Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Charro trio

I spent most of last January thinking about Charro saddles. I researched them online and in books. I attended a Mexican Rodeo. Then when I was reasonably sure I knew what I was doing, I designed and built a pair of traditional scale Charro saddles. They turned out well , and I moved on to other, more familiar projects. Still, I never really stopped thinking about Charro saddles.

This should explain why I was positively giddy to see not one, not two but three Charro saddles on display at Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction last weekend. After all that research, it was wonderful to finally get a close up look at the real thing! Here are just a few of the many pictures I took.

This elaborately decorated modern saddle was priced at $18,000.
Top view.
Matching bridle.
This is the second Charro saddle. Its tag read: Ultra Fancy Charro Saddle. Silver-inlay work with amazing pitiado-work. Machete, fancy headstall, breastcollar, hobbles and quirt. Ca 1940's. $5,500.
Close up of the horn.
Pitiado detail.
The third Charro saddle was part of the auction. This is how it was described in the auction catalog: 1920's Mexican Saddle with Sword. Maker-marked El Caballo Mexicano Talabarteria Santos Burcon HNOS p Suarez 27, Mexico DC, very decorative Mexican saddle traditional exposed rawhide tree. Leather embroidered with floral pitiado (cactus fiber) and adorned with classic Mexican sterling repousse horn featuring the National Eagle and snake symbol, plus inlaid silver cinch rings, two-piece iron conchos and stirrups. Includes period Mexican sword and scabbard.
This saddle sold for $2,750 (a bargain!).
Round skirts and no saddlebags.
Stirrup leathers.
You know, I could look at these lovely saddles all day. I think it will be a long time before I truly stop thinking about Charro saddles!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent most of Saturday morning at Brian Lebel's Cody Old West Show and Auction which was held at the Denver Merchandise Mart Expo in Denver, Colorado. This was the show's second year in Colorado, having moved here in 2009 after nineteen years in Cody, Wyoming. I hadn't gone to last year's event and didn't know what to expect, but I figured it ought to be worth the five dollar admission fee.I was right. Just look at what was on display in the very first booth!
Every where I looked, there was something interesting.
There were all sorts of Native American goods and attire.Some were old,
some were new,
and some were still in progress!
Where there's Indians, there's also cowboys and cowboy trappings.
There was a wide variety of cowboy goods including a selection of items from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum.
Roy and Roy's 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible.
Montie Montana's framed parade outfit.
As I was walking around, it occurred to me that somewhere amongst all this Western memorabilia there had to be at least a Breyer or two. I started my search. Hmmmm.... I don't see any here.
Of course, the main thing I was looking for was tack.
Happily, that was in abundance.
There were lots and lots of saddles.
Once again, some were old...
and some were new!
There were Charro saddles and McClellan saddles.
Navajo saddles...
and Parade saddles.
In fact there were so many wonderful saddles that I simply cannot do them justice with one post. Expect more pictures in the days and weeks to come!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bridles of the Americas, Vol I: Indian Silver

If you have any interest at all in Native American saddlery, this brand new book is a must have. I bought one of the very first copies from the Hawk Hill Press booth at Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction which was held this past weekend at the Denver Merchandise Mart Expo in Denver, Colorado. Co-authors Ned and Jody Martin were in attendance and I had a wonderful time talking to them.
This book retails for $65, but I can honestly say that it's worth every penny. The photos and text trace the evolution of the American bridle, with an emphasis on bridles made and used by the vaqueros of Mexico, the Indians of the Southern Plains and the Navajo.
All three of these groups used silver to adorn themselves and their horses. This book contains more than five hundred gorgeous, detailed photographs of tack and other silver ornamentations including pectorals, hairplates and concha belts. It would be impossible to choose a favorite, but I especially like this series which shows how the bottom of a can and barrel bands were repurposed as bridle decorations.
The more familiar beaded and quilled bridles will be examined in Beaded and Quilled Bridles of the American Indians which is scheduled to be released in 2011.
I also own and heartily recommend the first book in this triolgy, American Indian Horse Masks, which was the 2007 winner of the Witternborn Award for Excellence in Art Publishing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I collect cows

All my life, I've liked talking about horses.

As an adult, I know it's best to save the horse talk for my horsey friends and my blog, but when I was younger, I didn't have the same self control. I would talk about horses to anyone and everyone whether they were interested or not. As you can imagine, this meant my family was forced to listen to a lot of horse talk.

My Dad decided to tackle the problem by talking about cows. It didn't matter that he knew nothing about cows, he would talk about them anyway. If I said there was a new horse at the stable that was a good jumper, he would tell me that cows were better jumpers than horses. After all, a cow jumped over the moon.

This went on for years.

Somewhere along the line, I started giving my Dad cow themed presents for his birthday and Christmas. Over time, he ended up with quite an impressive cow collection.
Given this history, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I also have a cow collection.

It all started innocently enough with this little tied calf from Carol Herden.
Then I decided to get a steer, too, just in case I wanted to set up a team roping entry rather than calf roping entry.
The dodging cows came next because, you know, those are a necessity if you own a cutting horse resin like Whiplash.
Of course, it's better if your cutting horse has a herd of cows behind him. That explains these three.
Carol Herden used to have a booth at the National Western Stock Show, which is where I bought these two. I can't remember which performance class I used to justify their purchase. I think maybe I just wanted them! And it's not just Carol Cows that have found there way into my collection. This "mired cow" was sculpted by Billie Campbell and painted by myself.
I also painted this "versatile roping calf" by Alaina Richardson.
These Breyer cows came with the classic cutting and roping horses. I'm not sure how I ended up with the roping calf as I have never owned that horse.
I even own a few project cows. The big one is missing a leg and an ear. The two little ones just need prepping and paint.
I'm still not sure exactly how this happened, but there's no denying it--I am my father's daughter and I collect cows.