Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

The Midnight Saddle Maker

When you want to go for a horse ride you need a good saddle, for you and of course for the horse. Before you saddle up and head out on your adventure, sometimes you must first fix your saddle. On this beautiful evening, as the sun goes to sleep and the night comes slowly, I head to the barn at Chilcotin Holidays.

I'm alone in this old wooden barn. I can smell the leather of the saddle and other equipment, the old wood of the logs, the horses around me, their hair on the blanket, and hear the quiet footsteps and breathing of Babe, Mister and Truax like music in background.The barn is at the heart of every adventure. The place where everything at the ranch begins and ends, and I am standing right in the middle of it all.

The saddles that sit in the barn each tell a story like a well read book. How long is the story of your saddle? You can tell how hard the previous adventures have been and see how tough the leather of the saddle must be to support the rider in rain, sun and wind. On some of the saddles, the leather is old and cracking in places, some lattigo are missing and some stirrups must be fixed.

I take a saddle and I put it on the wooden horse, in the twilight I check with my headlight which parts must be fixed. Some leather are different textures and each has an individual use. If the leather is thick, it's better to be used for the stirrup. You can use the older leather for a smaller piece if it is torn but in order to repair the saddle string, you need a softer strap because this makes it more easy to do the loop and it's better to fix your backpack. Now I focus on my hand movements so that I don't cut too much of my leather. I pull my strap to fix it properly and I do my loop. This saddle string is done.

As I stand in the barn, it feels as if time doesn' t exist. This area is mine until I go to sleep. I can see the stars in the sky when I look out the window of the barn, and hear my friends the horses walking close to the barn wall. This ambience is perfect. I'm in horse country in the middle of my evening adventure. I focus on my repair and I take satisfaction when I'm done. I bring back the saddle to it's place and take another one. You see the result of your handy work and you know that it makes sense and is useful. After fixing some more saddle strings, my hands are dusty and smell like the old leather, the results of a job well done. This is my beautiful midnight adventure, I go to sleep with happiness in my heart and a big smile on my face.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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