In my opinion, there aren't enough skull and crossbones in dressage. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and remedy the situation. Following is a step by step tutorial for jazzing up a plain old saddle pad. As with most DIY projects, the goal here isn't so much saving money as it is creating something you envision but cannot find.
low/medium quality saddlepad
iron on applique
horse (to look badass wearing the saddlepad, of course!)
First you need to select a saddle pad and appliques. I chose a low grade quality saddle pad because I wasn't sure how well the rhinestone applique that I was going to use would stick. Therefore, I didn't want to ruin a good saddle pad for no reason. This one is a pretty unimpressive pad I got for like $11 or something in the Dover Saddlery 12 Days of Christmas. The appliques were from Micheal's and I think were $3 a piece. These are rhinestone skull and crossbones.
|Boring dressage saddlepad|
|Rhinestone skull and crossbone appliques|
Next, you want to figure out where you want these bad boys to be placed on the saddle pad. Because these are individual rhinestones, I placed them as far out of the way as possible so that my boots would be less likely to rub against them and knock off the stones.
I also used the grid design of the saddle pad to help me place the applique. I lined the edges of the plastic up with the stitching. See?
I have a pretty powerful Rowenta iron because I used to be hardcore into sewing. Now I ride horses. I set this on the highest heat level but turned off the steam. I lay a flat cloth over the applique to help distribute the heat evenly and not melt the plastic that holds the applique.
Step 4. The most important step!
After you have ironed, you must let the applique adhesive set. I let the applique alone until it is completely cooled off. Do not remove the plastic over the applique or the adhesive on the actual applique will not harden and do its job of sticking.
After you have let the applique completely cool. Then remove the plastic topping. Voila!
Repeat on the other side of the saddle pad so that you have symmetrical designs.
Here is the finished product after its first ride. It is holding up ok. We will see after a few more rides if it still looks this intact. I got two compliments on its maiden voyage!