Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why I do this

I put a lot of time and energy into this blog.  It's a labor of love, and I do not get paid to write.  That's okay.  Not all rewards are monetary. 

Devon Comstock is a long time blog reader and frequent commenter.  She is exactly the kind of person for whom I write this blog, and I am honored to be a part of her hobby life. 

Dear Jennifer,

Since it's around the time of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I realized that I needed to say thank you to a lot of people. This definitely includes you! 

When I was younger and I started collecting horses, I started making some small tack items. I came across your blog while looking at other tack makers' tack.  I was absolutely amazed by your work and I knew right away that I wanted to make tack like that! Eventually I started making various "strappy" tack pieces that consisted of bridles, halters, breastplates, and even a harness and a few other things. 

This is one of my first leather bridles.  I made it with cheek pieces that attach to the noseband so that I could use it when I played with my horses.
This is my very first harness.  I made with a mixture of leather from Tandy, Rio Rondo and my Dad. It's based off of a harness I saw in Philadelphia that was on a horse named Victor. I used your blog the entire time I made this!
After several years of making these pieces, I decided to sell tack. I had a few customers, but it was nothing that spectacular.  Then, I decided to be adventurous and make my first "good" saddle.  I'd made a couple before when I played with my horses, from various fake leathers and felt, but I never really tried to be that accurate. Yeah, that first "good" saddle okay, but it's really nothing special. I wouldn't dare show it even in a photo show, but it's still special to me.

After this, came my western saddle (made from a Rio Rondo set) which was previously featured on your blog a year or so ago on my guinea pigs, Ginger and Sandy (Sandy has passed away since then, but I still always refer to it as the Sandy Saddle because I always had a good laugh looking at those pictures of her with it). I have shown the Sandy Saddle, but it never did that well. 
Within the last few years, my saddles have made a huge leap.  I'm very, very happy with them now. Yes, there's room for improvement, but I'm still very pleased with them!

This is a fairly current example of my work, although I've made some minor changes to the billets, panels and cantle, as well as a few other places.
Note from Jennifer--I would be pleased with this saddle, too!
Also, just this year, I've gone to my first three live shows! The first one I showed in OF halter just to get the feel of live showing. 

I was super proud of this ribbon!
In the other two, I showed performance. I was able to show the saddle shown above and my highest placing at the first performance show was a second place (Thanks a lot Tiffany! Just kidding, Tiffany's entries were amazing :D).  At the next show, I received my first ever blue ribbon!
First place in English Pleasure - my reaction: YAY!!!!! I also used your wire trick to keep the flaps down.
I also got second place in Harness (Did you notice the cones?) - Sara Kucharski's harness entry took first, but I'm not complaining because it was awesome! But for this entry, the judge was waiting on me, so I was rushing and realize everything behind the horse (reins, stupid Breyer doll, etc.) are... pretty bad! 
I also made a new western saddle that's much better than my old one. Unfortunately, I have almost zero knowledge about western classes, so my highest placing was third.

In addition to showing, my tack business has been amazing lately. I've been fortunate enough to send tack to people in several other countries, and it's so much fun! If anyone is interested in making/selling/showing tack, go for it! It's also a lot of fun and super helpful to be able to talk to other people and get feedback on your tack.

Anyways, the entire point of this was just to say thank you. I never would have started making tack at all if it hadn't been for your blog. None of these customers, NAN cards or the vast majority of my horses would be here without you. You might as well have won all of those ribbons, bought all of those horses, and earned all of those customers yourself because of how much you've helped me. I currently completely rely on this hobby as my life, really. 

So, thank you Jennifer!

P.S. I also want to thank all of the others who have supported me along the way. I know I still have a long way to go, but to everyone who has liked my Facebook page, viewed my website, subscribed to my YouTube channel and bought tack from me: Thank you! I'd be nothing without any of you.

Thank you so much, Devon.  You Your kind words remind me who I do this.  You inspire me, too!

15 comments:

  1. That is AWESOME. And such lovely tack!

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    1. Devon is the kind of kid who makes me feel very optimistic about the future of the model horse hobby. She really is AWESOME.

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    2. Yes very AWSOME

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  2. That was such a cool letter! The tack is very nice as well :)

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  3. I couldn't agree more! Braymere really is like a good hobby magazine. Make that a great!

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    1. As someone who discovered the hobby through magazines, I am truly flattered by this comparison. I hope my blog inspires a new generation of hobbyists the way Just About Horses inspired me. That is another reason why I do this.

      :)

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  4. Thank you so much Jennifer :) You are also extremely AWESOME!

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  5. Aww, this makes me really happy to read. :D <3

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  6. It's nice seeing younger people with performance entries. I like to be able to teach them what I have learned through my showing :) Thanks for the shout out Devon on my harness entry!

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    1. It is. I cannot show, because there are almost no shows within 2hrs of where i live, so i make do with youtube photo shows.

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  7. This is just great and richly deserved. :D

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  8. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing the letter, Jennifer. I sometimes wonder why I blog and every now and then think of taking it down, but I'm certainly not comparing mine to yours. Your blog is so much better because you make great tack and have such a way with story-telling.

    Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing this blog with us.

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    1. Don't take your blog down, Brenda!!!

      Although I don't comment as often as I should (sorry!), I really do enjoy your posts. You have your own distinctive voice and are an important member of my personal hobby blogosphere.

      :)

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  9. I totally agree with Devon! Your blog is so awesome and had helped me improve in many ways! Thank you for creating this blog! :D

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  10. I love the carriage tack! Very good for the first time! I'm only thirteen, so most of my bridles still look like that, but I did make an okay-ish flash one the other day (although I'm sure it would never place in a show). I also make saddles, but mostly with a synthetic leather I found, because it is rather thin and I don't have to skive it. I've always used this blog as a reference for my tack, and your pictures are amazing! Your tack is an inspiration to everyone!

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