Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A brief history of BCS

My first foray into the world of model horse tackmaking came in 1981.  I was inspired by this article in Just About Horses.
I used a piece of pleather and several paper clips to assemble this bridle.  All the straps were sewn together because I didn't have any craft glue.  My best friend's mother made the bareback pad and my father built the three horse stable in the background.  I was really proud of this set-up!
Almost a decade, I discovered Rio Rondo.  I immediately bought and assembled a saddle kit.
It didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped, but I enjoyed putting it together.  I saved my pennies and bought a halter kit plus a few additional supplies.  I made several halters and bridles which I used for photo showing.
And then... life got in the way.  I graduated from college in 1991 and spent five years living and working on the A show hunter/jumper circuit.  I didn't forget the model horse hobby, but it took a backseat to my other pursuits.  It was probably 1995 or 1996 before I made another saddle.  This was based on a LE Ross kit, but I made several significant modifications.
I also made a couple more Rio Rondo saddles during this same period.   I think this was the third.
My husband and I moved to Colorado in 1997 and I went to my first live show in 1998.   I was hugely inspired by the what I saw there and began to take my hobby a little more seriously.  I bought Susan Bensema Young's tackmaking book and learned a bit about braiding...
and harness making.
I also made another Western saddle or two.
My real interest, however, was English saddles.  I started making those in 2003 or 2004.  
The first few weren't very good, but I am nothing if not persistent.
It wasn't too long before my saddles were doing well in the show ring.
It's hard to believe, but it's been almost thirty years since that first bridle.  Who'd have thought that one little article would have ignited such a lifelong passion?  Here's hoping the next thirty years will be just as enjoyable!

27 comments:

  1. It's so fun to hear how other hobbyists got their start. I tried my hand at tack making years ago and quickly discovered it was not for me. Yeah for your persistence so we can benefit by enjoying your beautiful tack!

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  2. For us beginning tack-makers this is really very inspirational. Makes me want to pursue it more seriously. Your tack is, as I have said several times, amazing.

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  3. What a neat effect: I love that black western saddle (last one you posted) with that light-cord braid/stitch along the edges. Thats a great look!

    -Sarahbeth

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  4. This is one of my favourite posts so far :). I love seeing older photoshow phtos--they have a sort of dreamy quality to them!

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  5. I love the story! What an inspirational little tale of beginnings. It'll only get better from here on out.

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  6. As always, an inspiration to look at other's work from the beginning and moving forward. My first harness was "ok", my second much better, and my first english saddle wasn't too bad either. Your work, as someone else said, is amazing!

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  7. I'm amazed that you began making English saddles as recently as 2003. The beautiful quality makes it seem like you've been working much longer!

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  8. Great post! Very cool to learn the history :) I would love to see more pictures and hear details about the horse in the fourth picture- what a mighty beast!

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  9. Gotta agree with Jane :) It's hard to believe you started doing English saddles so early! :D

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  10. Enjoyed this post very much. It is neat to see how your interest was sparked and I am so glad the flame burned hotter. You are incredibly talented - it is awesome seeing you put your talents to such good use! Can't wait to see what you produce next!

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  11. What a great story! It's great to see the timeline and that practice does make perfect. You are a huge inspiration!

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  12. I think you know you're making the right stuff when each time you make a saddle, you can only think of ways to make a better one. That's how I feel anyway, and have never felt like that when painting a model horse, although I'm now feeling the need to try that again...

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  13. wow even your first saddle was pretty good

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  14. I still have one - or maybe both - of the black huntseat saddles that I bought from you back in....gee, 2003 or 2004? Will have to see where they are and maybe shoot a photo or two. I thought they were just fine but your work has definitely come a long way since then!

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  15. Your persistence is impressive, as are the results.

    Keep up the good work!

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  16. I am impressed that you still have photos of your early works!

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  17. I don't recall giving you permission to post my autobiography.

    lol

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  18. I started customizing in 1993ish after reading an article in JAH too!

    Your early tack is FAR better than my early customs :)

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  19. Glad I'm not the only one inspired by JAH and had the deal cemented with the discovery of rio rondo!

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  20. I really want to start making English saddles, as I already make pretty much everything else. However, I learned to make Western saddles from the Rio Rondo kit and have since branched out- is there any equivalent that you know of to get started on English saddles?

    ~DJ

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  21. It's fun to learn the history of BMS tack. Ihave made a couple of tack pieces including one English saddle, but even your first ones were miles ahead of mine. I seem to have trouble keeping glue hidden and the kind of glue I was using didn't wash off well. Anyway, LOVE your tack and hope to get many more pieces for my collection!

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  22. Nice story, your start in tack-making looks similar to mine. I had a nice stable too and it was so much fun playing with it......

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  23. Even though you say you don't make western saddles, I love that black and tan!

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  24. That is the exact article that got me into making tack when I was young!

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  25. This was cool! Loved reading a bit about your history of tack making!

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  26. Great fun to hear about how you began all of this! Thanks for sharing!

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