Monday, April 30, 2012

And the collection grows.... W. Musgrave sidesaddle

I think I should start this post with "Hi My name is Michelle and I have a problem..... I'm running out of room in my basement!!" lol Yes I have acquired yet another sidesaddle! It is a beautiful W. Musgrave sidesaddle made sometime between 1880 and 1910. I saw the little tapadero stirrup (my toes *just* fit into it) and the beautiful stamping and knew I had to have it! I especially love the hearts stamped onto each corner of the skirts. I believe the conchos are nickel and the saddle strings are all original. A few have broken off but they were carefully tucked into the offside purse.
It was a lucky Craigslist find, I really can't believe no-one else snapped it up before I did! I was a bit nervous dealing with Craigslist and someone I didn't know but it turned out great and the saddle arrived safe & sound on Friday. I wish I could find more about the saddle maker. All I know is that Walter Musgrave was born in Illinois in 1860, moved to Montrose Colorado and married is wife in 1880. They had a saddle shop there from 1880 to 1910 and then moved to Oregon after that. I believe he eventually died in California. It's obviously a very special saddle with the hearts stamped into it. Perhaps he even made it for his wife? (Sounds like a nice story doesn't it?)
Isn't the purse on the offside pretty? Even the strap (one is missing) that the cinch attaches to is stamped to match the saddle. I think I will find a local saddler that has a similar stamp and get them to make another strap to match. Even the cold iron cinch rings are decoratively covered to protect them from corrosion. It even has a neat little grab handle on the off-side, just in case things get a little western! The seat is really comfortable too!
It's a big saddle but surprisingly, not that heavy! I think my english one is heavier than this one. That surprised me anyways. Looks like it was well loved & taken care of. Yesterday I brought it out to the barn with me to try out on Rain. I figured with her low wither and slightly "round" silhouette, it might fit her. And I was right! Doesn't she look cute in western gear?
Poor pony didn't quite know what to think about it though! I was bumping & bumping with my left leg and she kinda stood there like "Umm what do you want?". We finally got motoring and even tried a bit of trot, she's pretty smooth! Sidesaddle horse in the making for sure! It sure feels different than the english sidesaddles, I almost felt like I was sitting up there in a dish on top of a horse lol. I didn't want to do too much riding in it because those latigo straps were pretty crispy (I think I need to get new ones) and I didn't have the back cinch on to help stabilize it. Hate to chance it sliding sideways and wreck it!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Virginia Day 3

I decided I was going to venture out on my own Monday and have a bit of a tour around the area. I had a bunch of places that I thought I'd like to see, so armed with my (less than updated) GPS, I was off to explore and try not to get too lost! (I did get slightly lost a few times though and discovered some pretty neat things!) I started my day off by going over to Warrenton, home of the infamous "Horse Country" store. What a fun (and expensive!) store that is! I enjoyed looking at all of the hunt attire and tried on some to die for brown dress boots (droool...). Luckily for my bank account they didn't have any that fit me... Instead I found an original copy of "To Whom the Goddess" to bring home with me.
I toured through the town of Warrenton after that, another neat town with lots of historic buildings and lovely architecture.
Found a really interesting tack shop/wine store combo...
Bought some nice wine to bring home there and then continued on my journey, found a few more tack shops along the way (picked up the elusive brown spur straps I was looking for) and made my way back to Middleburg via a scenic route I had been advised to take if I wanted to see some neat stuff.
I toured around Middleburg some more, enjoyed going through all of the antique shops (all of which have hunt whips galore in them!) and the tack stores and had a nice lunch at the pub there. I have to tell you about the hunt whips and sandwich cases at Middleburg Tack, there is an entire WALL of them, I was so tempted but they were kind of expensive so I thought I should pass. Met up with Devon again and she took me for a ride through the Middleburg hunt country! Definitely the best way to see it!!
(Yes I was totally being a horsey "tourist" with my camera out as we rode along haha)
Another busy but great day!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Virginia Day 2

Sunday Maggie had arranged for us to go for bunch in Upperville at the Hunters Head Tavern which dates to the 1700's. We met up with half a dozen other ladies from the area that also ride. The food was great and so was the horsey conversation. After that it was off for a ride with Devon on her lovely gelding Quest. The whole trip was great for putting faces to names and meeting all those people I had emailed but never actually met. We hauled over to a beautiful arena to ride. The scenery is just stunning everywhere.
I had a great lesson with Devon and got some fantastic things to think about and ideas to take home with me. Though I really do kinda stink at jumping sidesaddle..... One day I hope I figure it out! lol Finished off the day by picking up the habit that I got from Devon, a BEAUTIFUL smokey grey-blue wool 1930's habit owned by one of the a hunt propriotess of the area. I feel very lucky to have it (and to fit IN it! haha). Can't wait to wear it out to a show.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Trip time!

I finally have a few minutes to put some posts together about my AMAZING trip to Virginia & Maryland. I have to say, the people were wonderful, the scenery was great and there was so much to do! I crammed as much as I possibly could in and even still felt like I didn't see & do enough. I guess that means I'll have to do another trip! So I flew in on a Friday, late afternoon and arrived in Baltimore to a REALLY warm, humid day! What a difference from the below 0 temps and snow at home! The Balitmore airport was HUGE and after much walking, I found my luggage, hopped on a bus and off I went to the rental car facility. Then it was off to Ashburn to a fellow sidesaddle rider's house. She graciously offered to put me up while I was in the area and it was wonderful to get to know her. (Did I mention that I can't wait to go back?) Everything was in bloom and so warm! Love it! Saturday we went to a show to watch her horse compete at a local show. We stopped at a coffee shop called the "Cup o Giddy Up!" for a cup to the coffee and then were off to the barnSavanna is a lovely hunter! I just love this photo with the cherry blossoms in the background. It was a really nice misty morning. .
After we watched Savanna go, I went back to Middleburg to tour the town and do a bit of shopping and of COURSE hit up the Middleburg Tack Exchange! What a fun store! So much used tack & neat stuff all crammed in there! I loved the tack stores in Virginia & Maryland, there was so much stuff that you just don't see up here and can't buy really. The town is so beautiful, they really work hard to keep that old style charm feel. Lots of brick and beautiful buildings.
Then I went to meet with Devon Zebrovious and her husband George. They took me with them to the Piedmont Point to Point races in the afternoon. It absolutely POURED all afternoon but it was a wonderful time! There was pink champagne, snacks and lots of nice people to visit with and as Devon put it we watched the occassional horse run by lol.
As you can see, I looked like a drowned rat by the end of the day but it was well worth it. On the way back we took the scenic route and toured around looking at all the historical houses & farms. Just unbelievable countryside! A busy first day in Virginia!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A place for everything & everything in it's place!

Remember my idea to create a holder/rack for all of my antique whips? Well I found all of the pieces and put it all together the last few days. I found the hooks at an antique store in Havre de Grace, Maryland and carted them home with me. A lady that runs an art gallery in town found the window for me. She has a client that makes mirrors and home decor stuff out of old windows and he has a stockpile of them to choose from. So after some measuring, drilling and conjuring up some artsy inspiration, this is what I ended up with. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out!
I took a combination of old photos, prints/paintings, photos of me riding and some special ribbons. The red one is my first horse show ribbon ever, the blue & white is my first 1st place ribbon on my old mare Hazel and the big one is my first high point ribbon.
Pics of the trip to Virginia & Maryland are coming too!

Friday, April 6, 2012

What an AMAZING trip!!

I got back from my trip to Virginia & Maryland a few days ago and I'm still working on getting unpacked, laundry done & house tidied up. Hopefully in the next day or so, I'll have some time to upload some photos & do a few posts about my trip. I honestly can't wait to go back to that part of the country again, I had such an amazing time! Stay tuned!