The Black Country Saddles team had a fantastic trip across the pond recently for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day-Event.
Rob and John caught up with many of their valued customers throughout the event which was a great success.
Regular visitors to this fantastic competition, Rob and John were on hand to promote and explain the many benefits of riding in one of their saddles whether riding at the highest level or choosing a saddle for leisure activities.
The top place at Rolex Kentucky went to Fischerrocana FST and Michael Jung of Germany.
Their score of 39.3 penalties beat Tim Price of New Zealand on Wesko, who finished on 40.3 penalties and Jung on his second mount, La Biosthetique Sam FBW who came home with a score of 44.7 penalties.
Fischerrocana, 10, show jumped first of the three top-placed horses, and she put the pressure on her rivals by completing an absolutely faultless round. When Jung returned later on Sam, he lowered fences 8C and 10.
Still, Price had to be perfect to win the $100,000 winner’s prize. Riding Wesko he also lowered fence 10, and had to settle for second place and $44,000.
This was the 35th consecutive year that Rolex Watch USA has sponsored the Kentucky Three-Day Event, the longest corporate sponsorship in horse sports. Jung returned to Germany wearing the Rolex watch that always goes to the winner.
THE team at Black Country Saddles were pleasantly surprised when they added up the number of riders, ponies and horses taking championship titles at the North of England Spring Show – all riding in one of their saddles.
Said Wendy Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “The Show Pony Championship was the class that really hit me. I forgot to watch the actual ponies going round as I became engrossed on counting the number of competitors riding in a Black Country Saddle.
“Showing is a wonderful discipline for us and the feedback we get from competitors about how comfortable our saddles are is fantastic.
“In the Show Pony Championship five out of the six riders were riding in a Black Country Saddle which gave me a real buzz, it was brilliant to see.
“Watching Poppy Carter and Rotherwood Rainmaker take the championship was amazing, they looked as good as ever at the start of the season,” she added.
The Classic Show Saddle is a winner with so many competitors, not least Poppy’s mum Katy who is well known for her ultra-high standards when it comes to turn out and that overall picture of style and elegance.
Katy relies on the Black Country Classic Show Saddle for the horses and ponies she produces recognising the importance of a saddle that both fits correctly and helps to enhance the appearance of horse and rider.
Says Katy: “The Black Country Classic Show Saddle is simply the best saddle available for show ponies. Soft leather makes it comfortable to ride in from day one and the design and craftsmanship help to put the rider in the correct position, to produce the perfect winning picture.
“The low cantle helps provide a flatter seat for a neater appearance, with the close profile of the saddle helping to show off and enhance the overall picture, so important in the world of showing.”
Leading showman Robert Walker has amassed a host of major championships over the years whether riding Show Hunters, Riding Horses, Hacks or Cobs. Well known for his attention to detail and making sure his horses look in fantastic condition, Robert’s horses are always a picture of health.
Name: Robert Walker
How and when did you start riding?
I probably sat on a pony even before I could walk, but certainly as soon as I was able to sit upright on a pony. My dad Tony was keen to get me started and I never looked back.
During your career has there been a particular horse that you consider to have really helped you ‘make it’?
I would have to say the Small Hunter, Double Coin. I had him when I was 16 and we went to the Royal International Horse Show for the first time. I was pulled in top out of 43 and suddenly everyone sat up and took notice. We eventually finished third but it was very much a turning point.
Which top horse do you personally most admire and why?
I would have to go for Caesar’s Palace as he combines real quality and class with a trainable attitude. He just knows he is special and if he were human would be George Clooney!
Tell us about the tack you use?
We are very fortunate to be sponsored by Black Country Saddles. The team at Black Country Saddles have many years’ experience when it comes to fitting and making saddles and we are delighted to have their support. When it comes to showing, the overall image and look is just so important when you are in the ring and as well as being the perfect fit for horse and rider, the saddles also have to be comfortable for the judges to ride in. We are very impressed with the saddles and are looking forward to riding our Show Hunters, Hacks, Riding Horses and Cobs in them this season.
If you could give one piece of advice to readers, what would it be?
I think it is very important to be committed to your chosen discipline and also to watch and learn from the professionals. Everyone is happy to provide advice and we want to encourage amateur riders to come up through the ranks and be as professional in their production skills and outlook as they can.
What are your plans for 2015?
We have a great team of young horses to get out and about on the show circuit this year so at the early events it is our job to educate them and provide them with a good experience they will remember at their early shows. Once the season is underway we always look forward to Royal Windsor Horse Show and then it is all about qualification for the Royal International Horse Show followed by HOYS.
Horse name: Caesar’s Palace Stable name: Caesar
Owner: Jill Day Colour: Bay Sex: Gelding Height: 16.31/2hh
Age: Six-years-old Breed: Irish Sport Horse Sire: Emperor August
Caesar’s Palace took the Show Hunter Championship at HOYS last year after winning the Middleweight category. We first caught sight of him at the Royal Dublin Horse Show. His owner Jill Day had seen him and wanted us to take a closer look. You could see he was a star even as a two-year-old and went on to be Youngstock Champion at this prestigious show. Like all top class show horses he just has that ‘look at me’ attitude that horses are born with. You can improve them in many ways but they have to stand out from the rest in a class and attract the judge’s attention.
The Frelsi saddle has been designed specifically for Icelandic horses. After facing many challenging fit issues, much work and research within the Dutch market we have a greater understanding of what is required.
Typically Icelandics have short backs limiting the seat size, however this tree features a new cantle design allowing more room for the rider. We offer three different styles of back gussets and other panel options to accommodate the range of profiles within the breed.
It comes complete with extra D rings and the choice of 5 standard straps or dressage style straps.
The Frelsi Icelandic saddle is suitable for trail riding, dressage and gaited competition
Even if it’s an All Purpose saddle for everyday that you want, why not spoil yourself with a Vinici.
Whatever your level of riding this truly superb saddle will give you and your horse the ultimate in comfort, style and performance.
Built on the principle of the GPX model. The girthing system lies neatly between the cushioned sweat flap, so as to avoid any discomfort.
Take advantage of all the benefits that a Vinici single/mono flap, close contact saddle has to offer – just for everyday! – “ a true indulgence”
Here the team at Black Country Saddles provide advice on what to look for when buying a new show jumping saddle…
I am looking at buying a jumping saddle for my horse, what should I be looking for in my new purchase?
Rob Cullen of Black Country Saddles replies:
Both show jumping and cross-country requires the rider to be athletic and in balance with their horse at all times.
Making sure you have the right saddle that fits the horse and is comfortable for the rider is key to success whether competing at a local or international level.
The modern jumping saddle has been designed to provide a close contact fit to help the rider sit close to the horse and with their weight balanced.
As ever, designs vary in style and colour and there are some saddles that are made using a single or mono flap system that allows the rider to have a closer feel around the horse.
It is important for a rider to feel their horse working underneath the saddle in order to get the best out of them. This level of communication is greatly enhanced by a single flap jumping saddle.
Jumping saddles are designed with knee and thigh blocks to help support the rider’s leg position, and the forward cut flap helps assist balance in the saddle.
When deciding on which saddle to buy make sure it is one that is designed to allow maximum performance from the rider as well as the horse.
As with all saddles we recommend that you use an experienced saddle fitter to get the very best advice.
Always pay great attention to the saddle’s flocking, it needs to provide cushioning to help reduce trauma to the back when jumping. A saddle that is over-stuffed will be too hard causing soreness on the horse’s back.
The forces involved with a big horse taking off, stretching over a fence and landing on the other side are tremendous, so the saddle must sit well and minimise the effect of jarring to the horse’s back.
If comfort, style and longevity are what you are looking for a saddle made from top quality leather is just what you need. Remember cheaper leather can have a tendency to be slippery and not provide a secure seat with good grip.
Choosing to buy a bespoke saddle will help ensure it is fitted by trained experts who understand your horse’s needs.
Compromise should not be an option when deciding on your new show jumping saddle. Ideally the saddle should maximise your partnership with the horse and balance comfort with style and performance.
Black Country Saddles sponsored showman Robert Walker discusses the importance of correct tack and turnout for Show and Working Hunters and provides advice on how to make your horse look his best.
First and foremost, it is important to realise that every class and type of horse is required to wear different styles of tack. However one thing is a necessity…. no matter what class you enter all tack must be fitted correctly and be comfortable for the horse. Turnout is also extremely important therefore special attention should be paid to how your horse looks in the ring.
Ideally, Show Hunters should be ridden in a double bridle and the noseband must be a simple, plain, flat cavesson. The size of the noseband used depends on the horse’s head. You can make a lot of difference to whether the head is large or small by making sure the noseband enhances the appearance.
I like Show Hunters to wear a straight cut saddle with a plain brown or black numnah. The Black Country Classic Show Saddle offers style and elegance when in the show arena.
It 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 neater appearance with the close profile of the saddle helping to show off and enhance the overall picture which is so important in the world of showing.
For turnout, Show Hunters must be plaited with a neatly pulled tail. Make sure all whiskers, ears and heel feather is trimmed to give your horse a more defined outline.
For Working Hunters the turnout is the same as a Show Hunter however the tack differs. I would always opt for a General Purpose or Working Hunter style saddle which gives enough security for you to jump in, whilst at the same time does not cover too much of the horse’s shoulder, hindering the appearance.
Bright numnahs and square saddle pads are a ‘no no’ whilst brown or black numnahs – which aren’t too big for the saddle – are the norm. In Working Hunter classes you are also allowed to use a martingale if you need to.