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APHA
For The Soul—Unique Aspects of the Western World

Making Practical Pretty

Transform your old tack into unique and meaningful home décor for effortless equestrian-inspired spaces

By Alana Harrison

Equestrians are notorious for accruing copious stockpiles of tack. We justify the substantial collections of bits, spurs, halters, bridles, stirrups, saddles and random straps of leather we accumulate over the years by presuming we will one day put them back to use. Eventually, however, reality reveals that our large tack accumulations have become unmanageable and paring down becomes paramount.

But you don’t necessarily have to pitch your old gear or convert your car and home closets into ancillary tack trunks. Several resourceful and innovative horsewomen, designers and do-it-yourself design phenoms recognized this widespread dilemma of excess among their fellow equestrians and harnessed their creativity to transform old tack into unique home décor.

With its rustic charm, ethereal tones, unconventional shapes and leather detailing, equestrian style transcends time. Equine-themed statement pieces are not only great conversation starters, they also bring a signature quality to your living spaces—whether you want to incorporate elegant English accents or prefer the more casual vibes of Western chic.

These simple, DIY projects offer inventive solutions to repurposing items you’d normally discard and can also preserve the memory of a beloved equine partner or experience from your horse life. Hopefully, you’ll find inspiration in these tack-turned-art projects to create pieces that showcase your equine passion.

Tack Hoarder Turned DIY Diva

Feeling motivated on a rainy spring afternoon at her home in Seattle, Washington, Mary Cox began the daunting task of organizing the near-absurd quantity of tack shed accrued after decades of competing in hunter/jumper events. Sorting through a third box of old bits, Mary resolved to declutter.

I think we all have personal reasons and for holding on to tackwhether to save money on replacing items down the road or to share with friends,” Mary said. “Or maybe you have an emotional connection to certain pieces of tack—the bridle of a cherished horse or the spurs you wore when you finally won that well-deserved blue ribbon.”

For more than 25 years, Mary has been creating imaginative environments for clients around the country through her interior design firm, A Little Accent, and recently launched a line of classic equestrian home décor called Horse of a Different Color. As a designer and a lifelong equestrian, Mary is constantly tapping her artistic genius for unique ways to bring horses into her home.

“As I sorted through mounds of old gear, my creative juices started flowing and I decided

the most meaningful way to preserve my tack was to repurpose items into unique décor,” Marysaid. “Certain tack items can be relics—reminders of a wonderful time and harmony in your life with a special horse. You can recreate those cherished memories and that essence of harmony by incorporating these pieces in your home.”

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This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Spring 2021 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.

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