Timaru Star II #457, my second Clyde Goehring Mexican silver parade saddle, was delivered in person deep in the forests of south-central Pennsylvania on October 4th. After everything that had happened this year,.... after the loss of every live show and of a live BreyerFest,... the value of seeing a friend in person, precious at any time, had only grown. During the dark times of quarantine the dream slept, steamrollered by officialdom: Penn State, for instance, required a 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travel by professors. Yet all along, even from last fall, I had cherished in my secret heart the determination to visit Eleanor again and deliver this set by hand. She was only half a day away. I clung to my vision.
This is a good place to list all 7 previous posts on this saddle:
In 'Left Cheek, Right Cheek' I documented how hard it was to keep creating in July, when conditions finally caught up with me. In hindsight, this was the effect of my Mom being in the hospital, starting on June 28th, two thousand miles away from me. In no small part does this story hinge on her miraculous recovery. Although she didn't have covid19, the virus made what was already hard incredibly hard. Would I have covid19 to blame if I had to say: I never saw my mother in person again??! Work on #457, which should have been finished in May, slowed down to a crawl.
I still have not seen Mom, but she is doing so much better, improving daily at home. The uptick in my creativity coincided with her leaving the hospital, entering rehab, and then being successfully discharged and going home September 14.
By the time the saddle was finished, I had had two successful in-person visits with other model horse people, the Pomeranci in August and Margaret Loesch in September. These visits really emphasized the value of planning and how much effort by everybody it took to pull one off. In May I had sicced my best navigator on the problem of my visions about #457. To my delighted amazement, he found a location that was equidistant between our two homes and which was out in the woods. We had never visited Caledonia State Park, but Google Maps is a wonderful thing.
My customer knew about this proposal and approved. In one of the most charming coincidences of this entire saga, the saddle was officially finished on her birthday.
I just love this portrait of Toucano, my Straight Bet. In early September, Mares In Black mentioned this piece of tack and that I was putting it on a Duende. I had posted him on my FaceBook August 26.
The last part to be done was the Alta Cincha or decorative cover for the girth strap. This had also been the last part to be finished on the first Clyde Goehring. I flatter myself the second time 'round was an improvement. This part is covered in its own blog post.
The great day dawned. Here is a very brief glimpse of my co-driver and fantastic trip-taker, Navigator Supreme, at the culmination of our journey. The car's name is Moxie.
It was heaven. An important item of business was to transfer the bit, taking out the Clark bit I had used and putting in the Argentium one. Here Eleanor first examines her new bridle.
I think she likes it. :)
In so much joy, there had to be a few goofs. I somehow did not get pictures of the Clyde Goehring II with its proper bit installed. That will have to wait until we meet again,... god willing. We will trust that this will come to pass!
Yet I've already shot this set a great many times on a great many horses. There was one horse I shot it on that she could not resist viewing once I told her about it. Despite claiming that I would not do this,... despite knowing that Saddlebreds are not shown in parade at the rack,... it turned out I could resist for only so long, about 2 days. I will end with a glimpse of what, after all, seems inevitable.
I named him Laird Crown Imperial. Crown Imperial for the book I was reading at the time (Dorothy Sayers' Busman's Honeymoon), and Laird because,... well, go look up Laird Hamilton yourself. Being marine people ourselves, the pun was too good to pass up.