Show Saddle – Part 1

For the first META maker’s challenge, I’m putting together a show saddle. (META‘s a new-ish forum dedicated to everything tack and performance related… it’s a small but friendly group, come join us!) The goal of the challenge is to try and replicate a piece of your choosing as closely as possible, as well as to challenge yourself with new things.

I’ve been meaning to put together a new show/pleasure saddle for a while now, but of course haven’t gotten to it yet. I think I’ve been putting it off. For some reason I find building saddles really intimidating. This one in particular will be tough, because I’m using a different tree and have every intention of fully tooling it.

I’ve never tooled leather before so this could be… interesting.

Anyway. Progress has been slow. I started off with a slightly modified TWMHC tree, then put together a paper pattern to fit it:


Next came the “scrap leather test” since paper is aggravating to work with like this. It helps me see what else needs to be modified before finishing up the pattern.

Progress02Once that was out of the way, I had to come up with a way to cover the pommel and gullet. I ended up forming a damp paper towel around the tree, then marked it to get the basic shape for my pattern.



I have no idea if it’ll work or not but nevermind that… moving onward! The next step was to trace the final pattern pieces on a sheet of paper…

Progress05… then scan them into my computer and work with them in Illustrator. This is to give me a hard copy if I lose all the pieces, (I do that a lot with patterns…) refine edges and make certain pieces perfectly symmetrical. Overkill I suppose, but yeah.

I’ve printed up a copy and have been sketching out a tooling pattern… or rather, getting a better idea of how these patterns are actually put together. I have no idea what I’m doing. o_oProgress07I won’t be able to duplicate this in leather (haha that would be nice…) but it’s a start!

9 thoughts on “Show Saddle – Part 1

  1. O, please, Nichelle: would you share the patterns so we could download and try to make at least close the accurate western saddle parts you designed?

    Hope you still can read this request, for the comments began in 2015!

    Thank you so much for all your teachings about model western saddles!

    Blessings be upon you and yours.



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