Horse Harness - part 1

by brae  

Maybe that should read, "Putting Jebediah to work, part 1." As you know, I'm using a Breyer thoroughbred horse for my mail wagon. I found it interesting that at least one pacer (harness racing horse) pulled a mail wagon in real life.

Mail Wagon Horse Mon, Jan 19, 1914 · The Star Press (Muncie, Indiana) · Newspapers.com

After finally getting my hands on the marvelous book Making Model Horse Harness by Anne Funnell, I started reading the material and doing more sleuthing online. Anne's business is no more, so I am doing my best to scout Rio Rondo for the things I need. They seem to be well-stocked, so I am making a shopping list while I work on a mockup.

I bought this bridle from Texas Tiny at the local mini shows this past spring.

I fitted it to Jebediah to see. Yeah, it was a pain. I can see there will be more swearing in my future as I make said harness. :D But, it fits perfectly and is very well made. I'm not sure if I will be able to modify this one (the reins are not long enough, there's no simulated bit and there are no blinders), or if I will have to use this as a guide to make my own with the harness.

I had the idea of doing a test run with ribbon before diving into the leather and custom hardware. This would give me a feel for the parts and lengths/widths of the tack. Michaels is always hit or miss in the supplies department, but it was the closest store while out to lunch. I bought 1/8" wide white ribbon - the two colors missing from the stock of plain 1/8" ribbon were brown and black. Sigh. I colored the white ribbon with a permanent marker and let it dry overnight. I'm not worried about color transfer since Jebediah is still in his primed state. I had 1/4" black ribbon at home. These aren't the precise widths I'll need, but they are a good approximation.

I didn't get very far, since one part really depends on another, but it was worth a shot. I need to just get the materials and start to work - trial and error. But, this attempt did help me study the drawings in better detail and estimate the amount of leather I will need. I also kept a tally of the various hardware components since the book doesn't have a detailed listing of items with sizes. The book appears to be a companion to the kits and hardware sold by Anne Funnell, so that is understandable. If you have the kit, you need only the part number - not the size. And, the kit itself would have likely had a parts list with sizes and lengths noted.

I am reconsidering adding flocking to Jebediah in seeing how much handling needs to be done when attaching and, especially, tightening the buckles. I know I can get a good approximation of hair on the body with paint, and the mane and tail will no longer be plastic to help drive the realism.

8 comments

Comment from: Barbara [Visitor]
I like the bridle very much. We once had a pacer retired from the track (rescue horse) - she was great as a brood mare and for trail riding. Not a great ride otherwise, but I bet she would have made a terrific mail wagon horse! Really looking forward to seeing how you finish your horse - I have a Breyer I'd like to customize.
09/14/19 @ 18:27
Comment from: Debora L. [Visitor]
Love the tack you found. The ribbon works well for a mock up too. Great idea!
09/14/19 @ 19:05
Comment from: Sheila Lester [Visitor]
Jedediah looks very dashing so far. I know you'll figure out the harness.
09/15/19 @ 03:25
Comment from: ann [Visitor]
Building a miniature harness is quite an undertaking and those who do it for a living are few and far between. The Denver show used to have the most beautiful horse tack, but the vender hasn't been there for quite a while. And I met a lady from Virginia who used to make leather minis and she sold all of her tack to someone else, so it looks like you are on your own. You will do admirable. I am enjoying watching you.
09/15/19 @ 13:49
Comment from: brae [Member]
Yes, I have one offer to make the harness for me, but I would like to attempt it myself. Of course, if it doesn't work, I've likely left no time to order one custom made. :))
09/17/19 @ 01:49
Comment from: marilyn [Visitor]  
Terrific to be in at the gestation period - can't wait to see the fabulous result. Well done for your perseverance. I think pretty much everything we do in minis for the first time pays off if you make up a mock or template of some sort first - saves much waste and cursing. I am currently working on roller blinds and will use paper and card for a gazillion prototypes before moving on to the actual material I need.
09/18/19 @ 16:26
Comment from: Kamelia [Visitor]
Great idea with the ribbons. That will help for sure. And the harness looks really good.
09/25/19 @ 16:06
Comment from: brae [Member]
:yes: Oh, yes, I am always a fan of a good mockup to make it all click in your brain before starting the real deal.
10/04/19 @ 16:31


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