If you're wondering what an "aladja" is.....well, it's the decorative neckpieces that are generally exhibited on Akhal Tekes. Usually, they are given out to horses who have earned something or have some great importance. Generally turkmen race horses who have done well for their owners at the racetrack get an aladja.
It's reputed that the neckpieces are supposed to be "blessed" by a holy man in Turkmenistan when they are awarded to the horses - (but I'm not sure if this is a romantic tale, or a cold hard fact.) Unfortunately, I don't have any holy men lurking around my household, so these have to be a considered a couple of good ol' fashioned americanized versions.
I made these two out of heavy duty saddle skirting leather with some thinner russet latigo leather on the ends. I dyed the saddle skirting leather to an antique brown and saddle tan (to match the entrants horses), and then decorated them with silver and red crystal conchos and some matching silver buckle ends. A few of the aladjas that I've seen in photos of Turkmenistan have a rope or some yarn ends fastening the leather pieces together, but I had more of a "tougher" heavier duty idea in mind.
They aren't exactly the easiest things in the world to photograph.....(my landscape angle on the camera couldn't capture the lettering when they were laid out flat). So, I buckled them up and did my best to snap a couple of photos.
I hope to do some more of these in the future and add more stuff to them. I'm still learning how to stamp, scroll, and sew on heavy leather - so the more that I practice on smaller projects like this, the better I will get.