Odysseus (or Ody) 15.3hh 13 yr old Freisan from USA
Part of the fun of what we do is “meeting” all the horses….and their owners!…from around the world. In recent months, the UK and USA have been our key countries. Sadly things have been a bit quiet from Australia and New Zealand, but the USA has made up for it….so far! France and Denmark have been good to us too.
Interesting are the trends that have emerged over the months. As ever, the range of types of horses is amazing and I attempt to give you some feel for that here. Another trend in recent months has been the predominance of dressage saddles (Suzannah Monoflap, Tonishia Supreme, Hayley WG and Styletta) going to USA and GP type saddles (Gazelle, Grandee, 1350, 1550 ) in the UK. It will probably be the other way round in the next few months!
In nearly every case we have used Ideal’s Designed to Order service quite extensively.to achieve the fit both for horse and rider and the appearance desired. The saddle made up in special leathers, patent rolls and/or welting and decorative stitching were all popular while the range of specifications for fit covered the choice of tree, depth of rear gussets, width of front gussets, length of panels, girthing arrangement and for the rider, depth of seat, flap shape and length and the choice of blocks.
We’ve had some great feedback….”its stunning”, “I’m really pleased”, “both love the saddle”, “absolutely love it, its beautiful” which adds to “the fun” for us!
So, lets see what the next few months bring!
“Meet” some more of “our” horses!………
Cash, 16.2hh 9 yr old Dutch Warmblood from UK
Alex, 15hh Haflinger from Denmark
Ziggy, 16.2hh 4 yr old KWPN from USA
Archie, 15hh 4 yr old Irish Cob from UK
Serenade, 16.2hh 5yr old Oldenburg mare from USA
Meet Sara and Alfie! Alfie was featured in publicity boards for Blossoms Rescue Centre in Suffolk when Sara was fund raising. Sara’s ill health and now incurable cancer meant the closure of Blossoms after 35 years. Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk came to the rescue and took Blossoms’ animals into their care. Here is a link to their site Hillside Animal Sanctuary They have nearly 2000 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.
We met Sara and Alfie when Sara wanted to try and find a saddle that would allow her, despite chronic pain, to enjoy some gentle outings on Alfie. It was also a present to Alfie for when “he ends up with someone on loan when I die”. We were able to help and indeed, they had a lovely FWB on a hooped tree in black with white piping and stitching, which happily we had in stock. It was an XXW which Ian then fitted to template……in 30 years, Alfie was the widest Ian has fitted!!!!! Sara has managed to enjoy some gentle outings with help from her family….and Alfie.
Here is Alfie now…..
This is a very moving story and in honour of Sara and Alfie we would like to try and raise a charitable donation for Hillside. We have set up a project on the Just Giving platform.
Here is the link https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/saddles-worldwide
We will be making regular donations and hopefully collectively we may raise a meaningful sum. A big thank you to everyone who donates.
This lovely saddle went off to Jane Sturrock in France at the beginning of the year. It is a Suzannah Monoflap, 16 1/2″ with 16″ panels, all covered flaps with white stitching and crocodile inserts on each flap and on the back of the cantle.
Jane sent us some photos and a lovely message…..which says it all!!!!
“Please find attached photos of my fabulous new saddle! Arrived in France within a month of ordering.
As always, both you and Ian have managed to supply me with a saddle that fits the Andalusian breed of horse so brilliantly well. After spending so much money on other saddles, like Amerigo and Bates and never finding that they have felt right on the build of the horse. They just perched on top of them like a basket on an elephant. Now both the horse and myself feel truly connected in unison! I only wish I had found you sooner.
I appreciate all Ian’s expertise, advice and knowledge ensuring the comfort and freedom of movement of the horse. The saddle is amazingly comfortable for the rider too and gives you such close contact to the horse.
The Ideal Suzannah monoflap model was really great advice from Ian to fit most of the short coupled stockier breeds. I totally agree that it is incredible how one saddle can adapt to slightly different sized horses. The saddles are aptly named, truly Ideal!
It was super to be able to make it more bespoke and customise the design for such a small amount of money extra.
The Ideal saddles are extremely good value for money anyway, particularly as they are made to measure. I couldn’t believe that you could produce such an amazing fit from a few photos and a template of the horse.”
Suzannah Monoflap with white stitching & crocodile inserts.
Suzannah Monoflap with crocodile insert on the cantle.
Here are a few photos we took before boxing it up!
Or whisky barrel on legs!!! Dear Thistle (proper name Inverness), a very wide 15.2hh Warmblood Thoroughbred cross, had not done alot recently and had become overweight. Hence her nicknames!
Jo from Massachusetts contacted us late last year, a Suzannah having been suggested as the answer for Thistle. Thistle was new to Jo’s family and the aim was to do low level dressage with her. Thistle had training in dressage before time off so it was a case of getting her fitter, slimmer and back in to ridden work and Jo was very concerned that Thistle should be comfortable under saddle.
The answer turned out to be a Suzannah Monoflap on a low head tree. In Jo’s words….” the mono-flap allows for excellent contact with the horse which, for a big barreled horse like Thistle is key!” In black with wine piping and welting, Jo decided upon Buffaloe skirt & flaps and Cruiser seat & pads. We fitted the saddle and gave it a custom flock.
We were so happy to hear that Thistle “is moving completely differently from when last under saddle”. A bit later, we hear she’s “improving every day. She gets ridden by both experienced and beginner riders . She takes care of everyone and is learning/re-learning her dressage lessons”.
To finish the story, a few more words from Jo….
“I love it and more importantly so does Thistle!
Thank you Jane and Ian for excellent advise and great service!”
Suzannah Monoflap on Low Head Tree
Suzannah Monoflap on Low Head Tree
Buffaloe skirt & flaps, Cruiser seat & pads
Wine piping & welting
Photographs by kind permission of Joseph Cantor, Photographer
…..from a 19″ Suzannah on a Jessica tree for a tall man and his Lusitano stallion in the UK through to a tiny, tiny 13″ seat/12.5″ tree Ramsay for a very young little rider and her show pony in Australia and everything in between! Well, not quite everything, but it isn’t far from the truth! Notable this year is that so many saddles have been made to a very individual specification. This is what we do(!) but this year in particular, the need for what we do to get the fit and in some cases the look, is very evident. Here are just a few examples:
A Grandee Elite was made for a UK customer with shorter flaps, wider front leg gussets, a wider gullet, flaps as per the 1450 Impala, Cruiser seat & pads and D rings all round. Also for the UK was another Suzannah on a Jessica tree in two tone Sala with shorter flaps, a square cantle, more forward cut and with three sets of blocks on velcro. Bound for Canada was a Gazelle on a Jessica tree (yes, the Jessica tree featured quite a lot this year!) with Buffaloe skirt & flaps, Cruiser seat & pads, comfort seat,”Milky Bar” patent piping and matching leathers & sheepskin girth. Off to the USA was a Gazelle with balance straps, no thigh pad, deeper rear gussets, wider front leg gussets and two pairs of blocks on velcro. In the process of being made as I write is an Exceed with cobalt blue patent piping for a customer in New Zealand.
Gazelle with matching leathers & sheepskin girth
To finish. I must mention the B word….Brexit. Our business mix is roughly 50:50 UK and the rest of the world. This year has seen a drop off in enquiries from Europe. I fear the Brexit effect. However, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have taken up the slack and 50:50 is still the split….and Iceland has joined our list of countries!