I have accumulated several e-photos of hitched horsehair bridles over the years. Some of these are off eBay:
And this one is a reference that a customer sent me (thanks Christie!).
This stunning piece of model tack had been acquired in 2002 by me during my visit to Germany (and France and England). It was an elaborate trade deal with Regine Nikolaidis as go-between. The bit was made by Anja Brethauer. This was the first time I'd seen actual rawhide used on a miniature bridle (the buckles). And the cheekstraps and browband gave me a fabulous idea on how to do horsehair.
I kept collecting interesting pieces. Somewhere I picked up another Garstka piece. In this case the "horsehair", again, braided-and-sewn, not hitched, was represented by a ribbon of fabric. What a beautiful piece, so full of character:
|Photo off MH$P|
To date, this is the best effort I have seen to capture the look of hitched horsehair in model tack.
Hitched horsehair, as opposed to braided-and-sewn, consists of 'pulls' (each one about 10 hairs) wrapped, woven or tied around an armature of very thin rope or string. The string is then spirally wound about a core, usually a dowel of wood, with the horsehair tying each winding (lap or pass) to the next. The resulting 'tube' of hitched horsehair must be flattened out before use. Thus 'hitched' horsehair pieces always come in the shapes of either flat strips (ideal for belts) or of ropes. Hence the fat cheekstraps, browbands and reins of so many of the "prison bridles" seen. I'll tell you honestly, I was not taken by that texture very much. I proceeded to ignore hitched horsehair for many years. Which does not explain the steady accumulation of pictures and articles about them in my files...
In 2009 I figured out, using twisted thread, how to do a really good mecate.
In 2012 the time came round to fill another order. This was to be a repeat of the earlier Hitched Horsehair bridle and breastcollar set... for a European customer, Heli. (Which made the abbreviation HHH even more appropriate: Heli's Hitched Horsehair.) I outdid myself, if I say so:
What was wonderful this time around was I had some real horsehair tack myself. I'm not sure where I got them (Tucson? Nogales?) but these reins were a big help in doing the model reins:
And so we come to today (2016), and the Martin Horsehair book. Here's a link: Hawk Hill Press's Horsehair Bridles book.
In my reading and researches, I'm finding many hitched horsehair bridles that have braided leather for a majority of their material.
|photo off eBay|
|photo by Jennifer Buxton|
|photo by Jennifer Buxton|
I see I am under grave suspicion of hypocrisy, for I've just scolded another tackmaker for trying to do too many projects at once.
Let us be grateful we're alive and have our wits about us. I am grateful to be having this problem, instead of so many others, less susceptible to beauty.
P.S. I'd be grateful if someone could explain why this blog, approaching 50,000 hits after 4 years, is suddenly garnering hundreds of thousands of hits since the end of August... "everybody's so different, I haven't changed."