Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Live show roundup

Show season is here in earnest. All over the country model horse enthusiasts are trying to pick up those last minute NAN qualifications, and my inbox has been inundated with pictures from some of those shows. Here are a few of my favorites.

This is Karen Meekma's Extreme Justice II resin. "Dragonflye" is shown winning a jumper class in his Braymere tack set. Karen and her husband made the jump. The Belle Grande resin in the background also belongs to Karen and is wearing the saddle that was featured here not too long ago.
Karen also sent this picture from the Indian costume class. I'm not really sure why, because I did not make this costume. It's awfully neat, though, so I'm including it here.Regan O'Keefe took this photo of her Traci Caller Vizcaya resin competing in the dressage class at the Central Colorado Expo. "Troveo" was painted by Myla Pearce and is wearing a bridle by Fran Lowe, a saddle pad by Jane Schneider and a Braymere saddle. Regan made the props. The Gem Twist in the background is also wearing an older saddle by me.
Kim Haymond used her new Pebbles scale saddle at the Show for the Cure Live last weekend.
Doesn't her little D'arry resin look great?Last but certainly not least, comes this pair of pictures from Tiffany Purdy. "Anna Nicole Sugar Pie" won another overall performance championship. She is shown here wearing an endurance saddle I made last year. Rebecca Dunne made the bridle and I'm pretty sure Tiffany dressed the doll.
And here's another Indian costume I didn't make! Two in one week--how did that happen? I am in lust with Tiffany's Stormwatch. In addition to the amazing paint job, she also customized his head and neck position. Oh yeah, she made the warrior's headdress, too. Sheesh--some people are just too talented for their own good!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Horse book reviews

Ok, I'm relatively sure that everyone who reads this blog even occasionally knows that I've been sick. I skipped my annual flu shot and that turned out to be a really bad decision. I spent nearly ten days lying on the couch, feeling absolutely miserable and wishing I could have a do-over. Thankfully, that stage has passed. I still have a persistent cough, but mostly I'm fine. I've learned my lesson and I will be first in line to get my shot next fall.
Having the flu isn't fun, but there was a silver lining to all that time on the couch--I finally caught up on my reading! Normally I read a lot during the winter. I get cold easily and would rather stay home with a book than spend a day shivering on the ski slopes. This year, however, we've barely had a winter. In fact, yesterday's snow storm was the first real snow we've had since mid-December. It's been so unseasonably warm and dry that I haven't felt the need to hibernate. I've been out and about all winter, and as a result, I managed to accumulate quite a nice pile of books that needed reading. I had no idea what a good thing that would turn out to be. Those books were a godsend during my recovery!
I read my first Laura Crum book more than a decade ago, and over the years I have developed a real affection for her crime-solving veterinarian protagonist. Moonblind and Chasing Cans are the two newest entries in the Gail McCarthy series and they don't disappoint. If you like mysteries, these are worth looking into. Need further convincing? Check out the link to the Equestrian Ink Blog on the right side of your screen. Laura posts there regularly, and I always enjoy reading about her real horses and horse life.I saw this copy of Burn Out on the New Books shelf at the library and was immediately drawn to its beautiful cover. Although I was not personally familiar with the author, she has published a long list of mysteries featuring this protagonist. I like mysteries and the blurb on the jacket indicated this one took place on a ranch. That was reason enough to take a chance on it, and the book turned out to be a pretty decent read. That said, don't be fooled into thinking this is a horse book! There is a horse, but the parts of the book involving him are somewhat cringe-worthy. Perhaps I'm too picky, but I strongly suspect this author knows nothing about horses.Collective Marks is a coming of age story about a juvenile delinquent who takes an unpaid working student position at a dressage barn in the 1960's. This is a very horsey and well written book, and it's obvious that the author knows her subject matter inside and out. Definitely recommended!I borrowed this book from the library when it was first released, and I was so impressed that I had to buy a copy for my personal collection. I recently read it again, and it was just as good the second time around. The Perfect Distance is a coming of age story that follows a group of kids competing in the big year end huntseat equitation finals. This book captures the essence of the A show hunter circuit perfectly. Every detail is just right, and the characters are well drawn and totally believable. This one ranks right up there with classics like The Monday Horses and Last Junior Year.I bought the last book at the Portland Airport and read it on my way home from the Hearts N Horses live show. Technically, it wasn't part of my flu reading list, but it's still worth including here. The Hearts of Horses takes place in rural Oregon during the first World War. This is a very well written book with lots of well drawn characters and a nicely understated romance. It's horsey but not overwhelmingly so. In fact, I recommended it to my non-horsey mother and she liked it as much as I did. So, that's this month's book list. Has anyone else read a good, new horse book lately?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

TWH Tack

Despite having lived in Tennessee for seven years, I know next to nothing about Tennessee Walking Horses. Because of this, I was delighted when a recent order for "Big Lick tack" came with this information sheet. I love it when customers make my job that much easier!Here's the finished set. The horse is a customized Breyer showjumping Warmblood. He was made by Joyce Savage who was also the author of that very helpful information sheet. Sue Peet is the lucky owner of both the horse and tack. Close up of the bridle. I'm especially pleased with the shiny colored browband. It was made by dry brushing several layers of acrylic paint onto the leather and sealing with leather finish and a top coat of Jewel-It.
I altered my usual saddleseat pattern to more closely resemble Joyce's reference picture. The changes were all fairly subtle, but I think they combined to give the saddle a more elegant look. I'm not sure how the stirrup iron got bent like that. Rest assured, I've reshaped it since this picture was taken!
Hope you like it, Sue!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Backlog update

In the last week, I've had several people inquire about my work schedule. I would love to be able to make a saddle for each and every one of them. Unfortunately I just can't take any more orders until after NAN. I hate that. I am working really hard on my backlog, but I am still several weeks behind on everything. I have not started my NAN auction saddle and there are a few very patient customers who have been waiting a very long time for their tack... In good conscience, I just can't take on any new work right now. If that changes, I'll be sure to announce it here first, but my books are closed for the time being. Sorry!

Every post needs a picture, so here's a photo I took last January at a reining show. I love the way this horse's dorsal stripe continues down through his tail. I want a model with a tail like this!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Love N Stuff

I've had a couple people ask me if there was a story to go with my cute new pony's name. The answer is both yes and no. I did, indeed, know a real pony named Poka Tia and she was just as cute as her resin counterpart. However, I only knew her for a short time and I had no particular attachment to her. Mostly I just liked her name!
I've borrowed lots of names like that over the years. When I was still collecting (and naming) original finish models, it was unusual for there to be any connection between the real horse and its plastic namesake. That's changed a bit, though, since I switched over to resins.
In recent years, I've bought several blank resins with the intention of having them finished to look like horses from my past. Yesterday's post featured the first of these portrait models--my lovely chestnut Matriarch. She was painted by Susan Hurst to resemble my favorite school horse at Eaton Canyon Riding Club. These pictures show me and the real Love N Stuff during one of our weekly lessons in 1980. I was eleven years old and completely horse crazy. I lived for that one hour a week when I could pretend that Love was my own. The stable was within walking distance of my house, and I'd often go there even on non-lesson days so that I could pet her nose and feed her carrots.Love N Stuff died a couple years after these pictures were taken. I never found out what happened. I had missed a couple weeks worth of lessons, and the next time I went to the stable, her name had been taken off the lesson horse list. I asked of course, but no one was talking, at least not to me... Poor old girl! She was such a sweet mare and there's no telling how many kids learned to ride on her broad back.
In some ways the Matriarch resin may seem an odd choice for my Love N Stuff portrait. The real Love was a cute but average looking grade mare, and Matriarch is obviously a well-bred stock horse. Still, I think it works. Just look at the model's kind, patient face. Susan did a wonderful job of capturing both Love N Stuff's color and her gentle personality. I see my old friend when I look at this model and that makes me happy. Now if someone would just sculpt a pony that looked like Cinnamon...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Central Colorado Expo--More pictures

Here are some more pictures from the Central Colorado Expo held yesterday at the Parker Senior Center in Parker, Colorado. Fran Lowe was the show holder and performance judge.
Most of my exhibitor table was covered in performance stuff, so some of my halters horses hung out on a nearby counter between classes.
More of my horses on the counter.
My table was right next to the OF Stone Showring. I'm not a big OF collector, but I enjoyed having a chance to see so many nice models up close and in person. I particularly like this crabby pony.
The Custom/Resin Arab class. I forgot to bring my Aashiq's base so he had to show lying down. Thankfully, that wasn't a problem for judge, Jennifer (Irwin) Scott. She placed him first even without the base.A very pretty Suki showing in the Lightbreed Foals class.
Jennifer Scott and Sheila Anderson Bishop taking some time out to chat during the Draft Type Pony class.I love this Eberl Fjord. I think I take her picture at every single show! Poka Tia won the Draft Type Pony class and then went on to take the Custom/Resin Pony Championship.
A very nice Bitty Bosco painted by Sheila.
The Custom/Resin Stock Foal class. My new paint Okie Rio was the eventual winner. I also own the swishy tail Parrs Dream Doll resin in the foreground.
Two of my horses on the Championship table. Validator is a Valor resin sculpted and painted by Carol Williams. Love N Stuff is a Carol Williams Matriarch painted by Susan Hurst.
Another view of the Championship table. Valerie McEntee's Lone Star and Love N Stuff are in the background. Nancy's Tynk and my two Purdy horses, Poka Tia and Khemotigre, and in the foreground.
And the Champions are...
Khemotigre and Poka Tia! I was too tired to take their win photos at the show, so here they are on my kitchen counter. Khemotigre looks a lot nicer standing up!
Thanks so much to Fran and the judges for making this show happen. I had so much fun. Can't wait to do it again!

Central Colorado Expo--Performance Pictures

I had a great time yesterday at the Central Colorado Expo! I'm sure everyone in the show hall was tired of listening to me cough, but it did feel good to be out and about, among friends and surrounded by lots and lots of pretty plastic horses.

Overall turnout for the show was high, but as is often the case in Colorado, the performance division was quite small. I did my part to boost those numbers by showing in all three performance divisions. This a a picture of my trusty old Linda Lima mule resin, Balthazar, competing in the Other Performance class. He won third place with this Endurance setup.New shower JerryLynn Rice entered this harness entry in the Other Performance class.Regan O'Keefe's Portuguese entry (tack by me) was fourth in Other Performance.
Balthazar won the roping class with this entry. Close up of his tack. I made the bridle, tie down, pad and skid boots. The saddle and breastcollar are by Margaret Teller and Corinne Ensor made the Sports Medicine Boots (which are not very well adjusted--my bad!). This is my other Western performance competitor. Dun Up Purdy is a Breyer Zippo Pine Bar customized with an all new head by Tiffany Purdy. He is wearing a saddle by Margaret Teller, a bridle and breastcollar by Susan Bensema Young, pad and reins by me, and a doll by Darla Curtis. I also made his Western Riding props.
Balthazar won the Other Western class with this natural trail entry. Alaina Richardson (Bookshelf Barns) made the props. We had run out of room on the show table, so this was set up on a nearby piano!
Sheila Anderson Bishop's Carlito resin Surprise in the Gymkhana class.
Close up of Surprise's bridle. This was made by Jacquee' Gillespie, and everything about it is amazing. The reins are spun Alpaca wool and the bit is handmade by Jacqee'. Check out those knots! Such a cool, cool piece...Dun Up Purdy won the Gymkhana class with his egg and spoon set up. Note the broken eggs!
Teresa Buzzell's egg and spoon entry. Her pretty Phoenix resin was painted by Kirsten Wellman.
Balthazar's apple bob gymkhana entry. This came in last--oh well, can't win them all!
Purdy in Western trail. I think this was good enough for third. Purdy ended up winning the Western Performance Reserve Championship.Valerie McEntee's amazing Lone Star and his equally amazing bridge won the Western Trail class. This is another entry set up on the piano!Sheila's Surprise, shown here in Western Trail, was the Western Performance Champion.I was almost completely out of steam by the time the English classes rolled around and this is the only picture I took during the entire division. This is my Windfall resin Getaway taking part in the Other English class. His tack is by me and the props are by Alaina Richardson.
Getaway is always a superstar. He was Champion of the English division and Overall Performance Champ. I probably ought to retire him and find another horse to show in English, but he's just so darn fun and versatile!
Stay tuned for Halter pictures!