Monday, August 31, 2020

August horses: Gunner

Every now and then I meet a horse whose color is so over the top amazing, I think it can not possibly be real. It must be a model horse.
This is Gunner.
I'm ninety eight percent sure that he's a model horse.
Gunner belongs to Angelo's wife's aunt. 
She was out of town last week, so Angelo offered to house and horse sit.
It's a tough life.
Of course, as her friend, I was morally obligated to go over there and take photos of this amazing model horse.
Isn't he something?
I don't know who painted him, but I would like a commission. 
The details are fabulous.
He almost looks real!
Thank you so much for sharing your model horse with me, Angelo.
I really enjoyed meeting him!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

August horses

I know I say this every month, but August has been the longest, hardest month of this very long, very hard year. The deaths of Karen Crossley and Pat Coulter book ended four weeks of political and social unrest, natural disasters, record breaking heat and, of course, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 
Like many people, I have been struggling. I was feeling especially overwhelmed last week, so I decided to make a list of all the things I like about this moment in time. It is not a long list, but I did manage to find a few silver linings, most of which were horse shaped. In spite of everything else, this has been a good month in the saddle.
As usual, my time was split between several horses. Lucy and I have a standing date with Mary Jo, Scarlett, Karen and Thunder every Tuesday morning. Here are the three amigos heading down the trail on last week's ride.
I also put in a lot of time with my other regular ride, Stealth.
Together with his owner, Diana, and brother, Guaranteed, we did a fair amount of trail maintenance this month. 
This led to me ponying a horse for the first time in years. So fun!
Here's something else that hasn't happened in a while...
Santana's owner has been working from home since March. This gives her more time to spend with him, which is great for her, but I have missed him. I was delighted when Mindy asked me if I could fill in for her last week. It was really nice  to see the world through his ears again.
Finally, there's Flynn.
I have had so much fun getting to know this big, sweet, goofy horse.
August has been a hard month, and I won't be sad to see it end. I hope September is better, but even if it's not, I have horses to help get me through it. For that, I am truly grateful.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Our Butet story

When I was twenty two, I moved to Tennessee to work for a high end tack shop that catered exclusively to riders showing on the A show hunter/jumper circuit.
At that time, French made Butet saddles were the most popular - and hard to find - saddles on the market. My store was one of only a handful of licensed Butet dealers in the country, but even we could barely get them in. At all points in time, our Butet waiting list had at least a dozen names on it.
It seemed like everyone wanted a Butet, including other saddle companies. Miller's wanted one so badly, they bought a Butet from my store with the express intent to copy it. Since they told us they would be taking it apart, I boxed up a slightly battered test-ride saddle and shipped it to New Jersey.
A couple months later, I received a copy of the brand new Miller's catalog.
I eagerly flipped to the saddle section to see the new Butet copy. My first reactions was "Wow! That looks exactly like a Butet!" Then I looked closer and realized it looked exactly like our Butet. The buttons had been changed and there was a new logo on the flap, but there was no mistaking those oil spots on the knee pads. That was our saddle. There was no question in my mind.
For comparison, here's a picture of the actual production saddle from 1999. It's similar, but definitely not a Butet.
This was a funny tack shop story that was shared often while I was part of the tack industry. As time went by, however, I mostly forgot about it. At least until one day many, many years later when I stumbled across a Facebook comment by Pat Coulter. In it, she shared a story about a saddle. She said that one of her friends worked at Miller's in the 1990's. At the time, Butets were really hot, and Miller's wanted to capitalize on that popularity. So they bought a Butet, switched out the buttons, took a picture of it and put it in their catalog under a different name. "Can you believe that?" she asked, and of course I could. I just couldn't believe I was hearing my Butet story from someone else.
That's the part that actually seems unbelievable. What are the odds that two people - two future model horse tack makers - would share this one obscure saddle story? What are the odds that we'd uncover this coincidence some twenty years after the fact? Pretty slim, I think, but I'm glad it happened. I'm glad that my Butet story became our Butet story, and I'm glad I knew Pat Coulter.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Pat Coulter

Ten years ago I published a post titled A brief history of BCS, in which I chronicled my hobby history. In the comments section, Pat Coulter wrote:
And it's true, our lives to that point were eerily similar. We were almost the same age, although I was a couple years older. We were both life long horse girls who grew up collecting Breyers. We both put the hobby on hold to to pursue real horse hunter jumper dreams in our twenties. Eventually, we both found our way back and became tack makers, specializing in English competition tack. We both made tack for Breyer's 2010 WEG Diorama Project. We both showed performance. For a while, we even both had blogs.
Pat's 2010 Breyer WEG Diorama tack
Of course, there were differences, too. When I left the hunter jumper world, I left it completely. Unlike me, Pat remained a pro. She managed several stables and also served multiple terms as the Region 9 NAMHSA representative and one term as NAMHSA president.
Pat and Dallas with friends
We weren't besties. Pat lived in New Jersey, and I knew her mostly through social media, first Model Horse Blab, then Facebook. We didn't always agree on everything, but the bond of shared experiences was real.  The first time I met her in person was at the NoNANSense event at BreyerFest 2017. I walked over to her table and introduced myself, and she said, "I kind of love you."
Pat at NoNANSense, 2017
We spent the next hour chattering like old friends, which we kind of were. 
Pat's tack and tools
Pat was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June. She died today at the age of forty nine. She is survived by her mother, her horses, Dallas and Beamer, numerous kitties and so, so, so many grief stricken hobby friends.
Pat and Lindsay Diamond
Pat with Niki Hertzog and Teresa Buzzell, photo by Eleanor Harvey
Pat with Chris Wallbruch and Teresa Buzzell
Pat with Kate Norway, Christine Jordan and Niki Hertzog
Pat with Niki, Christine and Kate
Godspeed, Pat. I kind of love you, too.

Still. More. Prizes

Today was another multiple Pandemic Performance Panorama prize box day.
Elena Lemm sent two medallions, one from her own live-show-turned-online-show, Lemmonade Live. 
From Julia Turner, I received a Breyer blanket and two mini Eberl Gustavs. 
Tara Reich contributed two Re-ment pale ales...
and two of the most innovative model horse storage bags I have ever seen.
 Unlike most "envelope" style bags, these are cubes. 
Also, they have a pocket on the backside. 
How cool is that?
I keep saying this but it can't be overstated: This show has the best prizes. Thank you, Elena, Julia and Tara. Your generosity is so appreciated.

Thursday, August 27, 2020


The Pandemic Performance Panorama prizes just keep coming and coming. Some of the newest arrivals include this huge selection of minis from Anne Field.
This isn't nearly all of it. Thank you, Anne!
Hannah Mahardy of Burning Embers Studios also sent a selection of tiny things, including stablemate scale halters,
 stablemate scale cones...
 and stablemate scale boots. I really like the packaging on these!
She also sent two copies of her new Mindy medallion. Thank you, Hannah!
The last group of items comes from Lindsay Diamond, with an assist from her friend, Suzanne Combs. These three pony bags...
and face masks will be part of the prize packages for the Overall Champions. Thank you, Lindsay and Suzanne!
Don't forget, the deadline for entering this show is August 31 at midnight. Someone's going to win all this great stuff, but you can't win if you don't enter!