Building a Dressage Saddle

Even though I’ve got way too many in-progress pieces right now, I recently had a “lightbulb” moment regarding saddles and immediately had to get started on a new one.

It’s been three years since I last built an English saddle. I find them incredibly intimidating and am often discouraged before I begin. So wanting to have another go at one was something I really couldn’t ignore.

Once I found a nice reference photo, I worked out a pattern of sorts and began with the tree and seat:


This was cut from sheet metal instead of the pop cans I’ve used in the past… it is holding it’s shape much nicer. I also built up the back a bit with epoxy before covering the entire thing with very thin skiver. It’s got a nice weight to it now and so far, so good.


The skirt came next, which is tooling leather I skived down.


After being dyed I (temporarily) stuck it all together with a couple of headpins. I am SO glad I had the sense to punch holes in the tree before covering it with anything.


I think I’ll tackle the flaps next. Wish me luck? o_o

4 thoughts on “Building a Dressage Saddle

  1. I think I may have started the ‘pop can’ thing off around 1990, when I sold saddle kits using thin aluminium sheet trees (not pop cans though).

    Since then, I have preferred to use aluminium sheet, since it is stronger, and conforms to a variety of back shapes. Sounds like you’re using the same stuff I am!


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