Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The difference

The difference between "finished enough to display on my blog"...
and "completely finished and ready to ship"...
is approximately four hours. 
So glad that's done.  I can't wait to see it on Snickers!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bottoms up

Sometimes I spend more time detailing the parts you can't see...
than the parts you can.
This is normal, right?

Sunday, September 28, 2014


At the end of the 1983 summer session, eight Tom Sawyer Day Camp horses had failed to find winter homes.  
This group included three,
 slow horses,
Cindy (with Jeff)
one large, sullen pony, 
two knot-headed medium ponies, 
CB and Snickers
one small, mostly blind pony (the original Poka Tia) and a half broke pinto named Chief.
Chief (many years later)
All eight plus Tiger, who had been leased by my friend Laura, were moved from Flintridge Riding Club to Siason Stables in Duarte, California.
Laura and Tiger
Laura and I were given permission to ride these horses as much and as often as we wanted. This was a fantastic opportunity for two horse crazy girls, and we were giddy with the possibilities. For a while, we really tried to ride them all, but eventually the novelty of having so many horses wore off. Laura started riding Tiger exclusively, and I split my time between Snickers...
and Chief. 
Chief was new to Tom Sawyer, and his debut summer had not been a roaring success.  Nicknamed "Sheri's Folly" after the counselor who approved his purchase, Chief was a perpetual motion machine. He jigged and pranced and cantered sideways. He was completely unsuitable for beginners, and most of the staff was afraid of him.
Not me. I thought he was fun.
Unlike Snickers, who was sneaky and frustrating, Chief was an uncomplicated and willing partner. He didn't stand still, but he also didn't buck, rear, bolt or shy. He was brave and honest and exciting. I loved him.
old man Chief
As time went by, I found myself riding Chief more and Snickers less. She was on her way to being phased out completely, but then, without warning, everything changed.
To be continued.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

1:9 scale world

For the second time in as many weeks, I've received an unexpected box from a hobby friend.
There were no horses in this one.  
Instead, it was filled with all sorts of additions to my rapidly expanding 1:9 scale world.
I just love this stuff.
And of course, my mind is working overtime imagining new performance entries...
that might  include dogs on chairs...
and all sorts of barnyard fowl.
The fox is tailor made for a hunting scene... 
and the owl will be perfect for natural trail. 
The goats could be used for goat tying, and all three of these would fit nicely into the petting zoo I've always wanted to build.
The sheep is my favorite.  I think she needs a halter. 
Also included in the box, was a package for string tags.  This made me laugh, because I think I've "borrowed" tags from Jane more than a dozen times over the years!  

Thank you so much, Jane.  I'm not sure what I've done to deserve these unexpected gifts, but they are very much appreciated!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Further confessions of a messy tackmaker

My desk is a mess.  Again.
I have no trouble working in chaos, except when I can't find things.  Today's missing item was  1/8" black girth elastic.  I briefly debated the merits of cleaning my work area versus going to the hobby store to buy some new supplies.
  Then I remembered who the girth was going to.
Pink elastic it is!
Ha!  That's one of the many reasons I love making tack for Tiffany Purdy!

P.S. As soon as I finished the girth, I found the black elastic.  So glad I didn't go to the store!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Training tack classes

Imagine a horse show class with no tack or attire restrictions...
The hunter classes might be filled with horses in Western saddles... 
and the Western Pleasure classes would feature horses wearing nosebands... 
and riders wearing tall boots and breeches.
 Impossible you say?
Welcome to the world of Arabian Training Tack classes!
I had never heard of these classes prior to last weekend's CAHC Fall Show, I so imagine my surprise when this trotted into the ring for a Training Tack Hunter Pleasure class.
Of course, it didn't take me long to figure out that the Training Tack section is simply a warm-up division.  It allows green horses and anxious riders a chance to get inside the show ring and practice before the main event.
These classes don't count towards championships or year end awards, and I'm guessing no one ever takes out a full page ad in Arabian Horse World bragging about their Training Tack victories.
Still, these are actual, judged, horse show classes.  
Although I'd prefer not to see any horse...
real or model.... 
with this much crap on its head... 
I'd really love to see someone set up a Training Tack class entry at a model horse show.
Feel free to use my pictures and let me know if the judge's head explodes!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tack Tips--Crown pieces

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a traditional scale one piece crown piece for a hunter type English bridle.

As always, I start by preparing the lace.  
I use 3/16" kangaroo lace, skived to a medium thickness.  It needs to be thin enough to drape over the horse's poll and easily pass through buckles and keepers, but not so thin as to be excessively fragile.  The throatlatch part of the crown piece receives a fair amount of handling.  It can't be paper thin.  
Now it's time to split the lace.  This is an advanced skill that requires a steady hand and a very sharp blade.  
I position the blade on top of the lace, making sure it's centered and the blade is at a ninety degree angle.  If the blade is not straight up and down, the cut edges will be angled and messy. 
When I'm happy with the placement of the blade, I press down until the knife cuts through the lace.  Ideally, this will give me a nice, clean split with both sides measuring just a hair over 1/16". 
I lift the blade slightly and slide it up over the lace.  I re-position the knife, cut and repeat until the split is long enough to go around the horse's throatlatch.
I trim the cheek piece and place the strap on the model's head.
I mark the distance across the top of the poll...
and then  split the right side of the strap.
The crown piece will now look like this.
The next step--trimming the crown--is optional.  I place the tip of my knife on the back edge of the crown, right at the beginning of the split.
I gently and carefully trim off a tiny slice of leather, again making sure that my blade stays at a consistent ninety degree angle. 
In one continuous motion, I cut all the way across the crown until I reach the other split. 
Reducing the width of the crown in this manner gives the piece a more refined appearance. 
I punch holes,
add a buckle and keepers... 
and voila! The crown piece is complete...
and ready for use!
As always, there are as many ways to make tack as there are tackmakers.  This method works well for me.  If your technique is different, please tell us about it in the comment section!