Archive for the ‘Tack’ Category

When I was leaving work last week, I spotted two robins.

I get really excited when I start seeing robins again, because to me, they are a reminder that yes, spring is coming and yes, winter will end. Even though this winter was unusually mild, some Montana winters definitely feel like they’re going to last forever.
Those two birds brought some much-needed hope after a horrible week.

With everything that’s been going on in the world, I’ve found it really hard to focus. Last week I was having panic attacks, and this week the anxiety has (so far) been replaced with anger, frustration and sadness, mostly towards people who still refuse to take this seriously. Working from home is not possible for me, but I don’t work with the public and can practice social distancing easily. Still, I’m stressed out about it, but trying to be grateful and careful. I’m feeling very uncertain about what will happen next.

Local news is about as much as I can take at the moment. I do try to keep an eye on what’s going on worldwide but it quickly becomes overwhelming.

At times I’ve found it necessary to shut everything off so I can focus on reading or model horse tack instead. I’ve been wanting to make a show headstall to match the western saddle I made last year, so that’s been my current project. I finished it up yesterday.

This one I made to fit my Zippo, and I tried really hard to make sure everything fit correctly.

I’m really glad I had enough silver beads to make two ear loops.

Off the horse:

Like the saddle, I tried to cram as much detail in this piece as I possibly could.

The curb strap took at least two hours to put together because my first attempt was too big and bulky. It’s glued in place, so it can’t be adjusted, but I never want to have to adjust it anyway!

The reins annoy me… I might go back and notch the folds so they aren’t so tight in the bit. But aside from that I’m really pleased with how this bridle turned out. It is a personal piece and will not be for sale.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope that you’re well and staying safe. ❤️

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I have another tutorial for you all today, this time on braided cotton reins.

I’m basing my reins off of these by Tough-1:

Finished set:

They’re pretty simple to make. This is the same method I used to create reins to go with a Barcoo bridle. In that case, I created two braids with buckles on each end and in the center:

This is also how I used to put together Arabian halters and breastcollars:

For materials, you will need embroidery floss, 1/8″ ribbon (I buy my ribbon from Hairbow Center) and hooks for the ends. These came from Rio Rondo but you could also shape some out of wire.

You will also need Fray Check, a needle, a lighter (this is optional) and glue. My go-to glue for ribbon or fabric is Fabri-Tac.

The reins I’m basing these on measure 7 feet long. In 1:9 scale, this measures down to 9.333… inches, so to make things easier, you could keep it around 9-10 inches.

I start by cutting 6 strands of embroidery floss measured at 16 inches long. For longer reins, you’re going to want to increase this length. It’s always better to have too much than not enough!

Split the strands in two groups of three, then braid them. I’m using a basic three strand braid here.

Next, it’s time to sew them together. I use a separated strand of embroidery floss cut three times the length of the finished braid. This will blend much better than trying to find a thread color to match.

Knot one end, then bring your needle up through the center of one of the braids.

Bring it straight through the second braid,

Then back down through both of them.

Continue with this zig-zag or serpentine pattern throughout the entire braid. You want the thread to be snug, but not so tight that it pulls the braid out of shape.

To finish the sewing, bring your needle up through the center, wrap the thread around it 2-3 times, hold it tight, then pull the needle through.

Completed braid!

Next, measure how long you want your reins to be, and cover this area in a generous amount of Fray Check. Cover both sides, then let dry completely.

I decided to cut mine at 10 1/2 inches.

One dry, cut through the braid and wrap the ends in ribbon.

For the hooks, I threaded one of the etched pieces on a tiny piece of ribbon, then sealed one end with a lighter. You can always use Fray Check to seal it instead.

I glued this down to be flush with the wrapped braid, then folded it over and trimmed down the other side.

With that, the reins are complete!

These can be made in any color you’d like, so have fun with them!

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Finally, this saddle is finished!

I can’t say this is the same saddle that I started four years ago, because it isn’t. It had to be completely re-worked. However, the vision I had for it remained the same, and honestly? I think it came out a lot better than it would have if I had made it four years ago.

I learned a lot from it though, and it’s the nicest saddle I’ve made so far. Any issues I see with it will only help me make the next one better. I think this is the 6th western saddle I’ve built, and the first in 5 years. (almost to the exact day, that’s really weird!)

Here it is on Lady Phase/Truly Unsurpassed: (who is probably my favorite LP ever, she’s gorgeous!)

Some detail shots… this silver is so hard to photograph!

On Roxy:

And the ISH:

How does it look on Zippo?

Here’s a comparison shot I took mostly for myself. The left is my second saddle, pretty much straight from a Rio Rondo kit. Made it in 2007.. ish? I’m pretty sure I used a thumbtack for the stitch marking and I can’t believe the silver tape plates are still on. 😀

It helps me to compare old work with new work, to see that yes, I have improved, and to not be so hard on myself. ❤

Even with this saddle's challenges I still had a lot of fun putting it together. I'm so glad I decided to re-start this project and see it through to the end!

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