Today's project is a double bridle for Erin's beautiful customized Miss America resin.
Saddleseat style double bridles aren't for the faint of heart. They are almost impossibly dainty, with lots of narrow straps and numerous teeny tiny buckles and keepers. With so many pieces, the proper fit is absolutely essential. There's a very fine line between refined elegance and bulky mess!
My task is further complicated by the fact that I do not own a Miss America resin. I always prefer to make tack directly on the model. There's no better way to insure a perfect fit. Unfortunately, I can't afford to own them all, so I've developed a pretty good system for working from measurements.
First, I have the customer measure her model using this chart. Once I have the numbers in hand, I begin the hunt for a body double. In this case, my three candidates are a UVM Yesteryear resin, the Breyer Lonesome Glory and the Peter Stone ISH.I chose the Yesteryear because, like Miss America, he was sculpted by Sarah Rose. Most artists are surprisingly consistent in regards to the size and proportions of their sculptures' heads. One extreme example of this is Kathleen Moody. Without exception, her models are going to need an extra long browband. On the other end of the scale, most of Karen Gerhardt's horses wear a surprisingly short brow--even that big old Cleveland Bay! Using another model by the same sculptor helps the tackmaker better visualize these kind of proportional tendencies, so I am not terribly surprised to see how similar Miss America and Yesteryear's heads are.
If you don't have a model by the same sculptor, it's still possible to find a good body double. Miss America's head is fairly long and very narrow so I scanned my shelves for a horse with similar attributes. Lonesome Glory seemed to fit the bill, so he is the next one to be measured. Once again, I've found a very acceptable stand-in!
In fact, Yesteryear and Lonesome Glory are such good matches that there is no need to measure that ISH. With the body doubles and measurement chart on my desk, I am now ready to start building the bridle. Each strap will be measured against the model and then adjusted slightly per a check of the chart. If the customer's measurements are good and I do my job well, the bridle should fit exactly right. Here's hoping, anyway!