Posts Tagged ‘tack’

This saddle has been teaching me so much. I wasn’t too excited about working on the stirrups, so I made sure to begin working on those next. In the end, I really loved how they turned out, and am so glad I didn’t cut corners and make them simple like my previous ones.

These were assembled using a method shared by Niki Hertzog on the Braymere blog. Thank you Niki!

The next step to tackle was attaching them to the fenders. I was very tempted to just glue them in place and call it done. But part of me wanted to figure out how to make them adjustable, so I did a little searching on the internet.

This particular video helped things click in my brain:

Reading tutorials with or without pictures helps, but video helps so much more. I’ve noticed that a lot of horse tack retailers and brands now have YouTube channels to show off/sell/show how to use their products, which I’ve found to be really helpful with creating this stuff in miniature.

So here are my mini adjustable stirrups!

A lot of western saddles use a blevins buckle on stirrups. I know someone in the hobby made these once but it was so long ago that I can’t remember who! I wasn’t brave enough to figure that out so I opted for a simple dee ring buckle instead.

Though I hope I’ll never have to take them off, it’s nice knowing that I can without having to rip glued pieces apart. This is especially helpful when the first thing you do is put the stirrups on backwards. *cough*

It might have been more practical to have the buckles on the outside, but I also like the idea of the buckle tongue not touching the horse, and having the excess leather tucked in the stirrup. Will this come back and bite me later? Maybe!

Also, there’s a weird slot in one of my fenders. I was going to have the straps that hold everything together threaded through the leather to keep it in place, but it wasn’t working and I didn’t want to risk wrecking the fender. So that’s why that stupid little hole is there, haha. (at least it’s mostly hidden)

Here’s another look:

The top of the fender is attached the the lace with both glue and thread. This is a stress point so fingers crossed it will hold up ok! But even if it does break in the future, the lace can be replaced without too much pain.

This tree (from The World of Model Horse Collecting on eBay) has slots in it for the stirrups.

They’re even, YAYYY!

(I’m also so tempted to tear the leather off that tree and start over….)

Here are a couple more pieces I’ve been working on. On earlier saddles I’ve made, I’ve put the two seat pieces (seat jockey?) right on top of the suede seat piece. All of my saddle references have the seat piece on top of the jockey though, and I’m not sure why I never noticed it before? Anyway it’s a chance to try something new, and if it doesn’t work I can chop it up.

It’s slowly coming together! I’ll admit that I’ve been nervous posting anything about this saddle, but I’ve decided to do it anyway and be as open about my process as possible. I hope that maybe someone out there will find it helpful!

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I’m really good at starting projects and abandoning them. 99% of the time it’s because I run into a Problem that I don’t know how to tackle, or there is something that needs to be corrected, but correcting it would require a lot of work. (or a complete do-over, which is very unappealing when you’ve already invested so much time into the piece)

This is exactly what happened with the western show saddle I started four years ago.

In this case, the Problem was how to cover the tree. For whatever reason I never really tried to work it out, put it aside, and got distracted with other things.

Last weekend I came across all the pieces while cleaning, and was going to just throw them out. But nooo, I decided that it needed to be revived.

Maybe a change of pace is what I’ve been needing to get out of this creative slump? Unfortunately time was not kind and the leather had darkened with age. The more I looked at it the more I realized that yes, this really does need to thrown away.

I hate starting things over but in this case I think it’s for the best. It makes me a bit sad to think of all the work I put into it going to waste, but then again, so much time has passed that it doesn’t really matter much anymore. One good thing was that I had created digital copies of the pattern and tooling pattern, which already cut out a lot of work.

So, version 2 has been started, beginning with correcting my lopsided re-sculpted saddle tree. Since the tree was the Problem originally I figured I would start with covering that first.

It’s um… kind of weird.

But it’s a start, even with it’s weirdness. And it’s created more Problems. My pattern is way off. I’m having to readjust everything, which in hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t discover when I first started working on this four years ago.

One thing I haven’t had to re-work much are the fenders, so here they are right now. I haven’t done any tooling in four years so I can’t say that I’ve improved there. I also don’t understand why my first attempt at it had to be such a complicated pattern but whatever.
These were created a day apart and there’s a lot of difference between the two. (or is that just me?) I think that has to do with the tools I’m learning to use and just practice/trying to figure it out.

I can say that I really like the stitched detail. For those wondering, it’s paint. I don’t think it’s possible to actually stitch something that tiny, and I’m not eager to try it out.

So yes… this is where I’m at with the saddle right now. I’m taking it slow and not pressuring myself to make it perfect. It’s not going to be perfect and maybe not even “good” but that’s ok. I haven’t made enough saddles to consider myself “good” at making them, and who knows if I’ll ever get to that point.

I do want to mention that on Mares in Black‘s most recent podcast, I was really inspired by what I believe Kylee Parks said about customizing: to just go for it and figure it out. I don’t customize but it still struck a chord with me. Saddles intimidate me because I don’t know how to figure them out, but the only way I will is if I just go for it and keep practicing. So uh, thanks for that.

Hopefully I won’t have to re-start this one in 2023…

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Is it weird that I find skiving leather almost therapeutic? I used to hate it.

This weekend has left me kind of down… partly from my own “you suck, stop trying” demons (don’t compare yourself to others, don’t do it IT’S A TRAP) and partly from bigger hobby problems. I love this hobby but sometimes it makes me feel incredibly sad, and when one hurts, we all hurt.
(on a side note, I also think witch-hunting is wrong and won’t make the first wrong right)

Anyway.

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to balance the hobby side of my hobby (aka personal, fun projects) and the “work” side. (aka sales pieces) I’ve come to the realization that I need to make some changes with this, because a) I’m unhappy b) there isn’t enough time for everything c) Etsy is… UGHHHH right now. I’ll save that for another post. Maybe.

I’m so grateful that Model Horse Place exists, and if you haven’t checked it out yet please do! The direction I want to take with my work (and to help this Balance thing) is to focus more on higher quality, one of a kind pieces that I can list as they are completed. I’ve been experimenting a little with how I sell my work, and I’m hoping that MHP works out. It could be exactly what I’m looking for.

The second part of Balancing is to stop working on sales pieces on the weekends, using that time instead for personal projects or *GASP* non-hobby stuff! (I mean summer’s coming! It snowed this morning but summer is coming!)

Will it help? I don’t know.

In an attempt to put this idea into practice, I put my current dinosaur blanket aside for the weekend. It needs leg straps but they can wait till Monday dangit.

I’ve been wanting to make more bridles lately. I want to get better at them but never will unless I put the time in soooo…

Close to 8 years ago I started a dressage bridle. I got as far as the noseband and quit for reasons I can no longer remember. I don’t know what happened to it.

I decided on making a simple bridle for my Strapless this time, suitable for lower level Dressage. I started off with the crown piece. Split crown pieces on bridles stress me out because it’s so easy for me to mess them up. In fact, as soon as I cut this one I thought I had butchered it, but after some careful trimming, I think I’ll be able to make it work.

Still, this was really aggravating. I put the project aside and told myself this was a stupid waste of time and that I should stick to sewing and and and and…

Today, I put together the noseband and cavesson. The process went a lot smoother, but I still have a lot of work left to do.

The weekend isn’t totally over yet, and I doubt I’ll get this bridle done, but it’s a nice change of pace.

Anyone else struggle with finding balance? Any advice??

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