Andre was in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment for 16 years, competing in sport horse events as a member of the regimental team. It was here that he trained and qualified as a saddler. Andre later left the Household Cavalry to take position as the managing saddler for the Mounted police in London where he worked for 8 years.
Whilst there, Andre took a 5 week break and rode across Romania with writer Jeremy James (making the majority of the saddlery accoutrements needed for the trip). It was whilst riding across this very picturesque and friendly country that Andre saw first-hand the working horses in general use. This experience inspired in him an interest in wanting to help in this area.
André was then approached by a major UK equine charity and offered the job as their first saddler in its overseas training program. He developed and ran the first saddlery training program to improve saddlery and harness, used by people in many developing countries where the working horse is still used on a daily basis.
Andre’s job was to train local people to make, fit and maintain saddlery/harness to improve the conditions under which the horses, mules and donkeys worked. This taught him the principle that everything going on or around the horse, donkey or mule needs to fit, work properly and be made of the suitable materials.
To this end in 1993 Andre was fortunate enough to spend time at a pack horse station in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains in the USA, working on western and pack saddles. It was here that Andre gained knowledge of the essential techniques required when working on Western and pack saddles.
Andre specialises in the fitting, altering and repairing of saddles, as well as ‘template taking’, so that he can get saddles that are customised to suit the horses shape and condition. This is a necessary process if you want the best fitting saddle. Andre advises on the choice and selection of the saddle, depending on you and your horse’s needs and, if necessary, alters the saddle to fit the horse more comfortably.
If possible, all this is done at your own stables, providing that they are within reasonable reach of his home, so that he can try saddles on your horse with you sitting on as well. If there is need of re-flocking, changing the shape of the panel to fit your horses back, he does that on site.
It is preferred, and could be more beneficial to you, if Andre can carry out the saddle fitting in Normandy if you are able to bring your horse to him. Andre has a large workshop and can do alterations if needed whilst you wait. He uses different suppliers for saddles and can meet most clients’ demands with his hands-on approach.
Master Saddler André Bubear manufactures, repairs and fits all work made by hand and by order. He tries to offer, consistently and efficiently, a personal, quick and competitive professional service. Everything’s made on the premises, using the best quality leather and fittings, in Andre’s ‘traditional saddler’s workshop’.
He can make a wide variety of equipment, from made-to-measure bridles and horse tack, to dog leads/collars and show ring/training equipment. Anything from belts to bellows, halters to handbags. If you have something of your own design to have made, please bring it along and he’ll try to meet your requirements.