Success for Sophie at Winter Dressage Championships

Black Country Saddles sponsored Paralympian, Sophie Wells, was in fantastic form at this year’s British Dressage Winter Championships.

On back-to-back nights, she rose to success, firstly winning the Magic Prix St Georges (PSG) with C Fatal Attraction, then winning the Superflex Inter I with her Rio gold medallist, Valerius. Not surprisingly, the crowd went wild.

WELLS – SOPHIE – VALERIUS

Sophie herself said she couldn’t be more proud of C Fatal Attraction. She really didn’t think they were going to crack his changes for a while, so to deliver this performance was amazing.

In the Inter I, Sophie rode to the Tom Hunt programme that won her the grade IV Paralympic medal in Rio. However, she increased the difficulty to Inter I level and this was the first time she had ridden the floorplan in competition. Emotions were running high as Sophie wanted the audience to recognise that para work is no different to able-bodied dressage.

However, Sophie herself admits that on the night, Valerius felt on edge, and having already made the floorplan more difficult, she did have a last-minute wobble, wondering if she should have done a warm-up test beforehand. But when the time came, Sophie may have been out of her own comfort zone, but ultimately she was able to rely on the horse she knows so well, and has worked with for 10 years.

Sophie and Valerius were magnificent. Their fantastic extended trot out of halt, and canter piroutettes straight out of her tempi changes were spectacular. Quite unbelievably, after the competition, Sophie said she couldn’t remember the test when she began as she was completely focused on keeping Valerius’s energy levels in tune.

Valerius was beautifully in time with his music, ending with a fresh and cheerful, quiet, soft walk section.

For further information on Black Country Saddles please telpehone 01543 578 243 or visit www.blackcountrysaddles.com

 

Black Country Saddles Heading to Rolex Kentucky Horse Trials

THE Black Country Saddles team is looking forward to this year’s Rolex Kentucky Horse Trials where they will showcase their latest collection of stylish, bespoke saddles.

The Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky – April 27 to 30.

Once again the stand will be supported by a strong team of highly qualified Black Country Saddles Dealers from around the United States.

The team at Black Country Saddles see this event as a great opportunity to promote and explain the many benefits of riding in one of their saddles whether competing at the highest level or choosing a saddle for leisure activities.

Said Rob Cullen of Black Country Saddles: “The Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event is always a fantastic event and allows our team of dealers to share their extensive saddlery knowledge with the great number of enthusiastic visitors to the stand.

“The new Dante collection, with its unique seat position, has proven a huge success worldwide and we are looking forward to meeting customers old and new to keep them up to date on our latest developments.”

Black Country Saddles Dressage Range

The Black Country Saddles team of designers and Master Saddlers have once again utilised and combined their extensive knowledge and skills in developing a new collection of saddles for dressage riders.

The Dressage range offers ultimate choices to help achieve perfection whether training at home or travelling the globe to world class competitions.

The Optima Dressage Saddle has a knee-roll which can be placed to an exact position for the rider, allowing greater flexibility whilst still giving maximum support. This saddle is styled in calf leather and comes with a close-contact flap ensuring clear and effective communication between horse and rider.

The Optima Deluxe Saddle has been designed to be a close-fitting saddle. Thanks to softeners between the flaps and skirts the saddle is extra comfortable. Made to the very highest level of expertise, this saddle has uniform weight distribution with pure wool flocking.

The Adelinda Dressage Saddle also incorporates a close-contact designed flap, allowing for greater communication between horse and rider. With an anatomically contoured knee block on the top of the flap, it can be custom made for each individual rider.

The Eloquence Dressage Saddle is the most popular dressage model in this range offering a medium deep seat, giving stability without restriction and excellent centre of balance. Knee rolls are of medium depth but can be custom built if required.

The Bellissima Dressage Saddle is a deluxe model of the Eloquence Dressage Saddle keeping the same features but adding extra refinements.  It is covered in a superior calf-hide for flexibility and closeness in the flap and reversed doe-skin on the seat and pads for the ultimate in softness.

The Eden Dressage Saddle as ever also continues to be popular. The design of the tree in this saddle lends itself to ‘dipped backed’ horses, helping to maximise the weight distribution. This is reflected in the deep seat which gives far more security and encourages a long, classically correct leg position. The narrow twist of this saddle is also a favourite.

The Kur Saddle includes a flatter seat and a lower cantle than most dressage saddles which allows the rider more freedom in the seat making it a great choice for new dressage riders who are used to a flatter seated saddle.

Walker’s Winning Ways at North of England Spring Show

Team Walker were in amazing form at North of England Spring Show with 11 wins, four championships and three reserve championships between them.

©Real Time Imaging/Steve Dawe

Robert, wife Sarah, son Sam and clients Rae Colosso and Zara Brookes hit a purple patch with wins, championships and reserve championships galore over the three days.

The Black Country Saddles rider was delighted with his win on Corniche Chill heading the four and five-year-old class before taking the Novice Hunter Championship.  He was backed and ridden away over the winter months.

Stable mate Our Kingsman won the Novice Hunter over six-years-old and then took before the Novice Hunter Reserve Championship award.

HOYS winner Chantilly Bojangles won the Small Hunter class and next followed the turn of the Open Hunter classes.

These led to another clean-sweep when Viewpoint won the Lightweight, Caesar’s Palace took the red rosette in the Middleweight section and Patrick’s Choice was triumphant in the Heavyweight category.  Viewpoint headed the Hunter Championship with Patrick’s Choice finishing Reserve Champion.

The following day Robert had a slightly quieter time with just two horses to show and two youngsters to acclimatise to a competition environment.

Wins continued with Comberton Clarence heading the Novice Hack class and Randalstown Rolex winning the Lightweight Cob section before securing the Cob Championship.

On pony day it was the turn of Rae Colosso, Zara Brookes and Sam Walker.

Rae and Chantilly Bojangles won the Intermediate Show Hunter and headed the Intermediate Championship, Zara won the 138cm Show Pony class on Chanley Delightful Dan before Sam secured the 133cm Show Hunter Pony on Millwood Kaiser Chief and then claimed the Reserve Championship.

Improving the Walk and Canter

A horse sometimes gets into the habit of moving its front and back leg on the same side at the same time, thus developing a two-beat pace rather than taking four individual footsteps. This is known as a ‘lateral’ walk.

To correct this, you need to keep the horse in front of your leg. You also need to encourage him slightly sideways. To visualise what you are aiming for, you are trying to place the inside hind leg between the two front legs. This should prevent any further lateral walking and recreate the four-beat rhythm.

The overall aim is to prevent your horse learning to develop a lateral walk in the first instance. You should manage this if you ride slightly in a shoulder fore position. This will also improve the suppleness of a young or stiff horse.

You can assist further by turning your own shoulders in slightly and this will help the horse to follow you. This, in conjunction with accurate use of the reins for a slightly enhanced inside bend, should fix any problems of a lateral walk.

The Canter

 One of the basics for a correct canter is to ensure your horse stays relatively straight. The more relaxed you and your horse are, the easier this becomes. It is important to keep him soft in his outline and active with your leg.

Once again, rhythm is important and with the canter, you are looking for a clear three-beat rhythm. This is helped if your horse has an active hind leg, pushing him forward. It is important that the horse does not lean on the rider’s hand.

The choice of saddle that Gary uses for dressage is the Black Country Dante Dressage.

Said Gary: “I have recently been involved in new saddle designs, coming up with ideas and providing feedback on latest developments and innovations with Black Country Saddles.

“The saddles are just fantastic and as soon as you sit in one they are really comfortable. The leather is soft and supple from day one.”

For more information contact Black Country Saddles on 01543 578 243 or visit www.blackcountrysaddles.com

 

Gary Trains with Carl Hester

Black Country Saddles sponsored rider Gary Foggon lets us in on his training session with the legendary Carl Hester as they are now on the count d
own to the British Dressage Winter Championships.

Gary trains with both Carl Hester and Stephen Clarke and recently headed to Gloucestershire for a lesson with Carl and his elegant mare Gypsy Fortune (aka Pikey).

Says Gary: “As the Winter Championships get ever-closer all thoughts and energies are on the preparation required so that both myself and Pikey are ready to do our very best.

“With this in mind Carl structured the session towards developing a more relaxed up- hill way of going, using passage steps to gain height and cadence then developing the rhythm forward into an expressive collection.

“Carl reminded me to make the transitions fluent with a forw
ard hand allowing Pikey to develop her own self carriage.

“We then moved on to the canter which was all about control and relaxation. Carl asked me to canter slow enough so that he was able to walk alongside while I gave the reins to enable Pikey to relax the neck and back enabling her to take more weight on the hind leg.”

“I am so excited with Pikey, she is really developing quickly at the moment, every day she just keep feeling better and better. I’m incredibly lucky to get the help from such inspirational trainers and looking forward to riding at the Winter Championships with the new Dante Saddle from Black County Saddles which has been made to match with burgundy stitching and welting.” 

Black Country Saddles Sponsor Ridden Hunter Championship at Equifest 2017

Equifest 2017 will once again see Staffordshire-based Black Country Saddles sponsoring the Ridden Hunter Championship, following the success of last year.

Well-known for supporting leading names including Katy Carter, Kirstine Douglas, Jo Bates, Robert Walker, Sarah Parker and Simon Reynolds, Black Country Saddle’s Classic Show Saddle has become hugely popular amongst riders.

Equifest takes place at the East of England Showground, Peterborough – August 9 to 13.

Said John Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “Equifest is a brilliant event and we are thrilled to be sponsoring the esteemed Ridden Hunter Championship again, particularly as Equifest celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

“Attracting a host of competitors and spectators each year, from all over the UK, we are delighted to be sponsoring one of the championships.”

Many leading competitors now ride in the Black Country Classic Show Saddle  delivering style and elegance when in the show arena.

This saddle is straight-cut to help accentuate the horse or pony’s shoulder, but has a subtle knee roll to help keep the rider in the ideal show position.

The low cantle helps provide a flatter seat for a neat appearance with the close profile of the saddle helping to show off and improve the overall picture, so important in the world of showing.

Made using pre-oiled vintage leather, this saddle offers an exceptionally comfortable seat and is flocked with pure wool to allow for greater bearing pressure and fitting adjustment.

Over 25 years of expertise has been combined to produce the saddle, using the very best materials available today.

Jayne Ross Showing Tip

The bigger the show means a bigger arena, therefore your horse will need to be fitter.  With the major shows remember to anticipate what the judge will require when riding. Ensure you have long enough stirrup leathers, big stirrup irons and ensure that your saddle fits correctly with extra padding for a taller and heavier rider.

Looking pretty is what some riders will be concentrating on. In hunter classes when riding in the ring you should focus on setting your horse up for when the judge comes to ride him. If you are riding a riding horse or hunter, a gallop will be required. The gallop isn’t to show the horse can win a race; it is there to simply show that the horse can go from A to B and can keep up with everyone else.

Jayne’s final tip across all levels would be to do less but do it well, rather than seeing attempts at more not being executed properly. But above all enjoy yourself and take in the experience. It will help your confidence for when you next get out there.

The Classic Show Saddle from Black Country Saddles, is her favourite piece of kit. It offers style and elegance when competing in the show ring.

Added Jayne:  “The show saddle is so comfortable and is a fantastic fit for the horse and rider. The minute you sit on one you feel completely at home and you know you will not have to spend time bedding it in.

“They also allow plenty of freedom of movement which is so important for the show horse in order that they can move well and have presence when in the ring.”

Gary Dances to Success at Dressage Regionals

THERE was much to celebrate for Derbyshire-based international rider Gary Foggon recently when he qualified for no less than four finals at the British Dressage Winter Championships

The Black Country Saddles team rider was in fantastic form at the Winter Regional Championships at Bishop Burton College with his two rides Gypsy Fortune and Who’s A Boozer.

Known as Pikey at home, the seven-year-old homebred, Gypsy Fortune is turning into a major star for Gary who is very excited about their future together.

Said Gary: “I knew when she was a yearling she was going to be special, I just saw something and she is now really coming into her own.

“She is a mare that gives you everything and just tries so hard, she is fantastic and the results at the regionals were brilliant.”

The results saw Gary and Gypsy Fortune take second in the Elementary Gold final with 73.75%, first in the Elementary Music with 75.77% and second in the Medium again with over 70% to round off a great show.

Gary then rode Mark Caley’s homebred 15.1hh, Who’s A Boozer to taker second in the Novice section with 70.6% landing another ticket to the Winter Championships in the process.

“Charlie may only be small but he really came to the fore and shone for the occasion, it is very exciting to have them both through to the finals at Hartpury College in April.”

 Added Gary: “I am so excited as the horses felt on great form and together with the help from Black Country Saddles I had a brilliant feel when riding. They are both very talented young horses with more yet to come.”

For further information please visit www.blackcountrysaddles.com

 

Successful Trade Event for Black Country Saddles

Staffordshire-based Black Country Saddles recently held a busy and successful two day trade event with many of their dealers in attendance.

The modern premises in Cannock were busy with Black Country Saddles authorised dealers keen to learn more about recent forward-thinking developments, state-of-the-art saddlery designs and new additions to the ranges.

The Black Country Saddles family continues to grow apace with dealers travelling far and wide to make the event.

Partners Rob Cullen and John Hartley were delighted with the interest shown over the two days and the many and various questions asked about tree and saddle designs and of course new models.  Visitors also had a tour of the showroom and workshop to see the team’s skills first hand.

The Open Days included a champagne reception whilst new saddles were all on display including the Dante Dressage and Dante Jump as well as the hugely popular Cavalina Pony Dressage which is proving a big hit with younger riders.

Black Country Saddles Managing Director, Mark Bryan said: “It was great to see so many of our partners over the two days and we look forward to seeing those who couldn’t make it on this occasion very soon as we all continue to work together given the importance of maintaining product knowledge.

“It was great to see so much interest in all of our saddles, especially the new models, and these Open Days obviously provide the ideal opportunity for us all to touch base in person and to keep completely up to date.”

Roscoe’s a Perfect Fit for Kate

Having ridden big warmblood horses for many years, Gloucester-based Kate Vickery wanted to down-size and ride out with her children as they became more confident in the saddle.

With this in mind, at the end of May, Kate bought Roscoe a 148cm Connemara to produce and educate ready for her children to progress on to in a few years’ time.

Wanting to make sure his saddlery fitted correctly, Kate decided to do some research on the internet and in doing so she repeatedly came across really positive reviews for Black Country Saddles.

kate-vickerySaid Kate: “Roscoe is quite wide and rides like a horse with a big stride and as he is still maturing and changing shape I wanted to make sure the saddle was the perfect fit.

“Eventually I will pass him down to the children but for now we have started Roscoe with flatwork and dressage before recently trying some show jumping before we move on to eventing next year.

“I contacted Terri Webb Saddles in Herefordshire who came to the yard to carry out a saddle fit and she recommended the Eden Dressage Saddle from Black Country Saddles.

“The fit is brilliant, I couldn’t be more pleased. In fact the saddle doesn’t move at all and when I had Roscoe’s back checked, the physiotherapist was also really pleased with the good shape he is in and with how good he felt overall.

“Not only does the saddle fit Roscoe well, I also absolutely love riding in it!  The saddle is so comfortable and well-made that I am now riding far better given the support it offers.”

Kate was that impressed with the Eden Dressage Saddle that she has now also purchased the Ricochet jumping saddle as she is starting to show jump him through the winter months.

“Roscoe just seems to move well and freely whether on the flat or over jumps.  It was so brilliant to find both a saddle fitter and a manufacturer who knew what they were doing which resulted in a first class service and a first class product!”

Picture Caption: Kate Vickery and Roscoe enjoying their dressage.

Roscoe’s a Perfect Fit for Kate

Having ridden big warmblood horses for many years, Gloucester-based Kate Vickery wanted to down-size and ride out with her children as they became more confident in the saddle.

With this in mind, at the end of May, Kate bought Roscoe a 148cm Connemara to produce and educate ready for her children to progress on to in a few years’ time.

Wanting to make sure his saddlery fitted correctly, Kate decided to do some research on the internet and in doing so she repeatedly came across really positive revkate-vickeryiews for Black Country Saddles.

Said Kate: “Roscoe is quite wide and rides like a horse with a big stride and as he is still maturing and changing shape I wanted to make sure the saddle was the perfect fit.

“Eventually I will pass him down to the children but for now we have started Roscoe with flatwork and dressage before recently trying some show jumping before we move on to eventing next year.

“I contacted Terri Webb Saddles in Herefordshire who came to the yard to carry out a saddle fit and she recommended the Eden Dressage Saddle from Black Country Saddles.

“The fit is brilliant, I couldn’t be more pleased. In fact the saddle doesn’t move at all and when I had Roscoe’s back checked, the physiotherapist was also really pleased with the good shape he is in and with how good he felt overall.

“Not only does the saddle fit Roscoe well, I also absolutely love riding in it!  The saddle is so comfortable and well-made that I am now riding far better given the support it offers.”

Kate was that impressed with the Eden Dressage Saddle that she has now also purchased the Ricochet jumping saddle as she is starting to show jump him through the winter months.

“Roscoe just seems to move well and freely whether on the flat or over jumps.  It was so brilliant to find both a saddle fitter and a manufacturer who knew what they were doing which resulted in a first class service and a first class product!”

Winter Time Saving Tips with Gary Foggon

gf-profileWinter does not have to be all about dark nights and early mornings.  In this issue international rider Gary Foggon of Team Black Country Saddles provides some handy hints to make good use of precious time throughout the autumn and winter.

  • Before bringing your horse in from the field, why not pick his feet out into a rubber skip which will save you having to spend time sweeping the yard. 
  • Always place a small plastic football or tennis ball in your horse’s water-bucket to prevent water freezing which allows constant access to water.
  • Buy plenty of haynets and fill them all at once, this can save time on dark mornings and nights.
  • Invest in a set of overalls to wear over your day-to-day clothes, this saves time changing and prevents unnecessary trips home. 
  • When turning your horse out in a morning, weather permitting, try to get  your stable ready for the evening. If all the mucking out is done, water-buckets filled and haynets sorted, you won’t then need to do this in the evening leaving you more time to concentrate on your riding.
  • To save time on mucking out why not deep litter your horse’s bed until you have more time at the weekend.
  • When pushing a full wheelbarrow from the stable to the muck heap, be sure to throw over a sheet or blanket to prevent mess spilling onto the yard. This will save you from having to sweep the yard.
  • Work together! Try and join up with a fellow horse owner at your yard and devise a rota where you take it in turns to bring each others horses in from the field or turn them out. This will give you a little more free time.
  • Prepare buckets of hard feed in advance this can shave a few minutes off your daily routine.
  • Save time having to brush your horse by investing in a rug with a neck cover. This is more likely to keep your horse clean and reduces time spent brushing and increases time spent riding.  gary-foggon-and-whos-a-boozer
  • After riding, give both your saddle and bridle a quick wipe over every time it is used rather than leaving it until it is a major, time consuming task

Gary’s Favourite Saddle

Gary rides in the Dante Dressage Saddle from Black Country Saddles.

Says Gary: “As soon as you sit in the Dante you feel so comfortable due to the very soft and supple calf leather and memory foam incorporated into the seat, skirt and knee rolls. This helps eliminate pressure points and acts as a shock absorber which really has made a difference to how I feel schooling and training at home, or in the arena at competitions.”

Gary and Who’s A Boozer Toast Success

gary-foggon-and-whos-a-boozerDerbyshire-based international rider Gary Foggon recently had a clean sweep at the Draught Horse Dressage Championships.

Held at Keysoe Equestrian Centre, Gary’s successes came riding Mark Caley’s home bred five-year-old, Who’s A Boozer, known as Charlie at home, and by the stallion Contago.

The Black Country Saddles team rider was delighted with Charlie, who at just

15.1hh, rose to the occasion gaining the highest score of the day in the Novice  section with a whopping score of 78.1%!

The win saw them taking the Novice Draught Horse Dressage Championship and the pair also saw off the opposition in their Novice Warm Up test to win with another high score of 74.8%.

Also making the three-and-a-half hour journey to Keysoe was Charlie’s stable mate Gypsy Fortune owned and bred by Gary.

The six-year-old mare by Grafenstolz finished off her qualification for the British Dressage Winter Regional finals by winning the Elementary and Medium.

Said Gary: “I am so excited as the horses felt on great form and together with the help from Black Country Saddles I had a brilliant feel when riding.

“Even with a few green mistakes they are both very talented young horses with more yet to come.”

Winter Time Saving Tips with Gary Foggon

gary-joeyWinter does not have to be all about dark nights and early mornings. In this issue international rider Gary Foggon of Team Black Country Saddles provides some handy hints to make good use of precious time throughout the autumn and winter.

  • Before bringing your horse in from the field, why not pick his feet out into a rubber skip which will save you having to spend time sweeping the yard. 

 

  • Always place a small plastic football or tennis ball in your horse’s water-bucket to prevent water freezing which allows constant access to water.

 

  • Buy plenty of haynets and fill them all at once, this can save time on dark mornings and nights.

 

  • Invest in a set of overalls to wear over your day-to-day clothes, this saves time changing and prevents unnecessary trips home. 

 

  • When turning your horse out in a morning, weather permitting, try to get  your stable ready for the evening.  If all the mucking out is done, water-buckets filled and haynets sorted, you won’t then need to do this in the evening leaving you more time to concentrate on your riding.

 

  • To save time on mucking out why not deep litter your horse’s bed until you have more time at the weekend.

 

  • When pushing a full wheelbarrow from the stable to the muck heap, be sure to throw over a sheet or blanket to prevent mess spilling onto the yard.  This will save you from having to sweep the yard.

 

  • Work together! Try and join up with a fellow horse owner at your yard and devise a rota where you take it in turns to bring each others horses in from the field or turn them out.  This will give you a little more free time.

 

  • Prepare buckets of hard feed in advance this can shave a few minutes off your daily routine.

 

  • Save time having to brush your horse by investing in a rug with a neck cover.  This is more likely to keep your horse clean and reduces time spent brushing and increases time spent riding. 

 

  • After riding, give both your saddle and bridle a quick wipe over every time it is used rather than leaving it until it is a major, time consuming task.

 

Gary’s Favourite Saddle…

Gary rides in the Dante Dressage Saddle from Black Country Saddles.

Says Gary: “As soon as you sit in the Dante you feel so comfortable due to the very soft and supple calf leather and memory foam incorporated into the seat, skirt and knee rolls. This helps eliminate pressure points and acts as a shock absorber which really has made a difference to how I feel schooling and training at home, or in the arena at competitions.”

Top Tips on Ringcraft for Winter Shows

jo-bates-and-elusive-hoys-champion-hackAs the rider and producer of Elusive the 2016 Hack of the Year at HOYS, Jo Bates has a wealth of experience in the world of showing. Here we talk to the Black Country Saddles rider about ringcraft and what the judge is looking for.

Ringcraft is the art of presenting and showing off your horse in the arena to allow the best possible chance of impressing the judge.

Showing is about making an instant impact and creating the best picture possible for the judge. As well as emphasising all the horse’s good points it is important to try and improve or hide the horse’s bad points.

The outcome of the class depends entirely on the judges’ opinions which are based on a sound knowledge of the requirements for each showing class.

Different judges place differing emphasis on criteria such as breed, manners, correctness of conformation and way of going.

A horse with good, well-balanced conformation will not only please the eye but should also be able to perform well, be more comfortable to ride and consequently remain sound.

Quality, class and overall refinement are essentials that a good show horse must have, whether it is a hunter or a cob.

It is important to know who will be judging and what they might like. Your horse’s success depends on your ability to place him before judges who will appreciate his qualities.

 Riding in the ring…

It is crucial that you present your horse at his best whenever the judge is looking at you. As you enter the ring, try and place yourself where your horse will stand out against the others in the arena.

When you are in the ring make sure you concentrate on what you are doing and keep an eye on the judge to know when they are looking.

The steward will then ask the class to move forward into trot. The trot needs to be well paced with an even flowing rhythm covering the ground. It is important that as you move up a pace that you keep plenty of space around you so the judge can see you at all times.

When moving into canter you might find it easier to use a corner to help get on the correct lead.  This said your horse should be well enough schooled to canter on the straight side as well.  The increase of pace should be smooth, flowing and balanced with the horse showing self-carriage.

The steward will then ask the class to change the rein and perform the same in the other direction. The steward will usually tell you to change the rein at the next corner and go across on a diagonal. Judges can often use this to look at how straight your horse moves along the line.

The gallop is used to show that your horse can extend and lower his stride without rushing. The rider should prepare the horse for the gallop, accelerating smoothly out of the corner.  It never looks great to put in a quick, short dash – the gallop should be a gallop down the long side from start to finish.

After the initial ‘go round’ the judge will be looking how to position everyone in the first line up, so don’t get boxed in make sure you are seen.

Depending on the class after this preliminary line up you will be expected to perform an individual show or the judge will ride your horse.

Jo’s favourite saddle…

Jo rides all her horses in the Classic Show Saddle from Black Country Saddles. 

Says Jo: “Without doubt the secret of a good saddle for showing is that when you sit on it for the first time it should be fabulously comfortable and after that you should never think about it again.

“A saddle should mould around the horse and provide a very close contact that allows you to sit into the horse and really feel their movement and what is going on underneath you.”

Good luck with your winter shows!

Saddle Helps Lucy to National Championships

Lucy and Boras at Port Royal

Dressage rider Lucy Bulmer was looking to upgrade to a new saddle for her 15-year-old Belgium Warmblood, Boras when she came across the Optima from Black Country.

The pair has been together since he was a young four-year-old and now compete at Prix St George level. Good friend Mary McGowan bought Boras for Lucy more than 10 years ago as a project after her then top horse had an injury.

Based near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Lucy now helps her sister run a clothing business and as well as running the shop they are also busy out and about with a stand at shows and events.

Said Lucy: “Over the last few years I have scaled down my riding and teaching to concentrate on the shop but still have ambitions and want to do as well as I can with Boras.

“I was looking for a new saddle and having tried many with the help of the team at North Yorkshire Saddles I was just delighted when I had a sit on the Black Country Saddles Optima model.

“I couldn’t believe how comfortable it was for both Boras and me and having ridden in it a few times it has really helped my sitting trot.

“I tried a lot of saddles and this was the only one that I truly felt made a difference to both of us.”

The new Optima dressage saddle was quickly put to good use with Lucy and Boras qualifying for the British Dressage National Championships when winning the Northern Regional Gold Prix St George championship at Port Royal.

Added Lucy: “Black Country Saddles will definitely be my first port of call next time I need a new one and a couple of my friends have recently bought one and are also delighted.”

Lisa’s Saddle Delight

It is always great to receive feedback from happy customers and this one from Lisa Paddleford and her local dealer Trumbull Mountain we just had to share…

…”I know I’ve told you this several times, but can I tell you just one more time how much I (and my horses) LOVE my Black Country Vinici Dressage and Black Country Equinox saddles? After riding the sore-backed horse just three times over the weekend and yesterday in the Black Country Saddle (which fit him perfectly, too!), he’s already improved. Now you can literally feel him relax as he goes along in the saddle – like my other horse, he’s figuring out this saddle doesn’t hurt and allows him to move freely without pinching.  Also, they are the most comfortable saddles I’ve ever ridden in.  Recently, a friend watched one of my lessons and complimented me on my “beautiful and correct position” – my old dressage saddle put me in a chair seat but the Black Country aligns me perfectly (and naturally). My trainer and I are amazed at how I’ve progressed in my riding since getting the Black Country saddles. (She is so grateful that she gets to ride in such wonderful saddles, too!)  I look forward to jump lessons in the Black Country Vinici Jump saddle!” Lisa