Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bit check

I'm going to start by outing myself and admitting that I've written this post before.  Still, I see a fair amount of "bit check" entries in the model show ring, so perhaps someone will find these photos useful.

While the contestants in the Versatility Ranch Horse Competition at the National Western Stock Show were waiting for their cutting scores, they were asked to come to the judges' trucks for a bit check. 
The riders dismounted, 
unbridled their horses, 
and showed the bridle to the judges.
After that was done, the riders rebridled their mounts and continued waiting for their scores. 
I still don't love, love, love bit check entries.  The bit check isn't a judged part of any event, and as far as I'm concerned, there really isn't a lot of performance to evaluate.  However, there are a lot of judges who feel differently, and this is a one way to slide a standing model into an action oriented class.

Monday, January 30, 2012

First saddle of 2012

Alicia's side saddle set is finally finished!
I tried to take photos on the horse, but I was too tired to get the lighting right.  Oh well, it looks just as nice on the saddle stand!
This outside the flap billet arrangement is fairly unusual in the real horse world, but it has a lot of advantages for the model horse performance shower.  It's much easier to put on and take off, and the billets hold the flap neatly against the horse's side. 
This is my third side saddle, and without a doubt, this one has the best panels.  These aren't terribly visible when the saddle is in use, but I always like to get the hidden parts right.
One saddle down, a whole bunch more to go!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quiver at NAN

Quiver is new to me, but he's not new to the model show ring.  Tiffany created him in 2010 and took him to that year's NAN in Lexington, Kentucky.  Not surprisingly, he did quite well there, winning Reserve Championship honors in the Artist Resin/Custom Other Performance class with this spectacular bull fighting entry.
Photo by NAMHSA
He was also Top Ten in Artist Resin/Custom Dressage Second Level and Above.
Photo by Tiffany Purdy, used without permission
Now I can't be certain, but I'm assuming that's my tack in the second photo.  Tiffany has two separate traditional sized BCS dressage sets.  One has gold hardware, the other silver.  That's the mark of a true tack addict, folks!    

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Quivering with anticipation

If you were to ask me how I spent my morning, I would probably say that today started where yesterday left off--with me locked inside my studio.  

Most of that time was productive.  I finished the side saddle, made and attached the sandwich case and prepared the girth buckles.  I might have even built the girths themselves, but I was slightly distracted by the view outside my window.
Just as a watched pot never boils, a watched mailbox guarantees a later than usual delivery.  Normally the mailman delivers between eleven and noon on Saturdays.  Today it was nearly one before he arrived.  I held my breath as the he exited his vehicle and walked around to the back.  All I could think was, "Please let my Purdy horse be in there!" 
Woo hoo!!!
Nothing says Purdy like pink fleece wrapping! 
And here he is!
This is Quiver.  He is a Breyer Salinero customized into a buckskin Lusitano stallion by Tiffany Purdy. 
Who would have guessed that I would be even more distracted now that Quiver is here?  I know I should get back to work but, just look at that face!  Swoon! 
And the double braided mane is a double swoon! 
Thank you so much Kellye (and Tiffany, too).  I love my brand new distraction!

Friday, January 27, 2012

House arrest

I've spent the last day and a half locked in the studio.  My desk is a mess, and I am exhausted.
Fortunately, the end is in sight--Alicia's side saddle is nearly finished!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ranch horses

Today's pictures were taken during the Ranch Horse Conformation class and the Overall awards ceremony for the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse Competition at the 2012 National Western Stock Show.  This was a double judged event, and as best as possible I've tried to record how each horse finished under both judges.  Placings reflect the overall competition, not the halter class.  Hopefully this will readers will find these photos as educational as I have!

As mentioned in a previous post, this chestnut mare was the big winner of the day finishing first under both judges.  I believe--but am not certain--that she also claimed the top spot in one section of the Ranch Horse Conformation class.
This bay mare was another standout, placing second under the first judge and was fourth under the second. 
Some horses look much better under saddle than they do on the line.  Although I don't care for this mare's neck and shoulders, they certainly didn't hurt her performance.  She placed third and second in the Overall standings.
The sweet faced chestnut was fourth and eighth. 
I'm a sucker for a pretty horse and this one is really pretty.  She was first and second in the Ranch Horse Conformation class and fifth and third in the Overall. 
I liked this one, too.  He's just so darn cute!  The judges placed him sixth and fifth. 
The bay roan finished seventh under both judges.
Beyond seventh place, my notes get a bit sketchy.  I know the second judge placed the chestnut roan sixth, but I failed to record how he did under the first. 
Similarly, I have no idea how the grey... 
or this bay finished up.  Sorry! 
These aren't the kind of horses you would see in a regular AQHA halter class. In my opinion, they're so much better.  Hobby sculptors are welcome to save these photos for their own reference.  Both the real world and the model horse hobby needs more horses like these!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oh hold

I have four separate large orders that are currently on hold.  I'm waiting for reference photos for the draft horse tack, supplies for the circus harness, a body to work on for the marathon harness and a decision on the side saddle.

That's a lot of waiting.

To pass the time, I've started painting another foxhound.
I chose a really complicated color for the first hound so this time I decided to go to the other extreme.
She's neither as dark nor as finished as she appears in the photos, and sadly, I just ran out of Dull-Cote so now she's on hold, too!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Saddle training

The Christmas rats are getting bigger and braver every day, and Ryan has started bringing them to my studio for visits.
Naturally this means we've begun introducing them to tack.  This is Ryan giving Holly a pre-ride pep talk.
Here is he showing her the saddle.  She looks a bit anxious, doesn't she? 
We chose to use the bronc saddle for the first ride.  
It seemed like the most appropriate choice, plus the flank cinch makes a nice rat crupper!
Holly didn't seem to mind the saddle much...
but she did take exception to the Ott Light.
And I took exception to the "presents" she left on my work desk!
She's no Basil, but I'm confident that with time and patience Holly will be a fine saddle rat.  Maybe she'll even give Versatility Ranch Horse a try!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ranch horse tack

Tack requirements for the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse division call for clean working tack without excessive silver.  All of the horses showing in this event at the National Western Stock show wore a double rigged Western saddle with a breastplate, protective leg gear and a Western bridle with curb bit. 
A few of the riders used Wade type saddles...
but the majority opted for a modern type competition saddle.
Although silver plates were conspicuously absent, not all these saddles were "plain." 
A few were lighter in color...
but most sported a darker, lived in shade.
Bridles showed a bit more variation, ranging from basic...
to rawhide decorated...
to silver trimmed!  
Both one ear and browband styles were well represented, and contestants were similarly split in their choice of reins.  Roughly half the class used split reins...
while the rest chose romals, both with...
and without rein chains.
Although I don't have photographic evidence of this fact, it's worth mentioning that horses five years and under are permitted to show with a bosal or snaffle.