Friday, May 24, 2019

Wyoming lemonade

I have been looking forward to Memorial Day weekend all year long.
This was the weekend my best friend, Carol was supposed to be coming back to Colorado for six weeks of training at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. We had so many plans, both for this weekend...
and also for the next six weeks.
Unfortunately, all of that evaporated on Wednesday. 
This leaves a very big hole in my schedule, but for today and tomorrow at least, I have a pretty good back up plan.
In about an hour, I will climb into my car and make the two hour trek to Cheyenne, Wyoming for Anna Miller's Indian Paintbrush show.
It's mostly an OF halter show, but there are abbreviated Resin and Custom halter divisions and a few fun classes that are vaguely performance-y. It's not the kind of show I usually attend, but I'm pretty sure I'll have a great time nonetheless. And even if I don't, it beats staying home and feeling sorry for myself.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The annual tack party

Today I drove out to Boulder to visit my friend and fellow tack-maker, Susan Bensema Young in her childhood home.
We sat at the basement table where Sue taught herself how to make tack...
and showed each other our treasures.
This is an old Kathleen Bond saddle...
and this is Sue's first basketweave saddle
This pretty English saddle was made by Russian tackmaker, Natalie Midnightline.
I've often admired her work online. It was great to see it in person.
I brought my new-to-me Janet Edington saddle and one of my BreyerFest sales saddles...
and two tiny and amazing halters by Anna Helt. Anna donated these to the Jennifer Show, and I promise, better pictures will be coming soon!
We shared an enjoyable lunch with Sue's parents, and I got to hear Sue play the piano.
This was such a fun day!
Thank you for the hospitality, Sue. Let's do it again next year!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Almost wordless Wednesday

Some things are just meant to be. These three ponies were created by three different sculptors (Kylee Parks, Adalee Hude and Kristina Lucas Francis), but look how cute they are together. Clearly this was meant to be!


I accidentally discovered a great new Etsy shop.
MaresAndMinis is a mother and daughter enterprise that offers a  variety of model horse stable props, as well as a few small tack items.
I bought a mounting block, grooming tote, fly spray and sweat scraper.
The scale is perhaps a bit on the petite side, but the prices are great and the print quality is extremely high. 
I absolutely love the sweat scraper.
MaresAndMinis gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me. Be sure to check them out if you like tiny things, and tell them I sent you!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Never ending winter

Spring made a brief appearance last week...
but now it's back to winter again.
We woke up to several inches of new fallen snow this morning.
Why? Why? Why?
It should have been a perfect day to stay inside and work on my BreyerFest sales tack...
but I really wanted to go to the barn.
So I did.
Most of the horses were hunkered down in their sheds...
but a few came out to see me.
I promised Mary Jo that I would turn Scarlett out while she was away, so I did that.
Scarlett was not thrilled.
I stayed until I got cold...
and then a little longer because clearly this bunny needed to have his picture taken.
I'm ready for it to be spring again, but today was kind of fun. And now it's time to finish that saddle!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Have ponies will travel

The longer I go between blog posts, the harder it is to get back into a regular blogging schedule. It's been nearly two weeks since my last post, and I barely know where to begin. Fortunately, I have this great guest post by my friend, Jackie Rossi to help ease the transition. Thanks, Jackie. I can't wait to see what you bring to the Jennifer Show!

Travelling to Destination Shows

by Jackie Rossi

I really enjoy model horse showing, but I work about fifty percent of my weekends. This means that I can not attend many of my local shows. So, I tend to look for shows are on weekends I’m already not working and will give me the most bang for my buck. I want to have a nice performance division, and I want judges I’m eager to show under. A lot of times, this means I am traveling. 
I have my carry on game down to a science, and I have a set of performance props that travel really well in checked baggage and are versatile. It works for most of what I like to do and really well for mini shows- I brought forty horses in a plastic shoebox to Meows and Minis last year!
My last show was Candyland Live in Colorado, and I am aiming to do the Jennifer Show in September. Both of these hit my requirements - they are on weekends I am already off, have interesting class lists and great judges. However, I live in New Jersey. It's a twenty six hour drive, which is doable but not practical  so I was really looking at flying. My Candyland plan included a gigantic killer robot in 1:9 scale that was made of fragile materials and was not something I could take on a plane with me. I also had a few other things in the hopper that were not practical for plane travel. I decided to ship things.
Happily, I had a place to ship things to, as my best friend lives in Denver. If I didn’t have her, I would have just shipped to whatever hotel I was staying at. I started by planning out what I could ship and what I felt needed to be hand carried. My criteria for hand carrying is stuff that is valuable and if it got lost, I’d be upset. This means that show horses and things like tack get hand carried, and indeed, that is mostly what went into my two carry-ons. I used my hard side suitcase for horses, dolls and tack, and more dolls and tack went into my backpack. A soft sided checked bag held my clothes and toiletries and stuff like that.
Props that were shipped included my guardian stalker (which I built with the idea that it would have to be shipped, so it breaks down into four pieces. That went into one box, and was packed with care since its mostly Styrofoam. Not valuable, something I can rebuild, but fragile. I wanted to make sure it would arrive show day in one piece!  I also packed things like my table drapes  and fabric footing with it, to help pad the contents of the box.
The other box included heavier stuff, and was packed around a Breyer pick up truck that I needed for one of my set ups.
Next up was actually shipping. I used the post office out of convenience, but you could use UPS or FedEx as well. Keep in mind that heavy and oversize boxes will be more expensive, and using an express service will be as well. You need to build this into your show budget- but I suspect that I come out ahead over driving twenty six hours between gas, tolls, meals and at least one overnight at hotel. I used a six day shipping service, so that meant I had to get things together  well in advance of the show. Shows of this type require advance planning, and a lot of it! This is part of your planning.
Showing out of your immediate area requires a new level of logistics to get everything you need/want for the day in place when you need it. I’d also recommend strongly to consider what the level of competition may be (destination shows are always going to be much tougher) and plan your day accordingly. I only did performance at Candyland, because I needed to focus on the entries I brought to do them the same level of justice I had in practice set ups.
(You do practice your set ups, right?) 
At the Jennifer Show, I do want to bring some halter horses, but only my very best large scale horses, and maybe first and second tier smaller horses. I’m also going to seriously plan out my performance showing to make sure I bring stuff that is high quality, and worthwhile, while keeping the amount of “stuff” to a minimum. Yes, its tempting to carpet bomb, but this type of show is more a tactical strike and requires a higher level of planning. I can’t just throw stuff in my car and make it work on the fly if I expect to do well. 
I also have to make sure that *I* personally can handle all of this. Putting my show string and plan together is solely my responsibility. I need to know my shipping options- where are things going, what services can I use, how much can I put on the plane with me? What can I really afford? What combination is going to end with me having a good time at the show and not turning into a monster mid day because I’ve over extended myself and as a result, am not on my A game in performance? We all know a grumpy shower having a bad day can be tough to be tabled with!
For my Jennifer Show plan, I probably will pack up a box of my better show horses, and most likely I will pack up a regular show tub and layer horses in foam, and then box the tub up. Heather Malone has successfully shipped her show string around using this method, and I’ve been impressed by how well it works.
In the end, I had a great time at Candyland, and I feel I did the perfect amount of showing for me on that day. I’m hoping that a pared down halter string will be manageable for TJS, but we will see. My goal is to see friends and have fun....and maybe allow my giant killer robot a chance to terrorize the day again.