To go back to the very beginning, I honestly do not know when my 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, something that would hold up to the most strenuous play.
|My entry for NaMoTackMo 2018.|
I joined NaMoTackMo this year. April was my birthday month; I usually try to make a tack piece for myself. This time I felt like indulging in a very personal aspect. What were the 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 through the tack. Control is everything; that is one of the appeals of miniatures (at least to me!)... Not only had my skill set been much improved -- silver engraving, access to Argentium, rawhide braided buttons, making my own strap tips -- but I had a deeper-than-usual need. I had been playing for a year, ever since closing the Lottery and stopping taking tack orders. With this piece I would still be playing, yet heading back in the direction of bridles and saddles (as opposed to chairs and snowshoes!), using all my skill to achieve what I originally wanted from model tack.
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.
Rocker-engraved around the edge of the shank:
In one titanic 6+ hour day, I made the nosepiece. I practically had to teach myself to braid again. The blue or 'dummy' thread was intended to guide where the next pass of braiding would go. 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.
"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.
"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 [button]. 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."
Next day I made a braided-rawhide (nylon sinew) curbstrap like nothing I'd ever done before. It had no buckles. Apparently time pressure has 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|
Except my hackamore didn't feel quite right. It was saggy, twisty. It had little 'response.' I mulled over it for a couple of days and decided what it needed was a leather curbstrap, not a sinew one. After all the original had had a leather one.
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 this curbstrap 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! This headstall also has the split ear.
It is my hope to offer this hackamore sometime in late June or July.