The New Book of Saddlery and Tack
I’m a terrible horse book collector; if it has a breed I don’t recognize from one of my other books, or if it has a section on bits or tack or something that I particularly like, I’ll end up bringing it home. (I have lots of horse books.)
This was one of those books – I actually found it in a Tandy Leather store. And it’s really, really neat. This is the first book I’ve encountered that actually has a significant section on harnesses and how to put them on, including pleasure driving tack as well as racing and farm work harness. It also has a section on fitting side-saddles, fitting bridles and martingales, racing tack, how saddles are made, how bits are made, different types of bits, different types of saddles, historical saddles, saddles in museums… The Western section is a little light compared to the rest, but it’s not too bad – I’ve definitely seen worse.
The last chapter is more general horsemanship like caring for tack and stable management, and the first few pages are the standard “history of the horse and man” stuff, but the rest of the book is just tack. It’s so much fun to look through, even if you’re just looking at the pictures.
Laura got in a single PMU mare some time after I’d stopped riding with her regularly. The above is she. I have the photo labeled as “PerchShireX”, so I’m guessing Laura told me she was a Percheron/Shire cross; I mysteriously have a second, virtually identical photo labeled “Keeley,” which I believe was her name. Whatever she was, she was huge compared to everything else on property. I had to do a serious double-take when Heather took me through her pasture; she has a broodmare that looks just like this mare – only she’s branded on the other side, and her number isn’t 39.
This is Tex. I was not and still am not a big fan of Tex. He belonged to a friend and student of Laura – one of four horses, I think, this lady owned. Two of the other three were gorgeous chocolate Rocky Mountains. The third was a skinny guy whose breed I don’t recall but whose story I do; he was pretty much born wormy, and nearly died from it. I know they brought Tex back from a Rocky Mountain show, but I have a hard time believing he really was a Rocky Mountain, considering he was barely pony sized. He also stayed a stud colt way longer than he should have, and he was a serious handful to lead around. Somebody had missed getting him ground manners the last time I dealt with him, but he seemed a lot more relaxed when I took this photo.
It must be something about the ponies. I never had issues with Tolanka and her babies, but every other pony I’ve handled has had some quirk or tactic that drove me insane. Zoe here was terrible to lead for years – she had this quick little pony stride that would have her up on top of you in no time flat, and out in front almost before you realized it. She was a good girl otherwise, the few times I saw her worked, but leading her was work… even after a few serious training sessions in the driveway where she spent most of the time being backed up (and backed off) with a dressage whip. The frustrating thing was, Laura had acquired her as a mount for the little kids… but she wasn’t saddle trained at all until the summer before I really stopped lessons, several years after she’d shown up. I’d say she’d come in as a baby, but she never really grew; I think Laura was just short on… well… short people to ride her.