Special Request to "Style a Vintage Leather Horse" for a child's room decor

Debora Nash

Posted on January 05 2022

Special Request to "Style a Vintage Leather Horse" for a child's room decor

The "Special Project" I was working on...

At Thanksgiving, a special request was made to "Dress this horse up." Then it went home with me to do some of my magic to it.

To be honest, I had absolutely no clue on how to proceed.

It is a vintage leather horse that is about the size of a full-grown German Shepard and the little leather saddle was/is extremely brittle and literally cracked in places with the slightest pressure.

So, with that in mind I decided to remove the old saddle and cut/sew a new saddle from scratch.

It was later requested to add rhinestones and very bright colors... exact description was... "Liberace' it." 

So, the challenge was a good one. The final results were so much prettier than I expected, and I just could not bring myself to put blue paint on the hooves as previously suggested, so the little hoof covers were born, and they turned out cuter than I had originally thought.

I delivered this little beauty today and all in all, I am very pleased with how all of this turned out as I had never done anything on this level of "cut/sew to body type and size" ever before without any patterns.

The mane and tail were my design and a very first that worked out well.

There were SO many coincidences in this project in the form of having the exact colors of leather and types of leather already in the shop. That blew my mind when doing all of this.

These photos are the before and after of this special project...

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View with the very old and brittle, original saddle.

New leather being cut and sized to replace the old.

Stirrups being added.

Replacement saddle seat cut and being tooled for a personalized saddle seat.

Dying to match the leathers.

Saddle fitted and attached to now begin the rhinestones.

New leather bridal and halter cut, sewn and rhinestones.

The creation and design of the new tail, main and forward face braid in the works.

The fringe mane, tail and forhead braid all in place and completed.

The coincedence of this entire process was that this was a very last minute job request with this horse to be completed before Christmas. This horse was delivered to the shop to begin work on Thanksgiving day. The time frame for this job was in the hopes of finishing at least one week before Christmas to allow time for any new additions or changes. The coincedence of everything was, I actually had the exact matching colors of leather hides in the shop already, to finish out this horse. The leather cover over the tail to hide the tacks that hold the tail fringe on, that leather was some leather I had in the shop for a few years and matches this vintage horse leather exactly in color and texture.

What are the odds of that happening? You can see that leather band on the tail in this photo. Unbeliveable color match. As for the vintage age of this horse, by the way the original saddle was so brittle and breaking at the slightest touch, this horse could very well be 100 years old. That is what makes this so incredible to match the colors the way this job went and just happened to have the leathers in the shop, already, that match this exact.

When I asked about the colors that were being sent to me in this reference drawing to work from, I was a little stunned by the color range they had requested. At first, it was suggested to paint the hooves a turquoise color as well. I just couldn't bring myself to put paint on the leather as it would not stay and would flake off into a mess later on. So, the fashion designer mode kicked in and created little fabric hoof boots instead and they turned out adorable.

Trying to meet the color requests, this was the fabrics that I had chosen to make this project work and to really fit the color scheme they were requesting.

These are the final results and honestly, this little horse turned out far prettier than even I was expecting it to be upon completion. I would have never dreamed these colors would fit so well together.

I made the bows here with hair clips so that they can be moved or worn in the little girls hair.

I had no patterns to work from with this project and was working from the size and shape of the original, brittle vintage saddle that was on this horse, so my round cuttings of the little blankets didn't come out as round as I was shooting for as this entire process was cut by freehand and on the fly, sized to fit as it was sewn...

What a tremendous difference in this vintage little horse. Even I am still surprised as to just how pretty and cute this job turned out.

Oh, and as I mentioned before on the time frame to finish this job, I was able to finish out this job within 2 1/2 weeks. Those coincidences of having all the leathers, dyes and tools in the shop already, that matched this horse perfectly, was the lifesaving factor to this entire project finishing before Christmas.

Just another one of those unbelievable accomplishments.

Before and After Photos side by side.

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