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About vacacaballo

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  • Birthday 09/19/1968

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  • Location
    Oregon, USA
  • Interests
    Saddle and harness making
  1. JinxedDream, as Deb Bennett lays out in the above article, the female pelvis wants to naturally sit more forward than a male's. The Aussie saddle clearly has a less dramatic rise to the seat, allowing a little more forward rotation of the pelvis...and allowing the saddlemaker to move the low-point in the groundseat forward. Twist your stirrup leathers though. Life's too short. That will really help with the torque on your knees. http://twistandwrap.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-twist-wrap-your-stirrup-leathers.html Don't worry about the position or angle of your feet, in terms of classical equitation seat. The correct position is what feels good to you and keeps you pain-free. But, I suspect that if you had a saddle that allowed you to rotate your pelvis forward and was also narrow enough to get your legs under you, the vertical alignment you're comfortable with will be closer to your alignment while bareback. The wear spots on the 14" western saddle are pretty telling. I bet your hips were really hurting. I wonder if a traditional Poley-style Aussie Stock Saddle (not built on western bars) would suit you better. They can have really deep upright seats that would put you closer to the bareback position you seem to find most comfortable. I'd also love to know how you fared in a barrel racing saddle, many of which seem to have a less aggressive forward rise to the seat, with the stirrups set at the 3/4 position. Good luck.
  2. Nice first effort, DJ. What was the most difficult part of this project? Did you have a leather sewing machine...or did you stitch everything by hand?
  3. Russ - Thanks again. That makes a lot of sense. As for the grad school challenge, I'm definitely up for it. Although, if I do decide on the workshop audit, I'll be sure to start making chaps/chinks, bridles, breastplates, etc., before tackling a saddle project. Even so, I have a long line of family members who will take my less-than-perfect initial saddle attempts. They just may not carry a makers stamp. 8-) Sandy - As a saddle maker, how do you allow for the anatomical differences between men and women? I've seen a couple of groundseats built and gender differences were never addressed, although I've certainly considered the question myself. With the tuberosity of the ischium sitting wider on females than males, I can imagine making the low-point in the ground seat a little wider or flatter on top. And, if that's the case, why wouldn't a saddle maker just make all there seats in this manner, since it would make very little difference to a male, should he ride such a seat. We're only talking a couple of inches here. Are there other gender-specific differences to consider?
  4. Russ, thanks for your feedback. Jim's program looks great. And I hear what you're saying about the initial build being about a single saddle type. I guess that's one limitation, no matter how you start. A groundseat for a Wade is going to be considerably different from that on a cutting saddle, I imagine. Since I have no leather working experience at all, it's the little things that I imagine will make the difference for me. For instance, when properly casing your leather, how wet is too wet? It seems that kind of thing is all about feel...and not really the kind of thing I can get from a book. The difference in cost between the 3-5 week program and the week-long workshop audit is $5,700 and $1,300, respectively. Both prices include accommodation...but, not travel (which is also less for the workshop). Thanks again...I appreciate it.
  5. I was planning on studying this winter with an accomplished saddle maker, in one of those 3-5 week courses where you build your first effort under the tutelage of an expert. I realise this kind of course is not necessary and many folks just buy their tools, hardware, and sides...and just start building a saddle. Even so, I was really looking forward to it, since I felt I'd have the best start possible...as well as a shiny new Wade at the end of the course. Anyway, you know what they say about plans. 8-) It's starting to look like that's not going to work out. So, I'd like to ask y'all for some advice... I have another opportunity to take a week long workshop with a really well respected saddle maker, watching him build a customer's saddle from start to finish...and getting to ask questions along the way. I would not be building anything myself. This workshop is about 20% of the total cost for the 3-5 week course...which is a plus for me right now, as funds are unusually tight. But, I don't own any tools and it will probably be another year before I'm in a position (financially and geographically) to buy my own tools and build a saddle of my own. My questions are... 1. How does watching a great saddle maker for a week compare, in terms of practical take-home value, to actually building a saddle under supervision? 2. If I take the week-long workshop, are there elements that I should pay particular attention to, that are hard to pickup from the saddle making books and DVDs I already have (I have most of them, with the notable exception of Jeremiah Watts' DVDs) ? Sorry for the wordy post. Thanks for any thoughts you might contribute here. I want to start right...and not waste money in the process.
  6. Nice looking saddles, rufusjames. I'm looking forward to your binding tutorial. Just fyi...Rod and Denise Nikkel just started making what they call a Western Stock Saddle tree. As with everything they do, it's rawhide covered wood. http://www.rodnikkel...k-aussie-trees/
  7. And...to all you fellas who are making plans to have your saggy old man-hides tanned and made into beautiful barrel racing saddles with custom honeysuckle rose tooling, y'all better have good lawyers. 'Cos a final request like that can turn the most grieving widow into a bitter and inventive force to recon with, esp. post mortem. You may find yourself made into cruppers for a team of flatulent mules.
  8. Shtoink, sadly the horror of Adolf Hitler knew no bounds. According to this Nuremberg report, the SS valued tattooed human leather. "At Dachau and Mauthausen, human skin of dead prisoners was used to make lamp shades, saddles, riding britches, gloves, house slippers, and ladies' hand bags. Tattooed skin was particularly valued by the SS men." From Nuremberg Trial transcript: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/open4.asp
  9. RedTailHawke, thanks for posting that. I'm very keen to see that Sci. Am. article. Unfortunately, the resulting image of your scan is a bit small to read (549x400px). Do you have anything larger? Say, 1200x875px? Thanks again. BTW, I wrote to the History Detectives (on PBS) and asked them if they'd be interested in finding out more about it this saddle and perhaps even locating it. I haven't heard from them and I expect I won't, given the lack of strictly historical significance this saddle has. But, I figured it was worth a shot.
  10. Double U Leather - That's hilarious (and not a bad idea). I've put on a few pounds over the years. So, I imagine if I keep going and donate my own hide to that effort, we might also be able to get a breastplate and headstall out of the deal. Electrathon - Good questions. Update: I found 2 copies of Scientific American for sale from Fed 23rd, 1907. Both sellers list an article on leather products from human skin, including a saddle. Bizarre.
  11. Thanks for your input. The idea that a turn of the century troll could plant something extraordinary like this is certainly a good one...and something I hadn't really considered. However, after some research, the author appears to be a Miss M. Glen Fling of East Chapier St, Germantown, Philadelphia. I've found a bunch of articles of hers, across multiple publications, all of which have some slant toward science and other technical subjects. None of the articles I found were sensationalist in any way. It does appear she wrote in the Philly and Chicago areas, during the early 1900s. Of course, it may turn out the Alton Evening Telegraph citation presented on The Devil's Penny website is not correct in its attribution to Scientific American. However, since the first mention of this saddle in The Australasian Saddler & Harness Maker cites a 1904 issue of Harness Gazette, 1907 may not even be the year it appeared in Sci. Am, if indeed it did. I'm more interested in the 1903/4 Harness Gazette article, which is said to include a picture of this saddle. If anyone has any ideas as to how early copies might be found, please let me know. Meanwhile, I'll keep digging.
  12. Ok, this is pretty macabre. But, I was going through some old copies of The Australasian Saddler & Harness Maker, from the early 1900's, and came across multiple references to a white English Somerset saddle made from human leather. It is said to have been made by Hansell & Sons of Philadelphia. I've attached images of the two references from the journal...and here's a link to a third citation. http://www.devilspen.../human-leather/ Human leather is supposed to be, qualitatively, much like dog or pig skin. From further reading, I guess it wasn't unusual during this period for medical students to possess small leather goods made from human skin. I still don't know how I feel about this. But, it's blown my mind a little. I could find no reference to the current whereabouts of this saddle. Has anyone seen this saddle or heard anything else about it? A photo of the saddle was reportedly published in the Harness Gazette, circa. 1904.
  13. Nice work. I like the pink leather and the studs are very cool. Mind you, you wouldn't want it on a horse that hasn't learned not to rub on you. ;-) It does look as though the top stud on the off-side cheek-piece is obstructing the correct lay of the browband, forcing it upward into this horse's ear. On a horse with a longer head, that wouldn't be a problem though. Removing the top stud or letting the poll strap out half a notch might solve that. I like a horse to carry a bit a tad more than the 'create a smile in the corner of the mouth' folks. But, it's a bit hard to tell from the pic just how snuggly that's already done up. Will we be seeing a set of pink reins to match? ;-)
  14. I just came across the following on Ed Steele's site, regarding tree fit for mules. This is how he describes their mule fit designation. SE - Mule (Mule) - Reduced bow and steeper front rafter angle to conform to the distinctive mule back. Helps prevent the back of the saddle rocking up when cinched, which creates tremendous pressure under the stirrup leather when the rider's weight pushes it back down. http://www.equi-flex.com/FTTH3.html
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