Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Since I make my tack primarily for myself, I'm allowed to make wherever my creativity dictates. I tend to find myself focusing on a certain style or item for a period, and then moving onto something else. I have a pretty short attention span!

For the past fortnight, I've been playing with coloured leather, and in particular, PVC (biothane/betathane as it's known in the US) bridles. While they aren't all that practical and useful in terms of model horse performance, they are fun to look at, and can certainly enhance a scene. I prefer English-style bridles over the other types available, but maybe I will make one in barcoo style. I call them gaming bridles, since here in Australia they are generally seen in Pony Club gymkhanas, but they can also be found in low levels of show jumping, and of course, used as at-home trail riding bridles.

My lace supplier, Amazing Lace, has a pretty awesome range of coloured leather. As well as four or five shades of brown, they stock around 13 other colours, and even coated metallic lace. This means I have a pretty extensive range of colours to fiddle with and inspire me!

Last night I finished this traditional gaming bridle in turquoise and white. I tried a new style of attaching the reins with a loop, instead of directly gluing the reins to the bit. This means that the reins can be removed in favour or something else if desired. I think this bridle will eventually be a for-sale item.

This red and white traditional bridle is from about a week ago, and is the first one I made in my current coloured-leather binge. I am really in love with the flash attachment. It just sticky-waxes in place, a tip I picked up from friend and fellow tack maker Robyn McCrae. There are no reins yet as I am currently out of 2mm red leather. Oh, and this bridle also shows my first attempt at buckles on the bottom of the cheekpieces. The bit is technically removable, but I wouldn't advise anyone actually trying. The leather at that end is thin to keep the area from getting too bulky.

Lastly is a classic purple and black gaming bridle. I was a little disappointed with this item as there is not as much impact with the contrast as I had hoped. Oh well, live and learn! I suppose not everyone enjoys bright, in-your-face colours like me.

I can see from looking at these pictures that I still need to work on the length of the cheekpieces. Traditional bridles are a bit difficult for me as I don't collect trads and therefore don't have any on hand for sizing. I really need to purchase some more bodies when I have more money and can afford international shipping on an otherwise cheap model.

My enthusiasm for this particular binge is starting to wane, so I will make one more bridle (royal blue and either black or white, to go with a friend's  birthday present) and then move onto something else. I think I see girths in my future...

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