Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to make custom carrying cases

Life continues to be interesting, and when I say interesting what I really mean is complicated!  Fortunately, I have another great guest blogger tutorial to share.  This comes from Emily Rodgers, a model tackmaker and real life Parelli schooled horse trainer.  For more information, be sure to check out her Savvy with Sonny blog.

Mummy Horses: A Thing of the Past

by Emily Rodgers

After my beloved Valentino suffered a tail crack on the way home, I knew I had to look into alternate ways of shipping. The old toilet papered/mummy horse just wasn’t cutting it. So I asked one of my best friends, Susan, if she had any suggestions. Like always, she told me how to solve the problem: gun cases! 

Here is what she told me to do:

You will need 1) a four pistol gun case 2) scissors and 3) a permanent marker. 
The gun cases can be purchased here, or your local Wal Mart. Just make sure they are the four-pistol kind. 
To get started, open up the gun case. You will see both sides contain “bumpy” foam. Lift up the thicker side to reveal “smooth” foam underneath.
Take out the “bumpy” and “smooth” foam and replace the “bumpy” in the bottom. You are going to be cutting out of the “SMOOTH” foam! 
Once the smooth foam is out, lay it on a flat surface and place the model in the middle. Begin tracing the model with a permanent marker. Be VERY careful to not get any on your model. 
This outline does not have to be perfect. So a good way to keep marker from getting on your horse is to always hold the marker straight up and down. That way if you do get close, because of the way the horse is shaped, the handle part of the marker would hit the horse before the tip did.
NOTE: You only need to cut out the side of the horse that is lying down. So in the case, Harley is laying on his right side so I only need to cut out his right legs. This might be different for horses with crazy legs, but most of the time you only cut out two legs and a tail. 
Start the cutting in the center. In the begging it only needs to be a rough outline. I never go all the way to the pen mark at first; I always leave about a centimeter of space. You want your horse to be snug! You don’t want him to have room to wiggle. So it is better to start small and work out rather than cut too much at once and not be able to go back.
Throughout my cutting I periodically place the horse back onto the foam to make sure I am on the right track. This also gives me an idea of how much of the next part I need to cut.
Legs and small places can be tricky to cut. I have found that holding the scissors vertical and making small snips is the best technique. It takes a while to work all the way through the foam, but it works a lot better than holding the scissors horizontal. 
 Once I think my foam is finished, I place it back in the case with the horse. Here I can check the fit. 
Because of the way Harley is shaped, his leg hind leg is sticking out a bit. I solve this by taking a piece of foam that I had cut out and place it under his leg. You might have to do this with a tail. ALSO, you do not need to have the head and ears perfectly tight. They can have some wiggle room, but make sure the body is secure first. Since my foam is really tight around Harley's head, I may go back and give him a bit extra room.
And here is the finished product :). I understand this can get expensive, especially if you have a lot of horses. But, if you collect more over time, it isn't so bad! I usually just have them for my fragile resins, but I know Susan uses them for OF's, too! Feel free to asking questions or post suggestions!
Thanks again, Emily (and Susan, too!).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ribbons postscript

My real life horse career hasn't been filled with championship ribbons, but my model horse career has definitely helped fill the void.
I have ribbons in the studio, 
ribbons in the basement, 
and ribbons in a box! 
Does anyone need some used show ribbons?

Show ribbons

When I was ten and a half years old, I started taking riding lessons at Eaton Canyon Riding Club.  Despite it's rather exclusive sounding name, this was a large, slightly run down, public riding stable with an active lesson program.  Every six months or so, the stable would host a schooling show for boarders and students.  Naturally, I wanted to participate.
My instructor, Ann, helped me sign up for a Novice Walk/Trot Equitation class.  I was allowed to ride one of my favorite school horses, Holly. 
It didn't go well.  There were seven entries in the class, and I tied for sixth.  My older sister pointed out that I probably should have placed seventh but the judge felt sorry for me.  Yeah, thanks.  

Fortunately, I did improve over time.  
Green pity ribbons gave way to pink, white and yellow ribbons.  I wasn't exactly wowing the judges, but at least I was no longer the worst rider in the ring.
And although I desperately wanted to win a blue ribbon just one time, I was a practical child.  I knew that a once a week lesson kid riding school horses and borrowed ponies had little chance of beating girls who rode six times a week, owned their own horses and had actual show clothes.
I tried and tried, but I never did manage to win a blue ribbon at Eaton Canyon Riding Club.  However, I did earn top honors elsewhere.
Time has not been kind to this formerly blue ribbon, but there's no mistaking the inscription on the middle streamer.  Once--just once--I did win First Place in an actual riding competition.
It happened the summer I was thirteen.  That was the year, I persuaded my parents to allow me to attend the Sierra Madre Girl Scout Council's "Cowgirl Corral" day camp.
The camp was held at Arroyo Seco Stables in South Pasadena.  In addition to lessons and boarding this barn also rented horses by the hour.  It was decidedly less upscale than ECRC, but I didn't care.  For one glorious week, I got to ride horses every single day in the big arena under the bridge.
photo by Claudette 12 on Flickr, used with permission
On the last day of camp, there was a competition to determine the week's All Around Champion rider.  This included a written test on general horse knowledge and a two class gymkhana.  At the end of the day, all three scores were combined to determine the winner.

Predictably, I aced the written test.  After that I climbed aboard a horse named Indian and earned a good but not great placing in the Egg and Spoon class.  

The last event of the day was a class called Ride and Tie.  Like the long distance sport of the same name, the Ride and Tie race was a competition which paired two riders with one horse.      My heart started pounding as they explained the rules to us.  All three team members would line up together by the in-gate.  Upon the starter's signal, both the rider and the runner would take off at top speed and make one big lap around the ring.  When the horse/rider team reached the starting point, the rider was required to dismount, tie the horse with an approved quick release safety knot and make a second lap around the ring, this time on foot.  Meanwhile, upon completion of her first lap around the ring, the second member of the ream was required to untie the horse, mount without assistance and then ride around the ring.  The team with the fastest time would be named the winner.

For the first time in my equestrian career, I knew this was a class I could win.  I may not have been the best rider or the fastest runner, but there was one thing I knew how to do like no one else.  I could tie a quick release knot. 
And that's what it came down to in the end.  I rode first and when it was time to dismount and tie, I was able accomplish in seconds that which took other teams several long minutes.  My teammate and I won the class, and I was awarded the All Around Champion ribbon.
All my other riding ribbons have long since been discarded, but this one remains.  It may not represent much in the grand scheme of things, but it seemed like a big deal at the time--my very first blue ribbon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

How to make show ribbons

Ask and you shall receive.  I love it when that actually works!
Today's post comes from guest blogger Nichelle Jones who writes one of my favorite blogs, Desktop Stables.  Thank you so much for sharing, Nichelle!
Show Ribbons
by Nichelle Jones
When I was taking riding lessons I really, really wanted the chance to compete in a local horse show. Nothing fancy, just something fun. When that chancefinally came, it rained, and the show was cancelled. I never quite got over that!
I think part of the appeal was the chance of winning one of those smooth and shiny ribbon rosettes. Horse-crazy girls often dream of the blue ones, but to be honest, I would’ve been happy with anything.
A few years later, I finally got my ribbon, thanks to model horses:
I’ve been wanting to re-create show ribbons in miniature for a long time now. Since some of my horses placed in Blab’s recent photo show, I decided that it was time to figure out how to make the darn things for my models. Cause you know… I’m just weird like that.
Here’s the result! A Champ, Reserve, and 1st through 6th placings. (in America, anyway)

Fourth!  Not bad for her first show
Interested in making one yourself?
I used 1/8 satin ribbon as it was all I had on hand. I bet they would look nice in other widths too.
I wasn’t specific with measuring. Basically, you need to cut three long strips for the tail and eight small strips for the rosette. Mine were about 2cm long.
You also need a circle of paper (I used cardstock as it’s heavier) to build the rosette on. I traced around the lid of a marker.
1: Fold the small pieces of ribbon in half and glue in place. 
Crimping the edges before gluing helps!
2: You’re going to want to trim down each of these pieces. This will reduce any bulk and tidy up the ends. Folded and cut, mine measured a little more than half a cm long. (eyeballing, woo!)
3: Glue the first four pieces to the circle…
4: … followed by the next four. 
5: For the tail, glue two of the long strips together at a slight angle. Glue the third directly on top.
6: Glue the tail to the back of the rosette, with a smaller paper circle on top, to keep things neat.
7: To make a hook for hanging, cut a thin strip of the cardstock, taper one end, and fold. Paper is fragile, but less likely to scratch your models than wire or something. 
Glue to the back of the rosette.
8: For the center, I cut the heads off of some horse-shaped confetti I found. They’re not completely realistic, but everything else was making me crazy so I just went with it. You could make round medallions out of colored paper, or print up a fancier design if you would like.
9: Glue to the front of the rosette, then trim the tail to whatever length you would like it to be. 
Treat the ends with Fray Check (or something similar) to prevent fraying, and you’ve got yourself a pretty little show ribbon!
Have fun!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Life is hard

Well, maybe not for everyone....
And not for me, at least not right now.  

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for my best friend.  Her life has been very hard lately, and a lot of the time and energy I usually devote to blogging has gone her way instead.    If anyone is inclined to submit a guest blogger piece--tutorials, live show reports, Bargain Barn entries, even funny photos of animals wearing model horse tack-- now is the time!  I'm doing my best to keep this space updated, but it's likely to be a bit quiet for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pink jump

I don't generally make props for other people, but I am a reasonably proficient jump builder. Here's a look at my newest creation.
Isn't it Purdy?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sneak peek for Kellye

It wasn't just the weekend, this entire week has been filled with unexpected complications.  I haven't had a lot of time for tack--or blogging!-- but I have made some progress on Kellye's Criollo set.
There's still a long way to go, but something is better than nothing, right?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bargain Barn--Emma

Sometimes the best things in life really are free.  

Emma is a perfect example.
Emma is a Jasmine mule resin sculpted by Melanie Miller.  I won her unpainted body in a blog contest in 2008.
photo by Melanie Miller
A couple months later, a friend and I went to a mule show where I fell head over heels in love with a beautiful spotted molly.  Just like that, I knew what color I wanted my new mule to be!
Fortunately, I also knew a talented finishwork artist who can be bribed with tack.  I boxed up Emma and sent her to Illinois.  She came back looking like this.
Since then, Emma has been my primary performance model.  She has been shown five times and has won three Overall Performance Champion titles, one Overall Reserve Performance champion title, a NAN Reserve Championship, two Stone prize models and too many NAN cards to count.
Thanks again and again to both Mel and Tiffany.  Emma really is the best free mule ever!