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Old 05-15-2020, 03:17 PM
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Default Graduation Gifts

Between the 2 equestrian teams we coach during the school year and the kids we take to shows during the summer, we watch a lot of kids grow up. I still can't believe that some of them that started with us in middle school or earlier are out of college and working now, despite the arthritis I don't like to admit I'm old enough for that.

I decided a couple years ago as I got more involved with the teams, to give our graduates hand made gifts. It kind of goes in cycles but this was a big year, with 5 finishing high school and 14 seniors on the college equestrian team. All this stuff is made with worn out shoes from the lesson horses these kids have been riding this whole time, so it's probably a shoe that they put the miles on themselves.

I made hoof picks for the college grads, and bridle hooks for the high school grads. Working in batches like this is kind of fun. I rotate 2 or 3 pieces in the fire at a time and just wear myself out. It's a good test to try and make them all look the same. I still have some work to do in that regard. There is a lot of variation in how the shoes are worn also, some horses grind the toe down to nothing, others thin the heels out, so that adds to the challenge of making them all match. I did the hoof picks one afternoon and the bridle hooks the next. If I worked like that all the time I'd be in shape.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:35 PM
JBFab JBFab is offline
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Those are great Matt! Before I read the post I saw the hoof picks, and thought they were bottle openers .

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Old 05-15-2020, 07:54 PM
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Nice handmade gifts. I’m sure they will be appreciated.


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Old 05-15-2020, 08:48 PM
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Those look beautiful! On my bridle racks I started a few years ago, adding a half pipe between the two shoes so the bridle doesn't take a set on the single shoe point. (clear as mud?). Do you spray them with clear coat like ignition sealer or black paint or leave them?
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:41 PM
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Thanks guys. The college kids might have liked bottle openers better

JWS
I think I know what you mean with the pipe and I may do something like that in the future. I think most of these hooks will end up hung in houses and not at the barn with the bridles. Also, these kids all ride hunt seat and insist on "figure eighting" them (to me they are purposely tying them in knots) and the bridles end up with so many layers across the hook they don't really sag and crease. Western bridles with heavier bits, the pipe would be a great addition though.

For the finish, I've been experimenting. I was using some rust reformer spray on everything to get a super flat black finish, but pieces like the bridle hooks have to get sprayed 5 times to everything covered and I hate painting.

This set of hoof picks got warmed up and wiped down with paste wax. The bridle hooks were left bare, I'm sure some of the kids will paint them themselves.
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Old 05-16-2020, 03:36 PM
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Outstanding, Matt!
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Old 05-16-2020, 03:36 PM
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Nice work.. I betcha they all love them..
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:56 PM
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Thanks guys, they went over pretty well
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