Cumbria School of Saddlery

Teaching the skills of the Rural Craftsman

The Bridlework Course Part 1

This course is of five days duration, Monday - Friday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm daily, with an hour for lunch. It is designed for beginners and will be of a very practical nature with no formal lectures. By the end of the first morning you will be stitching and by the end of the week you will have been able to make a useful item of tack or an item of leatherwork to take away with you.

The main object of the course is that the student gains a working knowledge of the skills of the bridle-maker and achieves a correct stitching method with the accent on quality not quantity. Students are often amazed at what they have accomplished in just one week!

To find out more we now have some YouTube video clips available of some of the topics covered on this course.

A full set of tools can be purchased from the school at the end of the course.

Subjects covered during the week will include:

  • The structure and divisions of hide and the function of different types of leather - bridle butts, harness backs, shoulders, panel-hides.
  • How to examine leather for faults and how to differentiate between good and bad leather.
  • Preparation of leather for stitching - cutting, edging, staining, polishing, creasing, marking-out.
  • Using and adapting to stitching clams.
  • Double hand and backstitching methods.
  • Knowledge of hand-tools and equipment, needles and threads.
  • Care, adjustment and sharpening of traditional hand cutting tools.
  • Safety techniques.

Other aspects of saddlery will be discussed such as repair methods and saddle manufacture.

Advice on the purchase of tools, materials and equipment will be given.

Tools, leather and materials will be supplied by the School or students may bring their own. Items for repair may also be brought for advice.

These courses are also open to anyone interested in traditional leather-craft who may wish to work on projects such as dog and shooting equipment, belts, bags, purses or box-making.

"I didn't think learning could be so much fun. Highly recommended." D.J. Cornwall

"I want to thank you for a wonderful experience and a really worthwhile week of learning. I derived a great deal of benefit from spending the time with you and the other students. I will continue to....make all the other wonderful things which I am now confident to try. It was a great beginning and I look forward to the journey that I have started with your help, your inspiration and the calm, assertive energy you have imparted to me." K.F.

A certificate of attendance is awarded on completion of each course.