Friday, October 29, 2010

Something shiny arrived today

But I don't get to keep it.
This limited edition model (less than twenty five pieces) was given to each of the artists who participated in the WEG Diorama Project.  It's a lovely, glossy piece and although I would love to keep it, I really can't afford to.
If you're interested in adding this model to your collection, I'm taking offers starting at $1,500.  Please see my MH$P ad for more details.  I promise I will use part of the funds to fix my camera!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Arabian racehorses

More pictures of the mile and one sixteenth Arabian allowance race which was run at Arapahoe Park last August.  The track at Arapahoe is a mile long, so the horses passed in front of us twice.  The first time they were all in a bunch.  The second time they were considerably more spread out.  After the race, the horses trot back to an area just past the final turn and are unsaddled on the track.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Almost wordless Wednesday

Arabian racing is one of those events that I always think of as being more prevalent in the model world than real life.  Over the years, I've seen a lot of model Arabian racehorses, but it wasn't until this past August that I actually had a chance to see the real thing.  Today's pictures show a group of Arabian racehorses competing in a mile and one sixteenth race at Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colorado.  The first group of photos follows the horses as the enter the paddock area, proceed to the walking ring and step onto the track for the post parade.  The next group will show the actual race.

Just in case anyone is interested in the particulars, Teresa and I were cheering for Clunk (#9) and So Big is Better (#3).  The eventual winner was Moulin Rouge MAF (#5).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gone to the dogs

It's only Tuesday, but I've already given up hope of getting anything done in the studio this week.  The kids are out of school and Seth is also at home.  The house is loud and bustling and quiet studio time is at a premium.

Mostly, however, I blame the dogs.  

Just look what's happened to my workspace.  It's been completely taken over by the dogs!
Time and space issues aside, it's extremely difficult to concentrate when the little Darcy dog is curled up at my feet.
Seriously, how could anyone resist this face?
Sooner or later things will get back to normal, but for the time being my life has officially gone to the dogs.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Racing saddles

I know even less about racing saddles than I do about racing bridles, so all the information in this post is based solely on one day's worth of observation at Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colorado.  It's entirely possible that you would see a different mix of saddles at a larger, single-breed race track.

The average racing saddle looks a bit like a scaled down English saddle with a long seat and very short flap.
Racing saddles come in all sorts of colors and color combination.  Each jockey has his or her own saddle, and many of the saddles are personalized with their owner's initials.
Although all the saddles are considerably smaller than a regular riding saddle, there is some variation in size.  This one (shown on a Quarter horse) is teeny-tiny.
The same horse and saddle, this picture really lets you see how small the saddle is.
This light blue saddle is on the other end of the size spectrum.
Here's the full body shot.  This horse is also a Quarter Horse.
The saddles are fastened with two separate girths.  The under girth attaches to billets under the flaps, just like a regular English saddle.
The overgirth is placed over the saddle's seat right behind the stirrup leathers.
The buckle goes under the horse's belly and the excess strap is turned over itself and secured under the overgirth's keepers.
Hope this was helpful!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Racing bridles

A couple months back, Teresa and I spent a day at Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colorado.  I took my usual several hundred pictures and planned to come home and write a post or two on  racehorse tack.  Unfortunately, I don't actually know a lot about racehorse tack so this project kept getting put off and put off until I forget about it entirely.

I rediscovered the Arapahoe Park pictures as I was preparing to start work on Erin's race tack set earlier this week.  I'm still not an expert on all things race related, but these pictures are too good not to share.  Here's my best noncomprehensive take on racing bridles.
Most racehorses wear a simple English type bridle made of leather, biothane or nylon.  
Unlike most riding bridles, the racehorse bridle does not feature a one piece crown.  Instead, the throatlatch is an entirely separate piece.  Bits attach to the headstall via buckles and the usually there is no adjustment buckle on the right side cheekpiece. 
Lots of the bridles feature a matchy matchy color scheme, but occasionally you see something that looks like it was cobbled together from pieces of many different bridles.
Proving there's an exception for every rule, this bridle looks like a regular hunter bridle with a one piece crown and raised browband and noseband.  
Nearly every horse wore some sort of noseband.  
The fuzzy cover on this filly's noseband is called a shadow roll.  She also has a flash noseband attachment.
A couple horses wore figure eight nosebands.  This one is made out of some kind of tubing.
Lots of horses also wore blinker hoods.  These go on over the browband but under the cheekpieces.
This blinker hood has ear covers.
Most of the bits you see at the track are of the snaffle persuasion and are fitted with a loose curb strap.  These can include D-rings,
loose rings, 
and even a Western styled snaffle or two.
Another very common racetrack bit is the Dexter ring bit.  I was not personally familiar with this bit so I had to do a little research on it.  This led me to the wonderful Rock and Racehorses blog which is written by photographer, Sarah K. Andrew.
She describes the Dexter ring bit like this:  The ring bit has two mouthpieces: one jointed snaffle mouthpiece and one ring that encircles the horse’s lower jaw. The snaffle portion of the bit can have metal, plastic or rubber coating and the ring is metal. The cheekpieces are of varying shapes, as are the metal “spoons” below the mouth. A ring bit is commonly used on strong horses since it adds stopping power. The bit also increases steering power since a rider has the added leverage on the horse’s lower jaw.
Reins can attach to the bit with either buckles or loops and will always have rubber hand grips.  Most jockeys will tie a knot at the end of the reins as pictured in the photo below.
Saddles tomorrow?  Or perhaps lead ponies or pictures of the horses in the Arabian race?  Let me know what you like to see!