Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Progress Report 4: April's Hackamore


This post celebrates both the April 2 Hackamore and the original it was copied from, and then tells what will happen to it, viz, when, where and how it can be got!  April's Hackamore is the 5th of the 8 pieces in my next book, so we really are past the half-way point.  I am finally seeing light at the end of this two-year tunnel, because the 6th is Fancy's, and that one's already largely covered due to being blogged about so much back in 2015.  And after that, only two to go!!  d'ya hear me Fall??

Naturally, a black-blue-&-white hackamore had to be photo'd on a black-blue-&-white horse.  I really like this shot even though it shows the horse and not the tack.  Something about the proportions came out right,... usually my camera exaggerates the muzzle in this pose.

For purposes of the book, I'm calling the copies of the pieces made for it by numbered names: 'Mala 2,' 'April 2' and 'Peach Rose 2.'  This was a convenient way to distinguish between the original and what I was documenting building.  This numbering is doomed to be temporary, for once the book is published and people start building their own copies, the count is lost and the numbers revert to each tackmaker's personal oeuvre.   

When it comes to Fancy's Hackamore, things get embarrassing because two other copies were built alongside the original back in 2005;  and when I replaced Fancy's in 2015, another copy, the fifth, was made!  So technically the one being built for the book would thus be Fancy 6.  However, for purposes of simplicity and continuity, I'm going to call it Fancy 2 anyway.  Don't worry, this explanation will be in the book.

Fancy's Hackamore 2015

The original April's Hackamore was finished in January of 1997.  The bosal, one of my first black frame ones, had been a test for a customer order.  It got seriously fiddled with and rebuilt, providing a learning experience, and I added a mecate, fiador and headstall.  I no longer have April;  she was a Breyer Indian Pony of soft apricot color.  Kiopo's airbrushed spots are the same lovely shade:

This hackamore has been a favorite of mine for decades.  In complexity and detail it is a good choice for a piece between Duke's, the book's first and oldest bosal hack, and Fancy's.  Fancy's forms a stage between April's and the most complex and detailed Rinker's.  Yes, my next book wants to present not one but 3 bosals (!).  (I'm not counting Duke's, as his is more primitive than even the Guide's.)  The approach is robust and can stand any amount of variation.  In this case the approach is 'wire core sinew braided frame with braided thread buttons and heel knot with crochet thread core.'

This interesting shot shows the two April Hackamores side by side.  The original is on the right, and April 2 is on the left.  I've tried to correct the color via PhotoShop, but it beat me.

For reasons known only to themselves, model tack sometimes likes to fight me.  April 2, perhaps harking back to her ancestor which was refurbished over time (not just the bosal), fought me.  April 2's bosal had a major mistake, which I corrected (it's in the book), and the fiador came out too long -- you can see it in the above photograph.  I later cut the fiador shorter.  The original April's Hack had its mecate completely rebraided in 2006, and the headstall silver was replaced in 2003.  Sometimes it just takes time before a piece reaches its final settled form, a maturity.

Reject photo from book; fiador too long

This picture of Celeste (above) is far closer to the real color.  Yes, that fiador really needs trimming!  So here we go:

What are my plans for the fate of April 2, and her sister, the Peach Rose 2 bridle?  Auction at BreyerFest, held by me.  Submit your offers to me via email, FB messenger or text (814-470-7199), and pick up the piece after the auction closes.  My room in the Clarion is 612, and I'll probably close them Friday or Saturday night, July 12th or 13th.  I'll announce details on this blog and my FB pages, as well as the door of the room.  You could start submitting offers now (!) but I'd rather open starting in early June, when my family returns from a long May trip.  

These are unique pieces of Timaru Star II braidwork, with every part of them documented exhaustively, their history and making made famous in a book.  They are, in every sense of the word, models.

I will have other things for sale at BreyerFest, horses and pins and stuff!!  You could take a look at my pins:  Pin Sale post.  Happily be advised I'm reducing my prices!  There's a resincast Peruvian Stallion, Raven by Buckler, finished by Laurie Jo Jensen, who comes with his own Timaru Star II braided jaquima:  Raven + Jaquima.   Note the phone number in this post has changed.

Who knows, there might be more tack by then!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

My Newberry Saddles


 A friend asked about my Terry Newberry saddles, and in the way of blogs, what started out as simple attachments has blossomed into a post.  She will be especially pleased with this first photo.  It's my copy of Miss Dainty Doc, a Stone ISH from 2002, a portrait of a cutting horse she owned and showed.  The saddle is circa 1998.  I'm pretty sure the saddle blanket is made by Elsie Partanen.  The bridle, somewhat naturally, is from my own collection of TSII tack -- one of the few snaffles in my braid display box.  You will hear me complain that grey is not my favorite color on a horse, but this one belies that:  I love her and still have her.  My only grey ISH, her name is Dolly and she was a gift from a (different) friend.

My first Terry Newberry saddle was acquired in 1999.  I had the honor of meeting the man at BreyerFest, and on the spot, we swapped.  He got a copy of the Guide plus some cash, and I got this:

I apologize for the weird background color.  I really don't know where that came from!  These are old photos.  The Newberry saddles were strikingly detailed, with heavy trees and beautiful finishes.  Terry had been a full-scale saddle maker, and it showed.

Here's a photo I found of the above saddle, this time on a horse:

Oh those happy days.  This was a horse somehow connected with a youth magazine, named Windy by the Stone factory.  With my own ideas about naming, I called him Halietus [the Latin name for the Bald Eagle].

Up through 2004 I had the opportunity to collect two more Newberrys, bringing my total to four.  My dig through my 4 photo boxes [1978 - 2010] yielded one more, a shot of another Stone horse wearing a beautiful chestnut brown tooled set with silver corner plates.  Back then, with rare exceptions, all corner plates were cast pewter from Rio Rondo.

 The seat on this saddle is soft brown leather, very comfy for the rider...  The bridle, another snaffle, is none other than my 44th birthday bridle.  I like to make a piece for myself on my birthday and this was one of them,.... This bridle will make a cameo appearance in my next book.  The blanket also was cross stitched by me.

The horse was designed by D'arry Jone Frank and released in 2001 as part of Stone's Signature Series.  He was called Maverick but also Black Pounce.  My own name for this horse is Samothrace.

The fourth saddle had no photographs, so to the digital camera we go.  It's mildly alarming to think of all the tack I haven't photo-documented --!  So much of it was collected when computers didn't exist in my life, when film cameras were all we had,...  and photos were expensive.  Hard to believe today but they ranged from 27c to 69c each and sometimes more...

Anyway:  Terry Newberry Western saddle made in 2002, a luscious chestnut brown basketweave.  I'm so glad I don't have to pick a favorite, but this one has always moved me with its genuine rawhide accents.  The stirrups, cantle rim and neck collar (a decorative wrap at the base of the neck, on the shoulders)(I don't have a word for these things!) are all made from real rawhide.  The cantle and neck collar are planed so thin you could see through it, a fabulous skill for a model tackmaker.  The blanket was made by June Newberry, his wife.

There is a tiny hoofpick case attached to the rear cinch billet!!  Can you believe it!!  No other saddle I have carries such a detail.  A pinhead acts as the snap.

Front quarter view:

For all my praise, this saddle did not arrive with a breastcollar.  I carefully chose some thin leather and created one to match, as close to his style as I could get, using the Rio Rondo basketweave tool, the same as he'd used for the rest of the saddle.

Terry's saddles show great mastery of both detail and strength.  I love their weight, their smoothness and their accuracy.  He was generous and gifted, and tack collectors miss him very much.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

April 2 Hackamore mid-rig

After 3 days of long and hard effort, the bosal to April's Hackamore is done!  Historically, it always has taken me at least 3 days to do a bosal,... and often much longer!  This bosal is the last part of April's to be made, and her hackamore is the 5th of the 8 pieces for my next book.  April's making has been documented, drawn, photographed and written up, which of course took a lot longer than 3 days.  I finished the bosal today, Saturday, in what feels like an all day marathon.  But the natural next step, rigging the hackamore, has, once again, revealed my rustiness.  I managed to overlook the fiador knot.

Rigging a hackamore is normally great fun.  It's all about untangling string, really, and adjusting everything through elaborate turns so that the headgear fits the horse.  We have the horse, Rapadura -- Celeste to the rest of you, -- Eberl's Lippizaner Mare in silver bay.  (She was named after piloncillo, the crystalized sugar cane juice.)  Yeah, my book needs more up-to-date model horses,... the horses in the Guide are antiques, sigh,...   

But tonight, after the long creative drive, I swung into rigging the moment the bosal was finished,... and, possibly predictably, ran out of steam.  I struggled a great deal and re-adjusted my hand-braided white fiador at least 3 times.  And somehow forgot the fiador knot, even with the original April's Hackamore hanging from my lamp right there in front of me.

 All the time I was thinking 'this fiador is too long, I've got to say it's shorter!,' I had missed out that some length would be needed for the fiador knot.  This knot brings together the loop on the near side and the ties on the off side and rests pretty much right under the horse's throat.  The tiny bit of black thread on the loop tip is a temporary marker.

I'll tackle the rigging again sometime later, when I've got more time and oomph.   

Meanwhile, my plan is to auction this little gem of a hackamore during BreyerFest, along with the Peach Rose 2 bridle, my Peruvian Paso resincast and his braided Jaquima halter (he will be fixed price), and any other pieces I happen to finish between now and then.  Oh yes and a fistful of Minkiewicz pins, extras all!  Room 612.  See you then -!