Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunny Sunday

Sunday seems to be tack day at the moment. The weather was gorgeous again today and after I did some washing I settled in at my desk.

First up, I felt like doing something with a bit of colour. I have also always wanted to make something entirely with tongue buckles. I haven't yet done this, as I wasn't sure what width leather to use. I've found that I need to use lace at least 2mm in width, but English bridles don't have split crownpieces like some Western bridles do. I eventually decided to take the plunge and use a piece of 4.5mm lace for the crownpiece, and just seem what happens.

 The straps are a bit tight to wrestle through the buckles, but there it is! I had some dramas over how to construct the browband and noseband - whether to go the insert route, or put black padding/piping on red - as I couldn't find any reference pics online, but with with the insert method (which is really just laying the coloured lace over the top and gluing it into position). I think the 4.5mm crownpiece is too thick, but my supplier doesn't offer 4mm widths, so I think if there are to be tongue buckle bridles in the future, they will need to be on this lace.

While I was searching for reference pics for the light breed halter above, I came across this bridle. Jana Skybova has done a bridle with metal keepers, which I have admired, but I think the double keepers on a double bridle is too much bling for me. I was pleased to find a snaffle bridle version that wasn't so loud. I have some gold-coated lace, which I have been eager to use, so this seemed the perfect opportunity to have a play!

It's not finished, as I'm not sure what to do with the browband. I think it needs padding, and some kind of gold decoration, but I'm stuck. I'm also hesitant about doing buckles on the reins as well. I might sit on it for a few days and see if I get inspired any further. I am wondering whether I should do the black second keeper like the original has, or if that will just be too much. I suppose there is one already on the throatlatch, so it couldn't hurt to finish it off in the same pattern!

In other news, my Rio Rondo order that was shipped on the 28th September is officially missing. :( It sucks, as I really needed those buckles! Not happy, Jan. I'm hoping it's just caught up in the (early?) Christmas mail, but as time goes on there's less chance of it turning up. The (vague) upside is that this is my first missing parcel in the five or so years I've been a hobbyist, so at least it wasn't a pony!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sales and new homes.

My test racing saddle from the previous post has found a new home. I originally sent it to Lisa so she could take some pics of it on Ruffian and other Breyer TBs for me, but then we agreed that since it was better than the original copy I made for her (based on her blue saddle), she may as well keep it. Yay!

Part of the deal was that she wanted a girth and surcingle in red and white to go with the red and white gaming bridle she purchased from me a little while back. This set is destined to go on a light grey CM Ruffian (who is lovely), and I bet the whole set up will just look stunning.

You can see that the surcingle buckle has a roller on it. I've attempted rollers on several occassions after reading Jennifer Bruxton's post about them, but I don't know, I must be doing something wrong. I can never seem to make the rollers actually roll when a strap is passing through. On their own they roll okay, so I'm really confused! I do find that even having a non-functioning roller on there eases the stress on the strap, so I'll definitely leave it on Lisa's surcingle. (Thought: maybe my needlenose pliers are too big to make a properly-sized tube.)

The girth came out a little bit funny with the binding around the buckle. What I did with the original black girth was take a piece of black 6mm leather and fold and glue it to both sides of the elastic end, with the buckle poking through the middle. This also provided space for the girth keeper to be attached easily.

With the red, I didn't have any red 6mm so instead I used a little piece from my dwindling collection of coloured pieces, and wrapped it around the end of the girth. As you can see it didn't leave any neat space for the keeper! Superglue was used with this girth so unfortunately it's not just a simple case of pulling the leather off and trying again - that leather is there for good! Instead I attached keepers and then glued an extra piece of leather onto the back to hide the ends. In the future I will definitely fold and glue like I did with the black leather, though.

In other news, I've been a little quiet on the post front as I've been busy making and revamping finds from my completed basket to be offered for sale. Here is one bridle that I am really pleased with:

It's a classic Western snaffle. I searched long and hard for those twisted fancy jump rings, and eventually found some sterling silver ones on ebay (also in 3mm!). Unfortunately the jump rings are quite soft and very easy to bend, so I'm not sure if I will keep using them. I'm not sure why I like it so much - perhaps it's the little 'Chicago screws' near the bit. I think they look really cute, even if they are technically a bit big.

This tack sale is to raise funds so I can purchase a whole lot of cast bits from TWMHC while the Aussie dollar is still good. 98c, yo!

There's a live show coming up in a few months in NSW that I should probably make a donation piece for, as well as LITW in WA, which I will hopefully be proxying at. A hacking bridle with ribbon browband would be nice, but I don't have any Weymouth bits in stock. It may end up being a Western bridle or halter for both. :/

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Congratulations, it's a saddle!

It's a little bit silly how thrilled I am at completing my first saddle. For a couple days' work, I am very pleased with how it came out!

I received some larger pieces of 'roo leather a couple of days ago, and so I could finally make a start on the racing saddles I had promised to friends Lisa and Dan. So, using the pictures I had from Dan of a racing slip (including underside shots!) I was able to construct a pattern (held on here by the surcingle of the other racing saddle Lisa owns).

From there came a prototype.

Here you can see the stitchmarking I attempted (on the saddle I copied this from, the stitching is white). I also tried to full binding around the entire circumference of the saddle. Unfortunately that didn't work out so well - I ended up with glue everywhere. The little cut outs that cover the stirrup bars are also wonky, since I cut them freehand.

That's where I started from this morning. Today I redrew the patterns (adding in the surcingle slots and stirrup cover things, and started afresh.

While I was hassling discussing the project with Dan, we determined that the surcingle I was borrowing from Lisa's saddle was too wide (at about 9-10mm). I had a dig around in my supply box and found some 6mm elastic, which I used to create a new girth and surcingle.

(I'm pretty sure the surcingle is on upside down. Oops!)

I also tried the binding again, but only around the important bits (the seat and the pommel). I like the finished look it gives the saddle - from the side, at least. I need to work on being more careful and making sure it goes on straight!

While I was playing with Lisa's saddle, I also determined that tongue buckles on the girth and surcingle are much easier to use when working with elastic. Slip buckles literally slip out, so tongue buckles it is - all over!

My final note for the future is that I should probably use 2mm for the stirrup leathers; of course, I didn't think of that until after I was taking pictures. Oh well!

I think that despite a few glue marks and wonkiness, it's a pretty impressive saddle for me. It should make a good photo-showing saddle, too, if I can hold off from pulling it apart to reuse the stirrups!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Creating with a purpose

So I saw an ad on Haynet a few days ago, asking for donations to support the Swedish Nationals live show. Coming from a small group of hobbyists (I'm looking at you, Australia), I'm always happy to try and support outlier shows.

I sat and thought for a bit, and dug through my supplies box for inspiration. Ah ha! Hiding in the bottom of my traditional bits I found an etched Pelham bit. I don't even remember buying this bit - it might have been from my very first Rio Rondo order - probably at least four years ago. I was pleased to be able to put it to good use.

After some work I came up with a grackle noseband bridle, but then  I had a change of heart towards the end, and swapped out the bit (after braiding the reins, ugh) for a snaffle bit instead. So this is what I'll be donating:

MORE braided reins! Twice in one day! Someone check my forehead. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. It even has double keepers - a first for me. And yes, I'll trim the flash before it goes. :P

Earlier in the week I'd been looking through Horse Deals and spotted this bridle on the front cover of the Stallions edition.

I thought for a while how to best replicate the centre piece, and ended up with a heart-shaped 2mm nail art rhinestone from eBay.

It's not brilliant, but I do think it is really cute! (Ignore the bridle, look at the browband. Browband only! And yes, there's that pelham bit from the donation bridle above. Unfinished, obviously.) I have some 3mm triangle rhinestones on order, but I don't know if they will be too big. I guess we'll just have to wait and see when they arrive. When I attempt this browband again, I think I'll try it on a V-style browband, and attempt to sew straight this time.

The other project I finished last week was a couple of bridles for my classic QH mares. I lost the previous black bridle I had made, so I made another, and of course Delta needed her own; she's so fussy on colour.

Following on from my brief fling last week with silver Western show halters, I attempted to make Delta one, and failed, although not miserably.At first I made the throatlatch too long, so I shortened it, but now it's too short (of course). Something else is also off too, but I can't put my finger on it. I wonder if the noseband is too long... (I know now that the noseband holder-upright thingies are only used on halters that use round rings, not halter rings. Oops!)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Royal Melb Show - ASH

The only Australian Stock Horse event I caught was 'Australian Stock Horse and Lady Rider'. I went into this expecting it to be like any other hack class, and while it was mostly similar, there was a couple of small differences.

Pics and more info after the jump!

Royal Melb Show - hunters

Well, I just got back from a rather disappointing Royal Show on Tuesday a couple of weeks ago. I had intended to stay all day, but that wasn't really possible.

By the time 2.30pm had rolled around, I had seen a whole four classes (three hunting, one ASH) and was waiting on the second ASH class. Fifteen minutes after the time when the second ASH class was supposed to start, they dismantled the two rings, and announced the lunch time entertainment (monster trucks, BMXs, etc). So I'm not sure if there were no entries in the classes I was waiting for (unlikely), or if they just majorly screwed up, but I was in a pretty miserable mood by that time anyway and decided it was time to go.

Of course I missed the main classes I wanted to catch (Working ASH), but hopefully they will have full coverage on the Horse Deals website.

So, enough of my blathering. Pics after the jump!