Tag Archives: tack

Timely Tack Tutorials

So I’ve had blogging on my to-do list all week and failed to check it off… I shall strive for betterment in that department. Meanwhile, other bloggers are sharing brilliant tips that I am carefully cataloging for future use.

I have been keeping my tutorials page more or less up to date, and trying to organize and list all of the best model horse tutorials out there. Two of my most recent additions are particularly awesome and deserve special notice.

The first is a DIY English stirrup tutorial from Ebb&Flow Studio. This tutorial is both simple and brilliant. The finished products look realistic and lovely, and are made out of simple materials that most hobbyists probably already have on hand.

I both rejoiced and cursed inwardly when I first read this tutorial- it was only a week or so earlier that I finally caved and bought cast stirrups! I am going to NAN this coming year (more on that in future posts!) and I need a new English set for Nightfox. I’ve been making my own stirrups, but I decided to pull out all the stops for my NAN debut. (After re-reading Dreamflite Design’s stirrups review, I went with the Horsing Around ones). But I definitely plan to use the Ebb&Flow tutorial for future projects!

Nightfox in English at NW Congress. Lots of things to improve before NAN!

Nightfox in English at NW Congress. Lots of things to improve before NAN!

The second tutorial that rocked my world this week is from Grace Ledoux (Stage Left Studios) by way of Anna Kirby of Dreamflite Design. Back in 2012, Anna wrote a lovely little tutorial about cutting lace for mini tack. She showed how she used double sided tape and a metal ruler to get very thin, very straight lace pieces. At the time, I was not making much tack and was not that motivated towards this kind of perfection. My loss!

I’ve struggled in past tack projects with getting nice pieces of lace, especially getting consistent widths of narrow lace appropriate for mini tack. When I saw Grace’s lovely thin straps at Sweet Onion, I was re-inspired and she said that Anna’s method was the secret to her lace. Then, last week, she posted a video tutorial showing the method.

I am so looking forward to using this method for my next tack project! Teeny beautiful straps will be mine!

Lovely wee straps on a Stage Left Studios bridle

Lovely wee straps on a Stage Left Studios bridle

 

Holiday Saddle Raffle

At Sweet Onion Live earlier this year I got to admire some amazing mini scale tack by Grace Ledoux of Stage Left Studios.

SOL GL - dressage

I was amazed by her attention to detail and how itty bitty she was able to make her strap goods.

SOL GL - english games

I really wish I’d had more time to stare and take pictures (these are all her pictures, not mine!) but I was a bit crazy showing in halter and performance while judging the Youth division. I won’t be doing that again, trust me!

Since meeting Grace, I’ve been following her blog with enthusiasm. And I was very excited on Friday when she announced that she has teamed up with her friend and fellow tack maker, Anne Yager, to do a holiday saddle raffle!

SOL GL - harness

Even better, all the money raised in this raffle will be going to charity. It’s a win-win! The greedy part of me wants to keep this hush hush so I have a better change of winning on of the awesome saddles (I keep waffling on which I want more!)

Luckily, that part of me is overcome by my love of all things tiny as well as charitable giving. So I want to share this with as many folks as possible! Anna and Grace set a goal of raising $50, which they have already surpassed. How cool would it be if they could raise $100?

You can read all the details on the raffle in Grace’s blog post. That post and several others on her blog and on Anna’s blog show many more photos of the two saddles up for grabs. Go buy some tickets!

SOL GL - horse bot

This photo doesn’t showcase Grace’s tack so much, but it sure showcases her creativity! Isn’t this just the coolest Other Perf entry you’ve ever seen? She had documentation for the Horsebot and everything.

 

Trials, Errors, Tack

The last few days I’ve been working on making an English tack set for Troy Soldier, my next performance horse. I got super frustrated on Thursday when I was starting out, but I was able to take a step back and start fresh on Friday with two new rules:

  1. go slow
  2. skive, skive, and skive some more

Putting new blades in my knives helped a lot too, since that made skiving a lot more effective.

This is my fourth English saddle using Anna Kirby’s amazing step by step tutorial.

Saddle in progress- about half way done here.

Saddle in progress- about half way done here.

saddle making mess

Saddle making makes a big mess. My pants and the floor are littered in little bits of skived leather.

As usual, it took three attempts to get the panels right.

troys english saddle

Finally, the finished product!

Now that the saddle is done, I’m working on the matching bridle. Lots of wee buckle-making going on around here.

drying strapwear

Strapwear waiting to be used in the bridle

I’m hoping to get all my English stuff in order first, but if all goes well, I’ll also be attempting my first ever Western set soon.

Free Box of Awesomeness

I’ve been in London for a few days now and having a wonderful time. Our first full day here turned out to be rather horsey, as we saw Stubbs’ Whistlejacket at the National Gallery and went to the Household Cavalry Museum. As promised, here’s a belated post from earlier this week.

I did some light garage saleing last weekend and came away with some excellent surprises. I found some things to buy, but the best finds were in the free boxes! I got everything in this picture for a grand total of $1.25.

garage sale finds

huge bag of leather scraps, full container of glue, nice tan leather piece, and paint palette

I was so excited to find that bag of leather! It’s got to be about $100 worth of scraps. I have always made my tack out of reclaimed or recycled leather scrounged from old purses, wallets, and clothing. But now I have enough leather to probably last me the rest of my life- all for free!

On the way home, I swung by Goodwill to pick up a nice plastic tub to organize all my new leather (and my old leather) in. When I got home, the first step was the sort the leather. A lot of it had pretty big grain- too big for miniatures. I separated out the large-grain leather and put that in a separate bag. Next I took all the leather I wanted to keep and sorted it by color. And my, were there colors!

sorted leather

This photo has terrible lighting, but you can at least see the variety of colors

I’ve never seen so much colorful leather. Before, my colorful leather collection was in a small zip lock bag. Now I have just as much in fun colors as I do in the regular leather tack tones. I’d better get to work on some gaming sets!

To keep things organized, I kept things sorted by colors and bagged each color group. All the bags fit into the plastic tub, so now all my leather is together and super organized.

bagged leather

It was immensely satisfying. And I get to give the larger grain leather to some horse-loving kids so they can make some model horse tack too. What an awesome find!

Splint Boot Adventure

Crazily enough, I ended up with a little bit of extra time on my hands before the show. None of my performance entries need splint boots, but a few of them would be improved with the added detail. Plus went I want to do jumping or cross-country in the future, I’ve got some leg wear in the tack box.

I made my splint boots using Anna Kirby’s tutorial, located here. Putting wire in the boots to help hold them on the leg is just a stroke of brilliance. It also makes the on/off a lot easier.

The first thing I did was make a basic pattern. Then I skivved some blue leather using my awesome new super skivver.

I followed Anna’s tutorial and did mock velcro straps, just like the kind I use in real life. After this picture was taken I decided to add more of the blue leather to get rid of the little gap between sides. Adding more leather also helped the boots stay on, since I was putting mostly sticky wax on the bigger blue leather instead of the itty bitty black straps. (I’d love to try the re-usable glue that Anna recommends, but I haven’t gotten to a craft store and already have plenty of sticky wax on hand).

 

Somehow I managed to lose the photos I took of his paid of finished boots, and now the horses and tack are all packed away for the show. But Nightfox will be sporting his new boots in English Natural Trail and English Games.

My tubs are all packed and ready for the show. Hurry up and get here, Saturday!

Mummy Horses

I’ve heard that some people tack up their performance horses before packing them to save time on show day. I’m a little nervous about how many classes I’m entering, so I thought I might try it. But, I also worry that the tack won’t actually stay on in transport and it’ll end up before more hassle then it’s worth. Then I remembered that I have a bunch of vet wrap.

I cut pieces to hold one those pesky bridle straps, and voila, mummy horses.

My New Toy

Thanks to a post by Anna Kirby, I realized I really need to be sealing all my tack items with leather sealer. That prompted a trip to Tandy Leather, which is not too terribly far away but still a bit of a trip.

So of course, while I was there I had to browse around. Just in case.

I’ve always wondered about the special skiving knives that some people use for thinning leather, and the guy at Tandy let me try one out, which is just what I needed. I hate to buy something I find out it’s not going to work the way I hoped. But this thing is awesome! It cost $14.99, but for someone who really hates skiving, it’s great.

The thing I really like about it is that it thins a large area (well, in terms of mini tack, anyways) not just a little bit like I can do with an exacto knife. I found myself still using the exacto and sandpaper to neaten things up, but overall this skiver thing is pretty darn cool.

Before…

…and after!

It’s true that I could have achieved similar results from my old all-exacto method, but not nearly as fast or as easily. Hurrah for new toys!