Frequently Asked Questions
Main Menu
Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions we get.
FAQ for the Equestrian Stuff

Q: How much does a custom piece cost?
A: It all depends upon what you want.  Custom pieces are priced based upon what
you want, level of authenticity (the closer to period, the more expensive), the
estimated time of completion, materials (leather is more expensive than fabric),
size of your horse (it takes more material to cover a draft body than an Arab body)
and the general complexity of the project (all the work done by hand or by
machine or a combination?).  I can't give you an estimated price till I know what
you want and have checked with my suppliers.   Generally speaking the estimates
are fairly close to the finished cost.  Most differences are caused by problems w/
the suppliers or by misjudging the time needed to complete the project.    Most
cloth barding runs around $200 - $500.  The leather stuff tends to run $500-
$1500.  So far, the most expensive piece of barding I've been asked to create was
a large quilted leather piece with a solid wool felt underside. It is to be an authentic
looking replica w/ hidden modern safety features.  For all intensive purposes, it is a
large bareback pad.  The estimated cost on that one was $2500-3000.   I've not
made it yet as the gentleman is rounding up the down payment.

Q: Do you offer discounts on prices?
A: Yes. 10% discount for Sr. Citizens, Non-profit organizations (I need proof for
both of theses) and on bulk orders of barding, tack, costumes or heraldry.  (ie,
you've got a medival calvary unit.)  But not for anything else.  I work hard on
keeping my prices reasonable.  I understand the concept of Horse poor. I'm not
making a lot of money on this stuff.

Q: How authentic can you make your Medieval gear?
A: Well, with the exception of finding thick enough brain tanned leather for the
barding, I can find most any item needed to make Reenactors grade authentic
items (maybe even Museum grade stuff). What I can't find, I can make or have
made.  It's just near impossible to find heavy gauged leather that is tanned using
period methods (and I've not the time or energy to do the tanning myself).  The
modern stuff is so much better in quality.  I generally use veggie tanned leather
anyway, which is about as close to period as you'll find in this day and age.   If
you can live with the veggie tanned leather, then we can come to an
understanding.  Just be aware that there is a premium on authenticity.  The real
stuff costs more for me to buy, is more labor intensive to put together, and will
therefore cost you more money.  As with most things, if you have a specific style
or item in mind, send me some pictures, and I'll see what I can do.

Q: I like the look of the costume from (insert your favorite movie/ TV
program here).  Can you make me something like it only in a different
color/size/etc. ?
A:  Yes, just send me a picture or two, the requested changes and alterations, and
I'll see what I can do.  Generally speaking, if you have a picture of it, I can make
it.  Do be warned, I cannot make exact duplicate due to copyright laws.

Q: Do you make barding and armor for smaller horses?
A: Yep, just not often as most of the folks who are into this stuff use those
massive beasties.  Send me and e-mail and I'll see what I can do for you.

Q: I've got an English/western saddle that I want to disguise to look like a
medieval saddle, Can you help me?
A: Yes, though the type of disguise will determine a large part of the cost of the
item. Send me a picture of the saddle, and a picture of what you want it to look
like, and I'll see what I can come up with.

Q:  Do you make Medieval saddles/sidesaddles?
A: Maybe.  I'm willing and able, but the liability insurance is nasty.  Though I have
no doubts in my ability to create a useful, sturdy, enduring and authentic medieval
type saddle, my insurance agent does not share my faith in myself. He said
something about having visions of people dying in nasty jousting accidents. If you
are willing to sign a liability waver, I'll talk to you about it.

Q: Do you repair tack and saddles?
A: See the answer for "do you make Medieval saddles/sidesaddles?

Q: How safe is your stuff to actually use?
A: All of the barding, armor, heraldry, costumes, and what not are designed to be
used.  They are as safe and as durable as I know how to make them. I, my friends
and my family use this stuff around the barn and in the show ring.   Some items
have built in safety features (i.e. Sidesaddle aprons w/ Velcro closures to prevent
being dragged by your horse), while others are quality pieces of tack that are
designed to help stabilize the rider (i.e.. Breast straps that attach to the saddle and
the girth).  Obviously nothing is indestructible.  You, as the owner, are responsible
for maintaining the items you purchase and keeping your eye out for normal wear
and tear. ( By the way, having the barding cut by an edged sward does not qualify
as "normal wear and tear".  The original stuff wasn't designed to keep from being
cut.  It was designed to take the brunt of the damage so the horse wouldn't be hurt
as bad. Why would you think what I make would be any different??)

Q: So, Mel,  how did you get into this stuff anyway?
A: I fell into it. ;-)  Actually necessity is the mother of invention.  I started creating
the training aids because we needed them around the barn, and I either didn't like
what was available, or couldn't bare to spend the money on what was out there.  
The horse costumes came about because of my interest in showing Arabians
(sidesaddle and Native Arabian) and because my hubby and I decided to have a
Medieval wedding.  The existing makers of Arabian show garb charge an arm and
a leg.  What they produce is very different from the desert original, and doesn't
appeal to me.  So I made my own.  I couldn't afford the ready made sidesaddle
attire which meant I had to make my own.  At the time I got married, absolutely
no one made Medieval barding.   I have a personal website with my asundry
exploits on it.  The resulting e-mails from folks who were desperate for help lead
me to creating this business.
Q: I have a draft horse/draft cross.  I can't find bridle/saddle pad (insert
other tack and equipment here).  Can you make one to fit him/her?
A:  Yes,  I'll make most any gear for a Draft except saddles (see the question
about saddles above) and bits ( I do know a guy who will make wrought iron bits
for drafts, if you need one.  I'll give you his contact info if you want it.).  All
else, including blankets, bridles, shipping boots, and what not are open season.  
Just send me an e-mail with the specifics, and I'll help you.

Q: I'm part of a Medieval Calvary Unit.  We would like to have matching
/complementary barding.  Can you help us?
A: Yes,  I'll need measurement for each horse, specifics on the style of barding,
and about 6-8 weeks  (or more) to complete the order. (I figure 1 week per horse
min.). As with all custom orders, ½ the payment is due before work starts and
the rest upon completion.  And Yes, I can break the bill down by the rider so
each rider can pay for his or her own barding.

Q: Have you ever created barding/ heraldry for plays or historical
A: Yes, the most recent one was for a group up north who used their horses in a
haunted hay ride production.  It sounded like they had a lot of fun with it.

Q: Why do you choose not to use sequins, et al on your Arabian costumes?
A:  Because I don't think they reflect the spirit of the traditional Native Arabian
Costume.  If you look at what actually comes out of the desert, you'll find that
what is used to decorate the costumes includes bells, coins, beads, braiding,
intricate embroidery, tassels and some appliqués.  I've not seen any sequins,
Austrian crystals, and the like on them.  Those kinds of Native Arabian
Costumes are American inventions.  I'd rather stick closer to the original.   It also
sets apart what I create from all of the other folks out there who make Native
Arabian stuff.  If that is what you want on your costume, I can suggest some
honest folk who make them.

Q: What is the appropriate garb for Medieval period sidesaddle attire?
A: That depends upon the period and the "role" being played.  Generally
speaking, unless the rider is planing on portraying nobility on parade, then the
dress for riding sidesaddle is the same as any period attire used for work or
hunting.  Earthtone fabrics made out of mid to heavy weight wool  or linen
would be appropriate.  It should be something sturdy.  The outfit should include
some kind of protection for the legs like heavy hose or simple pants.   You'll
want to avoid lots of fancy trim, too.  Trim was expensive and generally not used
on work/hunting garments.   If you are planning on portraying nobility on parade,
then things are going to be a bit different.  These outfits are an excuse to go all
out, though, I would still stick to the hardier weight fabrics.  Silks, cottons, light
weight wool's, and velvets would all be appropriate. For ease of care I would
avoid the lighter colors, but most any period color would be appropriate (No
neon's please.).  For these you'll want to make sure you have some kind of
heraldry/barding which covers the horse and protects your dress from the horse's
sweat.  You will want to wear heavy hose or pants with this kind of garment as
well.   By the way, most women didn't ride sidesaddle in the Medieval period.  
Most rode astride as it was considerably safer. Medieval sidesaddles were rickety
things that did not offer many safety features. If you are going to insist on riding
aside, please use a disguised modern sidesaddle (as opposed to a recreation of a
medieval sidesaddle) .  It will be much safer.