Monday, September 4, 2023

Stromness in Tack


When I first saw Eva Rossiter's Stromness, an Irish Sport Horse mare, I fell madly in love.  This was a bit strange, as I am Western to the core.  I comforted myself somewhat by remembering I had felt this way about Victrix several years earlier.  There is something about a really beautiful, positively correct standing English Thoroughbred-type that just pulls my heartstrings.  But it was the potential Western application in the back of my mind, I think, that truly explains my attraction.

It was at last year's BreyerFest, 2022, that Heather Moreton let me make off with one of her splendiforous braided-bridle-&-breastcollar sets.  I promised then to photograph it upon a suitable horse.  Ooops,....  A whole year went by, the promise simmering on the back burner, but I hadn't.  Somehow, when I saw Stromness, I knew the time had come to fulfill.

The price for this horse struck me as amazingly reasonable, considering it had to be cast upon request and shipped from Ireland.  Here is a link to her page:  Stromness.  This beautiful resin was a lovely exception to my usual argument that no one buys horses immediately after BreyerFest and indeed they are burned out.  Hah!!  That didn't apply to me this year,.. I was instead inspired,...

When I finally opened her and sat down to a photo session, it was as close as I ever get these days to preparing for a show.  Fun!!   I had a large selection of saddles to choose from.  Given the delicacy of the bridle, and its color, I wanted a plain warm brown saddle with some kind of braidwork on it.  The strange thing was I didn't think my own two famous TSII braided saddles would do.  The braidwork on both the Elk (TSII #432) and the Peach Rose is dense and colorful, of a different texture and feel than Heather's work -- bouyant, almost clamorously loud, rather than restrained, light but tight.  This bridle featured openwork.  I didn't have anything with openwork, but after a thorough search I decided to use my 2004 Kathy Wiggins set, which had a solid-set braided edge.  No other piece I possess has this.  I liked the textural contrast, and the colors matched.

Thereupon followed an hours-long session of polishing!  Also, I wasn't happy with the cinch of Kathy's saddle;  I borrowed another cinch from a completely different saddle, a Toots Geyer.  In addition to this carefree substituting I pinched a blanket from a third saddle.  That one happened to be one of my own saddles.  I cannot claim to have "made" this blanket;  I merely chose the denim-like fabric and added on some corner tassels in the deeps of time.  This blanket dates from the late 1990s.  I love its asymmetry (the right and left sides are different).

Who says an English Thoroughbred doesn't look good in Western!  The alertness and pose lends itself to so much.  The Western snaffle does a good deal to bridge the difference.   My deep apologies for not quite lining up the mouthpiece with the lips though --!

Alas, the bridle ears are a tad too big for this horse.  And I really shouldn't've let the cheek strap cover so much braidwork on the sides.  Eh, no show entry is truly foolproof.  I had way too much fun assembling all this, and that's what should count.

Her pose lends itself to heroic views.  Forest ranger's horse?

I love her expression.  I'm naming her after a character in a Molly Keane novel (Easter from Mad Puppetstown).

This truly is a horse with promise.  There is so much here.  'Stalwart' comes to mind.  She would look good in harness,... and, of course, English gear.

An additional piece of tack I purchased from Heather (Desert Night Creations) in 2022 is this mecate.  I didn't have a bosal that would match it at all, so for now it remains in the bag.

What beautiful work.  It is a privilege and a pleasure to collect this art from my dear friend.

It has become my habit to announce other news at the ends of my blog posts, so here goes.  Work on my next book continues, but it is vastly slowed by taking three weeks of September and 2 weeks of October for family trips.  (Not to mention all January.)  It is clear to me now 'twill not be done by the November 6 Guide publication anniversary.  My husband knew this all along, but I'm just making faces and rolling on.  Only this week has it become clear to me I should place the Braided Buttons chapter ahead of the First Interlude, which treats subjects like Connectors, Braided Rings, Hobbles and Peet's Romal Reins.  These subjects are not part of (or are only partly of) the 8 pieces of headgear the book was originally meant to cover.  I suppose it's mission creep.  I've envisioned including such subjects for so long that I'm putting them in anyway, and thus the book is growing larger as time passes.  Right now we're at 24 drawn Plates plus the 2 from the Guide;  I don't know the page count but it's serious, and there are 66 photos just for the first 3 pieces.  And yet I believe I'm merely at a half-way mark.

There will a pause in programming while we travel the high plains; but we will return!  As ever,

Thanks for your patience.


  1. Thank you so so much for showcasing my work on your beautiful Stromness! You are so kind to me!! Thank you!