Monday, September 19, 2011


My husband and I went on an antiquing extravaganza this weekend. Since we weren't far from the venerable Genessee Valley Hunt Club, I was hoping to find something side saddle to buy. There were the usual selection of large and proportionally boring hunting prints but finally, I struck paydirt in a box of post cards.

Hello Ida Margaret,

How do you and Harold and Chauncey like it over at the farm? I suppose you are riding your father's horses like this girl does.

With love to all from,

Mary somebodyorother

It seems the sides have been trimmed, probably to remove a century of fuzzy edges. Postcards are fun, even when they're addressed to someone else.

I eventually found a bamboo and deer antler riding crop, but for $40, it wasn't in the best condition. The tip was gone. It must have been wrapped with string or leather at one time. Since I've never taken the time to educate myself on prices and such, I didn't want to rush headlong into it for $40. At 25 or 30, I probably would have, and I'm not missing it too badly today.

It was short, no longer than 24" so I'm thinking it could have been a child's crop. It was labeled as a "gad about cane" silly people! It had a sterling silver ferrule on it, engraved "Julia Marie Batavia, NY". At it's length, it wouldn't have been useful to me other than for display. Perhaps, if it is still there next time I will feel differently.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Hoarder's Dilemma

This weekend I couldn't really decide if I wanted to try the side saddle or not. I had the time, but when I got to the barn at 10am, it was already 85 degrees and 94% humidity. Because of that, I had worn my slippery summer schooling tights. Well, what the heck. Let's see how much help those full seats actually give.


Of course it didn't help that because I hadn't bothered to either ride or longe yet, my horse had a hump in his back the size of the Rocky Mountains. I opted not to tighten the balance strap those last few holes, and headed up the slope to the arena, slipping and sliding, left, right, back... and hadn't even swung my leg over yet!

Once in the arena, we stopped to stand and breathe until Grey's back relaxed. Then we tried a couple of laps at the walk. With my balance wavering, I was pushing my horse all over the place, and because of the slippery britches, I couldn't stay centered to save my life. So we called it a day. While last time the saddle felt comfy, this time it felt horrible. There is a lot to be said for not ignoring your own preparations and flying in the face of good planning. I guess I will be ordering some full seated summer tights for those miserable hot days.

So, back to the barn, and change saddles for a ride in the cool woods. As I rode, I mulled over the saddle fit.

#1. I need some flocking out of the front. If anything, the saddle is still a bit too tight, and it definetly rides uphill. I wouldn't mind setting it back another half inch, but it won't budge.

#2. This saddle doesn't fit like a glove. There is a lot of difference in saddles even of the same size. This I learned when shopping for my Stubben. I made full use of Dover's saddle test ride program, and spent one whole summer changing out trial saddles. What a bore.

#3. A quick inventory of the saddles available on the Internet tells me I am going to need at least $3000 to play with to get something just a tad longer and just a tad wider. A 23" x 14" would be just ducky. Side Saddle Heaven has three saddles that look promising, ranging from $1995 to $3500. No sense even calling to be "wait listed" for new consignments without cash in hand, and no sense buying one with the same sizing.

#4. The best way to get a good chunk of that cash is to sell my current saddle. I actually know someone shopping for a saddle and this one fits their criteria to a tee.

#5. The saddle hoarder in my blanches at the thought of letting go of this saddle. Even in the interest of "trading up".

But, if I sold my saddle to my friend for what I paid for it, and threw in next month's "mad money", I could be the proud new owner of something like this lovely Mayhew.