To go back to the very beginning, I honestly do not know when the original King's Herd's hackamore was built. It could have been as early as 1979 or as late as 1984. (Given the existence of a couple of more primitive examples, I lean towards the latter.) I wanted a piece of headgear I could really pull on, really get down and dirty with - something that would hold up to my fiercest play.
|My entry for NaMoTackMo 2018.|
I joined NaMoTackMo this year. April was my birthday month; I usually try to make a piece for myself. But this time I felt like indulging in a peculiarly personal aspect. What were the very roots of my craft? What but that feeling of actually being on the horse, directing him, guiding him? So often I'd played there, controlling his head with actual pressures, though it be with a feather touch. Control is everything, especially in miniature... Not only did I now have a much-improved skill set -- silver engraving, access to Argentium, rawhide braided buttons, making my own strap tips -- I had a deeper-than-usual need to reconnect with my involvement in the field. I had been adrift for a year, ever since closing the Lottery and stopping taking orders. I was searching - am searching still - for a guiding star. Sometimes I think I will always be searching.
The new hackamore, then, would have shanks of the same length as the ancestral King's Herd's one. A peculiarity of the piece was it could fit any horse in my herd. I wanted to keep that. This requirement dictated the single crown strap, with no throatlatch; it also dictated similar reins, of exactly the same length. That was the easy part.
This was the first time I'd set a strap-tip, with its accompanying braided strap! in Thermaloc. There's a first time for everything, but this year is seeing a lot of firsts...
In one titanic 6+ hour day, I made the nosepiece. I practically had to teach myself to braid again. That night I started this post with a storm of writing, of which these are a few excerpts:
"Up at midnight again. I haven't had this many adventures with the TSII since the Great Clydesdales Caper. Nobody would believe it: More than 6 hours in one day (I usually make 1 or 2) and only 1 nosepiece to show for it!! 'Course there's also most of a Plate, a drawn page of instructions and in this case formulae for braiding the nosepiece. Formulae that work. This is what all the fuss was about, this is the real harvest...
"So many struggles I can't catch them all. My old nosepiece formula didn't work and I don't know why. Its second half, for the interweaves, worked fine! Go figure.
"Nobody's gonna believe that that blue is an artefact, an accident, a consequence, not planned, not desired, not seen!! It wasn't on my mind or in my vision until very late... Nobody'd believe how hard it was just to get here: 5 hours before I could even start this particular button. So many tries I'd stopped counting -- it was more than 7. More than 7 times braiding these incredibly hard buttons with their delicate, hand-cut lace, and then undoing them when they didn't work: when the formulae and the reality didn't match...
"I thought the blue would be great for the SALES hackamore! but not the one I'm keeping. I took pictures to that effect. I was going to ask the FB world whether this was a good idea. It could've been so cool. It still is an option.
No one would believe I cut the lace too short. Me, a professional! I trusted my own recipes, notes from before, long used. I went ahead, and thus got very deeply into the darn thing (multiple times) but did it dawn on me how short that working end was?? Much too short to finish the whole button--??
"When the inevitable drew close, it spoke to me. A tiny voice gradually becomes clearer, the Muse at its best. I am unique in all your works, it said. Stop now and be content. No one else will ever get anything like this. It will work, because all that blue ticking will draw attention away from the braiding flaws (and there are plenty!). This button is tied too tightly, had too much effort put into it, for me to give up. I find I do have limits, and this is one of them. A consequence of accepting deadlines, in this case NaMoTackMo, causes me to accept a piece I normally wouldn't have. And who knows, it might even grow on you.
"So this is what working to deadline does: you create weirdos, and then say they look fine."
I made a braided-rawhide (nylon sinew) curbstrap like nothing I'd ever done before. It had no buckles. Apparently time pressure had its benefits in new designs.
The headstall was braided-rawhide too, with a tasteful minimum of braided buttons and Hill Tribes silver beads. The hard part was making the buckle; any silver (Argentium) part with holes in it was going to cost a lot of filing, and this one had to be big enough for the strap tip. However, it turned out quite large enough, almost too large -- I hadn't used the tip to measure with during filing, another goof I can put down to racing the clock. : ( The buckle got some rocker-engraving too.
|King's Herd's Hackamore 2, Jezail's version|
This time I designed a very simple leather equivalent to the braided-rawhide design, with slits for loops and a leather end-knot or button. I slit the end of a piece of medium (1/8") lace into thirds and tied a Crown-n-Wall with them, and left the ends. I had to braid new keepers, but once on it worked perfectly. I also tightened the shank brace ends (slobber bar) to help prevent twist. Such minor adjustments are critical to a proper 'feel' if you're going to pull the reins.
And it worked.
|King's Herd's Hackamore, leather curb, Jezail's|
And now for the second hackamore!
It is my hope to offer this hackamore sometime in late June or July.