Ahead of the British National Dressage Championships, we asked one of our fabulous riders, dressage rider, Sara-Jane Lanning for her advice for preparing for a championship show..
There are lots of chances these days to ride in a championship competition, whether it be an unaffiliated league final at your local equestrian centre, an affiliated grass roots championship, an area festival final right up through to Regional Championships and ultimately the Nationals.
If you qualify for any final you are there by right and therefore have as good a chance of anybody else at doing well. But you can help your chances by preparing for all eventualities!
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?
In this month's blog, Tricia talks numnahs and it’s a subject she is keen to share her thoughts on!
What do we use numnahs for? To keep the saddle clean, to pin our number and flag on? Anything else? If our saddle fits well there shouldn’t be much more of a job for them.
Just browsing online for a few minutes, you'll soon see numerous designs - all created with a purpose in mind. The thing to remember is that, as with anything bespoke, the benefits of use become bespoke too.
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