Monday, July 30, 2018

Horse Camping!

Horse camping has always been something I wanted to do, it combines my extreme love of the outdoors with my passion for my horse, and it's DEFINITELY something I do more often.

This was a great trip, that started with a night reserved at the Little Manatee State Park about 25 minutes from the Skyway Bridge in St. Pete, Florida.

The cool thing about the Skyway Bridge, is that there is a little park you can park your horse trailer, and walk straight out into the Gulf, out to a sand bar (a bit tricky to get to if you don't know where you're going though), and ride about chest deep for a long ways. I took my good friends along:

Lizz (right) with her Columbian Paso mare "Ticki Ticki" and Hali (left) with her Appendix gelding "Blazer"

Cisco loves both their horses, but somehow he makes me feel like he only has eyes for me...

Although the horses thoroughly enjoyed the water, they were all a little miffed they couldn't drink it, and pouted a bit.  We rode, and bobbed in the waves on the sand bar while the horses hung out and served as diving boards.

After we were thoroughly worn out, we made it back to the beach, where we found a nice shady spot for a picnic lunch.

While we were enjoying the view, we noticed a solitary dolphin swimming along the beach, right in front of our horses.  We got him on video!

The day blew by way too fast, and before we knew it, we were off to the next part of the adventure. 

We drove to Little Manatee State Park, and enjoyed getting the horses settled into the barn steps behind our campsite.  Because it's the rainy season, we had the place to ourselves.  Nothing a little Mosquito Halt spray can't fix! Or you know, a whole bottle in two days.

This park has an amazing trail system, all easily accessed from the equestrian campground.  

 After getting settled, we went for a quick ride on the green trail system, which had good footing but was about 80% underwater.

Then we came back, gave the horses a shower, and settled into playing Catan Dice while we waited for dinner to cook.

Even though I love the outdoors, it is Florida in July, so I equipped my tent with an AC unit, overall a wild success.  I can be hot all day, and as long as I am with my horse, I don't care, but sleeping in a cool tent made all the difference.  The fact that we also got to take showers with just a 5 minute walk to the people campground, made me feel like a human being when I crawled into bed.  The next day, we rode two more trail systems, taking a break for showers in between.

There were pockets of bugs, LOTS of fun trail obstacles, two days riding bareback in hackamores, through quiet forest and galloping on flat grassy trails lined with palm trees, with great friends on the best horses.  I couldn't be prouder of how Cisco performed.  After three months together, I feel like the best is yet to come!

PS: I'm making a working equitation set, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The "Not Going to Breyerfest" Sale

I have yet to attend Breyerfest... The year I was going to go when I was about 11, I ended up on crutches instead.  As an adult I have been unable to go for one reason or another, and I am forced to live vicariously through all of those who get to attend.

I loved LOVED watching Jennifer Buxton from the Braymere Custom Saddlery blog get to go for the first time last year, and was very grateful that she offered to take some of my tack along with her to sell.  She made me the same offer this year, and I was inspired to make a batch of saddle pads to send with her.  I was so sad for her when she announced last week she couldn't go after all, and I'm once again inspired to make my "Not Going to Breyerfest" saddle pad sale a bit more interesting.  $1 of every pad sold from now until Breyerfest, will go to Jennifer as a thank you.  They can be purchased for $7.50 in my RF TACK ETSY STORE

Friday, June 15, 2018

Lizz the Apprentice

Last year, as I started making more and more custom horse halters, my friend Lizz from the barn started helping me out with things in the studio.  Here she is with her Paso "Ticki Ticki": 

She also has a baby goat named Clover:

In January she joined the exclusive "Pony Club" at the barn when she rescued "Pastry"

(Blue Halter by Lizz)

Not many 15-year-olds have three mouths to feed, and Lizz is always eager for work.  Starting with sewing nose bands, she was a sponge for knowledge and eagerly dove in with learning the other aspects of the process. She's worked hard honing her skills carving, painting, and tooling.  A year later, here is a halter she made from start to finish for our friend Hali's horse Blazer:

She also recently made and designed this one for our barn friend Chico:

A few months ago, she embarked on her first model horse tack project.  I'm confident that the result puts most of us tack makers' "first" saddle sets to shame. 

She started with a Rio Rondo pattern as a base, but made it her own, making the bridle and breast collar patterns from scratch.  

This set features things that are found on seasoned tack maker's sets, including:

-Adjustable Swinging Fenders
-Tongue Buckles & Cast Buckles on Headstall
-Hand Carved and Painted Petite Tooling Calfskin
-Custom Iridescent Conchos
-Fringe Breast Collar
-Hand Woven Cinch with D-Rings 

So much attention to detail, I would be proud to use this in my performance setups!

Lizz is offering this set for sale, you can make an offer by emailing me at 

Starting Offer: $150.00

Friday, April 27, 2018

Coming Back

I have been silent on my blog, and haven't really made much in the way of model tack for the last year.  I've been growing my "real" horse halter business on Etsy, and many have asked why. In March 2017, my dad suddenly passed away.  Living in Florida and having my family in Washington State, last year was a lot of travel, a lot of heart ache, and a lot of trying to put the pieces back together.

My relationship with my dad is hard to put into words.  I'm not a good enough writer to do it justice.  He made me who I am today.  He thought I could do anything, always encouraging me to do my best, and led by example.  We both thought the same way, worked the same way, and were in harmony in a way I can't really explain.  He was generous, encouraging, and a fierce friend.  He was always happy to hear from me, always took a genuine interest in anything I had to say, and always up for a good laugh.  A lot of girls love their dads, but mine was my best friend. His passing has been the hardest thing in my life, and my family is still grieving the painful loss. 

I spent much of the first month dealing with my pain by working.  My parents had been getting ready to sell their house and move North to be closer to my brother and my mom's sister.  Projects. Like clearing out my dad's garage, I cried every day.

4 weeks of projects and my mom's house was on the market, and I took her back to Florida with me while it sold. It had been our family home for 28 years.

Then last Fall, my mom came to visit again, after getting settled in her new house.  While she was visiting, we were visited by Hurricane Irma.

Because my husband Rob is in the Coast Guard, he was immediately deployed, and I took my kids, my dogs, and packed as much of my life that would fit into my SUV and drove North with my mom.  We dove to TN, staying in a tiny house way up in the Smoky Mountains.

Then we continued to Washington State after a week of watching the weather.  I'm a crazy person on road trips.  If you're a good friend, it's only a matter of time until you've been dragged on one.

I stayed with my mom in her new house about two weeks before we made the drive back to Florida.

When we got home, we become the official owners of the world's best pony, "Melissa"

Melissa pony was a gateway drug.  In January I purchased a horse trailer....
It has made many lake trips this year already.
Jasper is the 24 year old Quarter Horse gelding belonging to my very good friend Jamie.  I have loved him like he's my own for over two years now, and he loves going places.  

In March this year, my hobby friend Sheila Bishop approached me about adopting her 10 yo Fox Trotter gelding "Thumper".  She's in Arkansas, which is a bit of a hike from South Florida, but I decided to take the leap of faith.  A LOT of bumps along the way with transporting him here, I ended up hitting the road with my VERY VERY good friend Jamie.  Of the 56 hours we were gone, 44 were spent on the road. We crossed Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana before reaching Arkansas.

"Thumper" is now known as "Cisco" in honor of my favorite movie I watched as a kid with my dad, "Dances with Wolves"

He was a trooper on the 24 hours straight trailer ride back to South Florida.

He and I are starting our partnership, and I see only good things to come.  I think he's liking Florida.  He loves the water, but  thinks that palm fronds are horse eating dinosaurs (don't worry buddy, the Florida native horses think that, too).

Now that I've recapped my last year, I'm going to get to the model tack bit.  Being National Model Tack Month, I decided to flex my model tack muscles again.  I'm going to be making a set for Sheila and wanted to get my creative juices flowing first.  I've kinda become obsessed with the iridescent everything these days, so took that idea and ran.  Here is the result.

 It's 100% tooling calfskin leather (I hand cut and skived the lace from the same hide), and the leather is a paper smooth grain.

I will be taking offers on this set until May 1st at midnight.  You can email me at to inquire.  I'm not sure if I will be offering another set for sale anytime soon, it's been about a year and a half since I've made a set for offers, so don't miss this chance! Link to the MH$P listing can be found here.