So as my last blog (rant) of the year, I have been reflecting on what has really stood out for me this year.
On the plus side:
Seeing all our customers and their horses progressing (and being part of your journeys), our brand developing, seeing so much more orange, meeting the rest of Childeric’s European Team and developing the business in Ireland, have been just a few of this year's many highlights.
On the negative side:
Terrible roads and terrible traffic, which we have encountered on most days!
But, my biggest humbug continues to be saddle cloths! You can read my blog on Numnahs, but I wanted to end the year off by discussing this further.
This year, we have noticed a significant shift from the numnah being used for the purpose it was designed for (to absorb sweat and keep your saddle and horse clean) to it now being simply a 'fashion accessory' with very little consideration for the design or fabric choice or just that it was what they always use. As a consequence, we have seen riders scratching their heads wondering why their saddles that fitted so well appear to be causing an issue suddenly. On numerous occasions, we have been out to a customer, reviewed the fit of the saddle without numnah on the ground and with the rider on board and confirmed the saddle is fitting perfectly well. When we ask to see what the rider is putting under the saddle, that is often when we see the issue; the numnah!
We went to see a worried customer recently who had noticed some lumps appearing along the horse’s spine. We took a look at the saddle with the numnah they were using, without it, there was plenty of clearance when you looked down the saddle gullet, HOWEVER, when we reviewed the fit with the numnah underneath, the pad was really tight across the spine. This pressure was making the saddle very tight and uncomfortable for the horse and causing friction lumps. Change of numnah and they disappeared, Simples!!!
"The bottom line is that with a perfectly well-fitted saddle, using the wrong numnah can have a negative influence."
For example, with a big moving horse which tends to move the saddle forward, even if you sort a solution through saddle design and smart girthing, you can still end up with an issue caused by the incorrect numnah choice!
My advice, this Christmas, forget 'Matchy Matchy' and ask Santa for a numnah that is well designed, fits the saddle and horse and isn't a slippery fabric! Any old numnahs you have that don’t work– donate them or use them as dog beds!!
Watch this space though, I am on a mission to be able to recommend affordable solutions.