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Making Babyflo's Tack - JAH 2015

Text & photos by Rachel Fail

It all began when I was seven years old, my favorite aunt gave me my very first Breyers: the Medicine Hat and Foal gift set and the Royal Te Appaloosa. From then on, my collection grew with every birthday and Christmas. Santa never had to ask what I wanted, it was always the same, Breyers!

First Breyers First Breyers
Medicine Hat and Foal Gift Set Royal Te Appaloosa

 

Sailing
An old photo from that very day!

I've always loved crafts, so as my collection continued to develop I began making halters and felt stable blankets for my Breyers. Then, one day my dad turned me and my brother loose in a toy store to make up for a long afternoon in the family sailboat. That was the day I got my very first Rio Rondo Western Saddle kit. From then on I was hooked; I've been making tack ever since.

 

Tack making has become more than a hobby for me, it's my business! I'm one of those lucky people who gets to work doing something that I love. I have come very far throughout my journey; this year has been a busy one! In 2015 alone, I have made 15 saddle sets, 5 bridles and am still working away at my wait list. In March, I even opened an Etsy store and have been selling sports medicine boots, metal saddle racks and other small items. But the most exciting part of the year was when I received the offer to make some tack for Breyer.

 

This spring, Breyer contacted me to make a portrait barrel racing tack set for their JAH cover. I couldn't believe it! If only I could go back in time and tell the 7-year-old me that someday my tack would be on the cover of JAH! I was more than thrilled to accept this challenge, knowing that it would be exactly that. Babyflo and Fallon Taylor's treeless Circle Y barrel saddle would require a 100% new design. Though the task was undoubtedly intimidating, I reminded myself that through trial and error, and enough dedication and practice, I could create anything I set me mind to!

 

English Tack by Rachel Fail Western Tack by Rachel Fail
Some of Rachel's work.

 

I was so excited to begin Babyflo's tack that I couldn't even wait for the model to arrive. The sport medicine boots were my first task. After creating a dozen prototypes, many of which failed, I finished the boots. Creating all the different colors was so much fun! My next project was the saddle pad. Fallon's pad is so beautiful, it was truly a joy to bring to model horse life! After receiving the model, I had to make some minor edits to the pad to compensate for Babyflo's mane; I carefully resized it and added some bling to the cutout.

 

Babyflo's Saddle Pad Babyflo's Saddle Pad Edited
The original saddle pad for Babyflo. Babyflo's saddle pad after some minor edits.

 

Rachel's Grandfather
A photo of Rachel's Grandfather in the U.S. Calvary and his spool of linen she used on Babyflo's nose piece.

 

Next, I used Photoshop to design the text, which I would trace onto the leather for the "Team Dynasty" breast collar. Then I tackled the tie-dye challenge. Since I couldn't get the scale just right in tie-dye ribbon, I ended up using Photoshop for this as well, along with iron-on transfers to bring it to life. The tie-down was also a challenge on the thin clear plastic nose piece, but I solved this by coating braided linen thread in several coats of clear nail polish. That spool of linen thread actually belonged to my grandfather, who was in the U.S. Calvary and made real saddles. I was really excited to incorporate a part of his legacy into the set.

 

 

 

 

 

Babyflo's Finished Bridle and Breastplate Babyflo's Tie-Dye Cinch Strap
The finished bridle and breastplate! The end results of the tie-bye
on the cinch strap.

 

With a little time and experiementation, the rest of the JAH saddle set flew together. I couldn't wait to see the tack in use! The amazingly talented Keri Parker designed the Fallon Taylor doll, and it's a product of a true master! I hope to own one of her dolls in the future!

 

Finished Tack Finished Tack
Babyflo's finished tack!

 

I hope I get a chance to work with the amazing people at Breyer again in the future, and I'm so thrilled to see this set on Morgan Kilbourn's beautiful Quarter Horse, with Keri Parker's doll in the saddle! I'm in awe of all the talented people in the hobby, and how much work it has taken to get where they are today. Hope I get to rub elbows with them at Breyerfest Carnival 2016!

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