Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Newsworthy Show Jumping set

I completed this a week or so ago but it's taken me a while to get around to posting about it. A lovely customer Stacy ordered this for her OF and CM Newsworthy models. She gave me quite a free rein, only stipulating that she wanted it in dark brown.

The saddle is made with my new style tree with a square cantle; the tree had to be fairly wide as Newsworthy is a fairly chunky pony! The flaps have a standard knee roll which is hand-stitched for longevity. I'm really pleased with the girth and the optional stud-guard - it just fits in front of the pony's stand.

The bridle is pretty neat, it's not raised but has slimline padding and a flash attachment. All the fastenings onto the bit are stud-hooks so the bit can be changed, and I even made latex martingale and rein stops in blue to match the over-reach boots and saddlecloth.

Finally I tried something new out for the front tendon boots. The straps just have slits in which fit over studs, and then the keeper is niftily threaded through and overall looks pretty neat. I lined them with thin pliver, they didn't need anything else.

Great news as on the 26th of March Stacy took the set to a live show where it picked up a blue ribbon and NAN qualification. Well done Stacy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Equorum Tack

I was recently asked by Helen Moore of Equorum to develop a line of tack suitable for her handmade latex horses and ponies. I was very flattered to be asked and set about making up some examples sets that we could sell via her website. You can buy from an ever expanding range of pose-able horse and pony breeds, riders and accessories. I think they're adorable and my collection is growing month by month. They make a lovely antidote for the frustration that can often come along with trying to create super-realistic set-ups, using fragile artist resins and delicate tack! Plus, more and more shows in the UK are having dedicated divisions for handmade/craft type models which I think is fantastic as they are all very much a part of our model horse heritage.

I started off with one of the smallest in the Equorum range, the Shetland Pony, pictured below. I made a pony pad with suede seat and knee rolls. The girth and stirrup buckles work with tongues whereas the bridle has slip buckles. The set is not as detailed as my normal hobby tack but we needed to keep both costs and production time down.

Next I tackled the Connemara, one of my favourite moulds. For this one I made a more conventional General Purpose saddle with knee rolls. The bridle has buckles with tongues for added realism.

On my workbench right now I am making a set to fit the Show Hunter Pony and a side-saddle for the Connemara. Next up will be new prototypes for the Welsh B pony, the Welsh Cob and the Trakehner, and these sets will be available to buy from the Load The Lorry page in a few weeks.

Longer term I hope to develop other styles, such as dressage sets, cross country and polo sets. It makes a really refreshing change to make simpler tack and not be so obsessed with the finer detail. I think many of these sets could be shown with success as the tack is user-friendly and has all the right proportions.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My new favourite glue!

That post title is a little odd, but I've found a glue brand that really works! In the past I've used various glues and I've had most success with Contact type glues. This new one is Evo-Stik Impact glue. It isn't too messy, cleans up well, and sticks leather really well (and instantly, no standing around holding things together!). It is also flexible so the finished tack doesn't end up feeling stiff and brittle.
I have decided that I hate Duco Cement. I bought a couple of tubes from Rio Rondo last year and have been trying it out. I find it really stiff and brittle, and doesn't seem to like some types of leather. It also makes a horrid mess and is a nightmare to get off leather. I tried it because I thought that's what everyone else uses, but now I honestly don't know why people use it.

I can really recommend the Evo-Stik, off to buy a load more this weekend!

(PS posts will be more frequent now, I promise. Had a very busy few weeks!)