Donkey saddles are not all that different from standard horse saddles. The primary difference in the two is that a donkey saddle tends to be smaller with a wider, flatter tree. Donkeys are often used as pack animals and the straps on these saddles are used to tie various pack items onto the saddle so that they do not fall off during transport.
Latigo are thin leather straps commonly used to tie items onto a saddle. If your saddle needs new straps, your best option is to purchase a length of leather latigo from a leather supply store, cut it to the exact measurement that you need using a pair of heavy duty sewing scissors and then fasten it to your saddle. Latigo comes in different widths and colors. Your saddle should have D-rings that you can tie the latigo straps to to attach them to your saddle.
It can be difficult to find replacement straps for a donkey saddle if one of your primary straps breaks. If the billets or cinch that goes on either your front or back girth break, you will need to purchase a length of leather strap that is at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. If you are making billets for your saddle (the straps that hold the girth onto the saddle), you will need to cut off a 2-foot section of leather strap, fold it in half and punch three matching holes in the center of it on either side. Your holes should be punched in a downward facing triangular pattern (two on top, one on the bottom) and match up evenly when the strap is folded.
If you need a new cinch strap, you can cut a 6-foot long piece of strap and fold the top 6 inches back over to create a loop that will be used to fasten the cinch strap to the large dee on your saddle. You should use a hole punch to punch the same three triangular holes in this strap that you do in a billet hole.
Any time you make a strap, you will need to either punch three triangular holes in it so you can tie it onto the saddle. You will tie the billets, cinches and other straps on by cutting a 6-inch piece of latigo strap and sticking both ends through the top two holes on your triangle (one end in each hole), creating a loop. Push both ends together back through the single hole at the bottom of your triangle then tuck the ends back through the loop you made and tighten the knot down. If you are making a strap for an area of the saddle that buckles, you should use your hole punch to make a series of holes you can use to buckle the strap on with.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.