My earliest attempts at making model horse tack date back more than 20 years, but I really started to get serious about it after I moved back to Colorado in the late 1990's. I went to my first live show then and had a chance to look at other people's tack and performance set ups. I also made my first tack sales--mostly small things like halters and accessories, but boy, was that exciting!
My first really big customer was Sandy Lyles who pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and take on new and bigger tack projects. One of those was a set of chariot racing harnesses. I had only made one harness previous to this and I'd never made a harness with a collar. Luckily, I had Susan Bensema Young's wonderful tack book to guide me, and after a lot of hard work, the harnesses were finished. I set them to Sandy, who took them to NAN 2001 and Sandy's famous "My Beau Cheveaux" was awarded NAN Champion in the CM/AR Novelty Race Games class. This was the first time to my knowledge that my tack had shown on the national stage so I was beyond pleased. Of course, most of the credit goes to Sandy. Tack is only one part of a winning performance set up. There are some showers who are just so good at putting an entry together, they can make almost anything look good. I have been really fortunate to have people like Sandy (and Kellye and Vicky and Tiffany) making my tack look good for all these years.
The second picture is from NAN 2006 and it shows Sandy's customized Smarty Jones, Smarty Pants, winning Reserve Champion in the CM/AR Harness class.