Thursday, January 08, 2015

My Cool Old Horse

Last October I bought a cool old horse at My Friends and I in Niles.


The horse caught my eye immediately.  I loved that it was a draft horse (my ranching family has a history of draft horses: my grandpa's Star that my mom drove during haying season, my uncle's Belgian mares, and a hitch and wagon owned by some cousins currently.  I loved the patina--but a bargain it wasn't. I walked past it a second time and found myself envisioning a Christmas tree being hauled home and was tempted, but the price still made me think twice.  Well, the third time I passed it...I gave in.  If an object is calling your name that insistently, what else can you do?

When I got to the register, my saleslady said she was glad someone wanted it.  She just thought it was a cool old horse so she'd obtained it for her booth.   I laughed when I saw my receipt.


(It's a bit faint, but it says "cool old horse".) Yeah, that's the price too.

Getting a Christmas tree for my draft horse to pull was easy--Walmart has bottle brush trees in various sizes and guises every year. 


You might notice that the tree it has a very realistic trunk.  I just pulled off the white plastic base, used my pruning shears to cut a branch the appropriate length, drilled a hole in said branch and glued the tree wire into it.  Easy upgrade!

Next project was giving the horse a harness.  I Googled "horse collar harness images", then grabbed some Sculpey and shaped my own version.


 After baking it, I painted it and then rubbed it with dark shoe polish--it looks just like leather!  All of the sudden you can see my cool old horse leaning into her load.

For the holidays I used doubled-over brown binding tape as traces (the straps that attach to the load being pulled) to let my cool old horse haul the tree home from the woods.


I plan to find some leather shoelaces to create traces as well as attach a swingle tree for a bit more authenticity.  Don't you love the evocative sound of "swingle tree?"  You can almost tell what it is from its name:  a wood piece between the traces and the tree   There would actually be several more pieces to a working harness but a harness, traces and swingle tree will do the job.

I'd been on the lookout for a vintage pickup that needed a Christmas tree on top but obviously the Universe thought I should use a horse instead. Good call, 'Verse.

 Stay shiny,

3 comments:

  1. He is GREAT! I would have purchased him in a minute. Is he plaster or Gutta percha? He looks like he's from the 30's? Love what you did with him, who woulda thought of that?!

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    1. Not plaster. Not gutta percha (had to Google that one, knew the term, not the substance). Not wood. Not composition. Guess we'll call it Substance Unknown--but now you have me wondering!

      The horse has an odd rectangular cut out underneath although it doesn't look like anything was ever mounted there. I think she (from the anatomy or lack of it thereof) was just a kids' toy that's held up remarkably well. The 30's or thereabouts is probably a good guess. I think I need to ask my mom what she thinks!.

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  2. Well, She is the mystery horse then. In the 30's they made a lot of toys from really hard rubber, often times they were hollow inside. I have a set of old farm animals made this way, but because they were hollow, they flattened out like pancakes Yours looks pretty solid though.

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