For a little over a year, the girls have taken (somewhat sporadic) riding lessons at the wonderful, family-owned JS Stables. A few months ago, after seeing my blog, one of the owners asked me about converting her daughter’s first saddle into a stool, as it was no longer fit for riding and she thought it would be a nice keepsake. I hadn’t done anything like this before but was up for the challenge!
The hardest part was finding something to use as the base. It had to be very sturdy, and I wanted it to be low enough that the pre-teen recipient could sit on it and have her feet touch the ground. (I don’t know how much time she’ll actually spend sitting on it, but I was pretty sure it would be none if she had to perch atop the saddle.). Last, I wanted the base to have (or be able to get) the appropriate “rustic” look. These requirements ruled out lots of my initial ideas, like attaching the saddle to a traditional metal barstool base.
I ended up using, of all things, an old wooden high chair that I found at a thrift shop. I removed the seat back and arm and foot rests, and trimmed the seat base down a little so the saddle fit nice and snug on it. I attached the saddle using some big wood screws and one of the saddle’s straps. There were a few spots on the legs that needed wood glue and/or wood filler, and I also Restore-a-Finished (that’s a verb, right?) them. The seat base got painted and scuffed up a bit to match the rest of the saddle chair. And last, I painted a personal message to the stool’s recipient (from her mom) on the bottom of the seat.
I wish I could have trimmed away more of the seat base so you didn’t see it sticking out quite so much. But because of the placement of the legs, it would have required some precise cutting, and my secondhand jigsaw bit the dust a while ago. Ah, well. I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and I hope the recipient was too!
Here’s how it turned out.