Friday, April 10, 2015

Finished: TSII #454, The Gold-Tipped

 The Gold-Tipped!!  It isn't every day I have a shooting session with a saddle that's taken 5 months to complete!  For the occasion I pulled out a lot of different horses, and was amazed at the quality (dare I say) of what I've collected over the years.  This one's my favorite: Indian Silver, by Deb McDermott.  (Thank you Danielle for your patience; yours is coming!)
Most people don't think of the Arabian as a parade animal, yet I assure you he certainly can be.  See the bottom of this post for a clipping that proves it!
Most people think of the Saddlebred as the proper breed for a set such as this.
Granted, we have a lot more molds that are appropriate for Parade class these days!  Here's one from not-so-long-ago for the TSII (remember #450?!):
Rialto!!  commonly known as Independence, by the uber-talented Sarah Rose.
He is an iconic horse for a silver saddle maker.  He's on my business card and address labels, and I'm hoping he can be on more than that.

Silly rabbit!!  Of course a Silver Parade saddle is for Palominos. 
I'm pleased at how many different molds this set fitted.  So far, the noseband has not needed readjusting, or even the breastcollar.
Although I did have to fiddle with the bridle for this one, a Chris [Cook][Nandell] Flint Friesian.  Even here, the face ornaments weren't criminally short!
Another breed few think of as a parade horse, and yet I assure you...

The owner requested this saddle, the 101st silver Parade saddle the TSII has ever made, for Zippo Pine Bar.  As it happens, I'm currently in love with chestnut leopard Appaloosas, so my Rikki Tavi was a happy coincidence.

Finally we get to see the face ornaments, amoung the last features of the saddle to be figured out, and amoung the hardest to build!!  Every saddle has its hard places, and this was one of them.

"New and improved" is not something to be ashamed of in model tack.  This is not a business where the product never changes.  The best tack pieces have elements of pioneering exploration in them.  The tackmaker remembers them because they were successful experiments.  The unsuccessful experiments are lessons learned (sometimes costly lessons) and put to use later.

The Gold-Tipped was begun October 17, 2014, and finished 5 months later, on March 31st.

It is the best Silver Parade set I have built so far.
 Previous blog entries on The Gold-Tipped include Beginning the Gold-TippedThree Strands At OnceTSII #454's Breastcollar, and TSII #454: Base Assembly.
I want to apologize for not always using a hyphen with "Gold-Tipped."  I have a personal vendetta with hyphens in my own name, so please forgive my mixed feelings on the subject. 
The Hip Drops were among the last parts to be made.  I'd originally thought I'd make the spine bar completely gold.  But that was too much.  "Light touches" were what was called for.  I inserted a gold disc on the horn, used one tiny gold square on top of the cantle, and having figured out what pattern the hip drops asked for, rolled on.
These are exceptionally large, long hip drops.  You have seen that on most of the horses above, they do not fit -- not even on Independence.  Better to leave them off than squish and warp them and hope the judge doesn't see how awful that is --!   In a perfect world, I'd've supplied two sets of hip drops, but frankly I'm pooped. A break is needed.

As the previous posts tell, this set is not a portrait of any real saddle.  Its design is based on and inspired by the real thing; but this particular pattern is wholly mine own.  I was given time enough to work out the kinks, a fabulous gift.  Every part was brooded over, pored over, struggled with until it was perfected.  The blanket is by Melody Snow/Unicorn Woman, and the bit is a Kirsch, engraved and customized.
The pommel (shoulders), one of the most pioneering parts of the whole set, will still have its own post, I swear!

And now:  the promised Arabian Parade clipping.
Candy Maynard gave me this magazine clipping
 This glorious picture, which I have seen (and own) on a Ravensburger puzzle, has been in my parade reference scrapbook for lo these 22 years.  Now that I've digitized it, I see the side words almost certainly say "Masterpieces of Equestrian Photography."  But I have no idea who the photographer is nor which magazine it was published in.  If you know, let me know and I'll credit them!

Strangely,  silver saddle sets on Leopard Appaloosas are rare.  Here's another clipping I've had for 25 years, featuring about the only leopard-app in Parade I've ever seen.
"Photo courtesy Tournament of Roses"
This clipping was published in Horseman's World magazine in 1988.  Lisa Frankland, the customer for whom I did the parade set (1990, TSII #288), gave me the clipping.

Also, since I absolutely can't help myself given our past adventures, what else!  but Rinker!
I also intend to post about Fancy's Hackamore -- long tale that will be!
And on that note,
Happy Collecting!


  1. I was wondering what do you use for the gold and silver? I was told it was aluminum foil.

  2. Hi TwistedHorse, Thanks for asking! I use the i-kandi brand of iron ons. Their website is and the product is Hotfix Metal Nailheads (they carry several other products). I don't know whether the metal is aluminum; that's i-kandi's secret, but whatever it is, it works for me.

  3. The gold-tipped parade set looks great on Rikki. It looks like it was made for him, it fits so well. I particularly like the front view that shows off the front of the bridle.