You guys, I'm so stoked!
You won't believe what was in that basket!
First of all, driving all the way back from Tacoma with it sitting in the back seat was torturous -- not only because of the musty smell, but because I wanted to plunge in up to my elbows and explore -- but I made myself slow down and drive the speed limit and turned the radio up so I could sing to take my mind of it. Funny how all the radio songs were like "I have a basket in the back seat, full of manky intrigue and possibilities..." I never knew there were so many songs about mildewed leather!
Once home, I hustled it into the garage and began opening it up, feeling like Heinrich Schliemann pawing through ancient Troy. On top were the fleece items. The breastcollar is small, like for a pony, but in reasonably good usable condition. The cinch needs a wash but won't be getting one because the buckles are so corroded I wouldn't use the piece. So that's trash.
Somehow I ended up with only one of the horse boots, but you know what? I'm gonna let that go since they didn't match anyway and the rest of the haul more than makes up for an errant boot.
There was a leather headstall for a western bridle, with the sale tag still attached. I think I know why it never got used -- rather than buckling on the side, there's a giant buckle that sits right behind the horse's ears. I've never seen a bridle that works like this; it would be painful on the horse's sensitive poll. Serious design flaw, in my opinion, but it's in great condition, so I'm hanging on to it and maybe I can use the parts for something.
Next was the green nylon halter. It's pony-sized and in pretty good shape. I think it would look cute on my horse friend Dusty, so I'll offer it to his owner. Sharing is fun! Along with that was a black nylon bridle. I didn't even know they made bridles in nylon, but there you go -- reins, too. I'll give it a clean and stash it away.
Then I got to the crupper and the harness saddle (that's the thing with the rings that sits on the horse's back). Pulling it out, I was delighted to see that yes indeed, there was a complete harness there! But what's this..?
A second harness saddle? And two matching bridles? Could it be..?
TWINS, you guys!
I got two harnesses (although the second one is missing a few pieces) and the bottom of the basket held four coils of what I suppose are the lines and traces and whatnot.
Here's some of one of the harnesses (note the bridle with brass trim) after being cleaned of mildew. They'll dry overnight and then tomorrow I'll do a second cleaning, and then condition them. The weird western headstall is there too, the brown leather. Maybe I could make a fleece roll to cover that buckle. I dunno. Weird.
Detail shot of the browband on the harness bridle. Look at those wee little horse heads! I just love it!
At the very bottom of the basket was the item with the read hearts on it, which turned out to be a leadrope with a stud chain. The faded paper price tag was still attached: $9.99. I wonder how many years ago that was.
There were two short lengths of chain with leather straps on the ends that I think were for spurs, but the leather was in terrible shape so I threw that out. I kept the chain though. Might find a use for it someday. It went in the coffee can I've labeled "Wee Horsey Whatnots".
Then I found this:
It was jumbled into a odd configuration, so it took me a little playing around to figure out that it's a bit! I can't imagine putting this pinchy-looking jaw-cracker of a device in a horse's mouth, but apparently it had its use. Poor horse! I hope the rider had soft hands and a kind mind. I'm gonna go search around on Google now to see if I can find anything about it.
Oh, wait! There was also this:
Okay, see ya later!