retiredranger

English Saddlery School

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Hi Everyone, I am new to the site and am looking for a little help steering to a quality english saddle making school. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. 

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I would recommend uksaddle.com , based in Scotland.

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I'm sorry, I meant to include in the good ole' US of A.

 

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Thor   

@retiredranger not just a few people in the US have been trained by George http://uksaddlery.com/. People worldwide are going to him and being trained in saddlery. Let me know if you find a better English master saddle maker than @gmace99 teaching beginning saddle makers. Saddle makers of some of the biggest brands in the US have been trained by him. 

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Thanks Thor, I will send a message. I did look at the website, only 2 weeks in country isn't a bad start, gotta brush off my passport!

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gmace99   

Hey fiveways and Thor thanks for the kind words....  @retiredranger  My course in July is full. I have another person asking for another date if you message me we can set something up..  It is cheaper for you to fly to Scotland than do a course in the USA.   I charge £1200 for 12 days  We cover a lot in that time  Hotels here are about 500 / 600 for 12 days   I'm sure they can be got cheaper and dearer.   The exchange rate really helps you at the moment. Email me at Sales@uksaddlery.com  or message me on facebook  Geo Dunoon  if you want more info.

 

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1 hour ago, gmace99 said:

Hey fiveways and Thor thanks for the kind words....  @retiredranger  My course in July is full. I have another person asking for another date if you message me we can set something up..  It is cheaper for you to fly to Scotland than do a course in the USA.   I charge £1200 for 12 days  We cover a lot in that time  Hotels here are about 500 / 600 for 12 days   I'm sure they can be got cheaper and dearer.   The exchange rate really helps you at the moment. Email me at Sales@uksaddlery.com  or message me on facebook  Geo Dunoon  if you want more info.

 

The problem is that my bar-tab for whiskey would cost more than the course!! :)
 

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1 minute ago, SolarLeatherMachines said:

The problem is that my bar-tab for whiskey would cost more than the course!! :)
 

Which brings to mind some additional research topics:  Which whiskey is best, really .. And just how much can you bring back duty free?  - And how much are "Lourdes Water" labels?

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gmace99   

Solar It is cheaper to buy the water of life by the bottle. ....Billybopp.    There is no bad whisky's they just made some better than others. I am not sure how much you can bring back duty free.. I would have drank it before I got back.. Lourdes water ...Yuk who drinks water?

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Diyer   

There are some things you can do in preparation for your course. If you are going to make English saddles, for someone to use on a horse, you need to know about saddle fit. Otherwise what you make is either going to hurt the horse it is used on, or will only be useful for exhibition. Thre is a lot of information on the net on this subject, and Rod and Denise Nikkel have left up all their info, although they have retired.It is an enormous subject, but the basics are much the same.

Part of your course will be doing what is called the flocking-this is the sheeps wool stuffing that goes into the panels, that has to be horse shaped. It needs to fit the horse correctly, and sit in the right place. Trees also come in different widths, too. Can you find an English saddle seller that also fits them, so you can see what is involved?

Go buy an old saddle, and take it to pieces. The techniques have not changed much over the years.

Teach yourself to do a welted seam- this is the thin line of leather on the seat that you will see joining the three parts that make up the seat.

There are one or two books about that are on English saddle making, with pattern illustrations. I cannot find mine at the moment to give you the details. Many of these books will be out of print, so try people like Abe books.

I speak both as a horse owner, and someone that has made and altered saddles for my horses, both Western and English.

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Thank you everyone for your input. As far as whiskey is concerned, I am a Jameson/Bushmills/Glenfiddich/Knobs Creek type of guy, though my Dad was a Tennessee Squire so I was raised on Mr. Daniels. I will message you Geo, haven't been in EU in a while and never in Scotland other than passing through, would be good to get back for a few weeks. @Diyer I actually took a 6 month certified fitting course and we covered repairs, flocking, adjustments and of course veterinarian level horse anatomy, however I really want to learn the art of making saddles from tree design to finish. I have a great woodshop I put together and was taught cabinet making by my great grandfather so I have the bug to design-build and my passion is horses since I have retired, my wife and I purchased 70 acres in New Jersey and my daughters ride competitively in Pony Club (they're 10 each) and I have evented at the XC level over the last two years. But, I don't see myself competing much longer and I have always wanted to find a new career, this seems like a natural transition. 

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Diyer   

English saddle tree design could certainly use a makeover. I used to make saddle carrying bags for Andrew Foster, who makes the Lauriche saddle. He used to tell me that he had all his trees made without fittings, because the maker could not put them in square. Also the trees he uses have a much wider bearing area than others. Then there is the case of Les Spark, who used to make the Free and Easy saddle. He came up with a really good easily adjustable stirrup bar. Those in Walsall went "not invented here, not interested!"

How many English saddles have you seen that are NOT  horse shaped underneath?

If you can get to see a Lauriche saddle, it is one of the most beautifully made English saddles there is. He sold a lot to the USA, so there might be one or two in your area. Andy used shaped foam instead of wool flocking. This avoids the "lumpy stuffing" so often seen, after a saddle has been used for a year or two.It is extremely difficult to regulate the wool if it is encased in leather-if you know your history, you will remember saddlers used to use serge for the panels.

My next saddle is going to be a Portuguese Relvas, but with more decoration than usual. The design has been in my head for years. I want it to be considered a work of art, as well as a useable saddle. It has welted seams- something which I will have to teach myself how to do. There is also a lot of parallel stitching, so quite a challenge!

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gmace99   

@Diyer  

A saddle maker does not have to be a saddle fitter. Most saddle makers have never been near a horse.

I am a Master saddler and a qualified saddle fitter. Most saddle makers are on the board making 5 or 6 saddles a week, They can not do both jobs. You said if someone makes a saddle it would only be useful for exhibition. This is not true. The saddle makers on the board make saddles to a pattern . Over the years there have been millions of saddles made this way and have fitted horses.

In saddle making there are many styles of trees and panels used. This gives us many opportunities as a saddle fitter to find a saddle that fits. There is not one saddle that fits every horse.

If you are planning to make saddles and fit them I agree you have to train to be a saddle fitter. It will be the bad saddle fitter  that will hurt the horse not the saddle maker.

You quoted Andy Foster as saying tree makers Could not put fittings on square.   Andy went bankrupt years ago.  Since this time he went out of business there have been many changes to tree making. They now have standards that have to be met.  When I started making saddles the saddle maker had to dress the tree. This is making it level by rasping the wood slightly to get it level.  These days I rarely have to dress a tree.  I still look to make sure there are no problems I do this with my other materials like leather etc just in case.

Andy was a very good saddle maker and like all saddles they fitted some horses. Yes they where wide trees  this meant that they could only fit some horses.  A lot of  bigger companies make wider saddles and use the same tree that Andy used. They also used other shapes of trees to create there different models. They use different shape trees and panels to help the fitter find a saddle to fit.

Lumpy flocking.    It is recommended that the flocking is completely renewed every year to two years. because it can become hard or lumpy.  Rubber panels are very limited in how they can be adjusted . Horses change shape and you can do that very easy with flocking.  You would never regulated flocking in a leather panel  This is a old term used for serge panels or if you have been making saddles for as long as I have we used to regulate seats.  A leather panel can easily have the flock adjusted or topped up. This is not far of the term regulated.  And when you learn to hold the saddle and use the tools it is not a hard job to do.

Serge panels are still used today by some companies.

 

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gmace99   

@retiredranger I have tried Jameson/Bushmills/Daniels and Glenfiddich.  I am from Glasgow I really can't see me drinking something called Knobs Creek.  I can just imagine the stick my friends would give me.

Even if you never do a saddle making course you should visit Scotland. It has great history and scenery. Just be careful of the wild haggis

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cmdawson   

i have a couple of PDF's on english saddle making.  too large to upload but give me your email address and i can email them to you

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On 2/9/2017 at 1:46 PM, gmace99 said:

My course in July is full. I have another person asking for another date if you message me we can set something up..  It is cheaper for you to fly to Scotland than do a course in the USA.   I charge £1200 for 12 days  We cover a lot in that time  Hotels here are about 500 / 600 for 12 days   I'm sure they can be got cheaper and dearer.   The exchange rate really helps you at the moment. Email me at Sales@uksaddlery.com  or message me on facebook  Geo Dunoon  if you want more info.

 

Hi gmace99/George, I'm interested in the classes you offer and yes, I did the math and I could spend 5-6 weeks of classes in Scotland. I'm not sure when I'll be able to make it work, might have to do some creative accounting, but I'm setting it as a nebulous goal right now!

I'll pm more tomorrow, but my immediate question: after looking at the dates on your website, do you do your 1:1 private classes in the weeks between the scheduled/group classes?

Thanks!

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gmace99   

@Skipndance Yes I do my one to one between courses or after my last course in July. I have a couple of one to one courses booked for later in the year.  Let me know what is good for you.

I would not do 5 or 6 weeks all at once. It is good for me. However I think it is better for you if you do them over time. This will give you a chance to practice on your own then come back for a tidy up.  My website is www.uksaddlery.com and my email is sales@uksaddlery.com

 

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On ‎2‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 7:54 PM, gmace99 said:

@Skipndance Yes I do my one to one between courses or after my last course in July. I have a couple of one to one courses booked for later in the year.  Let me know what is good for you.

I would not do 5 or 6 weeks all at once. It is good for me. However I think it is better for you if you do them over time. This will give you a chance to practice on your own then come back for a tidy up.  My website is www.uksaddlery.com and my email is sales@uksaddlery.com

 

OK another "must do" for me.

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On 2/18/2017 at 4:54 PM, gmace99 said:

@Skipndance Yes I do my one to one between courses or after my last course in July. I have a couple of one to one courses booked for later in the year.  Let me know what is good for you.

I would not do 5 or 6 weeks all at once. It is good for me. However I think it is better for you if you do them over time. This will give you a chance to practice on your own then come back for a tidy up.  My website is www.uksaddlery.com and my email is sales@uksaddlery.com

 

I don't know how/when I'll be able to work it out, but I was hoping to eventually.  I actually took the Basic/Level 1 Bridle class and Bench Flocking class that Ian and Andrew Hastilow taught 2 years ago in Maryland, USA.  My mom was a self taught saddle maker and specialized in sidesaddles.  She passed away nearly 3 years ago now, but I kept her tools and supplies.  I have 3 sidesaddles (a C&W, an Owen and an unmarked) in various stages of discontent, that I had bought for my mom to restore, which will sit in my garage until I figure out how to do it myself. I know conceptually how they are done, but not the step by step, nuts and bolts of the process.  When I saw your statement on your website that your most cherished prize is the one you won for your sidesaddle, I knew you were the one I needed to connect with if I can ever afford to do this!

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gmace99   

I am no where near been a side saddle expert. Laura Dempsey would be the person for that. 

I have won several awards for saddle making. The side saddle is the one I am most happy with.  The reason for this is that I have never made a side saddle till I made the competition one. 

In the competition , You can win a first, second or third prize. If your work is above standard you may win a premium award. They don't hand out premium awards easy.  Why I like this side saddle one is having never made one before.  I won a premium award. 

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