Friday, August 31, 2018

Diary of a Western Pleasure saddle

Earlier this year, Jennifer Scott commissioned Evelyn Munday to make her a 1:9 scale replica of an extremely ornate and complicated Harris Western pleasure saddle. Most model tack makers - myself included - would have passed on this one. Designs this intricate just don't lend themselves to miniaturization.
Unless, of course, you're Evelyn Munday!

I saw the saddle in person for the first time Monday, and I was absolutely blown away by the level of detail. 

"How did she do this?" I asked, not really expecting an answer. 

"Hold on," Jenn said. "I can show you."

Then she pulled up her chat conversation with Evelyn that detailed nearly every step of the saddle's construction. 

I took one look and said. "This is a blog post.

Fortunately, both Jenn and Evelyn agreed.
Today's guest post is the creation story of Jenn's saddle. Thank you so much, Evelyn, for allowing me to share your words and photos here.

Diary of a Western Pleasure Saddle

by Evelyn Munday

April 6: Hi Jennifer! I think I can make a saddle similar to that, but those tiny flowers are really going to be a real challenge. I'm going to give it a try on a test piece and see if it's possible.

 April 17: I just want to touch base with you. I haven't started on the saddle yet, but I've played with different patterns for the black areas. I think I know how to do it.

April 19: Here is the test piece I worked on yesterday. I like the right side better, but I'm still refining it.
April 20: Hi Jennifer. I just finished carving and dying the upper skirt . It turned out way better than I thought it would. I really didn't think I could do this part, but I was determined to get it close as possible. The design is carved by hand and the black areas were done with USMC dye.
April 23: Here is an update on the saddle. I'm just about done with the pattern. I will trace it onto vellum, then do the tooling. This type of saddle takes a while to do. I hope you like what I have done so far.
April 26: Got a little more done today. Here is traced onto the vellum and traced again onto the cased leather.
April 30: Hi Jennifer. Here is one of the fenders. I'm working on the other side now, but I wanted to share this with you.
May 1: I finished this one last night. Now you can see the floral detail.
 May 2: 😃😃😃
May 11: I have tooled the swells. I still need to cover the horn with silver foil and seal it.
May 12: I'm slowly but surely getting there. It seems like it's taking forever, but I am happy with how it is turning out.
May 13: I did some corner plate work today. I still have the left side to do. My silver work is aluminum sheeting, engraved by hand. 
May 14: I'm ready to do the cantle plate. Do you want one piece or three?  
May 16: I just finished the stirrup pieces!
May 18: Hi Jennifer! Here is another update for you. I'm almost done with your saddle. I just have the billets, cinch and headstall left.
May 18: Billets and cinch are done. This saddle is ready to go home.
Thank you again to both Jenn and Evelyn for making this post possible. I can not tell you how much I enjoyed being allowed to watch this saddle come together!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Memorable Myr

I like all three of Jennifer Scott's horses.
Ivy is so feminine and pretty with dapples galore.
Rocky is the quintessential Morgan; athletic, sensible and sturdy.
And then there's Myr. 
goofy Myr.
I can always count on Myr to do something memorable for my camera.
I mean, who could forget this moment?
I swear he's not actually deformed.
Monday's visit didn't produce anything truly weird. 
Instead, this time he gifted me with a wonderful series of pictures of him enjoying scratchy time with Jenn.
Myr really loves to be scratched...
I love these pictures! 
I can hardly wait to see what Myr will have in store for me next time. Whatever it is, I know I'm really going to to like it!

The Jennifer Show is coming

On Monday, I skipped the barn, instead choosing to drive up into the mountains to spend a day with Jennifer Scott.
The purpose of our meeting was to discuss the Jennifer Show 2019, which is slightly more than a year away. 
We made a lot of progress on that front, but we also spent some time on show and tell.
Right now, Jenn's studio is filled with Levis
 She has them in multiples sizes, versions, colors and degrees of completion....
and every single one of them is wonderful!
I also checked out the newest pieces in Jenn's small but extremely awesome tack collection. This pad and bonnet set was made by Jana Skybova and is a 1:9 scale copy of Jenn's real tack.
And then there's this...  
This Harris style Western Pleasure saddle was made by Evelyn Munday and is quite possibly the single most impressive piece of model horse tack I have ever seen.
There are so many neat things to see in Jenn's studio. It's tempting to settle in and never leave, but eventually, I always have to go outside and see the real horses.
We spent some time hanging out with Ivy,
and Myr
We ate a late lunch/early dinner outside on the deck listening to sounds of the neighbor's saxophone, the St. Bernard's snoring and the click of the electric fence.
What a wonderful day! 
Here's looking forward to the Jennifer Show 2019 and all the planning meetings that will take place between now and then!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Pictures from today's ride

Today Thunder and I went for a nice long ride with Mary Jo and Scarlett and Janet and Stetson.
Although the temperatures were decidedly warm, this was the first time in a long time that our sky was clear and smoke free. Look, you can actually see the mountains!
We passed another group of riders from Kenlyn on the way out. 
Linda had a double knee replacement last winter. It's so good to see her in the saddle again. 
Stetson really wanted to go back to the barn with that group, but Janet was able to persuade him to keep going. 
After all, we had something new and exciting to explore! 
The city of Aurora is extending Sixth Avenue right through our open space. Construction has just begun, but the trail is still open to riders via a narrow, fenced detour.
Today was the first time any of us had ridden through the detour. 
All three horses handled it just fine.
I suspect it might be different when construction is actually happening, but that's why we chose to do this on a Sunday.
At the end of the first detour, we found a CAT. 
Of course, this meant we all had to take pictures with it. 
Big horse, bigger CAT.
Cutest pony, almost small enough to fit in the scoop.
Then we passed through a second detour...
and popped out at Eagle's Nest
It's so gorgeous here.  
Of course, we had to take more photos. 
It's hard to believe this set of photos was taken just a few minutes from the others, but that's urban trail riding in a nutshell. For every gorgeous landscape there's a junkyard, an outhouse or a CAT! 
We cooled down in the stream...
I love this shot... 
then headed back.
We passed through the detours...
and continued on to the barn.
I really am trying not to overwhelm this space with ride photos, but some rides are just too good not to share. This was one of them. Tomorrow, I promise, I'll have something model related.