Monday, November 03, 2008

Cleaning up

Just about this time a year ago, the three stall barn with tack room and workshop was finally finished. We had stored all the tack gear in a u-store-it place because we dismantled the old barn and tack room to re-use a good bit of the wood in it. I had fully intended to clean everything, either while it was at the storage place, or as I put it away in the new tack room. Such a dreamer! It all just got sorted a bit and then shelved. The saddles all got a new saddle stand that held three saddles, one on top of the other, free-standing, but that was it. Imagine how I felt when I took the saddle covers off (those I did wash), and saw this:



The second photo is, as you can see, the other side of the saddle, as it was only half clean at this point. It took ages. And this is the easy saddle; the other Western one is carved, not smooth leather, and every inch has to be cleaned with a toothbrush and leather cleaner, before oiling it. And it is sterling silver trimmed, and a lot of the the trim is in the form of lacing, which means being careful to not get silver polish down in the holes where you can't reach to polish it out. You'll notice I haven't put up a photo of that one. I'm still debating whether cleaning the silver is even worth the effort; no showing any more for me.

Anyway, the third saddle is a Wintec English all-purpose saddle, made of something sort of like neoprene, and you can clean it by (can you believe it?) hosing it off. Not that I have ever actually done that; it, of course, was not dirty after storage anyway.

Saddles are just intrinsically lovely, don't you think? All handmade, a dying art in the USA, good for virtually forever with care, so much skill and centuries of refinement in the structure. Not much that's made by hand like this anymore in our use-it-then-discard society.

Bumper sticker: "Come the Rapture, can I have your car?"

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