Friday, August 15, 2014

Western lead line

Recently I have started on a campaign to clear out some of my "extra" hobby items. I have horses that don't show in either performance or halter (some that I don't love-love and some that just get overlooked) more props than I need and probably more tack as well (but that's harder to let go of). As usually happens I started by looking in my doll box. Those are easy for me to replace so the usual thing to go first. I don't have nearly as many dolls as some people but I do have a lot of dolls. Imagine that.
   In my doll box I had a couple of 1:12 scale kids that I got years ago for a pony ride set-up I did a couple of times. These dolls are terrible. They really don't bend to sit a horse, or to sit in a chair and are not really good for anything. The perfect dolls to be my next victims project. I got it into my head that I wanted to do a lead line set. But I didn't want to use the Breyer youth because she really is too old for lead line. I have used her in the past but... it's a stretch to be believable.
   So while I was cutting up this useless dollhouse doll I started to think about what I needed the doll to be able to do. It has one purpose, just to sit on the horse, so I wasn't looking to make it super fancy and super movable. But I needed to know how it's arms should be. Do the kids hold the reins or the saddle horn? Do they have the little buddy stirrups or saddles that fit them? So I went to look at photos for reference and most of the best ones were posted in Jennifer Buxton's blog on a post she did in June of 2010. Not only was this an awesome post as all of Jennifer's posts are but the comments were very helpful in deciding what to do for the doll as well. Here is what I came up with:
most of the kids in Jennifer's post were not wearing anything as fancy as this but it does happen. Being that this is a very small child she would probably be holding onto the saddle horn, not onto the reins. All I had to make was a doll with arms that could hold the reins. I managed that.
She also needed a leader and more often than not the outfits match. At least being similar in color and style. So I made a fancy showmanship doll to match this tiny little lead line doll. It was a fun set to do and the little doll didn't take an insane amount of work. She isn't as useful or "finished" as my usual dolls but she can sit a horse for a lead-line class. Her arms move up and down a bit but don't unbend. Her shoulders actually have a gap under her top but you can't tell unless you poke the fabric into the space. And it does solve the problem of what doll to use for a lead-line doll. A super-custom doll. There are probably more elegant dolls that could be used but this is a pretty cost effective way to get a hard-to-find doll.
Oh so the things I learned from the comments; people would really like to see helmets on these little kids. Since I don't have any cowboy hats of the correct size and I could manufacture a helmet that sounded like a good idea to me. Also none of the kids in the photos had the kiddie stirrups but that was another item that would have made people happy. I do plan on making some of those but I wanted to take some photos while I had the tent set up.
   So to anyone who thought this might be a useful post with actual tips on showing western lead line, I do apologize for being misleading. Mostly I wanted to share the little doll I made that was obsessing me this week.


Last Alliance Studios said...

Those are Julip HOTY riders! They're notoriously awful to pose, although if you manage to find the 'smiley' versions from the 90s they bend no problem. I have loads that I've rewired with softer wire and they move much better after a little surgery. Just a thought in case you ever want to use them again!

Field of Dolls Studio said...

The little girl doll wasn't a rider at all. She was a child doll from a (cheap) set of dollhouse dolls. No joints at all in her. Major surgery happened to that one.

Last Alliance Studios said...

My apologies, they really look similar, especially in the hands!