Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Books

I love tack how-to books. They're great if you can't find any reference pictures of a particular piece of tack or if you just don't know how to make something.
Two things that I always thought were cool but couldn't find enough reference pictures, and also had no clue about how to start are the pack saddle and pony express saddle.
So these two things came in the mail. (Pics are from here). If you are getting into tack making, or need help with making things, I highly recommend buying books from Carrie Olguin.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Draft Horse Pulling

Here are a couple of things to know about clear casting resin:
  • It can melt foam
  • Once it melts through foam, a stream of clear casting resin will go everywhere and clean up will be a pain
  • Make sure that the base is secured tightly so that no accidents will happen
Today I was hoping to finish the diorama water part, but Murphy's law struck again, so it will be attempted again tomorrow. 
Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the Draft Pulling Contest that I took at the PA Farm Show.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sand And Rocks

Today I had a snow day, so there was more work to be done on the diorama. I added sand and rocks to the bottom and used Elmer's glue that was watered down to glue everything down. Since I'm using clear casting resin as the water, I wanted the bottom of the river to be realistic.

Monday, January 20, 2014


I painted the inside of the bank and the bottom of the river. I used browns such as Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna and other colors you use to paint model horses. Dry brushing seems to be a pretty popular way to paint rocks, but instead, I just watered down the paints and blended them together.  Then I used black to base coat everything on the bottom since I'm using sand to cover it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A River Runs Through It Diorama

First off this post has nothing to do with A River Runs Through It, but it seemed like a catchy title.  

Dioramas/scenes are great props to performance showing. I've seen plenty of cool ones featuring some type of water in it. 

For a long time I've only admired them, wondering how I could ever figure out how to make one with one. After researching references and reading through how-tos by numerous authors, I decided to give it a try. You can only get better, right?  So this will be a total trial and error project that I'm hoping will be more positive than a failure. :)
I gathered supplies.  

I used poster board to be the base. I wanted to make it showable sized, which meant I need to be well within the limits of the qualifications. During Christmas, Michaels had a sale on snow diorama bases, so I bought a pack. Really it's just foam pieces. I drew out the outline of where I wanted the river to be. 

I hacked up the foam pieces to fit within where I wanted them to go. 

I covered the open hole with plaster sheets. 
Then modeling paste was used to create ridges and a 'banky' look to the side so it wasn't straight. I've used modeling paste to give models a furry coat, so I thought it would be interesting to try sculpting the bank's ridges with it and I'm happy I did. I wanted erosion from water to show. Plus ridges make it more realistic looking. 

Using some foam pieces, I also ripped, tore, and sanded pieces down to have more of a appearance of rocks. 

I glued them down, and coated modge podge onto it as filler and to cement everything together. I have no idea if modge podge is filler, but it seemed like a good idea at the time! The gel medium will be used to make a current/waterfall going over the rocks. 
Well, the next part is painting!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pleasure Driving

Compared to the fast and furious carriage racing, there was another demo featuring some of the Delaware Valley College Equestrian Team.

While there were horses under saddle doing dressage,


and jumping,

there was a horse showcasing pleasure driving.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Indoor Carriage Racing

Here are some pictures from the indoor carriage race. Indoor Carriage Racing is a competition where horse and driver maneuver around obstacles at a fast pace.The first person controls the horse, while the second one balances the weight of the carriage so it doesn't flip...or fall....or any other types of gravity issues.

The horses entered the arena, did a lap around the arena, before starting their run.
This was a fast pony and he finished first or second overall. All of the teams did two runs.

Some trotted,

Others galloped.

Some dropped their pace when they maneuvered around obstacles,

while others kept up a fast pace.
Equipment picture.

PS. Feel free to use my pictures for performance! If you use them for a setup, I'd love to see pictures of it!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A New Performance Idea

One of my favorite things to have seen at the Farm Show this year was the Ox Demo. It was the first time it had ever happened at the Farm Show.
An ox is a castrated bull (I didn't know that), and there were numerous types of cattle showcased. 
The oxen were paired up, with a yoke, and were led by their teamster (handler). This pair loved to strike a pose and were fast moving Jersey Cattle. They had gorgeous coloring, and knew it!
The teamster used verbal signals that reminded me of sled dog signals. Back-back up. Gee-turn right. Get up- go. Haw-turn left. Whoa-Stop. The whip was held at different angles to give the cows commands.
Oxen are visual animals, so more often than not they just followed their teamster around the arena.
These guys were only a little bit older than a year, and this was the first time they had ever pulled something around!
The showcase had numerous obstacles for the pairs to maneuver through.
Then the oldest pair, two Holstein mixes that are three years old, were hitched to a two wheeled ox cart and were led around the arena. 
Some of the horns were covered, so no accidents happened. 
The Jersey pair had on halters, similar to horse ones.
Close up of the yoke.

Most of the oxen were hitched up together to do an Oregon Trail blast from the past. It was the second time the group had ever been hitched together and it took like 5-10 minutes for them to be hitched up together. The announcer gave reasons for oxen being better for the Oregon Trail, than horses. One of the big reasons was that they were less likely to be stolen, and they were more nourishing to eat. Also, oxen were cheaper to buy and could eat the sparse grass that was further along the journey. 
This would be a really cool set up. You'd only need two oxen and a teamster, plus cones or some type of obstacle. I really want some breyer cows and calves now since I only have this guy, who is a bull and who is not getting customized!. :) 

Sunday, January 12, 2014


There were three types of roping that I saw at the rodeo: Calf Roping/tie down, breakaway roping, and team roping.
In calf roping/tie down roping, the calf started in the chute, with a light rope(string like) wrapped around its neck.

Once the rider nodded his head, the chute opened, and the calf started to run. Once the calf got to the end of the rope, the barrier in front of the horse came down, and the horse flew after the calf. The rider threw the rope and if it landed on the calf, the horse stopped, while the rider dismounted and threw the calf, tying it.

For a better explanation of the event there's a great post on Braymere Custom Saddlery
Breakaway roping was similar to the calf roping/tie down roping, except for the rider roped the calf, pulled the horse to a stop, while the calf continued forward until the rope 'broke' and released the calf to continue running.

Team roping consisted of two ropers.
The 'header' or first roper, roped either both horns, one horn and the head, or the neck. 

The header turned the steer, and the 'heeler' or second roper, roped the steer's hind legs.