Yes, I know.
It sounds like way too much.
I've gone back and forth to the saddle shop 5 times already WITH cardboard tracings and photos. The saddles are close, but don't work in minute ways+angles on my horse. I'm stressed that I'll make a bad purchase or be stuck traveling eternally
And at this point I'm stubbornly dedicated to finding a way to "bring my horse" to the saddle shop. (Plus a lot of free time on my hands to brainstorm)
This thread is to talk about the method I'm proposing, updates, and comments on ways to improve it.
At first, I planned on using paper mache on a garbage bag laid over his back, with a hay bag to entertain him.
Now, I've turned to thermoplastics, used to mold props or costume pieces. The sheets are warmed with a heatgun or warm water and then keep their form after 1-3 minutes of room temp. I'll be using wonderflex, a low temp thermoplastic, safe to be held and formed by hands.
Here's my plan.
1. Chalk out the scapula and last weight bearing vertebrae on your horse
2. Cut the sheet a little longer than the space between the chalk marks, and then 18 inches wide, to have an ample angle record of your horse's width. You should have a pretty large rectangle.
3. Use a sharpie to draw a line down the center of the sheet, parallel to the LONG sides. This line will be the horse's spine/centerline! Then draw a line parallel to the shorter side of the sheet, near one of the edges. This will be the line of the horse's scapulae (to record the angle for the bars!)
4. Under no circumstance do I want to harm my horse or frighten him. I'll sponge/spray his back with water to help keep his back from warming too quickly, and I'll make sure to test it with my own hands before letting it touch him. I've used thermoplastic before and although I have not experienced sticking, better safe than sorry, water will help keep his furry back a little slick! (Maybe I'll add some oil or human conditioner to keep him extra slippery)
5. Warm up the plastic with a heat gun or water. Attempt to bend the edges to see if it's soft enough to form!
6. Place over your horse's back, lining up the "spine" line and "scapula" line. Once applied and formed accurately, sponge or spray the plastic to cool it even faster and remove!