Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Old/new start box

If you want to show a standing or slow moving model in an cross country set-up, your best option is probably to use a start box. This is a three sided enclosure which the horse must enter before starting the course. The front of the box is flagged (red on the right, white on the left) and there is usually a sign that says "start."

I took this picture of a fairly basic start box at the 1991 Longreen Horse Trials in Collierville, Tennessee.
Several years ago, I decided I was going to make my own model sized start box. I designed it to be freestanding and sturdy yet easily broken down for transportation and storage. I cut out and assembled the pieces and gave it a few coats of paint. Then, somehow I got distracted. Despite my good intentions, the start box ended up in the large pile of unfinished projects in my basement where it languished for the next couple years.

I dug it up yesterday after I realized it might be the perfect prop to use with White Trash Girl in the Cross Country/Steeplechase/Racing class at the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous live show next month. As you can see, the main pieces were still in good shape, but everything needed paint and detailing.
After a trip to the hobby shop and a little bit of work, my start box is finished!
Front view. Honestly, the box should be a bit bigger, and if I'd been starting from scratch, I would have built it with more generous dimensions. Still, I'm pleased with the way this turned out.
And look, it really does disassemble nicely!
It feels good to have finally finished something in the forgotten project pile. I ought to raid that more often!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Playing dress-up

It's official--barring any last minute disasters, I will be attending the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous live show in Grand Lake, Colorado on September 11. This may be my last chance to show performance until next May so I've decided to do something unusual for me--I'm actually going to prepare my entries ahead of time.

To that end, I spent most of this morning playing dress-up. Both Emma and White Trash Girl look smashing in my Margaret Teller saddles. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find Emma's rider yet. I know she's around here somewhere!
I was really, really hoping that Emma would be able to wear my Susan Bensema Young bosal. Sadly, that's not going to happen. Emma's shnoz is much too big! Her legs are also too thick for all my boots. Hmm, perhaps this will be another small order week...
Here's the English tack and rider assignments. Thankfully there are no fit issues with the saddles, but both critters need bridles. Trashy borrowed Adonis' bridle for the Redline Revival show, but it really wasn't a great fit. If she's going to NAN, she deserves to have a bridle of her own.
Aside from tack, I also have props to make and documentation to produce. Whew! There's a lot that goes into being organized. Who knew?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Modelpferdfest pictures

I spent most of yesterday laid up with a nasty stomach bug. I'm feeling better now but am still a bit puny. Fortunately, I don't have to think much for today's post. These pictures are courtesy of Erin Corbett and were taken at last weekend's Modelpferdfest in Blensheim, Germany.I love the tack on this Kara Kush resin.
This is Sahran, an Echo Magnifficoo resin sculpted by Debbi Lermond with a twitched ear by Sarah Rose. He is owned by Erin and is wearing a costume by Jennifer Wilson.
Erin's other LerMond Arab, Ysatis, is shown wearing another Jennifer Wilson costume. Erin won this costume in a raffle--lucky girl!
A lovely natural trail set-up with Australian tack.
Times two!
Parade. I wouldn't have thought to use a saddleseat rider on a Western parade saddle but they look really nice together!
Super, duper sidesaddle jumping entry with an Eberl Jumping Nancy resin.
Another view, this time with a rosette!
Here's another one of Erin's entries. This Utopia resin was painted by Tracy Eilers and wears tack by Jennifer Kistler.
Erin's Vertical Limit, also painted by Tracy. I made the tack and Melanie Miller built the jump.
Erin's Knightly Cadence showing in Western trail.
And last but not least is Erin's Rose Reiner in Reined Cowhorse. The horse was painted by Melanie Miller, Anne Field dressed the doll and Erin made the tack.
If that's not enough performance pictures for you, be sure to check out Tiffany Purdy's blog. Apparently, I am going to NAN next year whether I want to or not!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

German Modelpferdfest

German Breyerfest Show Report
by Erin Corbett

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the "German Breyerfest" last weekend in Bensheim, Germany. To clarify, this show is not sponsored by Breyer - Germany has a dealer that works with Breyer each year for the show, and Breyer sends a few models for the raffle, as well as some sort of SR that is given to the exhibitors with our 80 euro entry fee. This year they sent the Web SR from 2008, Riley. If you are not an OF person, you could opt to get a SR Mini resin by Brigitte Eberl! I chose that guy. He's so feisty!
Speaking of Eberls, Brigitte came to the show while we were on lunch. Everybody was locked out of the show hall while she set up a sales table. People started lining up outside the doors towards the end of the lunch break - it started to remind me a little bit of some of the lines in Kentucky, ha! Being a real model horse person, I saw a line and got in it. I was part of the first rush to her table, and got to dig through a box of resin seconds that were really marked down. Unfortunately I did not have the spending cash to really pick up any of them, but next year I will be more prepared, because there were some deals to be had on sold out resin editions!

The format of this show was the closest to an American show that I have experienced thus far. The divisions were judged by one designated person each, which I LOVED. I certainly think there is a place for the more informal judging system of having the entrants judge the classes they are not entered in, but for a big show with this level of competition, I don't think it would have been appropriate.

The eye candy was fantastic! I saw so many horses I would have loved to take home with me. (note from
Jennifer: I don't know who did the customizing on this Copra mare, but I love, love, LOVE her!)For my own results, my horses did well! It looked like the classes were only placed from 1st to 3rd place, because that is all the awards that were laid down after each class. I just discovered though, upon getting the e-mailed results, that the classes were actually placed to sixth, but there was just no designation for those placings at the show. So, I had a lot more placed horses than I thought I did! The big winner of the day was my Knightly Cadence, ES Granite, painted by Carol Williams. He won his class, then was Champion AR, then won the Overall Champion of Show cup. Good boy!
I also got firsts and seconds in performance with tack I made, which is always a thrill.
All in all it was a really fun day, and I will really be trying to get back again next year. None of it would have been possible without my good friend Melanie Knuettel, who invited me to stay with her and her family, and allowed the stuffing of her Civic with boxes to within an inch of its life.
Thank you so much, Erin, for the report and pictures. For those of you who don't know, Erin is an extremely talented Western tackmaker. The "Tacky Tack" saddle pictured in this post is for sale on MH$P . You can also view a gallery of Erin's recent work on her website.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Productive but non-producing

Summer vacation is over and Braymere Custom Saddlery is back in business. It's so nice to send the kids off to school in the morning and know that I have six and a half uninterrupted hours of studio time. Most of that time is spent making tack, of course, but occasionally I take a day off to concentrate on other parts of the business. Today has been one of those productive but non-producing days.

The first item on my agenda was cleaning my workbench. After four straight days of small orders, the usable portion of my desk had shrunk down to just a tiny area.
What a difference! Aside from the obvious cleaning and straightening, I also did a lot of organizing. Everything is in its place, and I've made a list of items that need to be purchased next time I go to the hobby store.
In addition to cleaning, I packed and mailed two boxes, answered a lot of emails and started research on my next project. None of these things are particularly exciting, but they're still an important part of my business. It's worth taking a day every now and then to make sure they get done properly!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Small order fatigue

In the past four days I have made one martingale, three curb straps, two pairs of boots,three complicated girths,
and a bridle.
That equates to four boxes of tack being shipped to four different states. I feel accomplished... and exhausted!

In some ways small orders are easier than large orders. Most obviously, they take less time. In fact, my definition of a small order is something I can make comfortably in a day or less. That alone makes small orders pretty rewarding. However, after four straight days of small orders I can also say that they tend to be exasperating. Most small orders involve lots of straps and buckles and keepers. They're fiddle-y and tax my patience and don't usually pay very well. I make a lot more per hour on saddles than I ever will on boots.

I've mostly enjoyed my week of small orders, but it's safe to say that I'm looking forward to tackling a bigger project--or two!--next week.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Almost wordless Wednesday

This one's for the all the prop makers out there! The cross country course at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado has a wide variety of rustic obstacles. Here's a look at fifteen of my favorites.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quiet interrupted

Day two of Small Order Week was not nearly as quiet as day one. The silence was interrupted early by a call from the school nurse. Several calls later (this child has faked illness in the past) and James is camped out on the couch. He looks pretty pitiful in the picture, but I'm not convinced. Not surprisingly, the child drama cut into my work schedule. Still, I did manage to finish two girths.
Here's hoping for a less eventful--and more productive--day three!

Monday, August 23, 2010


This morning the kids got up, had breakfast, put on their new clothes and their new backpacks and headed out.Oh, the house is so quiet with just Maggie and me inside it!
Fortunately, I had a plan for dealing with all that quiet. This is "Small Orders Week" at Braymere Custom Saddlery, and here's what I made today--a flag carrier, three curb straps and a raised standing martingale.
I still have several pairs of boots, a handful of girths and a bridle on my worklist, but they are going to have to wait. The kids should be home any minute now, and I'm eager to hear all about their first day of school!