Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Side Saddle Scam Alert

It has come to my attention that on the various free ad websites like Gumtree, Loot and Adoos (and probably others that I don't know about), that my black one-of-a-kind Barry Swain side saddle that I sold on Ebay, is being sold by someone in London using MY photos.

Only one of these saddles was ever made as Barry Swain made it on a vintage tree, it is the only one of it's kind and it was bought by a nice lady in Europe for her VERY wide horse which she said fits it perfectly. She has no intention of selling it either!

I reported the Gumtree and the Loot ad but can't find a way to report the Adoos one but please, if anyone is considering buying the Barry Swain saddle from any ad site, DON'T, as you will be scammed.

I've done some screen shots of the ads to warn people:

Gumtree side saddle scam ad:

Adoos side saddle cam ad:

Loot side saddle scam ad:

Monday, 28 March 2011

Booted Back to Square One...Again...

It has not been a very good week, infact it's gone from bad to worse....

Had the vet out this past Monday to look at Hattie's pressure bump and the vet said that he didn't think it was infected or had any puss inside of it but more of an "underskin blister". Hattie is not in pain with it and she started to fall asleep when he was feeling the bump. The vet said that the bone was not damaged which was good news, and to keep doing what I've been doing (massaging it with Arnica cream) and also to keep an eye on it in case it's gets painful or gets worse. The bad news is that I won't be able to ride Hattie for 2-3 weeks until the bump heals flat.

I've got the saddler coming out this Wednesday to measure Hattie for a Kent & Masters adjustable saddle. They are made by Thorowgood but are the leather model and have flatter panels that Wintecs do, a nice wide comfortable gullet channel to clear the spine, cut back pommels and point straps which Hattie needs! I'm going to get the GPD (General Purpose Dressage) model as I can still jump in it but it doesn't have as forward placed flaps to annoy Hattie.

All was going ok until Saturday when Lil' B*st*rd Pony (LBP), Jacob, decided to double barrel me in the back!!!

I went in the paddock to get him for Josie and because of the way he was standing while eating his hay, I couldn't go in front of him but had to go around the back.

I've been around horses long enough to know that you don't pass right up behind a horse if you have to go at the back of them but to give them a wide berth just in case they strike out with their hoof.

Well, LBP decided that no one was going to take him away from his hay and make him work so he literally trotted backwards as I was passing behind and gave me a double barrelled kick.

I have a big back bruise on my bum (luckily I have a fat bum, sometimes it's a good thing being overweight!) but he also got my upper back right under my shoulder blade slightly to my right side. I have to go see the doctor today as I can't lay down to sleep and it hurts more than when I broke my rib last time. Can't cough, sneeze, laugh or take deep breaths either and my right arm feels a bit funny so I'm not happy at all.

I REALLY could do without another 2 month recovery as the shows are starting soon!!!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Side Saddle! Dressage! Pony!

I originally intended on riding Josie's pony, Jacob, astride for our dressage test today but woke up in agony with my hip this morning and thought "I can't do this!" so at the last minute, we did the test side saddle!

Jacob is a 14.1hh Welsh Section D and is an extra extra wide fit in saddles. He is BIG, ROUND and HAIRY and have been schooling him this week for the test. Unfortunately, I'm finding with my hip, that I am unable to ride very wide horses anymore without being in considerable pain so whatever horse I end up getting after Hattie, will have to always be a narrow Thoroughbred type like her for the times that I do ride astride.

Luckily, one of the side saddles I have waiting in the wings to sell, is a generous wide/extra-wide Swain in a kid's size 15 1/2" seat (19 1/2" in US measurements) which fit Jacob pretty ok. Josie and I tried it on him last night to size the saddle and had a little ride on him for 10 minutes and he took the side saddle like an old pro! Didn't even notice the balance girth either. Ironically, 15.3hh Hattie's three fold girth was too short for stumpy Jacob so had to use a girth extender on him.

The saddle is a touch narrow on him but it's not too bad. If it had a Wykham pad on it, it would be wide enough but as it is, it was acceptable for the short amount of riding we'd be doing. I would probably say that the Swain fits Jacob better than my old C&W did on Hattie which pinched her.

Although I take a 21 1/2" seat (US measurements) seat, I found this little 19 1/2" Swain quite comfortable to ride in! My seat bones were on the saddle, not hanging off of it like they used to on my 20 1/2" off-side side saddle. It's a little saddle that fits a big butt! Like the black Swain I had, Barry Swain built this one on a vintage tree but one a little later in date than the black one I had. Probably about 1910's- early 1920's as it has a flatter seat and wide pommels.

So with the thought that we would do the test side saddle today and my hip would not have to hurt another day, I jumped out of bed, steamed the creases out of my "new" 1934 Moss Bros habit and armed with Hattie's girths and a really wide Swain, we set off to the stables, went to the show and did out test!

We scored 63% and were 6th out of 10 riders but unfortunately, there was a joint 5th place and so they did not award a 6th place ribbon (I REALLY wanted a pink 6th place rosette too!). I was surprised that we even scored that high as I hadn't thought we'd place at all as it was Jacob's first ever dressage show, let alone doing it side saddle!! My right shoulder wasn't as back as I would have liked it to have been and Jacob was busy looking at EVERYTHING and not concentrating but hey ho, we did good all things considered!

Of course, Josie rode him and she got 2nd place with 67%. LOL, I must remember to never show against a 13 year old and stick to the old lady's divisions and leave these youngsters to get on with it!!

My Moss Bros habit was warm and comfy today too. The sleeves on it are a tad short as is usual with all clothes (habits and normal clothes) as I have stupidly long arms but it is generally a good fit.

It was a good day and nice to actually ride side saddle again!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Back From the Abyss...

It's been a rough couple of weeks due to stuff at work, stuff with my business, no side saddles back from the saddlers yet, Hattie going lame in the back due to a pressure sore on her withers (my close contact saddle no longer fits her) and my son breaking his arm going skating with the Cub Scouts!!

I started riding astride, even did a couple of clear round jumping classes at a recent show (only 1' baby jumps but still, it was terrifying for me!) and was planning on doing a Prelim class at the dressage show next week as our flat work and canter transitions were coming along. Then one day I took off Hattie's saddle and lo and behold was a big swollen blister of a pressure sore at the left side of her withers.

My close contact saddle had always been a little big for her but with a Wintec front riser pad, it fit good and never moved on her despite every other saddle shifting forward on her. Unfortunately, Hattie lost her excess blubber over the winter and she fittened up quite nicely with the flat work that Lili gave us so the saddle became too big and dropped down causing the Wintec riser to rub a sore spot on her withers.

I stopped working her (only lunging now) and have been putting Arnica on the spot and have the vet coming out on Monday to have a look (it's going down a little bit day by day though). It's just so frustrating as always when our riding starts to improve, something happens that puts us back to square one. I'm always the "perpetual novice" due to constant set backs and it's getting to be VERY ANNOYING!

The stuff with work has passed and my son likes showing off his new fangled splint cast, Hattie is on the mend and I'm currently looking for a new astride saddle (probably will go with a Thorowgood T4 or T6 High Wither saddle with changeable gullet as they can be flocked and the new ones have point straps on them which Hattie needs) so all is not so bad now.

I've also decided to start a new venture with my existing business and combine my love of vintage clothing and side saddle riding and open up my own side saddlery!

In my travels with looking for vintage stock, I often come across side saddle things so decided to combine both. I'm still going to sell vintage clothing as I get many side saddle riders shop with me for things to add to their costumes for costume classes, but now have a dedicated category on my site with side saddle things for easy searching like habits, accessories and tack!! I have three side saddles waiting in the wings to go up too along with some other bits and bobs that I've accumulated over the years.

After 11 years of running my antique and vintage clothing business (and 20 years+ of collecting "stuff"), I felt that it needed an injection of something new and different so am really excited about my new venture!

We have a dressage show tomorrow and Josie has kindly ride her pony, Jacob, in it so it should be interesting to see what comments the judge gives us as I'm 5'9" and he's 14.1hh!