As our customers already know, I am a stickler for excellent customer service (poor customer service drives me mad in my personal life, let alone allowing it to feature within my business!). In fact, we have just taken on another fantastic person to join our Team (official news coming soon on that big announcement) because I don't ever want our customers waiting too long to get an appointment.
Most people are pretty sensible about the logistics of coordinating our visits to you all and understand that to get to where you live we may have to strategically plan our journey with visits along the way and coordinate other customer visits within your area. We endeavour to organise these visits regularly, because for us, all our customers matter.
You know those signs that you occasionally see in pubs behind the bar that says 'Please do not ask for credit, as refusal may offend' I often feel the same way about sponsored rider enquiries! We're always polite to anyone approaching, however the 'copy and paste' mentality that we see so often is quite wearing. So, I thought I'd add a little clarity to the way we work with riders and my beliefs as to what sponsored riders mean to our brand.
Perhaps one of the hottest topics flying around in the saddlery world currently is 'straightness' and how saddles have to be straight. Of course, in the ideal world, all saddles should sit straight. However, everyone should be talking about rider and horse straightness in the same conversations.
Making a saddle sit straight solves the direct visible issue, but it doesn't solve the actual issue causing the problem. At every level, the horse and rider must focus on straightness. Straightness should form the foundation of your training. When you ride are you ‘body aware’? Do you collapse through one hip or tend to put more weight on one seat bone more than other? Does your horse work correctly, or is he or she crooked?
Wasn't it wonderful seeing Piggy French win her first Badminton title and also the gratitude she gave to 'her guys' at home and everyone for helping her achieve this goal? In an interview with The Telegraph she also talked about the support of her partner Tom and also how becoming a mother last year has helped her to refocus.
As a mother competing myself (admittedly not at Badminton but still at intermediate level eventing) some years ago, I found my children a real distraction. At one competition I remember being distracted by them as I entered the show jumping ring and taking a pole down at the first fence as I told them to stop swinging on the ropes. At another event, my mother had travelled a long way to see me compete. As I entered the cross-country start box, my daughter wanted to go to the loo so mum missed it all!! I could go back through my results and see distinctly when I had the children at events and when I didn't! It's a real-life skill to be able to juggle work and family commitments with looking after our horses, let alone training and competing them!!
This month, I decided to take annual break from work to go skiing. Unfortunately, it resulted in a broken rotator cuff on the second day and the remaining five days of the holiday spent in pain and participating in après ski only!! Now back in the UK, I have been back on the road and been busy fitting saddles for the season ahead admittedly with a very sore shoulder and neck but, thankfully I'm tough!!
While a large percentage of our customers buy new, there are a few who join us as customers of pre-loved or second-hand Childéric Saddles. It's important to me that anyone riding in a Childéric Saddle has a saddle that fits both horse and rider. There are of course limitations with second-hand bespoke saddles when compared to creating the perfect fit for both horse and rider with our bespoke new saddles, however, there is lots of opportunity for us to get a pre-loved saddle to feel as good as new for horse and rider.
Riders are often surprised that they come along to try out our saddles at one of our many demos around the UK, that we aren't interested in looking at their existing saddle unless they are particularly keen for us to take a look.
There are two reasons for this;
1. Unless its one of ours we can't really comment on the style or make. Just as our saddles are unique to us and we know them inside and out, the same could be said for other brands such as Devoucoux Saddles, Albion Saddles, Voltaire Saddles and Antares Saddles to name just a few.
2. We like to look at both horse and rider with fresh eyes