Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bosom Buddy Bags

If you've been playing close attention, you've probably deduced that I have a handbag fetish (and coats).  Been watching these bags for quite a while.  They have quite a number of "collections" the one pictured below is of course "equestrian". 

I think I like all of their patterns.  Very preppy too.

Lots of styles, colors and sizes...........

They have a great Facebook site.  Happy shopping!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vintage Bridle Rosettes

I've seen these old bridle rosettes in antique stores for quite some time.  These are traditional decoration on bridles for driving horses.  They became in vogue during the Victorian era, the 1880's.  Companies even used them for advertising, even for Presidential candidates. Production ceased in the 1950's but came around again in the 1990's.  People now use them in jewelry.  I recently bought a pair in good condition.  I will use one as a belt buckle and the other as jewelry, having it made into a "slide" to go with a gold necklace I already own.

You can find them on Ebay and prices vary tremendously:

This is on Ebay right now as well, interesting how the rosettes were sold.

The set I bought looks like this but the gold is in better condition:

 Here is one made into a lovely necklace. 

You can sometimes find these on Etsy too!  Enjoy your Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ponies From the Past

The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association's Wheeler Museum in Lexington, KY recently opened an exhibit, "Ponies Through the Decades." If you have a love of the very special hunter ponies that showed in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's then this should go on your "to see" list.  The museum is free and open to the public.  The exhibit runs through September 23rd.

Here are some photos from the exhibits. I did not write down the names of the ponies, the owners and riders.  Some you may recognize.

The exhibit contains photos of the ponies with their owners and riders from the top shows.  Ribbons, trophies, coolers (some moth eaten), even a riding coat is on display from an earlier era.

Because so often the ponies have longer competitive lives than the horses, these top ponies were passed down to family members, leased out to multiple riders, or sold several times during their careers.  Many ended up being loved and cared for by many young girls.  I remember that in the 70's we never showed in saddle pads.  We had hard leather girths and saddles that weren't made of the soft French leather that we all love now.  Pelhams were everywhere! 

This one is from the Ox Ridge Horse Show in CT.

I love how the ribbons are displayed. Great idea!

Everyone wore wool coats with velvet collars back then. The collars are coming back but not the wool.

This is Paige Johnson.

Hope you had a nice holiday weekend. Enjoy the short work week!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


We all love a bargain!  Well, Snowman is one of the best bargains of all time!  The gray horse was on his way to the "meatmarket" when he was rescued and ultimately reached the pinnacle of show jumping.  At age eight, his life wasn't looking too good.  Riding instructor, Harry DeLeyer paid $80 for the gray gelding and took him home.  He soon became a riding horse, used to teach young riders. He was that gentle.  He was so well liked that one of the students purchased him and took him home to ride.  It was about that time that Snowman began jumping out of his pastures to come back to the riding school.  As the fences got higher, he continued to jump out and the horse was returned to Harry.

In 1958, two years after being "saved" by Harry, the horse was entered in a jumping competition. No one would have ever imagined how good he would be.  In 1958 and 1959, Harry and Snowman won the coveted Professional Horseman's Association Championship and the American Horse Show Association's Horse of the Year Award.  He was Champion in 1958 at the National Horse Show and in 1959 won the Stakes Class there as well.

Everyone loved Snowman.  He would jump anything, including other horses.  He once won the Leadline Class with a very young rider and an Open Jumper Championship at the same show. He made an appearance on the Johnny Carson Show.  He became a symbol of hope, that an ordinary horse, like an ordinary man, could somehow achieve the unachievable.  

Harry received many offers to buy Snowman, even turning down a $100,000 offer from Bert Firestone, another fixture in the horse world.  He kept the gray horse and retired him in 1964.  He died at the age of 26 from complications related to kidney failure, living out the remainder of his days on Harry's farm.  In 1992, Snowman was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.  He was also made into a Breyer Horse Model.  There is also a very popular book "The Eighty-Dollar Champion."  I have not read it but it looks like a great beach read.

Today, Harry de Leyer lives in Virginia near Charlottesville and his house is full of mementos from his life with Snowman including a 1959 Life Magazine article.  He is in 80's now he still rides despite breaking his back in a haying accident.  He still recalls the wintry day in 1956 when he almost did not make to the auction in New Holland, Pa.  We all love a "feel good" story and I am hoping for another one on June 9th in Belmont Park.  Isn't it fascinating what happens with the right chemistry of horse and rider and of course, fate?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Breyer Horses - A History

Most of us who are horse crazy collected Breyer Horses when we were growing up.  The "Cantering Welsh Pony" was one of my favorites (still have this one in seal brown!).

The first Breyer horse was created in 1950 and is commonly known as the Western Horse (#57 Western Horse).

This horse was created as an adornment for a clock created by the Mastercrafters company.  The model was retained as payment for molding the parts.  Orders starting coming in just for the horse, and well, the rest is history.

The models are made of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, and most of them are horses although they have made various wildlife and domestic animals, including an extensive line of dog breeds.   Since 1989, the company has held a festival for model horse lovers at the Kentucky Horse Park, called Breyerfest. 

There are five basic scales of Breyer model horses:

* Traditional (1:9 scale) - models are 8" high and 11" long
* Classic (1:12 scale) - dollhouse, models are 7" H and 5" long
* Ponies/Pony Pal Gals  - same as classic
* Paddock Pal (1:24 scale) - now retired
* Stablemates (1:32 scale) - about 7 cm H and 6 cm long
* Mini Whinnies (1:64 scale) - about an inch tall

Each horse is cast in a two-piece mold.  The halves are put together and the seams are sanded and polished.  In older models, the markings were airbrushed by hand.  Brands or other individual markings are hand-painted.  Models can have different finishes, such as matte or glossy.  

Models can be graded or valued in several ways.  For selling and trading purposes, horses are graded by their packaging and condition.  Breyer has a very strong collector base, for which it publishes an annual collector publication, Just About Horses (JAH), and it has an online Collector Club.  Breyer also works with Hollywood and has been the "go-to" company for horse films.  You can find Breyer models for Flicka, The Horse Whisperer, Seabiscuit, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Dreamer and others. 

Today, Breyer brings about 300 unique horses, animals and accessories to the market every year.  Breyer has expanded to include jewelry, casual clothing and other equestrian-themed products. 

Secretariat's Birthplace is Sold at Auction

Virginia's famous site (the birthplace of the famous racehorse Secretariat) was sold at auction yesterday as part of the liquidation process of the bankrupt Virginia State Fair.  The site, which includes the foaling barn where Secretariat was born in 1970 and a yearling barn, went for $5.35 million and was purchased by Mark Lovell of the Cordova, TN-based Universal Fairs.

The State Fair of Virginia acquired the Meadow Farm property in 2003 for $5.3 million and hosted the annual fair there just north of Richmond, in Doswell, VA.  The fair had been held in Richmond since 1854. The non-profit defaulted on about $80 million in financing from creditors.

(photo above by Coady Photography, from "The Blood Horse")

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Felix Doolittle Equestrian Stationary

Felix Fu is an artist and visual storyteller who was born and raised in Hong Kong. Now living and working in Newton, Massachusetts, Felix creates tiny watercolors that capture the joy, beauty and essence of life. Charming and whimsical, his images have a nostalgic feeling that reminds one of a simpler, more magical time. Perhaps it is the flavor of the English influence in Hong Kong blended with New England tradition and a dash of child-like enthusiasm. Felix Doolittle stationery is unlike any other - each piece is like a miniature work of art. The Doolittle signature style includes full color illustrations, quality heavy paper, rounded corners and complementing illustrated envelopes. As friends and family receive your invitations and announcements, we hope our stationery conveys the joy with which it was created.

Just love his work.

You can find out more about it using the URL below:

Happy Tuesday!

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