rufusjames

Latest Australian Half Breed

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Another Polocrosse saddle completed. CSST cable rigged tree,Hermann Oak,16.5" 4"x12"seat, rawhide hidden stitch bindings...

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very nice! I like that two tone you've got going on with it.

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Awesome, like the other ones! You're killing me here... I'm still saving my pennies :)

Question, have you ever covered the poleys in a single piece with welts (basically like covering a pommel without the horn)? I saw it on a Blue Creek Saddle once but haven't found anyone else that does that.

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MU thank you. I have been to your site a couple of times. Your work is absolutely amazing.

Jinxed,thank you too. I do not cover the front with one piece. Couple of reasons. First is, I am building these saddles primarily for Polocrosse players. The rawhide helps keep the high points from getting too beat up by the sticks we play with. Also we untack between Chukkas(periods) to cool and care for our horses. Usually just throwing the saddle on the ground as we only have 8 minutes between chukkas. Lastly long trailer rides have torn up more than one of my Aussie stock saddles with welted poleys. This is also why my skirts are so small and "butterflied". Less insulation = cooler horse and closer contact.

My main reason is looks. I think that one [piece covers look plain. The rest of the saddle has detail, lines, shadows, detail... The one piece cover just looks too blah to me. Honestly, to me it looks like a pair butt cheeks. My opinion fwiw. A pic of me and my horse at practice last weekend.

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Rufusjames,

What's the difference between polocrosse and polo? I could google it I guess.

My wife and I moved to Santa Barbara in '79, she to start her PhD and I to start photography school, we rented a place to live on the Santa Barbara Polo Grounds. The owner of this particular condo was also a member of polo club. I don't know why but that afforded us a lower member status as well. I watched a lot of matches during those years there. What an exciting, thundering sport it is.

Paul

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Thank you for explaining that. It does make sense. Form to function and all of that. I do really like how you used the rawhide on the poleys, its a preferable look to those that were done in a 3-piece and have welts.

Did you handstitch all of that detail? Because I'm impressed with it, definitely different (and probably easier to clean than carved leather!).

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MakerUnknown,

We play with a sponge rubber ball and catch,pass,bounce with a racquet. Like LaCrosse on horses. 3 on 3 for a section. Eight minute Chukkas(periods). Major difference between polo and Polocrosse is smaller size of field(3 acres as apposed to Polo's 10), we catch,throw,bounce... Being that we play with a racquet the direction of the play changes rapidly. So a lot of cutting, juking, quick stops and spins... VERY athletic horses. We are only allowed to compete with one horse. So no string of ponies. Just one for the tournament. There are exceptions but only for horse injury/ or deemed unfit to play by the onsite Vet. Then you have to play a horse that is rated equal or less if you change horses. Horsemanship is first and foremost.

More info here

http://www.americanpolocrosse.org/

Edited by rufusjames

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JinxedDream,

I have been messing with dyeing the rawhide to get more of a monochromatic look. Or at least not stand out so aggressively. I like it fine on lighter colored leather but not with the darker. I stitched it with my Toro 3000. And yes I try not do any carving/tooling on it because it is a dusty game and I like ease of maintenance over fancy. That being said, I think this design will be a PITA to clean anyway.

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It's funny, last night I went to see all the Oscar nominations for live action shorts. I had been trying to come up with the name of game that originated throughout Central Asia that probably polo and it's related games came from and one of the films was an Afghan one called "Buzhashi Boys". Exactly what I was thinking about. The sport that the players carry around a dead goat and score with that. Interestingly, the film was mainly funded through the US State Dept.

http://vimeo.com/34778382

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Wow that looks cool. Interested in seeing that movie. Looks interesting. A look into Afghan life, through the eyes of a dead goat!

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Not to beat a dead headless goat here but it's strange how things often travel in groups. Tonight I was over at a friend's house having a cocktail, another friend, a film maker, was also there and said his latest film was selected in three film festivals around the country. One being The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula. I lived in Missoula for a few years back in the day. I go home and search on Big Sky Festival site for his film and the first link I click on is another film about Buzkashi..this one is a feature length. I can't believe the ferocity of the sport. It's pure craziness.

http://www.oxusfilms.com/buzkashi.html

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I just delivered this completed saddle to a member of the USA Polocrosse team last weekend. I am really happy with this one.

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Wow! That rawhide really shines and the fits looks great! Did you add an extra flap of leather under the fenders this time?

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JD,

Thank you very much. Yes I did ad the extra leather. And the rear jockey. This saddle is actually the same one as pictured at the top of the page. I took it apart and remade it. CSST could not get me a 16" tree fast enough for me to be comfortable with the deadline. So I "bit the bullet" , remade it and met the deadline with three weeks to spare. It was a bummer to go backwards a bit,but I gained an extemely happy Customer. Everbody loves it when you tell them you will be finished earlier than quoted.

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I really like the design of these saddles and you do great work, where do you get tree for these

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Robert,

Thank you, Chicago Stockyard Saddle Tree and Laporte Saddle Tree company make these trees in Colorado,USA.

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Thanks My wife has decided she likes them, will probably have to get a tree and build one for her

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Latest half breed finished and shipping out in the morning.

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A couple more...

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Very nice! How do you stitch your bindings so the stitch is hidden? it makes for a really clean look. Did you end up using drum dyed leather for those or did you dye them?

Best regards, Josh

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Thank you Josh,I dyed it. I will use drum dyed next time.

The bindings I stitch face down, pull/stretch/cuss them over to the back ( at this point I am sure I cut it too narrow and it will show the stitches on the back, it won't, keep pulling/pushing it over), screw it tight and accurate on the backside concealed under the ears,pull the ears over and screw them down to shape the wet rawhide cleanly( I put a small piece of plastic here between the rawhide and ears to avoid water staining the ears), push it close to shape by hand on the seat side, put a fan on the back to start the shrinking on the back first, go do something else, come back and tuck the backside with my fingers, shape the seat side radius, adjust screws if needed to fit the rawhide in tight at the ears top and bottom (Important to do at this point),tuck the shrinking backside tight to the cantle back, put a fan on it, let the fan work, as it starts to shrink tight on the backside start hammering/ rubbing down the crease to get it flat as possible to the seat, massage it as needed while shrinking,the next morning I hammer the crease hard and get it as flat to the seat as possible. It is "hard" but still workable with the hammer at this point.

I usually start this first thing in the morning. That way I have all day to go back and forth working it. There is a lot of strategic fan time. There is more to it of coarse...

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I have never been a fan of the "Aussie" saddle but you have given it a whole new direction! I like that you incorporated some of the "Western" style that we in the U.S. are so familiar with and that by adding it you made the saddle more function-able and did not just add the western flair for the sake of adding it as a design feature.

Super clean work!

You have raised the bar for a "plain" saddle that certainly has a lot of style!

Thanks for sharing :notworthy:

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Rick, thanks for the great compliments! I really appreciate it.

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so... is the binder sewn to the seat leather and not to the cantle back? The way you do them looks super clean and I'd like to give it a try.

Thanks again, Josh

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I sew through rawhide,seat,filler,cantle back.not through rawhide on the back. Sew rawhide face down to seat and fold over stitching to conceal it.

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