Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thinking ahead

So far this year I have been making exactly the same sort of tack I made last year--that is, modern, competition-style English saddles and bridles. This should come as no big surprise. I'm best known as an English tackmaker and most English tack is "easy" for me. I've used it extensively in real life and I know how it looks and feels. The vast majority of my orders are for some sort of English saddle or bridle.
Looking ahead, however, I do have something completely different on the horizon. You may remember a couple months back I traded a tack slot for an unpainted Dagmar Anderson Orgulhoso resin. Well, Dagmar's slot is nearing the top of my worklist, and I've begun to gather up my Portuguese tack reference pictures.
This will not be my first attempt at Portuguese tack. I made a set for my friend Regan about two years ago, and it has consistently placed well for her in the show ring. Despite that, I've never been entirely pleased with the saddle. I really wanted to build it around a metal tree, but try as I might, I just couldn't seem to make that work. In the end, I went with a hand-sculpted epoxy tree. It turned out ok, but I have always felt that was an imperfect solution. So, although I still have some English orders to work through, I'm thinking about Portuguese saddles again. I have some new ideas about how I'm going to tackle that tree this time, and I am optimistic that I will come up with something better.
I did not take any of the pictures in today's post. They were all provided to me by Regan who is my go-to person for all things Iberian. I am posting these pictures here in hopes that other tackmakers will find them useful. Google has made it (relatively) easy to find pictures of specialty tack, but detail pictures like these are still a rare commodity. Because I am obsessed with having my tack look and feel like the real thing, I find pictures like this that show the placement of the billets to be invaluable. I hate having to guess on important construction details.
Similarly, I always want to know what the bottom of the saddle looks like. This one looks pretty cushy!
Thanks (again) to Regan for such wonderful reference material and also to Dagmar for forcing me to revisit this particular tackmaking puzzle. This one is still just in the thinking stage, but I am delighted to be thinking about something other than English saddles!


  1. Great pictures! Do you mind if I copy and save for reference. I have never been able to find pictures of the bottom of one of these, so have had to quess and do the best I could.

  2. Would you mind if I asked you what did you make the saddle tree out of? I have been praying for a answer to this question for months!