My oldest son used his graduation money to purchase a really nice, red leather saddle that we found at a good price. He is a big guy at 6″9 and needed more room than the saddles that we were using at the Calvin Center Equestrian Program allowed for. Since his dream is to work with horses, this was a good investment in his future and, with any luck, he will be using this roping saddle for many years.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a ready place to store this saddle. So, in true make-do fashion, we looked at what was on sale around town and online, plus we checked out a few that friends had. Most take up more floor space than we had available, so hubby designed one with materials we could lay our hands on in quick fashion.
Hubby is a chemist and, at work, he has access to blue plastic poly-barrels at a reasonable (for us, definitely not retail priced!) rates. He brought a clean, dry 35 gallon one home, measured the banister at the landing at the top of our stairs (that are right next to kiddo’s room. Then, he used a (borrowed) reciprocating saw to cut a notch just wide enough at the top so that it could just fit the handrail. He did taper inward a bit from the center cut to the edge, so that it would have to be wiggled and eased into place and not too loose on the railing.
After a dry fitting to make sure that the cuts were big enough (they barely were, but better too tight than too loose), we trekked off to the local truck stop (I get crafty stuff everywhere!) and purchased a very inexpensive, woven, wool blanket. It is a lot like a Mexican serape, though a bit thinner. The goal here was to cover the bright blue of the barrel with something that would allow the saddle fleece to breathe and help the saddle to grip onto so it wouldn’t slide off the smooth plastic barrel It helps that these blankets look a lot like many Western saddle pads, especially is you like old Western movies.
But, as you probably guessed, the blanket slid off the barrel. After a bit of thought, we added a piece of left over non-skid shelf lining that we had left over from another project. Most days, this stays on well, but not always. So, we are really careful with the saddle being balanced on the barrel while we consider our next steps. I could attach the non-skid pad to the barrel, so it couldn’t shift. Or, we could use hot glue to create homemade “grippy strips” that the blanket wouldn’t slide across. But, perhaps a roll of double sided carpet tape would work. We will see what we have and what will work.
In the meantime, we have a “barrel horse” that is a bit of a decorating feature in our home. As we live in a log cabin, it works and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I would rather pay for a good riding lesson or participation in a fun trail ride than spend money on something we don’t really have room for right now.
Is it fun carrying the saddle up a flight of stairs? Not really, but at least up there, it is out of sight to the little, leather chewing dog that would feast on it otherwise!
What is your favorite DIY project?