Progress is being made on my long term tack-like project of the next book. It is definitely slow going, ... no surprise there!, ... but, indeed, things are progressing. Particularly on Malaguena's bridle (above, on Fancy) I am well past the half way mark. I've been here once before, writing my first book in 1998. (Twice if you count 2016 and the pdf-ing of the Guide.) Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately (!), like so many of my greatest pieces, this one is running away with itself. My book is getting bigger and bigger, more grandiosely ambitious, by the day. I am very grateful to my incredibly understanding sponsor of a spouse. Like Jagger, I can't complain,... but sometimes I still do.
Belatedly it has dawned on me I could put out progress reports. Shouldn't you all at least see the eight pieces, when one of the goals of the book is to spread their fame near and far? to broadcast them as widely as possible? to make them more available...? Advertising! I'd had no problem posting pictures of the drafting table on FB! Here's one of those:
You can see the actual tack, in this case April's Hackamore, lying on the drafting board. I could follow the precedent of the 20 Mule Harness progress reports, except I'm not going to aim for every week, (it's been somewhere around 32 weeks already). I decided to just put up 8 pictures of the eight pieces of headgear.
Seventeen pix later,... (!) ... I'd discovered I hadn't processed some of those photos; I didn't know where (or when) some of them were; I found others I'd totally forgotten; and, in one case, I'd never photo'd the piece at all, even after 12 years -- !!! Well, thank heavens the weather has finally been so nice today. I hustled Rinker and his hackamore out onto the deck and shot him. He's still wearing it, looking dazed, ... as well he might.
Here are the eight headgear pieces in order, or, at least, in the current plan of order. Ricky's Bridle is first. This piece is based on the full scale bridle of (the real) Ricky Rocker.
I think it's the easiest of the 8 to make. It features slit braid cheekstraps and browband. Here's my Sheila, named Gold Dust, wearing it and a matching saddle [by Terry Newberry]. While the book should have saddle-applicable braiding instructions in it, like Spanish Edge Lacing, it is not a book about saddles per se.
Second is Duke's Hackamore, the perfect training Bosal Hack. His is straightforward working stuff: the Fiador and Hackamore knots. His bosal is even more primitive than the one in the Guide.
Thirdly, and what I'm working on now, is Malaguena's Braided Rawhide Bridle. This piece has thrown me for a loop. I've been involved since last fall trying to get up to speed with all that this piece represents. Its consequences are enormous. Rendering down instructions for it has been like writing a miniature book within a book. I'm hoping that afterwards, I can move faster on the others, since all of them, in one way or another, use techniques and skills first introduced with it. Malaguena's has definitely been taking the lion's share of my time and effort.
|Malaguena wearing her bridle|
Picking myself up off the floor after that overwhelming effort, I suspect the Peach Rose bridle will be next. Although it is simpler than Malaguena's, it has to come after hers. It was made in 2004, and will explore alternate materials (read: embroidery floss instead of artificial sinew).
Here is a photo of Tissarn herself which I had totally overlooked. It was taken on the back deck during springtime,... you can tell from the flowering tree. How desperately we are all longing for spring,...! The saddle is also called the Peach Rose, TSII #446, built in 2008.
For those of you who are curious about where I got this name, Tissarn, the answer is Richard Adams' novel Shardik. It's a place name, a town on the river Telthearna. Although some of his names are borderline bad puns, others are incredibly beautiful and well worth pinching for a horse.
Moving on to the fifth piece, we are back in the world of hackamores. Indeed all the remaining four are hackamores: three bosals and one mechanical hack. This one is called April's Hackamore and it's the one I hadn't processed the pix of just yet.
The sixth piece is the famous Fancy's Hackamore, already thoroughly blogged about in 2015. What you see here is the original, which was unfortunately lost that year, starting the whole saga of posts about it.
Hopefully you can see how the detail and complexity of the pieces is increasing. We shall see if I am really up to carrying out this ever-more-audacious dream of not just documenting them but instructing how to replicate them!
Seventh in line is Tissarn's Mechanical Hackamore. This truly lovely piece just happens to be my favorite of all the 8. Indeed it is my favorite headgear piece of all I've ever made. Viewing it now, I shudder at the thought that I haven't even started the braided buttons chapter yet! There were some serious baulks to doing this book: I didn't know how to pass on something I'd learned from the full scale braiders and then practiced and refined for decades. However, at least one baulk is gone: I'm finally ready to try. Drawing up Malaguena's has actually been a relief: there was a way forward, even if it is convoluted and rabbit-holey. Yet writing up button formulae is only half of what's left. I've still got to explain how to follow them and what they mean.
This lovely piece, uniquely for my tack, traveled to Europe during construction (a family trip in fall 2007) and then further traveled to FL in December. It was finally finished in January of 2008. This is just about the most beautiful pair of Romal Reins I own. The decoration in the middle of the shanks is just that: ornamentation.
Here's a photo that probably won't be in the book, but which shows the entire piece. The hackamore on the left was sold to Jennifer Buxton. The right is Tissarn's Mech Hack.