Diamond in the Rough: Voltaire style

I’d needed to buy a new dressage saddle after getting Archie, but couldn’t find something I liked. Or if I could, finding it with short flaps was impossible or it was way out of my budget. I test rode practically everything at the barn. Of course, Archie had a clear favorite… the Voltaire Adelaide. Go figure, my horse likes expensive French leather just like my butt.

Riding in a barn mate’s Voltaire

Adelaides aren’t impossible to find used, but they’re $$$, even for a French saddle. I figured maybe if I saved my pennies, I’d be able to afford one from the UK. After all, that’s how I found my Devoucoux, which is pretty much my unicorn saddle (18″ 1AA hello).

The Unicorn

And then… fate stepped in. In the form of a used Adelaide at Pelham Saddlery. In an 18″, PRO D10 panel (aka exactly what Archie needed) and 3A flap – except a 3 in the Adelaide measures 15.25″ or in other words, a short flap, and… in (actually UNDER) my budget. The problem? It was GREEN. Like light olive sage green.

GREEN
But also like, grey? Ombré?

Amanda and Emily told me I’d be able to dye it most likely and with that, the green Voltaire was on its way to me. When I pulled it out, I was pleasantly surprised it was actually in great shape. The billets looked practically new, the panels felt great, it was just… green. It fit Archie, it fit me… so the check cleared and I bought dye supplies online and the adventure began.

One flap done
First coat of dye

I won’t bother giving a how-to – Amanda has done a much better job of that with the handful she’s dyed. Just be prepared – I didn’t realized quite how much buffing the damn thing was gonna take. I had a sore arm for a week.

All done 😍
Anything that looks like unevenness is just the weird lighting in my kitchen
And then I added rainbow stirrups and it got even better
Most recent shot, in which Archie looks SUPER EXCITED about our dressage lesson

It’s been almost 2 months since it was dyed with consistent riding and I’m still so pleased. I’ve ridden in all colors of breeches, it’s gotten wet (not like, soaked, but sprinkled) and no dye has come off. It needs a cleaning and conditioning session after being in my tack locker, but that’s just normal upkeep. Best of all, it’s improved my dressage riding tremendously and Archie is still going phenomenally in it.

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9 Comments

  1. Wow did that ever turn out beautiful. I would have been chicken. Which is probably why it was under budget. I’m also intrigued by you stirrup leathers on your other saddle.

  2. woohooo! I gave up on a dressage saddle after not finding anything that works

    ALSO you are f’ing lucky you found a QH that wears French. Remus can’t use anything French (WIDE LOAD COMING THRU)!!

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