Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shannon's WEG pictures

Today I am very pleased to share photos of the completed Breyer dioramas on display at the World Equestrian Games currently underway at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.  Many thanks to hobbyist Shannon de Waal for allowing me to post her pictures here.
The reining diorama features a customized Breyer Alborozo by Lori Daniels.  He is wearing a tack set by Kirsteen Haley and his rider was dressed by Joan Yount.
Terry Heath, Kelly Martin, Linda Shepherd, Martina Vanelli and Robin Briscoe built the props and diorama...
and Darla Curtis dressed the judge and scribe dolls.
This eventing features a magnificent jump created by the mother/daughter duo of Kathi and Kim Haymond...
as well as a one of a kind original finish Breyer Flash.  Joan Yount dressed the doll and Pat Coulter made the tack.
A close up of Pat's lovely bridle.  Unfortunately poor Flash is having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction with that martingale.  I sure hope someone from Breyer fixes that soon!
Last but certainly not least is this amazing four in hand combined driving diorama.  It features a marathon cart by Bill Duncan and four one of a kind original finish Breyers. 
Robin Briscoe made the tack and Anne Field dressed the dolls.
The build team for this diorma included Terry Heath, Kelly Martin, Linda Shepherd, Martina Vanelli and Robin Briscoe.
Caught in the act!  Hobbyist Heather Jackson-Lain attempts to make off with the four in hand diorama.  I can't say that I blame her.  That would look really nice in my living room!
Although there are six dioramas, only these three are viewable by the general public.  The other three--"mine" included--are located in the Media Center.  I have to admit that I find that a bit disappointing, but perhaps they'll be rotated partway though the Games?  One can always hope.

Thanks again to Shannon de Waal for allowing me to use her photos!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pony poetry

James' third grade literacy class is studying poetry this week.  One of his homework assignments was to choose a poem from this list...
Copy it in his composition book, draw a picture and then read it to someone in his family.
After he was done, I asked him if he'd like me to read one of my favorite poems to him.  He seemed a bit suspicious, especially after I told him it was about a pony.  Still, he was a good sport and waited patiently while I found the poem.

Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony
by Shel Silverstein

There was a girl named Abigail
Who was taking a drive
Through the country
With her parents
When she spied a beautiful sad-eyed
Grey and white pony.
And next to it was a sign
That said,
"Oh," said Abigail,
"May I have that pony?
May I please?"
And her parents said,
"No you may not."
 And Abigail said,
"But I MUST have that pony."
And her parents said,
"Well, you can't have that pony,
But you can have a nice butter pecan
Ice cream cone when we get home.
And Abigail said,
"I don't want a butter pecan
Ice cream cone,
And her parents said,
"Be quiet and stop nagging--
You're not going to get that pony."
And Abigail began to cry and said,
"If I don't get that pony, I'll die."
And her parents said, "You won't die.
No child has ever died yet from not getting a pony."
And Abigail felt so bad
That when they got home she went to bed,
And she couldn't eat,
And she couldn't sleep,
And her heart was broken,
And she DID die--
All because of a pony
That her parents wouldn't buy.

(This is a good story
To read to your folks
When they won't buy
You something you want.)

James' eyes really lit up when I got to that last part.  I almost felt bad telling him that it hadn't worked on my parents and it wouldn't work with his.  He looked vaguely disappointed as he wandered away, but only a few minutes passed before I overheard him telling his brother to go read "Mama's horse poem." 
(James didn't ask me to illustrate my poem, but if he had, this is the picture I would have used.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010


It's a sad fact of life--nothing lasts forever.  

Although there's nothing wrong with the workmanship on this Shannon Granger parade bridle, time has taken its toll.  The adhesive on the silver tape has started to let go.  More significantly, the tape itself has cracked in several places.  I was able to make it look nice for a photo, but it was obvious to me that the bridle needed some major work to be competitive at a large show like NAN.
Since the tape hadn't held up well the first time, I decided to try something completely different.  I found this roll of thin, embossing metal in my supply stash and decided to give it a shot.  Although it's sturdier than the tape, it's still thin enough to cut easily with either scissors or an X-acto knife
Using the knife and a straight edge, I cut a long strip of metal that was just a bit narrower than my lace.  I then cut it down into shorter lengths, leaving a narrow "prong" on either end.  I "engraved" the plates with an embossing tool and set them aside...
while I prepared a section of 3/16" kangaroo lace.  Once that was done I laid a plate on top of the lace and  marked and cut slots for the prongs.  Next, I carefully bent the prongs and fed them through the slots.  I then folded the prongs over to securely fasten the plate in place.
Here's a look at the back side.  After this picture was taken, I trimmed the prongs, secured them with a drop of super glue and covered the whole thing with a piece of paper thin lace. 
The finished product.  Although I'm generally pleased with the way this turned out, I'm not going to kid you--this was a lot of work.  With the exception of the throatlatch, I made every single piece at least twice.  Sometimes there's a lot of error in the trial and error process.
A different view.  I was pleased to be able to recycle Shannon's face decoration in its entirety. My hope is that the new bridle matches the rest of the parade set well enough that no one would guess that it's not original.
Was the experiment a success?  I think so.  Only time will tell, but the bridle feels very sturdy.  It may not last forever, but a decade or two would be fine by me!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More WEG jumps

These pictures were posted to the Official American Paint Horse Association Facebook page and they're too cute not to share.  
I especially like this one:
In case it's not obvious, these aren't actually competition jumps.  They're part of a Breyer sponsored children's play area.
Still, I wouldn't mind having a traditional scale replica of either jump for my own showstring!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kim's WEG Diorama Project jump

Of all the amazing pieces featured in the Breyer WEG Dioramas, this jump by Kim Haymond and her mother just might be my favorite.
Kim writes: We were very honored to be asked to build one of the cross-country jumps. Robin and Breyer wanted a jump with the dry-built limestone walls that are so typical of that area of Kentucky to pay tribute to the Kentucky Horse Park. We built a jump that has been a staple on the Rolex course for a number of years.
It showcases not only the dry built stone walls
but also has 2511 handmade in-scale flowers
and a built from scratch gazebo complete with asphalt shingle roof and five hanging geranium plants.
The flowers are a mix of paper (hand punched and shaped, the laser cut sets are too expensive for the quantities we needed!), clay, and plastic.
They were by far the most time consuming part of the jump. We started working on the flowers in February and worked on them steadily for the next five months, with a lot of 8-10 hour days spent making flowers. Just assembling one hanging geranium pot took 8 hours! It's definitely a project that will never be replicated.
Building this jump took well over 500 hours (we lost track after that... ) and we're very proud of it. The completed diorama is 3 feet by 4 feet, and will have a one-of-a kind Flash model tacked up with doll approaching the right side fence.
Just for comparison sake, here's a look at the real jump Kim and her mother used for reference:
Absolutely amazing work, ladies!  You have outdone yourselves and set an impossibly high standard for propmakers everywhere!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dog drama

After a month of emails and phone calls, reference checks and home inspections, it turns out that I will not be getting the cute little golden puppy.  

"It's not that I don't like you, because I do," the crazy rescue lady told me.  "All your references checked out and I can tell you're a good dog owner.  Still, I just have this gut feeling that something isn't right and I think it's God's way of telling me that you're just not the right family for Gracie.  I really do like you, though."

This would probably be funny if it wasn't so disappointing.  I knew it would be hard to replace Abbie, but this isn't the kind of difficulty I'd expected.  I'm trying not to let the experience bother me, but that's easier said than done.  

Fortunately, I've had a nice distraction of the canine variety.
This is my friend Carol's dog, Rasko.  He's been staying with us for the last couple days, and it has been such a treat having him.  During that time, he's played with Maggie,
comforted Ryan while he was sick,
and generally made everyone smile.
Oh, there's just no way around it--the Buxtons are meant to be a two dog family!

So I'm not going to let the crazy rescue ladies of the world get me down. I know there's a puppy out there with my name on it, and I'm going to do my best to find her.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The WEG Diorama Project

Oh, I have been wanting to blog about this for the longest time!

Way back in February, I was contacted by a representative of Reeves International about participating in a diorama project for the World Equestrian Games. The objective was to create six separate dioramas depicting world class eventing, dressage, show jumping, combined driving and reining which would be displayed at the Kentucky Horse Park for the duration of the Games.

It was decided that I would make the dressage tack. I built this saddle,
and girth.
I shipped everything off to the project coordinator, and then the waiting began. Months passed without a word and but today--finally--I got a little sneak peek at the project results. Huge thanks to Kelly Martin for sharing these pictures!

This is the Dressage Diorama. The Salinero model was customized by Ann Harris and the dolls were dressed by Sheri Wirtz.
The judge's stand was mostly built by Terry Heath and Martina Vanilli, with help from Linda Shepherd, Robin Briscoe and Kelly Martin. I just love all the little details!
Here's a look at one of the eventing dioramas. This is a model version of the late great Theodore O'Connor.
His tack was made by Pat Coulter of Open Gate Farm and he is shown with an absolutely spectacular jump made by Kim Haymond and her mother (more pictures of this to follow!).
The other eventing diorama.
One of the combined driving horses--photo taken while still in progress (obviously!).
Last but not least, Mindy Berg's amazing show jumper. It's hard to believe but this horse started life as a Breyer Ruffian. The tack was made by Kelly Volp.
I am so proud to have been a part of this project and would love to post more pictures of both the diorama components and the finished results. If you were one of the artists who participated in the WEG Diorama Project and you'd like to see your work featured here, please get in touch with me. Alternatively, if you are attending WEG, be sure to stop by the Breyer Store and the Media Center and don't forget to bring your camera. Any and all WEG photos would be greatly appreciated.

Almost wordless Wednesday

Summer is officially over but that doesn't spell the end of horse show season--at least not as far as this blog is concerned.

Today's pictures were taken the Colorado Summer Classic hunter/jumper show held this past July at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. I am always fascinated by the different bitting options you will see in a typical jumper class. There's a little bit of everything from the very basic to the very complicated with an occasional dash of the just plain weird. Enjoy!