Here we have cleaned up the original rigging of this saddle and installed it on to the repaired tree. This is where I don’t worry so much about putting them back EXACTLY where they were to begin with. With this particular saddle, age and use has probably stretched the rigging somewhat out of alignment and proper alignment of the rigging insures the saddle rides square on the horse. For this reason, I install the riggings without paying attention to where they were and instead putting them where they should go. Sometimes you have to accept a little difference to get there but not enough that will affect the rest of the job.
Once I have the rigging installed I move on to the ground work. Luckily with this saddle we were able to utilize the ground work completely which saves some time. Each piece is installed just as it was when the saddle was first made. The great thing here is that all other parts will fit as original (seat, cantle back, plugs, and so on). On the occasion where these pieces can’t be used, you would install the groundwork as in a new saddle keeping in mind the way the old seat and such will fit with what your trying to recreate. This adds lots of time and labor.
After all this is completed, the cantle back and front should drop right in place and with the help of glue and elbow grease you are ready to put the seat in.
Occasionally when putting the front on, you will notice a difference in the horn hole thanks to the new horn cover. Everyone covers horns different and the original may have been thinker or thinner at the base. My suggestion here is to cut it bigger if it’s too tight (which is better) and if it’s too big, your only hope is that the glue will help to hold down the slack around the base.
The next post we will visit about installing the seat and binder which gets us to the point of washing and final assembly.