Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hallmarks & Maker's Marks

Since finding that interesting whip on my latest antique store excursion, I've been really curious to see if I could find out who made the whips I have and when they were made. That in itself would tell quite the story! Most of the whips I have have little markings on them, which I'm assuming means they are silver. There is one or two that doesn't have any marks, so I'm going to guess that those are not or are perhaps just plated silver. This is the maker's mark on the whip I found most recently. It looks like a running fox with a "Trade Mark" stamped underneath.
Someone had suggested that this might be the mark of Samuel Fox who was actually famous for inventing a new, more sturdy, umbrella frame in the late 1800's. I guess he also might have made whips in his shop. I've yet to confirm this but it sure would be interesting! This is the engraving mark on a larger whip, probably a man's whip. It simply says "Z.K. 4696". My first thought was that perhaps the "Z" could stand for "Zair" but I don't think so.
The initials "E.A." are engraved on the one side of this one. This is definitely a ladies whip. I wonder who "E.A." was? On the other side you can see the silver hallmarks (I'm told "hallmarks" and "maker's marks" are different) that almost look like little squares with crowns on the top.
This last one is likely a ladies whip as well. It has a very ornately engraved silver collar with a space left open for the owner's initials. Underneath that space are the tiny initials "J-H" inside a small diamond shape. Not sure if this is a makers mark or a silver hallmark.
Thus far I haven't had much luck researching these marks, it's partially because I'm not entirely sure where TO look to find out. It'll be a fun project when I've got some free time to kill.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A few more days.....

And then I'll be hopping on a plane, on my way to Maryland for a week of horse stuff, touring around and the ISSO clinic weekend & awards banquet! I'm REALLY looking forward to it but at the same time, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything I need to do or remember. I've already started piling "important" but "might be forgotten" items on the spare bed so I don't forget them. I am a terrible over-packer too. I guess I can probably blame the crazy Alberta weather for that somewhat, you never know what it will be like so layers are good, as are winter boots & a coat.... Will I need those? Hope not! I'm really wanting to try and pack a minimum so I've got room to bring stuff home with me and not have to pay for tons of extra baggage. (ok, ok, it'll likely happen anyways... lol) I still haven't quite figured out how I'd bring a saddle back with me on the plane, *should* the chance arise... Y'know, have to make sure I've covered any possible scenario. This week I've gotta do laundry, teach lessons, hopefully ride a few times, pack, clean my boots & not forget my helmet at the barn. GPS unit is updated, hopefully I won't get horribly lost trying to navigate my way around. Got the camera, extra batteries & charger. What else do I need?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Trail horse?

Perhaps Rain is trying to tell me that she's not meant to be a jumper (though when she chooses to do it, she's quite good at it..). This morning I had one of my students ride her and she wanted nothing to do with jumping or going over poles at ALL. She's suddenly decided she's not a fan of jumping and is scared of the poles. She was in a slamming on the brakes or deer jumping over the x-rails mood. Not good. . A friend of mine put on a trail course practice day, after the way this morning went, I really wasn't sure how the afternoon would go. Would Rain be really spooky or good? Now I've never been much of a "trail" class fan but I had an absolute blast this afternoon. I've never had a horse I could do it with though, so that sure makes a difference. . They had all kinds of stuff set up to play around with. A kiddie pool with a rope tied to it that you could dally around your saddle horn and drag with your horse. Balloons, a hula/grass skirt and a flag to carry. A teeter-totter bridge that would tip as you walked across it. A "pool noodle" wall to walk through, tarps to walk over, poles to back through, a giant blow up Santa and all kinds of other stuff. The really fun part was an elevated bridge that had several steps to walk up & down. . I was SO impressed with this little horse this afternoon. Absolutely nothing phased her (ok ok, the colored poles & tiny x-rail was still "scary" for some reason...) and she took it all in stride and did everything the first time I asked. There was a lot of people commenting that they'd been working at some of the obstacles ALL day and we waltzed in there and seemed to be able to do everything. Pretty good for a green horse! My friend said she thinks my horse is trying to tell me she doesn't want to be a jumper... Maybe she's right?? . Here's a photo of us on top of the bridge. (I think I was more nervous than she was that she'd fall off! lol)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I need a place to put them all!

I've been thinking, I have all of these lovely antique whips and nowhere to really show them off. Right now they sit propped up in a little alcove in our house. Not the ideal place for them though. I've seen a few photos on the internet of "whip racks" but they seem to be a difficult commodity to purchase. Here are a few examples... This one is listed on Ebay but it's from the UK. The shipping costs are quite high and I'd worry about it getting broken on it's way here. Really pretty & simple. It's interesting that the hooks that hold the whips are made of antlers and I really like the little storage box at the bottom.
And I found this one on Etsy awhile ago... Somebody has "re-purposed" it into a kitchen storage rack thing. I'm sure that it must have been a whip or perhaps gun rack at one time. This one got me thinking.... I bet that wouldn't be very hard to build myself.... (or get the trusty, woodworking man to make hehe).
During my trip to the antique store last week, I starting to get some interesting ideas myself about "re-purposing" things... Here's my idea. What if I took an old window like this...
In the little panes I could put some sidesaddle/hunting photos, small prints or postcards. Or perhaps alternate them with a small mirrored pane.. Or even find some small antique tin ceiling tiles and fit those into the panes.
And then put some antique looking, hand forged hooks into place to hold the whips...
Or instead of a window, perhaps I could find an interesting mirror to use as a base.
I think this will be a fun project!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Another antique store find...

On my way back from skiing last week I drove through the little town of Nanton. Now if you like antiques and you are ever in Alberta, this is a must see place! The little town has quite a few antique stores and I always seem to find something neat! My favorite store is HUGE! It has three levels and is just jam packed with everything antique! Rarely do I find anything related to sidesaddle riding but I always keep my hopes up! And a lot of times if there is something there that's sidesaddle related, they don't know it themselves, so the price is pretty decent. This trip I was in luck! Upstairs in one of the rooms, sitting on the top of an antique dresser was a dainty ladies whip waiting for me! It was one of those finds that you check the price tag, try not to act too surprised at the price (in a good way!) and hang onto it tightly until it's paid for! It's color is quite unique, it hasn't been stained dark like a lot that I've seen have been. And the thong/lash on it is a very light color as well. I'm sure it's original though. I think it might be deerskin? Or some other type of soft suede like leather braided together? Never seen one quite like this.
I think the most interesting part on the whole thing is the maker's mark on the silver collar... Looks like a small running fox? Someone suggested that it might have been made by Samuel Fox, who was a well known umbrella maker in the UK way back in the day. I haven't been able to verify it but I'm on the hunt to try to find out more information!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March has come in like a lion!

We've had a few days of snow up here and I've finally got a bit of a slow day to blog. A lot of people are snowed in, so it's a quiet day. We had a big snowstorm that dumped probably a foot and a half of snow but not before starting off with some freezing rain. Add in the wind we get here on the prairies and there are some massive drifts! The roads are definitley not too fun to drive on! Probably won't be riding for a few days as I burned my hand pretty badly last night trying to make dinner. It's sore but good enough to type with luckily! Can't quite fit it into a glove with the dressing on it so I'll probably stick to some inside activities for a few days at least. Ah well, stupid thing to happen but it could be a lot worse! I've got a new addition to the herd coming soon. Well actually I've had him all along but he's coming home soon. He was out at the family's ranch in BC being a ranch pony for awhile & getting some miles on him. But now I'm in need of another lesson horse and have the perfect little girl for him, he's going to come back. Technically he was supposed to be home about three weeks ago but after dealing with a really crappy hauler that couldn't get their ducks in a row (cancelled/postponed 4 times for different reasons and now refuses to give my deposit back after I felt I had to hire somebody else) and now this big snow storm & highway closures through the mountains, it looks like it'll be another week yet till he's back.*fingers crossed* Anyways, meet Kodi, he's half arab, half paint and full of personality. Always been a really fun little horse to be around. At 14.3HH he should be just perfect for the kids!
Can't wait to get him back! I think he'll take to a sidesaddle rather well too..... hehe