle’s skirt later.
Here I am starting to cover the tree in leather.
And voila! Make sure you pull the leather nice and tight around the tree. Once the glue is dry you can bend the seat back into the proper shape.
Before attaching the saddle flaps (in step 4) I covered my horse in foil to protect his finish. Foil and cellophane both work for this purpose.
After creating the secondary flaps (pictures 6c-d in the tutorial) I attached them to the bottom of the saddle.
This second pair of flaps on the saddle adds great shape and realism to such a tiny piece, with relatively little work or stress on the tackmaker’s part.
The hardest part of an English saddle for me is the panels. Below are my three tries at panels. On the left was my first failure, which turned out overly pointy even when that last flap was folded over. In the middle is a pair I tried to create using craft foam as the base, which turned out too bulky. On the right is the pair I ended up using, made with leather on the inside and outside. I have faith that this step will get easier with time and experience.
Here’s a view of the underside, with the panels attached. You can also see where I added leather squares to hold and stabilize the stirrup leather keepers on the other side.
My first Dreamflite tutorial saddle panels, complete with wrapped around saddle skirt. A bit lumpy, but in scale they look pretty nice.
Both saddles together, back view. The Schleich sized on sits a little better because the Stablemate one needs more shape training. The way I “train” a saddle to lie correctly is to leave it sitting on the model with a twist tie holding it to the correct position. Adding the stirrups will help too.
Side view of both saddles. Again you can really see the need for some shape training on the smaller version.
A grainy close up of the Stablemate saddle in its current nearly-finished state. It has half of the stirrup leathers now, including the keepers and D ring, but lacks stirrups, girth, and skirt. The part in shadow along the seat and pommel is where the skirt will sit, and then it will wrap around and neaten up the back view of the panels. I paused at this part partially because I want to make sure the stirrups will fit a rider, and at the moment I don’t have a suitable Stablemate sized rider.
Feel free to comment with any questions about my process. It may be a while before I get to the stirrups for this saddle, but when I do I’ll post more pictures and steps. Again, huge thanks to Anna Kirby of Dreamflite Design for her tutorial. Keep an eye on her awesome blog for tutorial updates and lots of drool-worthy tack.