The pieces shown on this page were made by those artists who have purchased the Guide and made tack according to it, or who have been influenced and inspired by it. As you can see, there are lots of possibilities out there! Shown above is one of the earliest harnesses to be built from the Guide: a fantastic draft show harness created by Darleen Stoddard of NH in early 1999. She also took the picture. Thank you Darleen!
The record for first harness is surely held by Stacey Rodriguez, who was in a position to be testing my chapters even before the Guide was published. Her questions were a great help in clarifying what needed explaining! She made this Fine harness based on patterns in the Guide. I believe it is the second harness she ever made.
Below and to the left is a Fine harness, shown on the splendid Kathy Bogucki resincast saddlebred "Dozen Roses", and built by Lorrie Franz, an accomplished tackmaker, and seen at Greater Pittsburgh Model Horse Show in spring 2000. This rig took second place out of a very competitive (Open) class of 10. While the Guide furnishes patterns and directions for a regular breastcollar harness (in three levels of detail, so nearly everyone can find something they're comfy with), these can easily be adapted to other harnesses such as a Fine. Fine harness is used in the arena to show off the high action of Arabs, Saddlebreds and other refined breeds. Its most diagnostic feature is the lack of breeching.
Here we have the terrific trio of a Draft Unicorn hitch! This stunning set of harnesses was made by Bobbi Devine from instructions in the Guide. This is the get-up that won first place in the 2000 Greater Pitt's Open Draft/Working Harness class. Click on the pic for a close-up; you can almost hear the thunder of their hooves! This hitch went on to take Misc. Perf. Reserve Champion. Not bad for a first time out... Congratulations Bonnie!! :) A Unicorn hitch is distinguished by having a pair of horses as the wheelers and then one leader out in front. The driver must have great confidence in his ability to communicate to the leader; and that horse had better step lively!! The photos at Greater Pitt were all taken by SBY.
Here is another subject, the bosal hackamore. This example was made by the talented Julia Harmon, who trains horses. The bosal, braided from artificial sinew, was based on instructions found in the Guide's Part 8, Chapter 39. In case help is needed with the spiral four-strand braid (seen here for the mecate, the braided-hair reins of a hackamore) that too is included. Julie made the headstall not from anything specifically in the book, but from general knowledge of tackmaking. However, the idea of using glass beads for real silver beads is listed, as well as how to tie the mecate on. :) These photos were taken by Julie. The horse is the Black Horse Ranch Western Pleasure horse, repainted by Amanda Ingram.
Despite this page being somewhat harness-heavy, I can't resist putting in this unusual piece. Never mind that the ankle boots etc. were made from Rio Rondo kits---the author of the Guide is the privileged recipient of some marvelous stories. I sold a copy to Peggy Pritchard, a one-time harness race driver. Here it is in her own words:
June 23: "I can't wait to start on the harness's (sic)!"
July 6: "Well, here is my first attempt at harness's (sic)! I did this one mostly from memory & some pics in mags on harness racing. The hobbles were ABSOLUTELY a terror to figure out! But I ended up red braiding (sic) floss and threading it into airline tubing... Other than that not too bad to put together. Your book is a great incentive for creativity! My husband, (who builds cl and rc airplanes) is building a modern sulky...for it too."
"I am just loving putting these together, its (sic) almost like being at the track again." [Ed. note: the harness & sulky were sold on eBay. The new owner took the outfit to BreyerFest.]
August 3: "Pacer harness and sulky went 3rd in class of 15!!!! BreyerFest... We are so excited just cant hardly stand it! Thanks so much for everything."
You're very welcome, Peggy! :) These pictures were taken by Peggy and are used with her permission. There isn't a pacer or trotter harness in the Guide. But nonetheless, the book seems to be a good inspiration... :)