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Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Fave: Jason McKenzie Custom Saddles

This week, I have another super talented custom saddler. Jason McKenzie hails from Alberta, Canada. He specializes in custom Western saddles. This fellow's work is absolutely STUNNING. Most of his pieces are working, reining and roping saddles. There are even some antique reproductions. The tooling and detailing put into them is gorgeous. They are true works of art that work!! He does do show saddles with silver, but most are very understated and elegant. His prices seem competitive with other custom saddlers. Go check out his website and see what he has to offer. I have posted a few photos as a teaser below.

Now, to me the saddle above is just super elegant and simple. The ovbious quality of the leather and workmanship really shows.

I love the color contrast on the saddle above. The leather looks so rich and smooth.

I personally love the saddle pictured above. It looks so authentic. I would get one in a heartbeat if I had the cash.

Above we have a super nice, elegant show saddle. Just enough silver and gorgeous tooling. I love the contrasting inlaid seat.
Boy, check out the tooling on this one! Isn't that amazing?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Razzle Dazzle

Ok some kind reader posted this link in the comments section. I checked it out and could not really pick just one or two things to post about. This place takes the cake when it comes to "loud" tack. Check out Razzle Tack if you get a chance. Proper protective eyewear is highly recommended. They do custom painted, tooled, and crystal-ized tack. The work is definitely quality, just not my cup of tea. I have posted a trio of photos as a "teaser" (or forewarning, whichever) for you to enjoy.

You know, I might look into having them do a bridle/breastcollar set in my SCA colors with my device on it, or with Arabic script or something. That would be WAY cool. Just no sparklies for me thanks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Today we have a rather dreary saddle to look at. The ENTIRE thing is gray. I am not sure HOW or WHY it is gray, but it is. I have never seen a saddle this color and have no idea why anyone would want one. It looks like it might be a well made saddle and though it is listed as used, it looks new. It is just really, really odd. Can you imagine this thing on a gray horse, with a black saddle blanket and a gray bridle? It would look like a black and white movie. Yuck.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Magic" Seat

While browsing in a tack shop the other day, I ran across a product called the "Sure Grip Seat Cover". This contraption straps onto a western saddle over the seat. It is basically the fuzzy part of the velcro and it has straps that go around the rider's legs and velcro to the part on the saddle. It looks to me like it was developed for adults, perhaps for therapeutic riding, and has been adapted as a sort of seat belt for kids. In case of an accident, the weight of an adult should be enough to detach the velcro with no problem, but children are much lighter and the velcro may not come loose.

Folks, this is NOT a good idea. I have read peoples reactions on various forums, and a good many actually LIKE them and use them for their children. I have had horses fall with me, every time if I had been strapped to it, I wouldn't be here today. Every time, I was on a horse I trusted, and every time I was not going fast. My husband has also had similar accidents and if he hadn't been able to bail out, he would have been seriously hurt or worse.

I have seen what happens when a horse takes a fall with a small child strapped to it (without a helmet I might add), it was not pretty. It was a barrel racing competition. The horse made the first turn, slipped and fell, and slid about 10 feet. It then struggled to rise, flopping around and finally scrambled to its feet with the child dangling limply from the saddle. I thought the girl was dead. Fortunately, she was simply unconscious.

I have seen these things being used to allow children (or adults for that matter) to ride horses that are far beyond their ability to manage. If a child is not able to handle the horse they are riding, cannot keep themselves seated, and are not able to control it at a high rate of speed, then perhaps they are overmounted. The answer is not to strap them to the saddle. Try a smaller, calmer horse, and perhaps not allow them to go quite so fast. PUT A HELMET ON THEM, I don't care how "goofy" people think it looks, it can save their life. Children have many years to ride and enjoy horses, and yes, compete in speed events. Maybe it is best to let them get a bit bigger and to become better riders before allowing them to move to a bigger, faster mount. There is plenty of time for winning trophies when they are older.

In a Barbie World

Today, I bring to you a group of saddles that look more like they belong on Barbie's mount than on a real horse. I will say, I DO NOT like pink, period. I am of the opinion that pink tack ought to be banned, just to prevent the embarrassment of thousands of geldings and stallions worldwide. I used to volunteer at a Equine Assisted Therapy barn where this one poor fellow had hot pink SMBs. He looked so embarrassed every time we put them on. He was a 16.2 hand TB who was no sissy. I felt so bad every time I tacked him up.

For our first selection we have a lovely (sarcasm) roping saddle. It is a synthetic, which in itself is not a bad thing, it is the screaming pink color that offends me.

Then we have a couple of not-too terrible saddles with pink accents. These are tolerable, though I could do without the pink corner accents on the first one.

Now, here is another synthetic, with fake ostrich print leather accents and hearts. Yuck.

Next is possibly the most horrendous pink beast I have ever seen. The ENTIRE saddle is dyed (painted) pink. The silver spots all over it are a lovely addition as well. It looks like a cheap piece of junk with cardboard leather too. The color is not consistent on the saddle, looks like it had a horrible incident with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Blech.

I will leave you with some more of my finds that are also victims of the Pepto explosion.

Wow, and it has sparkly "Ghetto-flage" accents too.

This one is also not so bad. The seat being the only thing on it that is pink. It looks well made too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Art Show Friday

Today, we are going to deviate from the normal tack talk. I want to show you some amazing artists who I admire. I only wish I could make art like theirs. They do mainly equine art, both digital and traditional, but they also delve into fantasy realms. They are all very talented and have unique styles. Their art is beautiful. Please explore their pages and enjoy the gorgeous pieces there.

First is Amanda Drage or "moodymand", she hails from the UK. Her artwork can be found here. You can explore her galleries and view the many gorgeous pieces. I especially like this one.

Next is someone known to me by her DeviantArt ID, QueenOfGoldfishes, she is from France. Her amazing work can be seen here. Her mastery of the digital media is astounding. This is done with a COMPUTER folks, can you believe it?

Here we have Christine Jordan from the US. Her art is amazing, her horses look like they could just gallop off the page. Please enjoy her art in her gallery. I LOVE this digital painting. I cannot believe the realism she achieves with these images.

Please go and explore and enjoy these galleries. There are thousands more artists on the art site as well that are equally talented and have so much to offer. If you should want to view my gallery, you can do so here. Please enjoy your weekend and have fun exploring the world of equine art.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Holy patriotic saddles Batman!

A reader sent me a link to this saddle this morning. The price for it is nearly $6000. Yes, I said $6000. I actually jumped back from the computer screen when I saw it. I also let loose a string of expletives. It actually STARTLED me. I really don't know what to think of it. I am all for showing your love for your homeland, but perhaps it should be, I don't know, not under your BUTT?

Brace yourselves, proper eye protection highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another of the "Too Hideous for Words" Saddles

I stumbled across this monstrosity on eBay last week. I have NO IDEA why anyone would use this. It looks like the bastard child of a prehistoric fish and a parade saddle. The picture will have to speak for itself.

WARNING: Have your sunglasses and brain bleach at the ready.

Heh, I bet that would be fun to climb up on after it had had the sun shining on it for awhile.
Geesh, the "scales" on the fenders aren't even on there straight. Look at how the skirts curl under too. This is a new saddle, so I would bet it is a cheap, low quality POS made out of cardboard leather. I am just awestruck by the sheer tackiness. Just, wow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Saddle Built for Two

Today I want to show you guys one of the most bizarre saddles I have ever seen. It doesn't really fall into the category of "tacky" per se, but is certainly strange. First off, let me say I am not a big fan of folks riding double. It can put a lot of pressure and impact on a horse's kidney area and some horses are VERY particular about this. I also worry that small children are not able to adequately hold on should the horse act up. In my opinion, if you want your child to ride, put them on a reliable old packer or reliable pony and put the animal on a lead rein. If the child is unable to stay on in the saddle alone, perhaps you should reconsider the decision to let them start riding. If you must have your child riding behind you on your horse, please use one of the detachable buddy pads made specifically for this purpose, and put a helmet on them. PLEASE do not do this...

It looks like these folks were trying to make their own version of this saddle. And no, the kids were not wearing helmets either.

Now, I really don't understand the need for a saddle made specifically for two people. They make small "rumble seats" that attach behind an adults saddle and are removeable after the child starts riding alone. This saddle could only be used for a short amount of time in a child's life. And really, would you use one? They are funky looking to me, and somehow make me sort of uneasy. There is a little voice screaming, "Bad idea! Run away!" in my head. Unless your horse is one of those mile-long ones that look like a Daschund, this would never fit comfortably.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Bit of Hell

I'm going to piggyback onto Fugly's blog today. She has a bit on her blog that frankly makes me somewhat ill. Here is a photo of it....

For heaven's sake people, can you imagine the pain this would inflict? A DOUBLE twisted offset mouthpiece, gag action, and what look to be nearly foot-long shanks! You could rip a horse's lower jaw off with this thing. This is NEVER necessary, I don't care WHAT anyone says. If you cannot ride your horse with a humane bit, you damn well don't need to have one. I was reminded of the bits I have seen in my gaited horse tack catalog, I have found a couple of them to show you. These are absolutely the most horrific torture devices I have ever laid eyes on.

I do not understand WHY this was ever created. What sadistic SOB came up with this? In my opinion, if you think you need something like this to ride your horse, you should be banned from ever owning one. This bit is advertised as a TRAINING bit. WTF?! Is that a CHAINSAW chain for a mouthpiece? The shanks are 10 inches long. Can you imagine shoving this into a baby's mouth? Good grief, that makes me shudder.

Here is another lovely thing, it is a correction type bit, the ad reads "If getting your horses head raised and tucked at the same time is a problem, then this is the bit for you. The three-piece mouthpiece gives more pressure to the outside of the bars and often touches new or fresh nerves. It also allows for tongue relief." This is not going to "fix" your horse, training will. There is absolutely no reason to EVER use something like this. For heaven's sake people, can you imagine the pain this would inflict? There is never any reason to use something like this. I hate when I see bits like this advertised as a "miracle fix" or something. Like using a jaw breaking bit will cure your training issues.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Feature – The Baroque Horse Store

To start off, let me tell you why I like this store’s items so much.

I am a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (henceforth referred to as the SCA). We re-create the middle ages with all the uncomfortable bits (like not bathing and no indoor plumbing) left out. It is not a Ren Faire, or a Fantasy Faire, rather we strive to be as accurate as possible for our individual persona’s time period. It is sort of like the Civil War reenactor folks, we just cover a much broader time period and geographic area. You can find more information, local groups and links at the main Society page.

My hubby on one of our mares at an SCA event.
Before anyone starts yelling about rider size, I know he is a big guy, but that mare actually prefers him over other people. She has no trouble at all carrying him, even at speed and has never shown any ill effects.

I am involved in the Equestrian part of the SCA in our Kingdom. It is nearly impossible to find modern tack that is period-looking and most folks make their own. However, I have found one place, that if you are willing to fork over the cash, has some REALLY cool pseudo-period tack. It is the Baroque Horse Store. They mainly specialize in imported folk tack from central Europe. They also carry Spanish and Portuguese tack and saddles. My favorite is the Hungarian Heritage Bridle. There is also a matching breastcollar. They are really neat, but very pricey. I can't show pictures, as they are protected on their site. I did find a photo of a similar one.

I also like the Portuguese presentation sets like these.

So, if you have some time to kill, check out their site, they have some very unique things. If you see something you can’t live without, try Googling it, you might can find it at a more reasonable price. I know a couple of eBay sellers offer Spanish tack at a very reasonable price, though I can't vouch for the quality.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sweet Nothings

In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s day holiday, I have compiles a sort of photo montage for you. I looked for tack and accessories that are bedecked with that familiar symbol of love, the heart. Now, I really don’t have a HUGE issue with heart shaped conchos or heart print saddle pads or sheets. Just do us a favor, and refrain from bedecking your gelding or worse yet, stallion, with a sheet covered in pink and red hearts. How embarrassing, all of the other horses will make fun of him.

So, sit back and enjoy…


I have set up an email account specifically for this blog. It is

Pictures are worth a thousand words.

I can't find words to describe this, so I will let the photos do the talking. All I can say is it is a very expensive, custom made Ansur Classic saddle with hair-on dyed cowhide. They want $1800, they claim it has never been used. I was so traumatized after seeing this, I had to get off of the Internet.

Brace yourselves...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Slipping and Sliding

I am a big supporter of riding bareback to improve balance and teach a rider to move with the horse. It is also easier for a small adult or child to manage because they don’t have to lug a heavy saddle. However, it is not really good to ride without any padding for your horse’s back. Hence, the development of various bareback pads. Some of them look very comfortable and squishy. Some have stirrups, some don’t. Some have breastcollars while others don’t. Which one is best?

The most common type seen are simple pads with a surcingle attached. They may or may not have an attachment for a breastcollar. It is always wise to use one to prevent the pad from slipping or rolling with you.

Notice in the picture above, that the breastcollar is very snug around the horse’s shoulders. This part is important, if it is not snug the pad will be more prone to slippage. Also look for one that has a non-slip underside for added security.

The next most common type is similar in appearance to the one above, but has attached stirrups. This type can be extremely dangerous. Because of the lack of a rigid tree, there is nothing to prevent the pad from slipping to one side if too much weight is placed in one stirrup.

Even with a snug breastcollar, the stirrups on this type offer no real stability and can, in fact, create a false sense of security. They offer no real advantages that I have seen, it isn’t like they allow you to mount from the ground any easier. If you have one of these types, my suggestion would be to just remove the stirrups for safety’s sake, also consider adding a breastcollar if there is not one already.

The last type is, in my opinion, the best of both worlds. You have the stability of a saddle, but the freedom and ease of tacking up of a bareback pad. I use one of these and love it. I have ridden out several violent spooks, bolts, rears and other young horse drama in it without any trouble. I have also ridden at a full gallop and jumped with it. It is my favorite trail riding “saddle” as well. I love to ride bareback and this allows me to do so and still be able to climb up onto even the tallest horse without having to find a convenient step-up.

This is a Natural Ride by Colorado Saddlery ( I am not trying to advertise for them in particular, I just don't know of any other company making something like this). It consists of basically, the front part of a saddle tree with attached girth and stirrups. It allows you to use the stirrups just as if you were using a saddle. You still get the benefit of a saddle, without the extra weight. It allows you to feel the horse as well. You can detach the stirrups if you wish to improve your balance and not worry that the pad will slip off the side. There is also a convenient handle if you need it. I just LOVE these things. If you like to ride bareback, try one. You can get them at

Hope this helped some folks know what to look for in a bareback pad. Be safe out there!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dude, where’s my saddle?

Welcome, it’s Monday, and as promised I am back with more Tack!!

Today I present a perplexing problem, a camouflage saddle! Picture this if you will…

Bubba has finally fulfilled his dream, an elk hunting trip in the Rockies. They were to ride horses in to the mountains and camp for 3 days while hunting. In his excitement, he purchases a new saddle. It is the coolest thing he has ever seen. The entire thing is CAMO! They arrive at the lodge, it is early fall. As they saddle up the horses to head out the guide keeps looking at Bubba’s saddle with a strange expression, Bubba thinks he’s jealous of his cool new saddle. That night, they arrive in the base camp after dark, Bubba has been imbibing a bit in the whiskey in his hip flask. As he stumbles around unsaddling his patient mount, he leans his saddle against the base of a tree and stumbles to the camp to pass out. Being fall, overnight a brisk breeze causes a huge amount of leaves to fall. The next morning, nursing an aching head, he goes to saddle his horse, only to discover that his saddle is GONE!! He can’t find it anywhere! The guide politely suggests that perhaps a camouflage saddle might not have been the best idea.

I have for your entertainment not one but two camouflage saddles!

This first one is not terrible. It only has the camo on the seat, latigo keeper, and stirrup hobbles, most of it easily obscured by the rider’s body. It even has some little silver embellishments. You would stand very little chance of losing it in the woods if you were camping. I am not sure WHY you would want this, but I really don’t like camo. Guess I am not THAT much of a tomboy.

Next we have the real focus of this post. This saddle appears to be quite well made and seems to be of good quality. The only issue I have is that the ENTIRE THING is camouflage! I have no idea how they got it like this. Is it some kind of screen printing? It really makes no sense to me to have it other than the potential “Dude, check out my saddle, it’s Realtree!” In my opinion, if you are riding in the woods, you would want to be MORE visible, not less. And really, having a camo saddle is not going to help you hide from the critters, the horse isn’t camouflage.

Look! It even comes with a matching breastcollar!!

Impressive, no? When I found it all I could was just stare, and recheck the page to make sure it was for real.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Skyhorse Saddles, Artistry in Leather

For today’s Friday Featured I want to direct your attention to Skyhorse Custom Saddles

Lisa and Loren Skyhorse are amazing artists. They create beautiful, functional works of art in leather and silver. When I first found their site, this saddle made my jaw just drop. I had to wipe the drool off my chin. It features braided SILVER trim and a Navajo wool blanket inlaid into the seat. It has just enough tooling and silver to really set it off without being overdone.

Now, admittedly, several of the show saddles and decorative pieces are a bit too “loud” for my own personal tastes. I can still admire the artistry and skill involved in creating these one of a kind works of art. Most of them are just jaw-droppingly awesome to look at, check out this one. It is a show saddle with carved silver feather detailing. I absolutely LOVE it!

Each piece is handmade with exquisite attention to detail and masterful skill. I have never seen such unique saddles. Everything from the carving patterns to the silver castings are handmade and personalized to fit the tastes of the person commissioning it. Please take some time to explore their site, it is worth it to see truly gorgeous pieces of art created by some exceptional artists. This saddle is a beautiful piece, again just enough silver to make it pop and check out the inlaid hitched horsehair diamond in the skirt (you can see a close up on their website).

The most wonderful thing of all, is that most of these unique pieces are priced about the same or lower than many mass-produced show saddles that I have seen!
Enjoy their website and have a fabulous weekend. I will be back Monday with all new Tacky Tack for you!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


A bit off topic here, but this means a lot to the fight to end animal cruelty.

The state of Arkansas has signed into law a bill making cruelty to a horse, dog, or cat a Federal offense. Each count will be punishable by up to 6 years in prison and $5000 in fines.

Finally, one of the more "good ol' boy system" states steps up and takes a stand.

I live in this state (I am not from here, I moved here for work) and am so relieved to see this actually happen. I cannot stand reporting a blatant case of neglect or cruelty and seeing it go unchecked.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Troll B Gone

Just a little PSA to those who don't like my opinion, my other hobbies, my art, or how I look when working a horse at my home...

Please remember, this blog is simply MY opinions. Everyone has some and like armpits, some stink! It is all subjective anyway. I am not telling anyone what to use at all. I am just making observations and stating my own likes and dislikes. If you do not agree, fine, you are entitled. THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY. Please, read and enjoy and try not to be ugly to others.

Everyone has a right to their opinions

If you don't like what I post, don't read it.

If you don't like what I look like, don't look.

If you don't like my art, don't look at it.

I am not claiming to be pro or anti-slaughter.

I am not pro or anti-Natural Horsmanship.

It is a free country, everyone has a right to voice their opinion, everyone has a right to not like that opinion.

Cafe Press Merchandise Graphic

Someone mentioned that the wording on the Cafe Press items was hard to see, so here is a bigger image of it. Sorry!!