Friday, April 9, 2010

Keeping it interesting

I used to hate making girths.

Girths always felt like a boring afterthought. They were something I had to make rather than something I wanted to make. If I could have outsourced them, I would have. Happily.

That began to change a few years ago when I ran across the website of the French tackmaker, Laurence Cassin. Her ultra-detailed, hand-stitched girths were the antithesis of boring and utilitarian. It occurred to me that maybe I would enjoy making girths a bit more if I spent more time on them.

My girths got a lot better after that. They are still not my favorite thing to make, but I no longer consider them boring. In fact, I've had some fun recently researching and developing a new dressage girth pattern.

As usual, I started by looking at the real thing.
I selected a girth that was fairly simple in style but had enough details to be interesting.
Since I firmly believe you can never have too many reference pictures...I photographed it from every angle.
Now here's that same girth in 1:9 traditional scale.
Ideally I would have liked it to be a bit narrower but I was limited by the elastic cord. This size (3/8") was a bit wide for my taste but the next size down (1/4") was much too narrow. I could have left it off entirely, but elastic makes girths so much easier to use... When in doubt, I always opt for most user friendly option, which left me with the 3/8" cord.
In any event, I think it looks just fine on the horse.
And that's what matters the most!


  1. It looks FANTASTIC on the horse!

  2. That looks really, really nice! I also like how you get a better view of the saddle flaps in that last picture--I do like the lack of stitching on dressage saddles (which I never noticed until you mentioned it...)

    I only wish I could make girths *that* realistic... :)

  3. So, I went to the French site. She is very good, isn't she? I see why you were so impressed with the girth!
    Me, I want that sleigh! I wonder who made THAT?

  4. Linda--her boots are really cool, too. Those are another thing I don't particularly like to make, but it's obvious that Laurence really enjoys small, complicated things. I haven't seen her work in person, but I suspect she's someone I would really enjoy having a "studio day" with. I just love the fact that she's so good at the things a lot of us consider boring and tedious!

  5. That girth is awesome! I really enjoy looking at the saddles and equipment that you make. Great are also those in progress picture-series, that you do on some workpieces.

  6. Does anyone know if and where I could order this tack? I really want to know. I am a failure at making tack myself.

    1. Yeah, could someone tell me as well? I really want some tack that actually looks real.

    2. Unfortunately, I'm not taking orders right now. When I do have openings, I always advertise them on my blog first, my Facebook page second and Model Horse $ales Page third. Truthfully, though, it's been several years since an opening has been unclaimed long enough to make it to MH$P!

    3. What is your model horse sales page?

    4. It's not my page, but Model Horse $ales Page is the number one site on the web for buying and selling all things model horse related.