Rio Rondo Enterprises Test Items
August 2016

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Lots of new things arrived, as well as more tests for possible future items.

Cinch Buckle Tests
Since we had english girth buckles, we figured we should try out some possible western cinch buckles that might be outfitted as roller buckles:
Cinch Buckle Cinch buckle

How cute are those? Actually, we did samples of 3 or 4 variants (including a classic one). But, you'll have to let us know if you're interested in these in the future.

Iberian/Baroque/Portuguese Items
We had a lot of interest in these, and at long last, we've got them in stock in Silver Color.
(Gold color coming later this year)

G911–Iberian Adornments
G912–Iberian Conchos
G913–Buckles & Keepers
DB390–Buckles without Keepers

These items came out beautifully! We opted to offer the buckles additionally without the keepers, because they can also be used for other types of costumes, or even western gear.

Depending on how much decoration and exactly what Baroque-styled items you're planning to make, you may need 2 of the G913 sheets.

Unfortunately, our favorite bit, the "G701 Baroque" didn't come out properly, and neither did the "G762 Baroque Hackamores". We'll be making the necessary adjustments for both of those items to add to the next round of production.

We do, however, have the other bit shanks... Spanish, Portuguese, Alta Escuela, Mamluk and English Hackamores in stock at this time.

Bit Clips
We've got some of the new Bit Clips in stock now.

For the most part the large ones work, but it can be a little tricky to get them to work properly with the fastening tabs. We'll attempt to retool these soon and see if that helps. While they can technically be glued on (snip off the side tabs), because they are what we consider a "stress part" (a part that has something pulling on it in some fashion, rather than just sitting there looking pretty) I am not going to be happy with these if glue is the only way they can be used. But, time and future revisions will tell!

You can find the Bit Clips here, and I'll be adding a how-to page for them in just a few days.
Bit Clips
3/32" and 1/16" versions shown

Here's a test version of a bit clip, that incorporates a bridle plate with a clip.

This one was made utilizing the "Star" design

If parts like these are something you would like to use in your tackmaking, please let us know.
Bit Clip
Bridle Plate with incorporated Bit Clip

Test "Brocade" version of a plate/clip combination. Unfortunately, the tabs did not behave themselves on this one, so adjustments will need to be made before it would be ready for production.

Brocade Bit Clip Test
Brocade Style

and speaking of "Brocade" items . . .
Here we have a set of shaped plates for a bridle/breastcollar set, including a browband, two "teardrop" style cheek plates, alternative bit clip design, and breastcollar plates.

I don't know if we'll be producing this, but we thought we'd try it to see what it looks like.

Brocade Test Plates
Alternate Brocade Plates

Bit Connectors
We had a last-minute idea, to add some simple Bit Connector Bars that could be used on any etched bits... particularly the western ones— and so we did!

All you need to do is thread the lower "rein ring" of the bit onto one side and literally "pinch" it closed with your fingernails or gently with rosary pliers. Repeat for the other side, and Voila!, a nice connector bar to help keep the shanks of your bit lined up. These can be retrofitted onto most any bit you already have.

Bit Connector Bars are available and ready to ship now.
Bit Connector
Bit Connector
In addition, we also added options on the W503 Riley Bit for both a narrower width and a wider width, to accommodate the mouths of most models. The "medium" connector that normally comes with these bits fits the average model mouth width (about .6" or 15mm). You can see a photo of each of the variants with measurements here:
Riley Bit Connectors

Special Saddle Plate Test
Saddle Plate Test

Oh my... what have we here?

Well, this is a test for some ideas for revised accessories plates in the future. Here's what we've worked on:
Stirrups — These have been lengthened, to better fit many stirrups. They also have a long tab at the bottom to fold under a leather stirrup, and then the "stirrup tread" can be wrapped around the tab and stirrup bottom to keep things in place. We're not sure how well these will work just yet.

Cantle Plate — This large, curved beauty does appear to fit the Rio Rondo saddle tree, but also requires an alternative cantle pattern. We also tested a long straight plate for a cantle design, that would work for straight-cut cantles.

We are considering splitting this large cantle into 3 parts: a center piece that could feature a couple of widths, and then 2 matching curved "wings" to abut next to the center portion so that the cantle plate is adjustable to a larger variety of trees, or customized trees. Alternatively, the cantle plate can be cut apart in the middle, extra length removed, and then a concho glued over the "joint" at the top in the middle, for a nice, finished look.

Pommel Plates — These are designed to be domed a bit, and then placed over the "shoulders" or "swells" of the pommel of a saddle. In their present form, they are a bit too large, and may not fit with the other parts, but we'll be looking into this.

Gullet Plates — These revised gullet plates are to be placed over the top of the gullet (the one with the cutout for the "horn" area) as well as one for under the gullet area.

We haven't actually tested these for final sizing, fit and useability... but we will be getting to that shortly. Perhaps with this shortened version of a top gullet plate, they will be a bit easier to form and fit to a saddle than what we have previously offered.

These etched English Stirrups have been a pet project of Gary's for quite awhile. What you're seeing in the photo are (from left to right) 1/6 , 1/9 (trad) and 1/12 (classic) scales. Now, while they seem a little "thin" for the 2 larger sizes, once you start getting down to classic size (and possibly, smaller) that issue disappears.

The good news, is that something like this would be producible in gold color (unlike the pewter versions), and possibly smaller scales. The bad news is that the larger sizes likely won't cost less than their pewter counterparts.

Gary's not yet happy with how these go together (the foot/tread plate is glued to the sides), so he's still experimenting with the idea. He'a also not sure how small he can go (but that will depend largely on how they are to be assembled). So... he's still working on this idea.

Please let us know if you have any interest in these for the future.
English Stirrup Test

This is a "first draft" attempt at a stirrup that might be suitable for costume items. This shows the bottom/side panels, in their "flat" version (before shaping). We also made additional parts for the top portion (but didn't take any photos to date).

Unfortunately, this incarnation didn't actually work, and it's back to the drawing board regarding how we might make it so. The top portion (that attaches to the little holes) did mostly work, except that no pin that we had on hand would actually fasten it and stay! So back to the drawing board on that idea as well.

At least the decoration came out!
Costume Stirrup Test

Western Snaffle Bit Test
We just didn't have time to work on much more than a quick test here, of a western-style snaffle bit. A final version will have some enhancements and alterations. We're looking to create a style upon which you can add any concho or other decor you'd like in the center, to match the theme of the tack you're creating.

If you are interested in seeing these produced in the future, you'll have to let us know!
Western Snaffle Test

Terret Test
While considering whether or not to work on some Harness-related items, we thought we'd try to see what we could do with a terret, or perhaps even a nice "waterhook" at some point.

This test involves a small oval "plate" with holes in it. The "terret ring" part above it has two legs or "prongs" that fit through the holes in the plate. Matching holes or slots are made in the leather and the prongs are passed through the plate, and leather, and then bent under (one bent in each direction for a more secure hold). A second piece of leather (as might be when creating the "saddle" portion of a belly-band) is glued underneath to secure it all in place.

Wonder of wonders, this test actually did work as hoped.
Terret Test

Terret Test

The next installment of test items and results should be up in a few days.