Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Barding is done!

Mostly. Its taken me all week, but I'm calling the blanket part done tonight -- WOOT!

"Barding" is the term for the horse armor and covers that we try and mimic with our costumes today. I was having a ROTTEN time finding any information about medieval horse costumes on the internet -- boy, did that get easier when I had the secret code word 'barding' to search for.

And yes, it has been a learning experience. :-D I borrowed a co-worker's sewing machine last week. I was a bit nervous about knowing how to work it, but it turned out pretty straight forward...

When Carol and Dan came over to let us play games with their equipment, Carol had also brought over a couple of horse costumes that she has for me to look at or borrow. LOL! What I hadn't anticipated is that Jordan is so much bigger than her horse, they didn't have a prayer of fitting. HEE! But she left them with me to use as patterns for making a new one.

So here he is - being all good and model-like out in pasture when I threw this blanket on him.

But that wasn't a very good shot as I'd cut off his nose, so I backed up to get another. But J aparently had decided this modeling business wasn't all that entertaining:

Nuh-UNH, son. You going to stand there all pretty for me??

Yes! ;-D Aparently he got the message.

So, measuring this pattern on him, I decided his needed to be 1 foot longer in length, and 1 foot lower on both sides -- making it 2 feet wider! I went and bought fabric, and ended up just getting a ton of on-sale cotton. Before I started I had to call Phyllis, for moral support as much as anything. Heh. She did tell me to wash it first. Hrumph. An evening lost in washing and then somewhat ironing the fabric.

Measuring it out:

Since our blanket was to be two toned, it was convenient that the material I got came in 41" widths - as the center part was close enough to needing to be 1 full width, and the edge parts close enough to be 1/2 that. Sewed those three pieces together, and did a little gathering along the topline to fit to the shape of his back, and went back out to try it on:

Unfortunately, trying to do these fittings by myself in pasture is hard enough -- ten times so when it was as windy as it was this day!

(my friend Lydia saw these pictures and commented right away on Jordan's french manicure look -- LOL! I guess it is pretty dramatic looking. This is, of course, just the dry peeley stuff left on the hoof surface on the new growth. Hah - maybe he needs a scrub down)

Satisfied with the over all size and shape, I sewed a second layer identical to this, and then sewed them togther. Unfortunately, as the abject novice I am -- I sewed the wrong side to wrong side, rather than the traditional, right side to right side. And I KNOW to lay these out wrong to wrong -- but I'd done it a tricky way to save space and ... well, it was completely wrong. Oh well. Ripped out that very long seam and put them together the correct way.

Tried it on him a few times, under saddle to figure out where the holes needed to be for the girth and saddle pad straps:

And once making those 'button holes' I was structurally done.. Time for the decorations!

My sister Nancy is like the applique queen, so I called her for advice. Only... turns out she was camping. In Colorado! GETTING RAINED OUT! What the hell I said when we finally talked? We are DYING up here. Have had less than 4 inches of rain all year - and they were getting dumped on. >:(

Oh well, I muddled through the applique process and then talked to her after I was mostly done. I didn't do all bad on my own, I think!

And then the trim pieces went on last night and tonight. Hee - turns out an ironing board does a passable job as Horse-Standin.

Whoo whee, I just can't wait to try this on Jordan! Ginger says J has always believed himself to be king of the herd, and now he'll just feel like he's finally dressed appropriately. ;-D

Of course, I'm not done yet. I'm obviously working at incorporating my herald into the horse barding. Supposed to resemble this:

So I still need to do the horse head. But the event is a mere 5?? days away, and I still need to make tunics for Dave and I, and the rein covers for Jordan -- so those last appliques will have to wait until last to see if I have time to get them in...


Friday, July 25, 2008


The weekend before last we finally got a time when some new friends from the SCA could come over and bring some of their games equipment and we could practice. Since this was outside the official SCA boundaries, Carol suggested we invite some of our riders to join us and try it out. Ginger talked to her camp councelors and 4 of them decided to join us.

Other than being hotter than blazes, the afternoon was fabulous!

Carol and Dan brought out their Heads Stands - 5 foot tall stands upon which sit heavy plastic jugs. You weave in and out between the heads, knocking them off with a sword, then go back to the starting point - in the same gait in which you did the heads.

Carol went first - she and Ziggy are veterans of these games and it was really nice to have them come out and share their knowledge and tips with all of us. She was practicing that day riding in her Arab saddle - the gorgeous blue fabric saddle.

Everone had quite a few turns. Since it was brand new to most of our horses out there, as well as the people, we took extra time to introduce everyone. Horses can get pretty skittish when you start swinging things around them, and on top of that making the heads fall off of their stands. But all of our horses and riders did it like pros!

We later brought out 3 more stands and set them up staggered with the heads stands - and set up "Reeds". These are small sections of dowels - 1/2 inch diameter and stand from 2" to 12" tall. For this event you proceed down between the two lines of reeds, and have to swing your sword on both sides. This is particularly exciting because they really come up fast and you have to get into a good rhythem. Unfortunately we didn't get ANY pictures of the reeds - LOL. We must have been having too good a time.

We finished with ring jousting. I had fashioned the first 2 of my ring stands. I didn't know how well they were going to work so I only had 2 of them together. Now I have 4 and it would have been nice to have more that day, but oh well.

My stands are made out of PVC Conduit, stand 7 feet tall, and have 2 magnets at each end of the T. Very simple to construct - though I'm not convinced the magnets are strong enough. None of the rings came off just from the breeze, but still, it would be easier to re-set the rings if the magnets were stronger.

First, again, was just getting used to carrying the lances. Dan told me this position is called a Calvary Rest - where you let the lance rest on your toe. Alternatively you can also carry it resting on your thigh.

Then -- a whole bunch of walking, and eventually trotting down one side, turn and come back on the other side. It's really much harder than it looks - you've got 5-6 feet of lance out in front of your hand, and are trying to aim it wilst on the back of a moving horse at rather small targets.

Bambi and Brooke:

Jordan and Me:

Legend and Kaylee

Rio and Joanie

Romeo and Taylor:

Ziggy and Carol:

And, just because someone else asked me how Jordan's tail was braided that day, I have this pic. For those of you who really want to gaze at my horse's ass. LOL Fridays of course are horse show day at camp, so over the weekend the horses are usually still braided up. This camper did an especially nice job.


LMAO - talking about decorated horse-butts, this picture just came in from last week's camp. I couldn't resist pairing it up with Jordan above.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gettin Crafty

I really didn't think that joining the SCA would immediately put me into crafts mode nearly so deeply! Shortly after attending my first practice I came home and fashioned two swords out of 1x2s and some dowels. It took me several weeks to actually complete them -- and they are still awaiting paint even now. But it turns out that you can get a heck of a proto-sword by just cutting a tip into one side and necking down the handle end. Sure works to smack those heads off of their stands, at least.

The next challenge was to make a ring lance. The broomstick I'd been practicing with was just too pathetic. So I got Dave to get me an 8' closet rod.

Now, point of fact, a pine closet rod is probably not the best material to start with. The reason being, as the medieval dude in Oxford explained to me in great detail, is that when pine and most other woods break, they give you really long splintered shards. So were you to dig that lance into the ground, for instance, it could break off leaving rather nasty spikes sticking out of the ground for your horse to run into. This is why Bamboo is favored I guess, because it shatters, not splinters. That and the fact that Bamboo is light.

But... Bamboo poles are not nearly as easy to come by. So, given I know the limitations of said lance, I'm not going to aim it at the ground!

So there I was with an 8' rod, 1-1/4" in diameter.

The smallest rings we have to be able to spear (for the most points) are 1" in diameter.


I needed a way to taper the end down to 1/2" diameter. How to do this? (without an 8' lathe, that is) I had no clue. But it seemed like a fun challenge. Much of the plane ride home from the UK I was noodling on an approach. You'll have to excuse all the geeky in-process photos - I wanted to be sure I could do this again when I need to! ;-D

Taking a stab in the dark I decided I needed a way to shave off slivers from the end of the rod - 1/4" over 2 feet. 2 feet back from the tip the lance would be full diameter. So I made up an angled jig. But I knew the jig had to be a lot longer than 2 feet - because I was going to need something to align the rod to after I'd started making cuts to the end. So I made a 4 foot jig that tapered 1/2".

And then clamped it to the table saw... I could push the rod at the correct angle to the sawblade....


Realizing that wouldn't work I finally figured out I had to clamp the rod to the jig, so that the combination could be slid parallel to the blade. Yeah - that was going to be way more successful!!

And Voila! First cut:

Several more:

And this is where things started getting tricky. Once I'd had to rotate the rod far enough that a cut-edge was facing the jig, I found that the tip of the lance kept being pushed aside by the sawblade, so it didn't make as deep of slices as it should have been, and the tip was looking decidedly unsymmetrical. Waah!

So I took the first slice I cut off, and taped it back to the jig to support the tip properly. Worked like a charm!

Soon after that took it off the table saw and started filing.

Got the tip down to what I needed

Then sanded it!

I am so pleased with the results!!! It's really nice and even, a consistent taper from tip back to the rod. I feel like making 10 more now. LOL.

I now need to get some leather to make a cone-shaped hand guard. I was pi-shawing the need for a hand guard. They seemed to be more in the way than anything else, it's not like those rings are going to hurt you.

Then I tried using my lance in practice and I quickly discovered that without a guard, the larger rings (5-6" diameter ones) fall all the way down and ring your wrist TO the lance. Ohhhh - not a good idea if you need to get rid of the lance in a hurry. OK, OK -- I need to fashion a hand guard.

But first - tonight I hope - I have to try my hand at sewing Costumes. For both me and Jordan. I haven't sewn anything since home-ec in Jr. High! Stay tuned, that little adventure is bound to generate some posts...


Monday, July 21, 2008

A New Approach

Flew into Seattle this week (last week by the time this posts), and for the first time ever, I think, our flight came in from the South. Right by Mt. Rainier! I was working -- writing blog posts as a matter of fact. And just happened to look out the window and saw this! Nice day for it. :-)


Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight

Original art by my incomperable friend, Ruth, with whom I will be seeing TDK on Saturday!!! SQUEE