Sunday, November 28, 2010

EQ2010 - Mounted Games

Omg omg omg. Mounted games are one of my favourite events to watch, particularly at a place like Equitana. To get the crowd involved, they play lots of pumping, active music on the PA and have an enthusiastic commentator, and of course they encourage lots of yelling and cheering! With those ponies flying along like crazy rockets and riders vaulting on and off with speed, it's impossible to get excited. (Note: LOTS of pics below the cut!)

EQ2010 - Driving to Music

Imagine some pretty music while you look through these pictures!

Friday, November 26, 2010

EQ2010 - Breed Parade

The Breed Parade was a half-hour session showcasing a member of a number of different breeds in the outdoor arena. Some horses were led in-hand, and some were ridden. As each horse entered, a small amount of information was read out about the breed. (We saw a full parade and the tail of another, so there may be a couple of different representatives of some breeds.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Equitana 2010

I haven't dropped dead from exhaustion after Equitana, I promise, though I am thoroughly sunburnt. I've just been so busy catching up with work that I haven't really had time to do anything productive tack-wise. I lie, I made some emergency Western skid boots and no-turn bell boots last night for a friend's live show entry next week, but I didn't even get pictures for the blog! Hopefully she will be a good friend and send me pictures after I hassle her every day.

So, Equitana report. The weather was ridiculously Melbourne (rainy, then sunny; wash, rinse, repeat all day Thursday, then 24 degrees C and rising over Friday, Saturday and Sunday). We ended up seeing at least a bit of every event except the polo (the area they used wasn't big enough so they weren't going fast and I got bored...) and horseball (sick of the stupid heat by that stage). I'll split the events into different posts, but my reports will take a while as I have 1800-odd photos to go through... I'm used to, oh, 500 or so with my dinky point-and-shoot!

My new camera is a Nikon D40X DSLR, which is much bigger and fancier than my current Fuji s1000fd. I've only had a brief play with tack photos with the Nikon and it's not too happy about them, so I guess the Fuji will be sticking around for a bit.

To keep you going until the next post, here's some bad pictures of the girth I made for Rosie's saddle; the girth that came with the saddle originally was far too short. The girth is by Robyn McCrae, and the doll is a Heidi Ott doll customised by Lori Batchelor. (Ignore Felice just chillin in the back!)

Next up I have a couple of bridles to work on - Rosie's bridle, and the bridle I made a while ago for Lisa's classic Whisper resin.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More mail!

So the other night I bummed around on eBay for a while, and accidentally bought a whole heap of hot fix nailheads in different sizes. Oops. :) I bought round gold and silver nailheads in 2mm, 3mm and 4mm, those 7mm rectangles I mentioned in another post, some 3mmx3mm squares, and some small tear drops.

I still need to find someone with 5mm round ones, and when I order from TWMHC I'll order some of their 1.5mm and 2.5mm ones as well. With all those sizes I think I should be covered for everything for 'conchos' through to 'rosettes' on browbands.

The 3mm squares should be a perfect fit for traditional beaded Western halters, like this one I'm working on:

The squares will go on each end of the cheek pieces, like in this picture:

I'm pleased with how this halter has come out, though I do wish I had a model to try it on! I've heard that ISHs have a small head, so for now this halter will stay with me until I either get an ISH or I get measurements to compare the halter to. Looking at the picture, it's actually a bit big for Ideal, so I think it will be huge on anyone else. :(

In other tack news, yesterday I got mail from the super lovely Robyn McCrae. I'd sent her Rosie so she could make her a little saddle for hacking, leadline and maybe games. Rosie is a drastic custom Merrylegs, so measurements just wouldn't cut it for a good fit. Isn't she just adorable, all tacked up? I can't wait to start taking pictures in her new set ups.

Robyn's parcel also included a saddle for my Mozart resin. I love the colour on him, and the saddle is really cute. The girth is a touch too big though, so I will need to make him another.

Lastly, today I received my Far Ute Keno set from the US. These are the stock horses I mentioned in another post. After some quick tack sessions...

I determined that Keno looks best with the black Western saddle (a Robyn piece, as is most of my collection), and promptly made him a matching bridle.

I tried something new with the browband, I really like the look of metal silver earpieces, but of course no one makes them in classic scale. I did attempt to make one from wire, and made a loop at the end for the crownpiece to pass through, but I had trouble achieving the square-ish shape that real browbands have for the crownpiece loop.

With the one above, I used 2mm silver leather and folded the centre section (tried to roll it but it turned into a fold). It doesn't look so good in the photo but it does look nice in real life. On trads I think I will use 3mm lace and try slipping in wire underneath, like I do for the throatlatches on halters, so that it can sit flat against the head.

While fiddling around with Keno, I discovered he has a neat little secret - his forelock is lifted slightly!

The bottom end is fixed to his head, so any browbands that you want to slip under will need a free end, but it should be easy enough to cut a browband in two, and slip the two ends under the forelock. Of course, any English bridles made to fit this guy will need another browband if they are to be used with another model, but it's exciting news nonetheless.

Keno has also stolen Mozart's saddle, so I suppose he will need an English bridle, too! (That's the same girth pictured with Mozart - Keno is a fatty!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Equitana 2010 and more supplies

Equitana is only five days away! My friend from interstate, Dan, will be flying over to join me. We've already started plotting out visit. Events we intend to watch are the polo and polocrosse matches, driving (obstacle singles), mounted games, horseball (!), reining, cutting, campdrafting, and a funny little class called jump and drive. It's only a half-hour session so I'm not sure how much we will see, but if it's anything like this YouTube video I found last night, I think it will be fantastic to watch.

A few days ago I received an order from ebay. I lucked out and found some tiny silver tube beads that I'm hoping to use on Western bridles and halters. I found plain 3mm silver tubes, 4mm 'threaded' silver tubes (they look kind of like a spiral or coil compressed together), and tiny 1.5mm round beads. Apparently they are sterling silver, but it's ebay, so who knows?

At first I tried to thread them onto 26 gauge wire, and while the wire fits, I wasn't sure how to fix the wire to the leather, so quickly abandoned that idea and moved onto cotton thread. By tying knots at each end, the thread is secured onto leather with super glue. Unless the thread breaks, the bridle should be pretty secure.

Here's a sample of what the plain tubes and the round beads look like on the classic loping QH:

(Ignore the ear browband; that's for a future blog post.) I'm pretty pleased with how it looks, and will be making a couple of bridles with these beads in the future. I have a couple of stock horses in the mail, so they are a perfect excuse to use these beads!

The beads should be a good size for traditionals too - here is the bridle above held against Ideal's head. (All the beads are silver; that goldy-coloured one is just reflecting something.)

I want to attempt a stock halter with a double row of beads, but am not entirely sure how to go about it. Wire was unsuccessful as mentioned above, and using two cotton threads tied together resulted in the rows being uneven. So perhaps two single threads side-by-side would be more successful?

Speaking of things found on ebay, what do you think of these?

Hot fix rectangles - name plates on halters, perhaps? They are 7mm long, so perhaps only suitable for traditionals.

And some more silver tube beads. These ones have an obvious twist to them. I'm not sure how suitable they would be for tack though - the corners might scratch a delicate paintjob.

The wonders of ebay! (I'm not addicted, really.)

Ooh, forgot one. A while ago I ordered this too-cute micro mini saddle from someone on ebay.  I wasn't overly fond of her bridles, so just went with the saddle and breastplate.

It's really adorable. My task for this set is to make an English bridle, and maybe update the breastplate and stirrups, before Mini Mania live in May next year. I've done a micro mini Western bridle before, but Western bridles are infinitely easier! For a start this bridle will use cotton instead of leather. And I'm foreseeing some kind of coloured 'elastic' breastplate, too... The saddle is by greenacresfarm4 on eBay.



My Rio Rondo order turned up! Yay! I've no idea where it's been hiding for the past three weeks, but I am relieved to have it here. Though, there is a downside of course - I have been compiling a list of my original order plus other stuff I needed, but since this order has turned up I will have to wait a little longer to order the new stuff.

Check out these cute twist beads I found hidden away on RR's sales page. I've no idea what to use them for, but I do like looking at them!

The other exciting piece of mail I received today was some 6mm grosgrain ribbon from eBay. I bought ten yards of each (that's about 9m), in royal blue, red, black and white. These should make excellent surcingles and girths for the racing saddles I intend to make in the future! Dan already has an order for a royal blue set next week. I'm wondering if I should put an elastic insert in them or not; some racing surcingles I've seen have this.

Last week I tried and tried to create a donation for a live show that's coming up in a couple of weeks, but all I could come up with was this in-hand bridle.

I think it looks super cute, but I won't give it away or sell it. I attempted using the 4.5mm lace again to make everything with tongue buckles, but I think these buckles are smaller than the D-rings, as it is damn near impossible to pull the straps through! You can see wear on the straps already, even though they have been used only a few times. It's also really obvious that the 4.5mm lace hasn't darkened after being coated with gum trag as much as the other widths of lace. Lace normally goes a bit darker, but for some reason the 4.5mm has stayed quite light.. I think the thickness of the lace also has an effect on absorption.

However, this project wasn't a total waste. I used this as an opportunity to try out an idea I saw on a bridle sold on eBay - a bit with a mullen mouthpiece. A small piece of leather is wrapped around the bit, instead of a crimp, to form the mouthpiece. From a distance it looks really cute, although close up you can tell it is just leather, as it isn't rounded. May look into black nickel crimps if I want to try this again in the future, as the leather and sticky wax do not cooperate. (I find this with reins too - sticky wax can only be used on the underside to hold them in place. I'm not sure if that's how the leather is, or if it's treated with something that repels the sticky wax.)

There's one last new item on this bridle I wanted to show off. See that browband and noseband? They are rolled! Ever since I started making tack, rolled browbands have eluded me, for a number of reasons. The centre was never straight, the raised section would be too big or too small, or the entire thing would be covered in glue. Yet when I made these a few days ago, they were pretty successful! Now let's hope it wasn't a fluke and that I can make more in the future...

After some farting around I got off my bum and redid the show bridle with slip buckles. The only pieces that are original to the first version are the brow and nosebands, leadline and bit. (I coated the leather on the bit with super glue so that the sticky wax adheres better.

Here is the finished piece.

The show is actually on today as I write this post, so I hope it goes to someone who will get lots of use out of it.