Hey! I made it.
I drove 120 miles all by myself; it wasn’t without a challenge though.
To start with I had quite a tumble off the horse yesterday. We were on our way out for a hack when she spooked, spun on her heels, bucked and caught me off guard. I fell head first onto my forehead, smashed my hat, bashed my shoulders and the base of my neck and badly sprained my right wrist where I must have put my hand out to break the fall. As you can imagine 10½ stone falling onto ones wrist is asking for a break but thankfully I have walked away with just bruises.
Then at the end of last week I asked the hubby if he could check the car’s oil and water, he chose to do it this morning at 7.45am. Needless to say, the car needed oil and we didn’t have any at home. So, what was meant to be a nice chilled morning drive down to Salisbury in Wiltshire, I spent the first hour of it trying to find the right type of oil for the car. I could not get the exact one for the life of me, so hubby said ‘put the nearest one to it in’. At this point I’m nearly hyperventilating at the thought of putting ‘the nearest type of oil in’ with the fear of breaking down mid journey. Nevertheless this is what I did and an hour later than planned I made it to Salisbury. I misjudged the roadworks on the M5 that restricted speed to 50 mph so it was quite a long journey.
Anyway, I finally made it to the Saddlery Training Centre at 12pm. Mark Romain the owner was welcoming, he let me settle in and then we began. I am to complete the City and Guilds Level 2 Intermediate Skills qualification in Bridle Making first. This will entail making a headcollar, a snaffle bridle with reins and a running martingale. It is possible that this qualification could take me 2 x five day training sessions to complete but this is only if my work is perfect enough to be assessed, otherwise it is likely to take 3-4 x five day training sessions.
I started by squaring up the brown leather hide, making sure I was working from the spine part of the half butt and not the belly end; this being the better end of the leather to make a headcollar from. I cut three straps at 1″ wide and then another strap at 1⅛” wide. From these straps I cut the pieces for the head, cheeks, jowls, nose, backstay, buckle chapes and throat. I rounded two of the ends off and knicked the corners off the other strap ends, depending on the requirements of each strap.
I then went on to fold the pieces accordingly to instructions, edge shave the edges, dye them and then buff to a shine. I creased each strap on the grain side and then when this was done I used warm water to help bend and mold some of the straps into shape. Once all this was done I finally made the stitch marks ready for tomorrow.
By now it was time to pack up, leave and go and find the B&B. Luckily for me there is another student who is staying at Websters B&B too and they already knew where it was so I followed him.
It’s a lovely little B&B run by a really friendly couple John and Ronnie. The room I’m staying in is airy, clean and compact; just the job for me and I can lie on the bed and look out the window, it’s fab. I really am going to enjoy staying here for the next four days.
Goodnight Clair x