Up until March of this year  this beautiful hackamore was just another piece in my Braidwork collection, albeit an important milestone and a personal favorite. It had been built ten years ago at a time when my skills were bounding upwards. The piece was famous for its use of Hill Tribes Silver beads, for its color scheme, for its perfected 4-bight bosal, and for its mecate, one of those best-I-could-do-at-the-time marvels. It had been built off of, surprise, the Peter Stone Co. ISH, Fancy, as seen here -- a rare case of me keeping the factory name. I just loved her. She had such big soulful eyes, and I seem to have a soft spot for leopard appaloosas.
This is a picture of my Braidwork Case (originally a spoon display case). Fancy's Hack is circled in blue. The case is arranged chronologically, so the earliest pieces are at the upper left. The most recent piece is thus at the lowest left; this picture was taken in 2005.
This display case contains a condensed record of all my great braidwork pieces: everything I've kept for my own collection since 1984, the date of the earliest piece. It is a miniature museum in and of itself. BreyerFest goers may recognize it.
Fancy's Hackamore was one of its jewels. I frequently took Fancy's out and used it on trips and canoe rides. Up to the creation of Rinker's Hackamore (2012), it was my best bosal hack. The colors looked good on everyone, it was easy to fit and adjust, and I just plain loved it.
When Fancy's was discovered lost, I rounded up every picture I could find of it. (I believe this is normal grief behaviour.) Great thanks must go to Jennifer Buxton of Braymere's Blog, because she had shot the only good close-ups, during a visit.
The evidence points to a two-stage accident.
The first part I can recall well enough. We were canoeing down in Florida over Spring Break, March 2015. It is my normal habit to take a horse, and some tack, on a day's run. Aha! you say, Surely I knew better than that?! But. I've always taken horses on trips, even back to childhood. Since the canoe joined our lives (2008) the only problem was how to find a reasonably protected way to carrry them along, and I found it in the pony pocket. Of course they come with me. Here's Rinker on the Sarum in North Carolina:
I can remember stripping it hastily off his head, standing by the open car door. I can even remember thinking, I rarely put tack in that,... ! But what 'that' was, I cannot remember. I do not recall where I stowed or stuffed or hastily threw that last precious handful, before we barreled down the bank and shoved off on our last, lovely, most thoroughly enjoyed canoe ride of the week. It was a marvelous run, the end to a marvelous week, and all was well...
Until we arrived home, 3 days later.
Believe me, I have searched everywhere.
I may have simply dropped it in the car. If so, the second stage of the accident was that it must have fallen out of the car. Somewhere between Parker Place on the New and my driveway!! It could have been anywhere... any gas station, any hotel parking lot... from Florida to Pennsylvania.
If it fell from the car at the launch, I have an exact reading:
29 degrees 57.663
84 degrees 43.210
This is Parker Place landing, the one with the artesian well, on the west bank of the New River, northeast of Appalachicola, Florida. In my dreams someone goes there and looks in the dust, paws through the grass, and examines crows' nests and raccoon burrows, or perhaps squirrels' holes. In another dream, some kid recognizes what it is, picks it up and keeps it. In real life, ... what are the chances,... a piece of funny-looking jewelry, a gas station parking lot, a dusty country road? Across seven states?
Two other copies of this hackamore were made in 2005, according to my records. Sometimes we do make 2 or 3 of an intended sales piece. Those two were sold to J. Wagner and D. Curtis.
When I finally faced, on March 17, that I had lost my own favorite hackamore through carelessness, an idea was born. I would replace it,... but I would share every step. Each part of the new hackamore would be blogged about, in as much detail as I could manage. Call it a punishment, if you will: the price to pay for my idiocy. Other factors operating during canoe trips have thrown my carelessness into strong focus. A penance with my heart in it would be just the right ticket.