From hide to horseback
1 / BREEDING
The quality of leather begins in the fields.
Cowhide retains its original beauty when unharmed by barbed wire and parasites. In the north of the Dordogne, in southwest France, Limousin cattle are particularly valued for the firm structure and fine grain of their hides. CWD supports the Quality Charter of the Centre for Rural Excellence in order to access high-quality local hides. Making breeders aware of their role in animal well-being and remunerating them for their efforts is the best way to achieve this.
2 / TANNING
Quality lies just beneath the surface.
The quality of leather also depends upon the correct transformation of the hides during tanning. It’s at this crucial stage that the master tanner plays a key role. The Tanneries de Chamont, located 10 kms from the CWD workshops, is one of the brand’s main leather suppliers. It is also a partner of the Centre for Rural Excellence’s leather section.
3 / LEATHER
The key to an outstanding saddle.
The leather is now ready for use. It is sent to the Nontron workshops where it will acquire its definitive shape. It is inspected, classified and cut up according to its characteristic features and the part of the saddle for which it is destined. This is where the work of the master saddlers begins.
4 / THE CUTTING PHASE
No margin for error!
The master saddlers begin the complex process of dividing up, cutting and matching the leather, using a whole range of specialist tools – all with
the same aim in mind, that of maximizing the saddle’s lifespan. Key words: observation, colour, quality of fibres, elasticity, fault.
5 / SADDLE TREES
The backbone of CWD TECHNOLOGY’s research.
The Classic saddle tree, both flexible and firm, is a skilful combination of wood and metal. The Dynamick® saddle tree consists of a Kevlar carbon framework composed of a gullet arch, a racket and points, entirely embedded in elastomer. A true revolution, certified by a biomechanics ngineer.
6 / FITTING THE LEATHER TO THE SADDLE TREE
A tense moment.
The initial pulling down (tautening) and tracing processes constitute a painstaking stage for the technician. First the piece of leather for the saddle seat is positioned on the saddle tree and pulled down. This is followed by the tracing process (tracing lines symmetrical to the
pommel-cantle axis in order to be able to position the skirts) and hand stitching the juncture which enables the skirts, piping and seat to be
assembled. It requires absolute mastery of stitching know-how.
7 / MOUNTING THE SEAT ON THE SADDLE TREE
The moment when everything takes shape.
The second tautening is a process that is as precise as it is exacting. It consists of the definitive mounting of the seat onto the saddle tree, and is the starting point for assembling the different components that make up a saddle.
8 / ASSEMBLING AND FITTING THE SADDLE FLAPS TO THE SEAT
Combining the elements: a gripping encounter
Phase 1: the different elements of the flaps are first of all put together (knee pads and grained flaps). Phase 2: the flaps are then fitted to the saddle seat.
9 & 10 / FITTING THE PANELS AND ASSEMBLING THE PARTS
The final touch.
The final stages consist of fitting the girthing and panels in order to assemble the saddle. Phase 1: fitting the girthing. Phase 2 : assembling
and fitting the panels. The final process in this assembly is lacing, which involves stitching waxed thread back and forth between the panels, the piping and the seat of the saddle.