Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Jennifer Show bonus prizes

"That judge hates my horses."

Oh, how I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard a disappointed shower utter those words! 

And honestly, I've probably said them myself. After a long, frustrating day of low ribbons and no ribbons, it's easy to feel like the judge really does hate your showstring.

If there's one thing I've learned from judging, however, it's that judges don't make decisions based on hate. There are a multitude of reasons why an entry may not not place well. It's not unusual for a judge to love an entry, but place it behind others that better fit the class criteria. Other times, it's as simple as too many horses and not enough ribbons. I don't think I've ever judged a show, where I didn't wish I could award bonus prizes for some of the horses that just missed the cut.

In addition to the first and second place blue and red Potato Chip medallions, the Jennifer Show prize table will also include some bonus green and purple Potato Chips. These will be awarded by the judges and the Jennifers to entries that were loved and appreciated, regardless of placing. 
This is another part of our Mookie approved plan to help spread the Jennifer Show wealth.
We're expecting a lot of fierce competition at the Jennifer Show, but everyone who's attending should be sure to leave some extra room in their suitcase. This is a big prize show, and no one is going home empty handed!

The Jennifer Show halter prizes

The Jennifer Show performance division is my baby, and I've written extensively about the different championship sections and the prizes that will be offered for each.
I've written less about the halter classes, which may lead some readers to conclude that prizes there are somewhat less impressive... Trust me, that is simply not the case!
Every single model that wins a halter class will also win a Potato Chip medallion, dark blue for Breed...
and light blue for Workmanship. 
Similarly, every second place horse will win a red medallion. 
Again, there's a slight color difference for Breed and Workmanship. 
Division Champions and Reserve Champions will win the resin bust Jenn and I have been referring to as "Potato Chip Husband."  This is a photo of the original clay sculpture, but he will also be cast in blue and red resin.
Overall Champions and Reserve Champions in the Mini Breed and Workmanship Divisions will be awarded Dainty Darcy resins. Sorry, these will be the standard issue white, not red and blue!
Overall Champions and Reserve Champions in the Custom Glaze China divisions will receive China Darcys. These will be clear-glazed in gloss for our Champs and satin for the Reserves.
Finally, the big winners in the Artist Resin and Custom divisions will win each win a Rajah resin.  
As you can clearly see, the Jennifer Show is more than just a performance show. The halter divisions, and their prizes, are every bit as impressive as their performance counterparts. I can't wait to see all Potato Chips, Husbands, Darcys and Rajahs lined up on the Prize table!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


My desk looks like a battlefield, but progress is being made.
Today was a slog, but tomorrow, I should get to the fun part. I can't wait.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Back to work

I haven't made any tack since my dad died.

Actually, it's been longer than that. With one small exception, I haven't made any tack since the beginning of July.

I've wanted to, of course. I've sat in my studio and started numerous small projects, all of which were abandoned long before completion. This kind of tack making slump isn't terribly surprising. I always find it hard to work when I'm in the midst of emotional upheaval.


The Jennifer Show is rapidly approaching, and I need to make those Championship saddles. This must happen. IOU's are not an option.

So, today I picked through my leather supply, and chose the best petite tooling calf hide I have left.
I dyed that a deep chocolate brown.
While that was drying, I cleared a space on my very messy work desk. 
Then, I built... 
and covered a pair of saddle trees. 
They may not look like much yet, but this feels like a real achievement. Any progress is good progress, and this is real progress. With any luck these saddles will be done by the end of the work week!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Grace's TJS donation

I first "met" Grace LeDoux through my 2012 Gift Horse Giveaway. In the years since then, she's become one of my favorite bloggers and mini scale tack makers.
BreyerWest 2016 Other Performance Champion, owned by Sue Manly, tack by Grace LeDoux
I emailed Grace earlier this year and asked if she would be willing to donate a piece or two to the Jennifer Show. Because I knew she was in a tack making funk, I didn't expect much. Honestly, I would have been delighted with just a halter.
halter and photo by Grace LeDoux
Yesterday, I received a box from Grace. Inside, I found a Breyer mini Valegro, who was sculpted by my Jennifer Show co-host, Jennifer Scott. He was decked out in a lovely custom TJS  blanket...
complete with the date on the offside. 
I thought that was a perfectly lovely donation, but it wasn't the only donation. As I was emptying the box in preparation for recycling, I found another tiny little bundle.
Holy crap! How can anyone make something this small and this perfect?
My camera doesn't want to pick up all the tiny details, but trust me, this thing is awesome.
Of course, I had to try tacking up the little Valegro. The saddle went on very easily, but I am not used to mini scale tack, so I struggled with the bridle. Still, I think I got it pretty close. With a little practice, I'm sure I could do better.
Thank you so much, Grace! This was so much more than I expected and also so awesome!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Bobbie's box

The contents fell into three general categories: model horse tack, 
Japanese toys and souvenirs...
and Japanese candy and snacks. 
All of the tack items were made by Bobbie. In addition to the awesome duct tape halter, there was also a teeny tiny rope halter and stable blanket...
and two gorgeous, cross stitched saddle blankets. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of these, but you can see one of them peeking out from under Gizette's saddle in this photo. This was a custom order, and I couldn't be more pleased!
The toys included little puppers, two of which are well behaved...
and one who is decidedly not. 
I absolutely love this naughty little boy... 
and I can already tell that he's going to find his way into a lot of my photos. 
There was also a Neko Atsume cat... 
and a regular barn cat.  I like her mismatched eyes.
I (mostly) saved the candy for Ryan and James. The Kit Kats and the gummies were a big hit, and James was pretty excited about the Poppin' Cookin'.
We weren't sure what to expect in regards to the crackers, so Ryan used a cell phone app to translate the box.
It turns out that "whirlpool taste" equals salty and slightly fishy!
Thanks again, Bobbie. That was really a fun box, and my entire family enjoyed that "taste of Japan!"

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Duct tape tack

Today I received an unexpected box from my friend Bobbie Allen, who is currently living in Japan,. Inside I found a whole trove of treasures, many of which are blog worthy, but none more so than this gorgeous lime green halter. 
Believe it or not, this halter is made out of duct tape.

Yes, you read that right: duct tape.

Back in January 2015, Bobbie shared photos of her duct tape tack on her Horse Tender Studio blog. I loved the tack, loved the post and have wanted a duct tape halter ever since. I am so pleased to finally own one. 

I am also excited to share the original duct tape tack post here. This is one of my favorite blog posts ever, not just from Bobbie's blog, but from all blogs. It is just that awesome.

Thank you so much, Bobbie!

Duct Tape Tack 

by Bobbie Allen

As I forge ahead with my tack making journey, as in LEATHER tack, I thought it would be fun to share some of the stunning tack I made when I was a kid...  hahaha

Let's jump right into it and then I'll tell a bit of back story:

This is "Devil In Disguise" he was one of my favorites as a kid and this is HIS halter.  I made it for him a looong time ago and he's pretty much been wearing it ever since.  
The halter is simple, it's elegant...  it's made out of duct tape.


A tiny bit of back story:  As a kid, for some reason, I started making things out of duct tape.  I was doing this way before it was "cool".  There were only three colors back then - silver, brown, and black.  I used to make entire models out of duct tape.  I would make a wire skeleton, use paper towel or toilet paper to build muscles, and duct tape for skin.  My specialty was actually dinosaurs, but I did some other creatures too.  Sadly none of my models survived when I decided to purge for a move and get rid of a bunch of my "kid stuff" as a young adult.  (though I've thought that I should try and make one of them again)

I became known in the area as the kid who makes things out of duct tape.  This was something I learned once while trick-or-treating with a duct tape covered prop for my costume.  I was recognized by a lady in a house a few neighborhoods over.  "Oh, you're the one who makes things out of duct tape, I heard about you!" - haha.

Okay, back to horses..  Fairly recently, when I decided I was going to try and get into making tack (again?), I had unpacked some of my current supplies and organized them.
Today's focus is:
Yep, we're going way back...  Behold the contents!
I have two Arabians that have their own halters, "Devil", above, and this guy. His name is "Shalamar" and he's another favorite.  His halter is actually made out of masking tape and it features a handmade "buckle".  He's been wearing his halter since it was made too.
My goodness, what is that...??
This is the first duct tape saddle we'll look at.  It's a little harder to hide the choice of material here, versus a thin strip for a halter. 
I think this might have been used in photo showing.  I can't remember how it did.  Haha.
Next up appears to be my only attempt at a duct tape western saddle, unfinished.
I'm not sure if I had run out of black and brown tape here or what, but on this one it's REALLY easy to tell what that saddle is made from. 
Going down in size, here we have a Classic scale McClellan saddle.
It didn't age as well as the others.  It's pretty much a hot mess (even worse than a duct tape McClellan would be expected to look? - haha).
The off side seems to have held together a little better, but there's still a lot going on here.
Moving on to another Classic saddle.
It kinda looks familiar, but something's not quite right...
Yep, this one is an Australian saddle, but the polley on one side seems to have gone missing.
It looks like I tried to be a little fancy on the breast plate, cutting out a notch, versus leaving a straight strip of tape, ha!
I also did a fair bit of stuff with yarn.  I can remember that I had a neat rope halter/bridle combination thing I'd come up with.  At one point I had a bunch of them.  Sadly, this is the only yarn creation that survived.  It is a pair of classic "rope hobbles".
The only thing in the pile for a Stablemate is this... saddle? I'm not even sure what I was trying to do here.  The "tree" is a wire frame, covered with masking tape. What was this? We may never know...
Moving on to headgear.  Here's the whole pile:
First up, a draft-sized halter, made from masking tape.
Something I thought was interesting on this one is... a buckle with a tongue!  I didn't think I'd done that back then.  This does appear to be the only one in the bunch.
Another point of interest, I made the noseband adjustable too.  Fancy!
Next, a duct tape halter.  I'm not sure who this was made for - clearly not him, but he was handy...
Moving down to Classic scale again.  A masking tape halter...
For something different... A shadow roll, made from electrical tape, I think the fuzzy part is a wad of toilet paper.  Somewhere around this point during the photo shoot, I realized that my model appeared to be giving me a look like, "You have got to be kidding me."
"Seriously??" she says.
Yeah, that one isn't quite the right size.  It was then that I remembered who this one was made for.
My attempt at a fancy show headstall for my baby Saddlebred. This one is made from duct tape with masking tape accents, with a masking tape/marker-colored browband.
Last up, is this.
I remembered as I was looking through all of this stuff, that this was my "pride and joy" at the time I made it.  It hasn't aged very well, but here it is... a double bridle!
I don't remember if it was made for Midnight Sun or the 5-Gaiter, but I'm thinking 5-Gaiter.  I don't have either of the horses I'd had when I made this, but I pulled a Midnight Sun from my body shelves.  I didn't want to fiddle with it too much to try for a better fit.  The ones with masking tape are pretty brittle and I figured I'd just do a quick setup for the pictures.  :)

I'm not sure why I used silver tape for the reins, maybe I'd run out of of the black tape.

Check out that bit!  I think the shape is really cool, for just a piece of bent wire.
That's it!  I hope you enjoyed this look at my childhood duct tape tack.  It certainly was fun to go through all of it again.  A lot of memories there and I'm glad I still have it all to share.