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We look forward to working with you to find your new prized possession

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*7 day trial period applicable to U.K. mainland purchases only

Well July has been a very hot, very sweaty and extremely busy month; hard to believe I know usually we just sit round drinking Pina Coladas in the sun; I joke of course I’m still sporting a ghostly complexion (apart from my arms). So take a seat there is lots to catch up on.

I have another team member to introduce to you this month, because if anyone ever tells you there is such thing as too many horses they are a liar and you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!! Bratton Lillibet (Lillie) is back from being broken in and we can finally get cracking with her. She is proving to be a bold little mare, so she is entered for her first event at Bold Heath next month. Nothing like in at the deep end. We have taken her to her first show jumping competition and she has certainly got some scope and gets braver with every fence. Lets just hope the rider can do her justice at the event.

You can all thank me for the liquid gold that finally arrived over the last few days. I have been doing daily rain dances; much to the bemusement of Goldie who quickly gets as far away from me as possible doing his best “she’s not with me” face. Now let there be grass!

We have of course been training as hard as ever. The month started with a cross country technique clinic with Richard Carruthers; Goldie was on fire (almost literally in the baking sun). It was the prefect clinic to get to grips with some usual lines to fences and keep Goldie on his toes. I may have legs to rival a daddy long legs, but they often become purely decorative items which is no help when it comes to trying to turn a sassy pants Goldie who quite rightly doesn’t enjoy being socked in the teeth to make him turn to a jump. If I had a penny for every time Ally told me I don’t have my legs on I could probably buy Goldie off her.…… (no one tell her she is right). Training was invaluable as ever and my legs were awake again.

Now with the relentless sun we have been having its continuing to wreak havoc with eventing, if its not too wet its too dry we really can’t win; having said that all the events we have been to have worked so incredibly hard to make the ground rideable and Stafford was no exception. The aggravator machine had been working hard and the team at Stafford had even gone as far to sand take offs and landings, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank them again for all the hard work they could not have done more, and the ground could not have been better under the circumstances. Stafford was a full team outing, Zena and Diddi were tackling their first event together, Ally and Gina were out for a confident run to match their success at Skipton (they scooped up 2nd place) and Goldie and I were ready to find out if last month’s homework goals had been achieved. Ally and Zena ran the BE80 in the morning and both did brilliantly; Ally and Gina were so bold and confident even one of Gina’s shoes couldn’t keep up with them! Zena and Diddi were fab for their first outing and are proving to be a great team. The afternoon rolled round and the lovely midday heat came with it. Now we have Big Val and we are a few events into the season we are almost what could be described as organised, almost. This means we had hoof oil and quarter marks on and everything! If all else failed in stressage we looked damn good. You may remember last month’s homework for stressage was prepare better for transitions, not to brag but we SMASHED IT. We scored 29.5 and were the only sub 30 dressage score so you could say we are kind of a big deal now 😉. A quick power nap for the Golden Child while I checked out the cross-country course and then we were off to show jumping. Now as a human being I am not built for weather (too hot or too cold and I’m basically useless) so baking in the heat wearing multiple layers and trying to jump isn’t really a good look for me. Luckily Goldie is significantly more capable than I am, so after him digging me out of the first 3 jumps I organised myself, up until the last fence obviously where I did my usual drop the reins and hope for the best, Golden turtle mode engaged and we were clear. More homework required for Abi, Golden star required for Golden pony. Cross country was now upon us, and did I mention it was hot? Today was the day I WOULD (try) to master the stopwatch!! New technique was to set the time on my watch 30 seconds over optimum so maybe I would remember to set it off, and it was nothing short of a miracle that I did, and we were off whizzing our way round the course. There was a step into water in the 90 which is quite a question and one of the only fences I was suspicious about, Goldie had a quick check for crocodiles and then did a 10/10 dive into the water. Apart from a minor dispute about which way we were going at the top of the hill, resulting in some amused fence judges as I asked Goldie “why don’t you just listen to me I know the way, and you don’t!”, we had a great round and came home clear and with my new-found stopwatch skills we were in the time! Double clear in the time meant we were winner winners, and it was chicken dinners all round. It has been a few years since I have completed at Stafford and if their hard work isn’t enough to make you want to go then the prizes certainly should be. We won an incredible haul and all the prizes for the different places were amazing. We actually won too many things to list!

Now bear with me because the event reports aren’t over yet. Last weekend we went on another full team outing to Frickley. We set off to Frickley in plenty of time on the Friday, but the A1 had other plans for us and we ended up running late for dressage; given the heat this was a blessing in disguise as we wouldn’t have wanted long to warm up anyway. It was not our most sparkling test as the heat was getting the better of us, but it also was not terrible we just lacked a little/any impulsion in our walk, but we were both just praying for the final halt by that point. Ally and Gina started their test in the arena next to us when we where half way though ours and other than a quick “hey I think I know her” glance from Goldie he kept his focus on me which was a pleasant surprise; he has really come into his own this season and dare I say I think he is enjoying being an event horse. And so, onto s**t jumping……oops I mean show jumping. I have to say I was not displeased with our show jumping this week, now I’m not saying I didn’t bury him into some fences because of course I did, but I did ride better lines and we did travel so a step in the right direction compared to the sack of potatoes that rode him at Stafford. The cross country at Frickley is brilliant, it has some good questions and some beefy fences and I love it! (I officially have mastered starting my stop watch off). Out of the start box we went and Golden Child was flying, he flew off the drop, over the Trakehner and through the woods and there was no stopping us. In true sassy style Goldie leaped 10ft higher than required over a steam on the way to the water, and then we nearly ploughed down some course walkers who weren’t up for moving out of the way in the water (side note: everyone has to walk the course but please do move out of the way when someone is coming on a horse). We were home with another double clear for the record, I don’t want to talk about the time stopwatches are confusing. At least we aren’t too slow I suppose. Anyway, luckily our naughty penalties did not affect our result and we came 2nd!

So now the big decision, do we brave BE100?

 

Abi Clare

Saddles Select of York brand ambassador

 

 

Goldie skipping round Stafford Show jumping.

Lillie showing her scope.

Supermodel foals showing off (could not leave out the babies)

 

Rain dances and Rosettes Saddles Select of York Rain dances and Rosettes Saddles Select of York Rain dances and Rosettes Saddles Select of York

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Ally’s mare Arley’s Authentik (Wings) had her Chilli Morning foal; a tobiano filly with legs long enough to intimidate any supermodel! And if that wasn’t exciting enough only a week later Jamaica Z had her Bazaars Chief foal, another coloured filly and more supermodel legs; honestly, we should get a catwalk out for the pair of them. We’ve really taken matchy matchy to a whole new level with these two stunning babies.

 

There was a new arrival that wasn’t four-legged and significantly larger than the two supermodels. This arrival was in the form of Valarie, or Big Val as we know her. Big Val is the monster of a horse box that Ally has had built and my goodness is she a sight to behold. She has tack lockers galore, ponycam, and a living that I would quite happily move into tomorrow! Whilst Val has been being constructed we have been running around in 3.5 tonne horse boxes and trailers. Val is much much larger than a little box. Much larger. So what better way for Ally to get used to driving a huge horsebox than for us to head off to Speetley event the morning after she picked Val up?

 

Strategic journey planned to ensure we didn’t go over Woodhead Pass (for those who don’t know about Woodhead Pass it is NO place for a horsebox, which we confirmed after Frickley last season when I managed to navigate us that way and was quite certain Ally would never speak to me again if we survived the journey- luckily she did though). We pulled off the motorway for a quick breakfast stop and then disaster struck…….. we had broken down…….. and Ally had to call her handy other half to come and rescue us. “Is it in neutral?” Ahhhhhh. No. No it isn’t. Knocked out of drive and into neutral Big Val roared into action and we hit the road again in absolute hysterics.

Arriving at Speetley we squeezed Val though the gateway and one of the parking volunteers told us they were now parking the big lorries in a field over the road. So Ally now had to squeeze Val though another 2 gateways while we both held our breath. We were the first ones to park in the new field, so we got pick of the spaces. We picked our numbers up, still the only ones in the car park.

Golden pony was tacked up and behaving like a seasoned professional and we set off for stressage; with a firm grip of my neck strap we navigated our way passed a palomino eating banner in the gateway. We had been whipped into shape in a dressage lesson with Emily Watts earlier in the week; we are working on staying more uphill but an uphill golden pony means he can see more of the gremlins that lurk unseen to the human eye! We remained friends in the warm up and in we went to the test. There were a few gremlins lurking around the arena and just as I was about to turn up the centreline something caught Goldie’s eye and he did an expert emergency stop. Regaining composure we held it together in the test and were managing to avoid looking like Goldie was trying to hoover the floor. Apart from a badly prepared transition where we took uphill to an extreme with a beautiful impression of a giraffe stressage was completed.

Back at the lorry we were still the only ones in the field….. cross country course walked. Still the only ones in the field. So on to the fun bit where we get to have all 4 legs off the floor (on purpose). Goldie’s sass took over in the show jumping ring where he did his “IVE GOT THIS, HOLD ON TIGHT” routine and we stormed round. Approaching the last fence I had one of those- Oh S***- moments where you don’t ride the line to the fence and all of a sudden you can’t see any stride. I did my usual if all else fails gallop, and if that fails just drop the reins and hope Goldie gets all his legs out of the way. Thankfully he managed to tuck his legs in like a Golden turtle and we were clear. Goldie’s animal impressions know no bounds.

Back to the wagon for the usual outfit change and guess what?…..still no one else parked in the field with us it was like VIP parking for Big Val! All layered up (is there anything worse than putting 2 body protectors on when its hot #safetyfirst) we set off for cross country. We had our usual anything-but-elegant jump over the first warm up fence where it just takes the golden pony a moment to adjust to the change in jump style between show jumping and cross country. Speetley is a new event for me and the cross-country course was lovely, I was really excited to jump round it. I’d like to say we set off like a bullet out of the start box but it was a little more space hopper than bullet. Nevertheless the first 3 fences were behind us and we were away. We had a good look in the ditch toward the end of the course just to be sure there was no crocodiles lurking, the coast was clear and we stormed over the last few fences (2 seconds too fast again).

 

So in summary for the month I need to fine a formula to keep foals as foals, Big Val is a VIP at events, always take you automatic vehicle out of drive to start it.

 

Homework for the next month:

  • Prepare for transitions better (fail to prepare, prepare to fail!)
  • Try to ride actual lines to the fences in the show jumping
  • MASTER THE BLOODY STOPWATCH- or move up a level so I can go faster 😉

 

Exciting new additions at AC Eventing... Saddles Select of York Exciting new additions at AC Eventing... Saddles Select of York Exciting new additions at AC Eventing... Saddles Select of York Exciting new additions at AC Eventing... Saddles Select of York

 

Goldie being a superstar at a training clinic.

Jamaica and her filly

Supermodel Chilli Morning filly

Big Val in all her glory

 

 

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Saddles Select of York

FAQ

How does the 7 day trial period* work?

✔️Select a saddle and checkout via our secure website

✔️Your saddle will be carefully packaged in a strong cardboard box with protective packaging

✔️After dispatch you will receive notification that your saddle is on its way to you

✔️Upon arrival you may try the saddle as many times as needed during the trial period

✔️If the saddle is unsuitable it must be received back at Saddles Select of York no later than the 8th day after delivery. A full refund minus the outward postage of £15 will be issued with in two working days (see terms and conditions here)

 

Please send us an email if you have any queries info@saddlesselect-york.com

We look forward to working with you to find your new prized possession 😊

 

*7 day trial period applicable to U.K. mainland purchases only

Please note that we are out of the office Saturday 2nd June – Saturday 9th June taking a well deserved break away.

All orders placed during this time will be dispatched Monday 11th June.

Deliveries will be accepted at Grange Farm as usual. If you are returning a saddle from trial please fill out a returns form on the website and post it back to us. Your refund will be processed on Monday 11th June.

Thank you for your patience 😊

The last month has been as full of first time experiences for both myself and the horses.

 

First things first (keeping with the theme of the blog there), I would like to take a moment to introduce you to another four-legged team mate called Hugo, AKA Baby Hugo AKA Hugo a Go Go. Hugo is out of my first event horse Whizz of Bellhouse who took me from BE90 up to CIC*; This makes Hugo a very special young chap with big boots to fill.

I had never had a foal before so that was the first first in this whole situation. I have also never broken a horse in, so I left this to the professionals in the very capable hands of Andrew Downes; and a wise decision as he did a fabulous job with him as he was a rather nervous nelly when he arrived at Andrews.

After a winter off to recover from no longer being a field ornament like he had been used to for so long, he came to Arley to join the rest of the team and start his life as a big boy. April was about getting started again and, apart from the giant sliding door to the indoor, he found his brave pants and took it all in his stride. He was now thinking ridden life was a doddle so we decided to throw him a few curve balls. The big first for him this month was jumping his first ever jump; We had minimal drama and he proved to be braver than I expected, bonus!!

The only logical thing to do now was take him to Richard Carruthers for his first jumping lesson. For the most part this went quite well, there was no major dramatics warming him up and we popped over a couple of cross poles without incident. “Just come around and pop the barrels”, Richard is the master of making things sound so very simple. It wasn’t simple. Hugo was sceptical about the strange shiny round metal things and couldn’t understand why he would need to go over the top of them. He considered his options and then contemplated jumping and just as he stepped forward to jump them one of the barrels BIT HIM (video on AC Eventing Facebook page if you want a giggle). It would be boring if it was easy right? After a bit more persuasion he launched over them taking no chances on getting bitten again. First jumping lesson completed.

For his 4th birthday we surprised him with his first trip round Somerford Park farm ride (not quite the kind of surprise he was hoping for). Zena and Diddy lead us round the farm ride, and Diddy showed Hugo how it was done. By the end of the ride we had conquered water, steps and ditches and he was going so well I had to keep myself from following Zena over the big jumps. Everything crossed that he may turn out as brave as his mum!

 

I experienced going to Badminton Horse Trails for the first time (on foot obviously, Goldie and I decided we just hadn’t had enough runs yet this season but there is always next year). It was amazing weather and just such an incredible experience to see so many of my childhood heroes up close. Watching it on TV definitely does not do justice to the size of those jumps!! I took plenty of videos to show Goldie in preparation for our first BE90 run at Somerford.

 

The week of Somerford rolled around and armed with my badminton inspiration I was raring to go. Goldie and I had a cross country training clinic and the firsts really rolled out; We managed to end up in the big group for the first time, with people who actually do know what they are doing so we did our best pretending act that we belonged. Pretending was going exceptionally well, that’s not to say Goldie wasn’t his usual sassy self and was constantly remining me that with his new-found confidence he was a strong independent horse that doesn’t need my help; that was until we met a jump in the water. A jump in water is a first for us, Goldie couldn’t quite work out why I kept pointing him at it when we clearly should just go around it. He eventually decided to stop pretending he knows best and get with the programme for a moment, but he wasn’t going to take any chances jumping into the unknown, so he leaped 20 foot into the air (give or take a few foot) over the fence and almost knocked me out on landing when I fell headfirst on his neck. Luckily as no water gremlins had attempted to snap at his ankles when he jumped the fence it was a bit less OTT the second time. As we came to the end of the session, when any normal horse would now be a bit tired and a bit more sensible, Goldie decided after the water incident he needed to be a bit more careful about life. He decided to have a spooky moment in-between jumps and I was taking a zero tolerance policy on this and gave him a smack on the bottom, his response was a swift buck to tell me if I didn’t like the ride he was conducting I was welcome to get off. And there it was, my first time falling off cross country schooling. On the plus side was Goldie gave himself a good bit of fitness training by galloping off as fast as he could to the other side of the field and with only my pride wounded I got back on and we jumped well to finish.

 

The final first. Our first BE90.

After a week of Goldie reminding me why he is king of all things sassy I wasn’t overly positive about him keeping the sass to a minimum. I wrestled his plaits in while he refused to stand still for more than a minute because he is just too fabulous to be touched *queue hair flick* and off we went.

He had a morning of standing on the wagon ahead of him while his little brother Arley’s Eros (Spyder) completed his first event doing the BE80 with Ally. Goldie must have had a team talk with him about keeping a close look out for jump gremlins as Spyder made Ally work hard in jumping disciplines, but they completed with just one blip on the cross country which took them out of the running for a rosette. A very promising and educational run for Spyder.

Then it was our turn. Studs were in, toes were still attached, sass was contained. Off to dressage we popped. A change in the ground on the walk to dressage almost saw us heading back home as Goldie refused to step over what was essentially a wooden pole onto a sandy surface; this was practically jumping in his eyes and we were wearing a dressage saddle how could I expect him to just walk over it in these conditions?! With a hop skip and a jump we made it to the other side and into stressage warm up. We were met by a friendly face as one of our training buddies was volunteering for the day, I would just like to say a quick thank you to all the people who give up their day to help at these events and make it possible.

Bond Girl (Gina) and Ally had just finished their test and were heading back to the wagon without Goldie, so it took a bit of gentle persuasion (I learned my lesson when I was sat on the floor earlier in the week) to get his attention and focus on the job in hand. The beautiful sunshine we have had meant the going was a little firm, you just can’t win when it comes to weather, and Goldie felt a little stompy in the test, but we managed to pull a 28 out of the bag so it could have been worse.

A couple of hours rest on the wagon and then it was onto show jumping. Goldie was on fire, he flew round the jumps. He was so keen that the most challenging part was managing to turn to the fences because he was off on such a mission. With a good dressage and a clear show jumping the pressure was on.

A quick outfit change and we were off to cross country with a feisty Gina in tow. When I saw the course pictures online I thought “yeah we’ve got this” but when I was out walking it the thoughts were more “well that’s quite big/that’s quite spooky”. We jumped the warm up fence twice the height required, which made sure I was sitting tight. We let Ally and Gina go first, because they wanted to get going, not because I thought if Goldie watched Gina gallop off he might be more inclined to follow…..

My biggest worry was fence 2 jumping into the darkness of the woods, if we could make it over this one we had a good chance round the rest.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO…….. we skipped over the first and then we could see the dreaded second jump, Goldie backed himself right off and I just sat in behind him with my legs actually on and working for a change and let him have a good look; we sprung over it and we were away. Then all I had to do was not fall off in-between jumps while Goldie jumped out of the way of any potential gremlins. I opted for no stop watch this time as I have no skill there and we just went for it. Double clear in the time to finish on 28 and scoop up 5th place. Not too shabby for our first BE90, onwards and upwards, hopefully we can manage to get some Regional Final qualifications now 😊

 

Abi Clare- Saddles Select of York Brand Ambassador

 

Pictures:             Diddy and Hugo in the River

Hugo doing interpretive dance when the jump bit him

Goldie flying round Somerford

 

There is a first time for everything…… Saddles Select of York There is a first time for everything…… Saddles Select of York There is a first time for everything…… Saddles Select of York

 

 

 

 

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