A couple months ago, I rebuilt one of the mass produced polo sets that I designed for Breyer. This week I'm tackling one of the packing sets.
Here's a straight-out-of-the-box photo of the sawbuck saddle and harness.The "bones" of the saddle are good, but the joints were a gluey mess.
To fix this, I disassembled the saddle in its entirety, taking special care to remove all the glue.
Once that was done, I marked the areas where the leather would be glued to the saddle.
Using a Rio Rondo carbide scraper and sandpaper, I carefully dug out a shallow trench on each end of the saddle bars. These trenches should be just deep enough for the top of the leather pieces to be flush with the rest of the saddle bar.
The leather pieces were glued in place...
and attached to the cross bars. Voila! The saddle is done.
Onto the harness! I do not like working with Breyer's soft, stretchy leather, so I decided to replace all the straps with kangaroo lace. Hardware was mostly recycled from the original harness, although I did add tongues to the buckles and reshape the jump ring keepers.
The one major exception to the recycled hardware rule was the cinch. Those big awkward buckles weren't worth salvaging. It was much easier to build new ones from scratch!
My original prototype for this set included buckles on the hip straps. These were left off the production run, but I couldn't resist adding them back to the rebuilt set.
I also added clips to the breastcollar straps. These aren't vital, but they make tacking and untacking a lot easier.
Here's the finished pack saddle and harness. Although not quite as polished as a full custom set, this is definitely live show quality. I wouldn't hesitate to show it!
This particular set belongs to Marci, but I have three more Breyer packing sets in my possession. It make take me years to customize them all, but eventually they will become my own personal mule train. I can't wait!