Thursday, January 31, 2013


Those saddle pads didn't make themselves...
and I didn't make them either!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Some days it seems like the tack almost makes itself.

Today was not one of those days.  

In fact, today it seemed as if the tack was refusing to be made.  First it was the buckles that did not want tongues.
Then it was the stirrups that did not want stirrup pads.
I thought about admitting defeat, but I am serious about eliminating my backlog.  Giving up is not an option.  I persevered, and after several long, somewhat painful hours, the saddles have stirrups, stirrup leathers and girths.
In a perfect world, they'd have pads, too, but all things considered, I'm feeling pretty good about my day's efforts.  The pads can wait until tomorrow.  Maybe then they'll even make themselves.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snow day

It snowed last night.
It didn't snow a lot--just a few inches--but that's enough to make the dogs happy...
and to keep me in my studio.
Despite the lure of a fun new horse and the Stock Show, I've managed to complete three saddles this month.  Watch out, backlog--your days are numbered!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Work/life balance

It's not supposed to be this warm in January, at least not if you live in Denver.  The last week has been a series of warm, sunny days, and I've spent nearly every one of them in the saddle.
Fortunately, because Rev lives so close to me, this hasn't been a schedule buster.  Progress in the studio is slow, but it's certainly not nonexistent.  Those two saddles I started last week are coming along nicely, and I expect I'll have them finished tomorrow.
The one thing I haven't had much time for is blogging.  Never fear, however--this nice weather can't last forever.  In fact, it looks as if there are a few snowflakes falling even as I type this!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The joy of trading

I love trading.  How else would I ever be able to afford not one...
but two wonderful new dolls from Anne Field... 
and a fancy pants resin goat... 
from Laura Skillern
Woo hoo!  It's so exciting to have new stuff coming.  I can hardly wait to see all my new goodies in person!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kellye's Criollo set revisited

I like all my customers, but I especially appreciate those who send pictures like these!
This is the Criollo set I made earlier in the month for Kellye Bussey. 
It is shown on her  Morgen Kilbourne Maxixe resin, which was painted by Sheila Bishop.  The gaucho doll was created by Joan Yount.
It's extremely satisfying to see my work displayed so well.  Thank you so much, Kellye, for once again making my work look better than it is!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ranch Trail, part two

Today's post picks up where yesterday's left off--with the fourth obstacle in the Ranch Trail class which was part of the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse competition at this year's National Western Stock Show.    

After completing the log jump, each horse and rider team proceeded to a jump standard where they picked up a rope that was tied to a log.
They then drug the log... 
around a simple pattern...
before returning it to the standard.
The fifth obstacle also started with a jump standard.  
Each rider was required to retrieve a rain slicker from the standard...
and carry it... 
 over a series of logs.
After the last log...
the slicker was returned to yet another jump standard! 
The sixth and last obstacle was perhaps both the most difficult and the most entertaining.  The riders were asked to ride to a marker, dismount,
 ground tie their horse,
and walk a simple pattern without their horse following. 
This sounds simple, but most of the horses really, really wanted to follow their riders. 
There were four different methods used to ground tie the horses--two reins down,
 one rein down,
two reins up (method of choice for romals), 
and hobbles. 
And--I know this is in bad taste--but at long last, I've found a performance event for Sue Sudekum's Mr. Tinkles!  Yes, it is ok to take a potty break during the ground tie!
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this Ranch Trail class.  Hope you've enjoyed it as well!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ranch Trail, part one

The Ranch Trail class that was part of the AQHA Ranch Horse Classic at this year's National Western Stock Show featured six separate obstacles.  Today's post covers the first three--the bridge, the gate and the jump.
Bridges are a common--and uncomplicated--trail obstacle.  The horse approach it at a walk, step atop and walk across.  
Easy, peasy and not a challenge for any of the horses in this class! 
Most of the regular horse show trail classes I've watched in the last decade have included a rope gate.  The gate in the Ranch Trail class was far more substantial, having been constructed from several metal panels.  Despite that obvious difference, the technique used to work the gate is essentially the same.  The rider positions her horse parallel to the gate, with the latch close to her knee.
She unlatches the gate, and asks her horse to take a couple steps back. 
She then pushes the gate open and walks through.
As soon as the horse has cleared the opening, she pivots around the gate's leading edge until the horse's body is once again parallel to the panels.
She back the horse into position...
and relatches the gate! 
The third obstacle was a small log jump. 
The horses were supposed to take this from a lope... 
but a lot of them slammed on the brakes... 
and crossed it at a much slower speed.
It wasn't always pretty, but everyone did make it across that log! 
Coming up nest--the log drag, a carry obstacle and the ground tie!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stock Show 2013

My mom will probably have a cow when she reads this...
 but I went to the National Western Stock Show today!
I started my viewing at the Coliseum, 
where I watched the Ranch Trail... 
and the Ranch Riding classes that were part of the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse competiton. 
Once those were pinned, I headed over to the Events Center which was filled with approximately one million Western Pleasure horses. 
While they warmed up, I walked around and looked at a few vendor booths.  Can you believe there was someone selling Gaucho saddles? 
Oh, if only I had seen this before I made Kellye's Criollo set...  
I even got to sit on one, but unfortunately there is no photographic proof!
Eventually, the horses and riders finished their warm-up, and I settled in to watch about half a million Western Pleasure classes.
While doing so, I discovered a brand new obsession... 
Hunter braided Western Pleasure horses!
I could have happily stayed all day, but I didn't want to overdo it.  And for the record, I don't think I did.  I feel healthier right now than I have in days.  Hurray for the Stock Show!