Tack Prep

Last week I managed to hurt my wrist at work. It’s nothing bad, just sore. I know better than to push through it, so I’ve been taking it easy and it’s been getting better. In the meantime, I’ve been prepping for a new tack project.

I’ve decided that Hamilton needs a Saddleseat set.

I know nothing about Saddleseat, have never made a cutback saddle or a double bridle. So this should be… interesting. My biggest concern is following through with it, because I’m very good at starting things but finishing them…? 😅

I like to plan out as much as I can beforehand. This means researching and looking for good reference photos. (eBay is great for this, and I use Pinterest as well) I always forget how much time this takes.

Next is sketching everything out, especially if it’s something I’m not familiar with. Breaking pieces down helps me visualize how they’re assembled, and how I’ll put them together in miniature. It also gives me an idea of what materials I’ll need, like lacing and hardware. Running out of something in the middle of a project is so frustrating!

Trying to figure out an equalizer girth

I hoard collect hardware so naturally I don’t have everything I need. But hey it’s an excuse to buy more shiny things.

Some supplies are coming in, like this waxed thread I got off of Etsy. I think, once untwisted, the strands will work well for laced reins.

While I haven’t started any tack yet, I did create a red ribbon braid for the mane. I don’t know the story behind these ribbons… I think it’s just tradition for American Saddlebreds?

The Hamilton mold has a “ribbon” sculpted into his mane already. I don’t like sculpted ribbons or tack so I covered that up with a new braid. It’s held on with sticky wax and was made with 1/16 satin ribbon.

I like the way this looks but I also think it’s too thick.

I made a second one, twisting two strands together this time.

I like the size of this one better, but I might try making another out of embroidery floss. (I really wanted those ribbon tail ends though… hmmm)

Tack prep is kind of boring but I find it really helpful. Hopefully next time I’ll have more to show. And hopefully I won’t hurt myself again. 😶

10 thoughts on “Tack Prep

  1. Good luck! I’ve been toying with makin a saddle seat set for Hammy too. Hope your wrist gets better!

  2. Your scale sense is spot on. Braided thread ends could be ‘fixed and flared’ with glue or wax. (I admit I have not done this.)

  3. I believe that the ribbons that are braided into the horse’s mane are to make the mane appear longer and helps enhance the movement of the mane when the horse is performing different gaits. Not 100% sure, but that’s what I’ve heard.

  4. As a professional harness & bridle maker that specializes in making SaddleSeat Show Tack & Training Equipment,and also an owner and exhibitor of Saddlebred’s & Morgan horses for over 30 years,and a model horse collector as well. I can tell you areas that you can simplify. The first being the equalizer girth. Those types of girths are not used much anymore in the ring. Most use the standard white girths made by Walsh that have black removable neoprene. Freedman’s show girths are also popular as well. Both Walsh & Freedman’s has a website you can reference. As for using thread for lacing reins,I would recommend 0.8mm Tiger Thread. It’s a nice flat thread that will lay flat. Also the snaffle rein is slightly wider than the curb rein. Traditionally the snaffle reins is 1/2” wide and the curb reins are 3/8” wide. Do not use buckles to connect the reins to the bits. Only hook stud bit ends are used on SS show bridle. You would be better off stitching the end of the rein,the looping it through the bit,and gluing the ends through two small keepers. That will give the correct appearance. As for lacing the reins you will want you punch holes very close together as the lacing on the actual real reins are spaced very close together. Browband’s are tapered,but straight is still common to. Colors are either Red or Burgundy patent leather. You can use a faux high gloss pvc vinyl patent upholstery fabric for that.

  5. This is super interesting. I’ve trained and shown Morgans and Arabians for 30+ years and never knew model saddle making was a thing! As Kelly notes the reins are finer than hunt seat English and the bridle itself is slightly finer. In the Arabian and half Arabian we only use patent for the brow band and not the cavesson. For that, we use a flat leather noseband. For reference scaling..typical dimension on the snaffle bit is a 1 1/2 inch round o-ring ( with the 1/2″ rein) and the curb is 7-7 1/2 long shank (with the 3/8″) rein.

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