How to Make a Saddle Bag for Horses

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Saddle bags can be attached to the D rings on the saddle.
Saddle bags can be attached to the D rings on the saddle. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Saddle bags are a useful piece of equipment for horse owners. On long trail rides, they are a practical way of carrying drinks and spare clothing; on shorter rides, they can safely hold cell phones if you have no pocket available. These double saddlebags lie over the horse's withers in front of the saddle, and they are attached to the D rings. You don't have to be an experienced sewer to put these together, but make sure that your stitching is strong and that all straps are firmly attached.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Strong waterproof fabric
  • Pins
  • Binding tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Nylon straps
  • Buckles

Making the Template

Make the template. Draw an oblong about 3 inches by 9 inches, and round off the corners. On one long side, draw a scoop in toward the middle of the oblong, about 3 inches deep. Cut out the shape, then fold it in half horizontally.

Mark a line on either side of the central fold, about 3 inches down. This marks the top of the saddle bag. Place the template on another piece of paper and draw around each end up to the marked line. Cut out the two shapes. These will form the bags themselves.

Use the bag templates as guidelines to cut out two squares of paper. These should be the same width as the bag and about 1 inch shorter. These will form the flaps of the bag.

Making the Saddle Bag

Cut out all the pieces of the bag using the template, and pin the bags onto the base. Sew the bags firmly into place with two lines of stitching. Use binding tape to bind the remaining raw edges of the bags.

Hem the two squares of fabric for the flaps. Stitch firmly into place on top of the bags.

Add a strap to each flap and a corresponding buckle to each bag so that the bags can be fastened shut.

Turn the whole thing over. Sew a strap to the top back corner of each bag, and a corresponding buckle to the base of each strap. You can now place the saddle bags across the horse's shoulders in front of the saddle. Attach the bags to the D rings with the straps.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using Velcro as a fastener is easier than buckles, but some horses may react badly to the ripping noise it makes when opened.
  • Old canvas bags can make a good source of material for saddle bags.
  • Make sure that both bags are loaded equally to avoid strain on your horse's neck.

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