I've been riding everyday this week for the first time in a long time and it's great! We've been practising jumping 1'9" again with varying degrees of success but it's all good. I have a show this weekend and another next Sunday if the weather is nice.
Since a lot has happened during my last post, I've decided to save me typing and do a month's review mostly in photos. While gathering all the photos together, I noticed that being sick and not being able to ride, meant an increase in shopping! Probably another good reason to increase my protein intake as my bank account was becoming "run down"!!
To cheer myself up with not being able to ride at the beginning of April, I bought Julia's c.1900 Bartley park side saddle for my collection and to try it on my friend's cob, Ted.
Then my Yard Owner informed me that he was selling his horse trailer (that being my ride to shows) so I decided to sell my lovely Bartley since it was much too wide for Hattie and Ted the cob, to buy my "ride" from my Yard Owner, a c. 1970 Rice Farmer's Hunt trailer...
My friend who owns Ted the Cob, asked if her daughter Chloe, could try Hattie side saddle as she had expressed an interest in riding aside. So Chloe and her brother Cain (who is training to work in the equestrian industry) both had a go side saddle. Cain wasn't so keen, he said it felt "weird" but Chloe loved it!
So off to Sandon Saddlery Julia and I went in search of a small side saddle for Chloe to ride Hattie and her Welsh Section B pony, Jiggy, in (they take the same tree size) and treats for us...
and we came out with his turn of the century 15 1/2" (19 1/2" US) pony side saddle (looks like my Bartley) for Chloe...
Chloe wasn't the only one who came out with a saddle either. I bought this virtually unused 19" UK (23" US) Champion & Wilton copy from c. 1920's- 1940's in newmarket tan leather. It looks like it was only used a couple of times before being left. Unfortunately, the panels were removed at some point but the tree is in pristine condition like the day it was made. The leather on the tips of the pommels have scuffed off from storage but nothing some Vetrap can't handle until my bank account recovers enough to get them recovered. the pressing thing with this saddle is having a panel made and replacing the original girth straps which have dried from age (although they don't have any wear on them either).
Check out that pancake flat seat!! It looks more 1940's to me.
Eave doeskin seat which is pristine...
Pristine tree with no insect damage at all...
Despite being a very long seated saddle, it seems to fit Hattie ok which was a surprise when I put it on her back. It JUST comes to her last rib which is the maximum length a side saddle should come to. Despite being 5'9", when I sit in this saddle, I have about 4" of seat behind me (a good hand's width) so if I did get this saddle fitted to Hattie, I wouldn't actually being sitting at the very back of the saddle. The tree width seems to follow the contours of her confirmation well and the tree would be about a medium with flocked panels or a medium/wide with a wykham.
I also decided to treat myself to a new habit by Show Time Supplies made from green keeper's tweed with a near and off-side apron so sold my 1934 Moss Bros one as the sleeves were really too short for me to pay for it. When you wear a tweed habit, you "need" a brown helmet and brown boots so more bargains on the internet were found!
HKM brown leather field boots which were 1/2 price on the Dogwood of London site...
And this hardly used Gatehouse Hickstead brown velvet helmet (same brand as my navy show hat) was found on Ebay for £20 instead of the normal £80! Here's me testing them out :)
My beautiful new (and slim fit!) habit arrived shortly after my boots and hat did so had to test it out too. I was sad to see my comfy Moss Bros. habit go but must admit, my new green one looks spiffy!
I'm going to wear my new habit to the show on Sunday and can't wait to test out my off-side apron too. It shouldn't be too long before I can test the off-side apron out as the saddler came to do one of the final fittings of the new panels on my Beck Morrow this past Monday and it's looking good! Hattie was very forward in it, we walk, trotted and cantered in it with no bucking!
He replaced all the billets, made me a nice padded up safe underneath the flap, Julia shaped the leaping head for me so it's perfect now and now my saddler just has to make a new overgirth, stitch the cover back on the leaping had and line the panels with serge once he's shaved some of the felt off from the sides of the inside gullet channel so it clears Hattie's spine perfectly. Roger is also adding another point strap for Hattie for maximum set as the saddle still slide forward a little bit.
We are going to a Side Saddle Association show next month and if my off-side is ready, I may take that to ride in!
So despite not actually riding very much this past month, it's been an exhausting one! :-)