Katie's been back in France this month, continuing her training to be able to perform alterations and adjustments here in the UK. Much like the UK, France has been subject to a heatwave over the past few weeks, so she received a very warm welcome at Childeric HQ.
"I went into the Workshop for 8AM, had a quick go round and said “Bonjour” to everyone. We went straight into working on panels today. This was with Pauline, who I worked with last time.
We spent the morning altering a panel, this particular one, had the front that needed lifting. The special foam is added and then its sculpted into the right shape for the horse. In the afternoon, I stitched the leather back onto the panel.
"My day started at 7AM in the workshop, today I spent it with Nate, the main repair man!
Some saddles had come in for repair, there’s always an array of repairs that I may came across to repair as well. So I was shown techniques and tips to help with this. Some are simple and easily done, so your saddles won’t have to go back to France. It’s not just about panels! This took most of the morning.
For the afternoon I put two saddles back together, so I had a recap on this. It was another hot day in the factory, with thunder storms imminent as well!
The following day was spent with Nate again, today he wanted me to be really adept at putting the 4 screws onto the panel, 2 at the front and two at the back. This is basis of making sure the panel is straight and level, they hold the panel in neat, and hold it while you stitch. He told me that there are only 3 of them that do this job in the factory. So, I needed to be the 4th...No pressure then! I lost count of how many we did to perfect it. There is a real technique and method of doing this.
Also while I was there I found a saddle I had sent in for repair, I wanted to follow it from start to finish, and in the afternoon I put this one back together. It’s so hot today, another 37 degrees, although it did have a heavy downpour in the afternoon.
In early again on Thursday morning, I had one saddle to assemble before going back to panels with Pauline late morning.
She showed me how to do some of the other instructions and alteration methods, indicative of the way the panels are so special on these saddles. We can really make them bespoke and sculpted to your horse, and the foam we use is the best quality. They are always soft and maintains the shape they have been made to, so never going hard or lumpy.
I had lunch , the workshop “crew”, I didn’t understand a word they said. But I am also determined to pickup more of the French language. It’s a really happy factory to work in, everyone seems to get on. Will always give you smile. However, they are so hard working.
In the afternoon we stapled and the leatherback onto a panel, this holds it into place, nice and tight to the foam. Again there is a real method to this, and I stitched the leather on.