Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Leaping Heads! Part Two!

Paul, my farrier, came out today and shod Hattie which is a good thing as Hattie managed to lose her loose shoe last night. I don't know where it is but she had it on last night and this morning it was gone, nowhere to be seen. I had a look around the paddock as the grass is low, bit no shoe so maybe Hattie ate it...

I showed Paul and his son (who is training to be a farrier) my Mayhew leaping head and asked if they could reshape it to look like the c. 1930's- 1940's one I had (I brought that one to show him what I meant). Paul's son took it and reshaped it for me and now it fits perfectly! I guess this is the first step in restoring my Mayhew.

The leaping head used to be too acutely bent for the size of my leg and the tip of it dug into it but now you can see that there is a proper hands width with the end of the horn pointing outwards and not digging into me!

The vet came out afterwards (it's been an expensive day) and had a look at Hattie's bump. He called it a Hydro-something or other (I cold just about make out the Hy and an O but the rest went over my head) and said basically that it was like capped hocks but on her wither. Having never dealt with capped hocks before, I asked him about it and he said that it was caused by something putting pressure there and then fluid built up there to protect it (which is why it felt squishy). He said it's like when horses get capped hock when they lie down on concrete floor stables that don't have that much bedding.

The vet said we could leave it or we could drain it and then inject cortisone into the bump but that he recommended the latter so that is what we did. Nothing came out when he tried to drain it, he said that there was very little liquid in it now (which explains why I was now able to feel her wither bone whereas before I couldn't so it looks like the liquid drained out) so the bump that remained was just scar tissue. He gave Hattie the cortisone injection and said that it should start to work in a couple of days.

The vet said that it may or may not come back and that if it did, then an injection wouldn't make much difference soooo, I'm just going to have to be extra careful with saddle fit and call Roger out probably a few times a year just to check Hattie's saddles as she changes shape with the seasons and workload.

I think if Hattie is healed in time for the Diamond Horse Show, I may just do it astride with our new high wither saddle and give her an extra month off for everything to heal 100% internally before side saddling again.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Leaping Heads!

The vet is coming out tomorrow to look at Hattie's bump. When I went down to the stables tonight, it does seem to have flattened out a little bit, I can feel the edges of the vertebrae at the top of her withers now whereas before, it was all one big bump. I've been keeping Hattie out 24/7 as I noticed that if she is in the stable overnight, the bump tends to get puffier whereas if she is out moving about, it seems to help it drain. Hopefully the vet will be able to give me some sort of magic potion as the Diamond Horse Show that we had been planning on going to, is on May 15 so we have less than one month.

Roger, my saddler rang me today as well as said that my Whippy is ready. He put all new straps on it (billets, balance, etc) and also moved the billets forward so that they are as close to the tree points as possible which is the only thing that stops saddles from shooting forward on Hattie. Once her bump is gone, I'll have Roger come out to make sure it still fits her BEFORE I ride in it so as not to give that bump any cause to come back!!

It's going to be an expensive week as the farrier is coming tomorrow as well. Hattie was due to be shod but decided to "speed things up" by nearly pulling her off-fore shoe off. It's just hanging on by the two front nails and she also managed to clip a chunk of hoof out of the inside of that hoof. Her other three hooves don't behave like typical rubbish Thoroughbred hooves which crumble, but that off-fore hoof is always the one that gives us problems.

While the farrier is out, I'm going to have him hammer out the leaping head of the 1905 Mayhew (left). As you can see in the photos, it was bent acutely for a skinny leg. Compare it to a more "modern" c. 1930's- 1940's leaping head on the right.

There is no way I'd be able to ride with such a skinny bent leaping horn (look at the big gap it leaves on my leg!) so hopefully Paul, may farrier, will be able to shape it too look like the c. 1930's- 1940's one.

I wish I had my Beck- Morrow leaping head handy as even though it's not as bad as the Mayhew one, it's still a bit too curved for my "ample" thigh. The problem with that one, however, is that the leaping head cover doesn't come off. When I see Roger this week to get my Whippy, I'll ask him he could unstitch it so that next time Paul comes to shoe Hattie, he can hammer out that one too.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Side Saddle Stuff for Sale!

In the spirit of sharing side saddle info (and the fact that Jessica from Tacky Tack of the Day emailed me!), I decided that my blog entry today would helpt hose looking for side saddle tack, buy some side saddle tack!

I came across this Craigslist ad for a redone off-side side saddle and although I do not know this person and cannot vouch for them, for $950, it may be worth checking out if you are in the Denver, USA area. I would if I lived closer!

Here are the photos if you are not able to view the ad. According to the seller, it's marked "Wilton" so is probably a Champion & Wilton, medium width and was recovered with synthetic material from England (maybe the stuff Thorowgood uses?).

Jessica who writes the interesting and often hilarious Tacky Tack of the Day blog, is selling her side saddle shaped Cashel cushion for $50.00 US (only used 3 times and sell for $65.00 US new) and a 46" tan English leather 3 fold girth (only used a few times) for $70.00 US (retail new for $85.00). She ships internationally and her email address can be found on her blog if anyone is interested.

I've got a lovely Mears Pytchley cutaway side saddle jacket made from black wool with a velvet collar. I bought it on Ebay but the seller neglected to mention that the sleeves had been altered for someone ALOT shorter than me. The sleeves are 5" too short and I'm 5'9" so would suit someone 5'4" and under. It's a good size too, I'm a UK size 16 (a US 14) and this fits me perfectly except the sleeves! It's the same as the County model that Mears makes but has a velvet collar instead of a plain. I paid £34.01 for it including shipping on Ebay and would be happy to get that back for it (plus shipping).

This is the County model but mine has a velvet collar and is black:

I also have the current Side Saddle Association For Sale list if anyone wants it forwarding it to them. There are side saddles in size 13" to 17 1/2" along with a couple of habits and accessories.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Groom's Stirrup

I called the vet today to come out and have another look at Hattie's bump as it doesn't seem to be going down any and I'm wondering if it needs draining and maybe some sort of anti- inflammatory injection. They will be coming out in the next few days so hopefully something can be done other than "wait and see". Also called the hay man to order some more hay for summer and he's all sold out and won't be getting any till June!

That is just fine and dandy as I've only got 4 bales of hay and 3 bales of straw left and apparently the farm shop where I get my feed from, is sold out of hay too. Jacob is ok just living in the paddock with a bit of chaff as a token feed as he can live on air, but Hattie needs her hay. I'm going to have to get a hay replacer like Fast Fibre until my hay man can cut this years's crop.

Just thought I'd share this nifty little stirrup in my collection called a "Groom's Stirrup".

This little stirrup would have had a pouch (similar to a sandwich case) which attached onto the nearside of a side saddle. This photo in Alice Haye's book, The Horsewoman, shows how the pouch containing the stirrup would have attached onto the saddle.

The stirrup itself, buckled onto one of the offside billets (or nearside billets if the groom was riding in an off-side side saddle) and enabled the groom to ride the Lady's horse astride without having to change to an astride saddle or mess about with attaching a bulky groom's pad onto the side saddle.

My stirrup is made from white folded linen or cotton fabric with brass grommets (painted white) with a white doeskin leather keeper. The stirrup iron is made from a plated metal with a hinged footplate so that it can fold flat to put in the case. The footplate only measures 3 1/2" across so obviously the makers weren't expecting any huge men to ride the lady's horse!
Unfortunately, my stirrup is missing it's leather case so it's a bit of an orphan at the moment but maybe one day I will find an orphan case to put it in!

As you can see however, my Mayhew is staying with me ;-)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia

Not much going on horse or side saddle wise lately as Hattie still has her bump on her withers and my saddles still aren't back yet from the saddlers. I'm going to call the vet this week to see if they can come back out when I'm off work next week and maybe see if they can give her an anti-inflammatory for me to put on the bump as it's gone down a little bit over the past 3 weeks but not alot.

It's not squishy but feels kind of solid-ish, it feels exactly how my bad bruise feels like that Jacob gave me when he booted me but there is no pain with it and Hattie quite likes me rubbing it when I massage the arnica cream into it! Her eyes start to close!!

I called the saddler too to see how my saddles are doing and he'll be bringing me my Whippy over the Easter holidays (all it needed was all the billets replacing) but fitting my off-side side saddle will have to wait until that bump goes on Hattie.

Bad news about the South Kilworth show that we had been planning on hacking the 10 miles to. They changed their venue this year to the beautiful Stanford Hall.

Although Stanford Hall is only 15 miles away, it may as well be 100 miles as riding there would require us to ride over cattle grids, jump locked 5 bar gates or ride down the M1 motorway!! So with not having any transport, that show is out. It sucks not being able to drive.

I put some side saddle Ebay auctions up on Sunday night, my lovely Swain and a rare c. 1870's- 1880's travelling side saddle along with other side saddle bits and bobs.

It has D's on the off-side flap for attaching bags, etc to it. Note the grab horn! It's very narrow however, I tried it on Hattie and it was just perched on her.

While on Ebay tonight, I came across an auction for an Edwardian postcard of Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia (13 September 1892 – 11 December 1980) riding side saddle dressed in her ceremonial uniform as Commander of the Leib-Husarenregiment No.2.

A history of Princess Louise (or Luise in German) along with other photos, can be found on Wikipedia.

I found a c. 1912 postcard of her riding side saddle:

Her Champion & Wilton side saddle was offered in 2006 by a Munich auction house. I was going to bid at the time but with an estimate of €1,500 - €2,250, I gave up trying to bid!!
The auction house seemed to have been a bit confused as to where the stirrup was supposed to be attached...

Her royal insignia on a label glued onto the gullet lining of the saddle. The auction house gave this description of the saddle:
"An English side saddle made by Champion and Wilton London. There is a label stuck to the underside with the impressed crowned cipher "V" and the typed designation: "S. Nr. 2 LHR2 Inv. Nr. 14.
Victoria was the proprietress of the Leib-Husarenregiment No. 2, and in this role, she wore the regimental uniform and occasionally led the regiment on parade. The inventory label shows that this saddle belong to her equipment as commander of the Leib-Husarenregiment No.2."

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

I've Gone And Done it, The C&C Side Saddlery is OPEN

Fed up with Hattie and I being "broken", my side saddles being away at the saddlers and not being able to ride, I went and made my own little side saddlery on my vintage clothing site. I'm no Laura Dempsey when it comes to saddle fitting and repair but I've got WAY too much stuff here and only have one horse so took the plunge and now Corsets and Crinolines has it's own side saddlery section on the website.

It will be stocked with side saddle odds and ends I come across in my travels and stuff I don't need (still deciding whether to keep an off-side apron I bought which has a 28" waist in the hopes of getting down from a 34" waist!!!).

One of the things I have decided to part with (with a very heavy heart too as I'll probably end up needing it one day!), is a vintage Champion & Wilton side saddle numnah of which I have never seen another.

The date is unknown but C&W list them in their 1938- 1939 catalog (shown here) for £2 and 10 shillings but there are similar ones are listed in the late 1880's Mosemans catalog from the US but for astride saddles.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Cute Pony Alert!

He's the devil in disguise but you can't help but love Jacob (even if he did double barrel me), especially when he's in a side saddle.

We took these photos of the other week of him in the 19 1/2"  (UK 15 1/2") extra wide Swain I got. Josie and I schooled him for 20 minutes in it (Josie 10 minutes, me the other 10 minutes) before deciding that he would do the dressage show in it the next day as he was such a good boy!

It is ever so slightly too narrow in the gullet for him (it's just shy of being an extra, extra wide tree which he needs) but the tree points are wide enough and he didn't seem to mind it one bit. Like the black Swain I had, Barry Swain built this one on a vintage tree as well and replaced the old roller bar fitting with a normal standard stirrup bar for safety. It's got a bit of a sweepy seat but not as sweepy as my black Swain had but still very comfy to ride in.

LOL, I used Hattie's 50" girth on him but it was too short by about 4" despite him being 14.1hh and Hattie being 15.3hh! Luckily I had a girth extender handy!!

Check out the beautiful buffalo hide pattern on the leather!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Mayhew Lissadell

Well, despite looking like a modern side saddle made between the two world wars with it's very wide thick comfy pommels and broad, flattish seat, it was actually made October 26, 1905!

Once again, the measurements listed on the tree label bear no resemblance to those of the seat. The seat measures 17" on the nose from cutback to cantle or 21 1/2" from from the front of the fixed head to cantle. The seat measures 13" across.

Mayhews do not normally work for Hattie and I was going to sell it because I just assumed that it would not work and was just gathering dust in my tack room, that is, until I made the mistake of bringing it to the stables to try on Hattie yesterday to photograph it. This one seems to actually be a good fit out of all the Mayhews I have ever tried!

The flocking is all over the place in it and has bunched up over the years at the withers like what happened with my off-side Beck Morrow. The actual tree width is a generous medium fit like my Beck Morrow.

Once I got the panels sorted out (they need to be relined too as moths have eaten the serge), I think it would be a good fit! There is no bridging with the panels and I can feel a nice contact with Hattie's back with no pinching when I run my panels along the panels.

The leather on the saddle is in good condition and I have a pot of German Effax leather oil which is a miracle worker, that I'm going to use on it. The pommels are doeskin and scrubbed up nicely with my suede brush while the seat is pigskin which I also like. I ride in full seat breeches any ways and tend to like a pigskin seat as I don't feel claustrophobic in them.

The girth straps are not as far back on the saddle and most other side saddles I have tried but I will still need a point strap put on the off-side point.

Moth eaten panels aside, it's not in too bad condition. The things that need to be done to make it riding and show worthy is:
1) All new girth straps including a new balance billet and a point strap put on the other side.
2) Replace missing elastic and hook on convenience tab on the off-side.
3) Reline panels.
4) Repair nearside tree point end.

The wood at the extreme end of the nearside tree point has chipped off from age so I spoke to my side saddler, Leo Wright, and he gave me a quote which was actually VERY reasonable to fix this (and to fix everything else as well). He has rebuilt completely broken trees where horses have rolled on them, so that they are completely safe and strong to ride in again. Leo said that anything on a side saddle can be repaired and that these chips on the end of trees are common.

It's Leo's reasonable quote and the fact that the saddle seems to fit Hattie nicely (and fits my bum nicely too) that is tempting me to keep it.

The problem is that I already have a beautiful Whippy which also fits Hattie and I and a nice off-side saddle but only one horse!

I DO NOT need another side saddle!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Guess The Date!

I'll post more about this lovely Mayhew Lissadell tomorrow and my dilemma with it (idonotneedanothersaddle, idonotneedanothersaddle, idonotneedanothersaddle...) but meanwhile have a guess at the date this thoroughly modern looking Mayhew was made?

Yes, I know it needs reflocking BADLY at the back but check out the size of those pommels, it's comfy riding time!!!