I became interested in saddlery when my young troubled horse needed a custom fit saddle due to being short in the back, large in the shoulders and generally wide (traditional gypsy cob). I searched for months to find a saddle fitter/maker to fit a saddle for my horse. This proved hard as the area that I live in has virtually no saddle fitters/makers in it. Because of this it got me thinking about how many people actually have a correctly fitting saddle due to the lack of saddle fitters. Once i had found a saddle fitter I began talking to him about the trade of saddles. I became even more interested and got more determined to help other people. I spoke to a lot of other companies at county shows and a lot of people advised me not to even bother. This got me even more determined to prove them wrong.
I looked at some apprenticeships on the Master Saddler website however due to the lack of companies around me this proved almost impossible for me to do. I then began doing more research of how I could train differently I came across Cumbria School of Saddlery based in Shropshire. Here I began my first step into something new. I started with a re flocking course back in November 2016. This was a 4 day course where myself and 4 other adults learnt about the saddle, the saddle tree, why its important, the flock and the tools, how to take a part a saddle un-stuff it, re stuff it and stitch it all back together. ALL BY HAND!
Once I had completed the re-flocking course I practised at home. A couple of months later I attended a saddle fitting day with The Saddle Company. On the course i learnt how to fit their saddles, re shape their saddles and much more. After this course i went to do another course at Cumbria School of Saddlery only this time doing bridle work. This course was 5 days long and by the end of it I had made a normal leather dog collar, a pair of reins and also a padded dog collar. I learnt to stitch with two needles at the same time, how to do buckles, how to compare good leather to bad leather and much much more. I am completing part 2 of the bridle work course later this year.