Elsa

Elsa's "first" Saddle

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I finally did it! :thumbsup:

After leaving the SFCC Saddlemaking Program a quarter before graduation (young and dumb... went back on Active Duty), 28 years later I finished! I made one saddle at SFCC, but it wasn't for me and didn't get to keep it, so I'm considering this one my true "First". I can pick apart the things I'd rather see better, but I am always overly picky about things I do. I just know to improve them next time. Jesse Smith is an awesome teacher, mentor and friend, and I highly recommend his program. Now if I can just get the VA to help support my vocation, I'll be well on my way. I've already ordered my Cobra Class 4 "Dream Machine" and a Class 17 (bye-bye savings account!). Sorry to ramble.... just SO excited!

I built a Wade on a 15" Timberline Hamley Wade tree with a 13" wide fork and 5" tall cantle; Hermann Oak skirting; rawhide bead on fork, horn and cantle binding; brass hardware; exposed stirrup leathers; butterfly skirts; Nettel 4" bell stirrups & Farrow stirrup "buckles". I chose to do Celtic Knotwork for my tooling patterns and incorporated a figure carving of my horse, Spirit, on the center of the cantleback.

These are my first picture uploads on Leatherworker.net, and it appears I'll have to send them in two posts.

Hope you like it! :)

~ Elsa

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Three more photos.... The last one shows the stirrups/fenders while they were on one of Ron's Stirrup Stretchers (I am bummed that Ron decided to "retire" before I got to buy some of his awesome tools!!!)

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Last one. This is of the cantle back before I put the rawhide binding on it. It shows the tooling of my "Stinky McPoo" (Spirit) a little better. Here I thought doing Celtic Knots would be "easy". Not! The picture of Spirit was wayyyyyy easier and it was only the second figure carving I've done in 28 years (the first being the "I wonder if I can still do that" test piece).

I have a LONG history of low self confidence and self esteem (part of my PTSD) so all of this has me jumping for joy!

Thanks for looking at these and sharing in my elation. :)

~ Elsa

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Congratulations, Elsa! :clapping:

Crystal

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Very nice job for a "first" saddle, Elsa. I noticed the horse head before you final post and really like what you have done with that. Lots of talent in your hands! Looking forward to pictures of your next project. Keep up the good work.

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Pretty cool! You did a very nice job.

I like the horse carving also. Did you do that from a photo of your horse?

I'm jealous, I can't wait to get started on my first saddle.

Joel

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looks really nice, i wouldnt have known it was your first if you hadnt told us. the horse carving is very nice, i liked it alot. good job!

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Nice job !!!

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Thank you all so very much! I just love Leatherworker.net. You are the best and have made me feel like I belong here. :grouphug5vj5:

I did use a photograph of Spirit as a "model". I guess I'll have to make another one for Miracle (but he's not even a yearling yet, so I have time!).

Leatherwork is the best "job" ever!!! Can't wait to make #2... #100.... #???

Big smiles here! Thank you so!

~ Elsa

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WOW!!! THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL SADDLE!!! GREAT JOB!

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That turned out real nice, never would have thought it was a first. I always thought those Celtic designs would look neat on a saddle and yours turned out really well. Chris Tornow

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Beautiful Saddle and just love the back of the seat!

Very impressive!

It is a blast working on old saddles! I miss them from

Oregon we lived down in Bandon!

Pam

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Elsa, first from an old Vet, welcome home and thank you for your service! Second that looks really good and you obviously have retained what you were taught. Last, you should see if the VA will cover some of the cost of getting you started in the saddle making business as transition rehab for your PTSD. See your veterans advocate, and if you don't have a good one, go to your local chapter of the VVA, it is not just for Vietnam Vets. they are there to help all Vets. Once again, welcome home!

Bob

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This looks really good! The edges all look clean and the designs are beautiful! Well done. :D

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Thanks so much everyone! I haven't done much since finishing Spirit's saddle. Collecting stuff for my shop but is seems like other parts of life keep interfering with getting said shop set up. Thanks for the input Bondo Bob - The VA has already denied me Voc Rehab because I'm 100% S/C and "don't need it". I would sincerely like assistance from them to set up what they're calling my "significant hobby". I have 27 old saddles begging for rebuild and no funds on the horizon. Trying to pare down other responsibilities so I can push forward on my focus on leatherwork. Perhaps I'll contact the VVA as you suggested. I know one of the best sites for peer support for going through the nightmare of the Disability System is from HadIt.com, which is primarily Vietnam Era Vets. If I could spend several months interning under Jesse Smith I'd do it in a heartbeat. Of course, that would leave lots of time to go out and play cowgirl with Sharri too. :-) I have my GI Bill left unused, but there's not much out there for leatherwork. Jesse will always be my favorite teacher and mentor. Maybe somehow I can get the VA to help me keep my skills sharp and figure out a way to help me fund continued training with Jesse. I can dream. :-) I'd just be happy for a leg up to actually be able to get things going out of my abysmally too small "shop" (also known as the front porch - 20' X 9', but better than nothing!).

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