Rolex Kentucky Success for Black Country Saddles Team

LONGSTANDING supporters of the prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Black Country Saddlers partners Rob Cullen and John Hartley once again attending this exciting event.

The Black Country Saddles range is proving more popular than ever across the United States and so it proved highly beneficial to have doubled their stand space this time around.

Eventing, dressage and show jumping competitors as well as leisure riders are choosing the Black Country Saddles range knowing that the highly qualified Black Country Saddles dealers across America are available to discuss their requirements.

The bespoke options from the Black Country Saddles collections ensure riders get the very best saddle for both themselves and their horse or pony.

Throughout the event, the team on the stand ran a daily competition to win a Black Country Saddles jacket which proved exciting amongst the many visitors.

Said Rob: “It is always great to talk to horse owners and riders to get their feedback and to spend quality time with our dealers in person in America. It was quite simply put, a fantastic few days.

“The Dante range continues to be a huge success and it was interesting talking to riders as they sat on the different models we had on display listening to their feedback as to which saddle suited them the best, and why so.

“The support we get from the dealers says everything about the ethos of the Black Country Saddles family with each sharing their extensive saddlery knowledge with the constant queue of enthusiastic visitors to the stand.

“Dealers present included Patty Merli, Bob Cooper, Bryan Lynch, Amanda Berges, Ann Jacobson, Faye Flynn and new dealer Dianne Pulles from Michigan who is also making the trip over the pond to visit HQ next week.”

Regular visitors to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Rob, John and the dealers 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.

This was the 37th consecutive year that Rolex Watch USA has sponsored the Kentucky Three-Day Event, the longest corporate sponsorship in horse sports.

Sharpening Your Horse’s Focus

Here Black Country Saddles sponsored event rider, Sara Squires offers some useful advice on ensuring your horse is responsive and reacts positively, no matter what the situation.

Explains Sara:

The essence of success is to train your horse to be careful. This means he must remain focused throughout a competition so he has the ability to react as necessary, thinking on his feet throughout.

I believe that when training your horse to jump, you must introduce lots of variety.

The aim is to keep your horse alert, keep him concentrating and therefore get him to respond to everything he is faced with in a quick but measured way. 

You should also take this opportunity to reflect on your own riding. Your horse can feel how comfortable you are in the saddle, and if you are disorganised, this is likely to transfer through to your horse being disorganised which will be reflected in his jump form.

So, firstly consider whether you are sitting comfortably and riding with a positive rhythm. Then reflect on whether you have got control of his shoulder and if he is sitting on his hindleg. Finally, is your horse straight and heading for the middle of the jump?

If you are positive about all these points, you are creating the best opportunity for your horse to jump cleanly.

Once you are comfortable with these points, you should start to work on his reaction times so he has the ability to react quickly while jumping, but is also responsive to your aids on the flat too.

You are aiming to get to a position where you can close your heel and your leg around his sides and that on its own is enough to get him into a forward trot. If this is not immediately achievable work on lots of transitions with your aids as light as possible, if necessary using the tickle of a whip. By getting him to react to the smallest of aids, you are preparing him for far greater levels of reaction when you need them.

Try the following exercises to build on your success:

Exercise One – Slow Down and be Thoughtful

With an upright fence that falls easily, add some V-poles. The V-poles will 

actually make your horse back off from the jump, thereby encouraging him to think about how to tackle it first.

You need to focus on your horse heading straight forward with a positive rhythm, whilst you maintain a supportive leg.

Exercise Two – Placing his Feet

 

Create a small upright with canter poles on the take-off and landing side, three metres from the fence. Start with a low fence but be ready to increase the height as your horse’s confidence grows.

For this exercise, your horse will have to focus on exactly where he is putting his feet because of the poles, and just as importantly, will have to focus on what he does after he lands.

Once again, your horse will have to slow down his approach, giving him some thinking time as to how to tackle the fence.

Your focus with this exercise should be a straight approach again, maintaining a positive rhythm and encouraging your horse to find his own balance.

Exercise Three – Increasing the Number of Fences

 Build three small fences, three metres apart. This will teach your horse to jump and think quickly, and ultimately, you can add as many fences as you like to this exercise.

Again in this exercise, give your horse a good, straight approach and focus on balance. Maintain a neutral upper body position rather than throwing your upper body forward.

These fences require a short, active canter and you should find this naturally with the exercise.

When it comes to jumping this is another easy exercise to incorporate.

Use a line of five canter poles set out seven yards apart with a cross pole at the end.  As you make progress the jump can then be made into an upright and then an oxer, increasing the height as required.

This teaches the horse and the rider the correct jumping canter and balance required on the approach to the fence.

The exercise is useful for both young and more experienced horses and I tend to use it once a week with all my horses.

The Vinci Jump

 The choice of saddle that Sara uses for both show jumping and cross country is the Black Country Saddle Vinici Jump.

Said Sara: “The saddles include the latest innovations in design and this really gives me confidence knowing that whether I am competing at a show jumping event or tackling a major cross-country course that I am riding in the best saddles available today.

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

Woodview Shangri-La is Victorious in The Price Family Mini Show Pony of the Year Championship at HOYS

Katrina Kozersky’s British Riding Pony, Woodview Shangri-La and daughter Alina Kozersky were picture-perfect from start to finish in The Price Family Mini Show Pony of the Year Championship at HOYS.

After taking the First Ridden title, they went one better to secure the overall Championship. 

The Champion title was a particularly poignant win for Black Country Saddles sponsored rider and producer Katy Carter who originally bought Woodview Shangri-La as a three-year-old and broke her in.

The mare has been with other children before coming to Katrina two seasons ago for 10-year-old Alina to ride. She came back to Katy’s yard in June where Katy continues to produce her.

Said Katy: “We love having her back on the yard. She’s an absolute sweetheart… she was faultless in the arena.

An easy pony to do, Katy explained how they just “ticked her over with a light bit of work” together with plenty of “time in the field” in preparation for HOYS.

Slightly lost for words, Alina’s delighted mum Katrina said: “What a result. She’s a true child’s pony.”

The Price Family Lead Rein Pony of the Year gives children under the age of seven the opportunity to ride in a competitive environment, while The Price Family First Ridden Pony of the Year gives riders under the age of 10 their first chance at riding in the ring by themselves. First and second place from each go forward to the Championship.

Successful Outing for the Youngsters

As the 2017 eventing season draws to a close Black Country Saddles sponsored event and dressage rider, Sara Squires writes about her recent competitions and team of horses.

In early October we took the young horses to Swalcliffe One-Day-Event with Sienna – also known as Royal Prospect – competing in her first event and the four-year-old Ede Peasy taking part in her third event.

The two horses did really good dressage tests and jumped well.  I was very pleased as both horses finished in the ribbons with Ede taking second place and Sienna finishing fourth.

The following weekend Sienna competed at Weston Park, in Shropshire and again I was very pleased with how she went.  I had always planned to run her non-competitively with the aim just to get her more experience before the season finished.

I have one more event in the middle of October with her and then it is the turn of the dressage horses to take centre-stage and I will be busy going out and competing them.

I currently have nine horses in to ride, train and compete with some taking time out while the others become my main focus. 

Ede Peasy, also known as Ede is a four-year-old chestnut mare.  She stands 17hh and is Hanoverian-bred and currently at BE90cm level eventing.

Royal Prospect, stable name Sienna, is five-years-old and a chestnut mare.  A 16hh, Sports Horse, she is eventing at BE90cm level.

Billy Jean D, known as Billy at home is a bay mare aged six. Another standing 17hh, she too is from Hanoverian breeding and competes in eventing and dressage at Novice Level.

Carla Bruni is a six-year-old known as Carla.  She is a 16hh, Hanoverian, competing at Medium level dressage.

Bonfire Heart, or Bonfire, is a seven-year-old chestnut gelding. Of Oldenburg breeding, he is 16.1hh and competes in dressage at Novice/Elementary.

Victor Niro Cassidy Z, known as Victor, is a four-year-old bay gelding.  At 16.1hh, he is a Belgium warmblood, and is eventing at BE90cm level.

Icco is a four-year-old bay gelding.  Standing 16.2hh, he is a Dutch warmblood and is eventing at BE90cm level.

Wellfields Lincoln, known as Lincoln, is a four-year-old bay gelding.  He is a British warmblood, 16.1hh, and eventing at BE90cm level.

Finally there is Sula Blue, also known as Anakin. He is a 16-year-old Thoroughbred stallion, standing 16.1hh, dark brown and eventing at CCI3*/4* level.

Sophie Wells Awarded Horse of the Year Show Equestrian of the Year

Black Country Saddles sponsored rider Sophie Wells was presented with the prestigious Horse of the Year Show 2017 Equestrian of the Year Award on the opening night of the end of season finale.

Fresh from her time on the podium at the Para-European Dressage Championships in August, Sophie was presented with the award under the Andrews Bowen International Arena spotlight.

Sophie has been in amazing form this season following on from her many major successes in recent years.

Said Mark Bryan, Managing Director of Black Country Saddles: “We are all delighted that Sophie’s hard work and commitment to the sport has led to her being presented with the HOYS 2017 Equestrian of the Year Award.  It is well deserved and everyone in the team is very proud of her many achievements.”

Sophie’s brilliant team of horses have included Touchdown M and her ride at the 2009 Europeans, Pinnocchio, where they successfully won three gold medals, the first gold a British rider had ever won at grade V (then grade IV).

Sophie and Pinocchio went on to win a gold medal in the 2010 World Championships and Sophie also became the first para-rider to compete in an able-bodied championship team at the Young Rider Europeans.   At the 2012 Paralympics in London, Sophie won a gold medal cheered on by the home crowd.

The 2016 Rio Paralympic Games saw Sophie and Valerius, her 15-year-old gelding, win another individual gold medal before 2017 beckoned.

This year Sophie won the Prix St George Winter Championship title with C Fatal Attraction, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Charlotte Hogg.

At the Para-European Dressage Championships in August, Sophie took individual championship silver, individual freestyle gold and team gold in Gothenburg, once again riding C Fatal Attraction, putting in another fantastic performance.

Sophie is currently ranked as second on the FEI World Para-Equestrian rankings and received a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list.

Great Run for Sara Squires

Here Black Country Saddles sponsored event rider Sara Squires keeps us up to date with her latest competition form.

In the middle of August we travelled to Hartpury for the Burghley Young Event Horse class which was a first outing for one of my young horses LB.

Imported from Germany, LB is just a five-year-old but I think a great deal about her already.

She arrived in England recently meaning it was asking a lot to take her to an event so quickly but she has a brilliant temperament and I decided to give it a go.

LB behaved impeccably to come tenth in the five-year-old class. Another of the youngsters, Victor also went for a party to Hartpury and was very good in the four-year-old class just missing out on a top 10 placing.

The Burghley Young Event Horse classes are still so popular and really give young horses a great opportunity to compete at major events while they are learning and developing their skills for the future. 

Following on from Hartpury we travelled to Aston Le Walls in Northamptonshire where we took four horses for the unaffiliated one-day-event. This was the first event for the two four-year-olds Lincoln and Victor, and we also had LB on the horsebox for a run while Billy Jean headed for the BE 100 section.

I was delighted with how well all the horses performed throughout what proved a very busy event. Billy came third, Lincoln finished tenth and LB jumped a lovely double clear. Victor was still a bit green on the cross-country and had a glance off at one of the fences but was good otherwise and I was very pleased with the results overall.

Our busy few days continued on the Tuesday when we set off to West Wilts BE event. LB was entered for the five-year-old class and completed a nice dressage test for 27 penalties to get us off to a good start.

In the show jumping he went a bit green and had a couple of rails down so we didn’t run on the cross-country.  Billy Jean again performed a good dressage test getting a score of 27.8 before going clear in the show jumping and on the cross-country to take a much welcome second place in the Novice section.

It was back to West Wilts the following day for the four-year-old class where Lincoln posted a 23.3 dressage score and jumped double clear to qualify for the four-year-old championships at Osberton.   That was certainly one box ticked and I am so pleased with his results and progress.

Victor also completed a good test for 24.3 penalties and then had an unlucky four faults in the show jumping and a green stop on the cross-country.  It just wasn’t his day but there is plenty more to come and we have no need to rush any of the youngsters as they make their way up the competition scales.

Thanks to my sponsor Black Country Saddles for their fabulous support.  Riding in the saddles is just fantastic with the fit and performance key to my success.

International Rider Sara Squires Joins Black Country Saddles Team

Gloucestershire-based event and dressage rider Sara Squires has joined the Black Country Saddles sponsored team.

Sara is a well-established international rider who started riding and competing full-time in 2010 and quickly made her mark at the top of the sport.

Having a team of eight horses to campaign with, Sara has competed successfully at both Badminton and Burghley International Horse Trials.

Said Sara: “My Black Country Saddles are just fantastic and I feel very fortunate to have secured sponsorship from them.

“The saddles include the latest innovations in design and this really gives me confidence knowing that whether I am competing at a dressage event or tackling a major cross-country course I am riding in the best saddles available today.”

Sara’s team include both young horses just starting out on their careers and competing at 90cm level to top-level 4* names aiming for the major events.

In June this year Sara and Sula Blue completed Bramham CCI3* coming 16th and qualifying for 4* competitions.

Lady Moylisha her 10-year-old Irish-bred mare competed in her first CIC2* at Nunney International to finish fourth and Ramexicos Man an eight-year-old gelding was placed third in his first Intermediate at the same event, qualifying for the Novice Championships at Gatcombe.

On the dressage front, the six-year-old Carla Bruni, recently came fifth in the Medium Silver and ninth in the Elementary Gold South West Regional Finals while Billy Jean, her six-year-old Hanoverian mare now has a fourth and seventh to her name after completing a few Novice events successfully.

Always having her eye on the future, Sara has three new horses in the form of Icco and Victor, both four-year-old geldings that are being aimed at their first events.

LB is Sara’s new five-year-old that was recently imported from Germany and will start eventing this autumn to try and qualify for the five-year-old championships.

Conquering that Daunting Debut at HOYS

In the run up to HOYS it is important to be as prepared as you can be without turning yourself and everyone around you into a nervous wreck!

The main aim is to be confident in the ring and to know exactly where you need to be at the show, when you need to be there and what will be required from you on the day.

This is obviously where forward planning comes in and also having someone with you who has competed at HOYS before is great for confidence. 

Without doubt it is a big occasion and the nerves are bound to be on overdrive as the day draws near.

There is such a build up to the event and it can be very overwhelming for any rider whatever their age and experience, and then it is over in a flash and can be very disappointing if you don’t come home with a rosette.

The hype and atmosphere there is amazing and to be able to enjoy the buzz and the feeling should be a very good experience for both horse and rider. The showing arena has an electric feel and is often very busy with all the horses and riders converging for their classes.

I try to look at it as a celebration and ensure any riders we are helping thoroughly enjoy the day rather than worry about winning or not. As long as the horse or pony goes nicely and looks well we will all be pleased, hoping that it is a positive experience for everyone.

 

In preparation we would always run through the day at home and visit an indoor arena but the horses and ponies keep to a variety of work including time in the field, ensuring the work load is as normal as possible.

My job on the day is to ensure that horse and rider enjoys the occasion and is ready for the ring. It is such an exciting event and often the first time can be very disappointing.

Once you hit the collecting ring you are quickly into the ring as soon as they are ready so keeping yourself calm and relaxed is essential for ensuring your horse or pony is stress free and ready to show themselves off at their best.

Goodluck!

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.”

Gary Foggon Helps Prepare Chilli for Her First Event

To celebrate their 25th Anniversary Black Country Saddles launched a competition on their Facebook page to win a lesson with event rider Gary Foggon.

The lucky winner was Becky Bingham from Westwoodside near Doncaster, who travelled to Gary’s Derbyshire yard with her six-year-old mare, Chilli.

Becky bought Chilli as an untouched two-year-old, describing her as ‘a bit wild’, with ambitions to compete in eventing.

An experienced rider, Becky started the grey mare herself and they have been regularly competing in dressage and show jumping while working towards their first event at Frickley Hall.

On winning the competition, Becky was excited to be able to take advantage of the lesson with Gary, who has a particular interest in dressage and eventing, and get an honest view of their progress.

During the lesson Gary helped Becky with her position in the saddle, which by Becky’s own admission needed ‘tidying up’, by encouraging her to sit up and carry her hands higher, enabling her to be more effective in the saddle.

Said Becky: “Gary gave me a lot to think about as I need to break habits that I have gained from years or riding youngsters.” 

They then moved on to working on bringing Chilli up off the forehand by riding circles, transitions and pushing out sideways to help engage her hind legs more.

After her initial shock at winning the competition, Becky was more than happy to make the two hour journey to Buxton. “It was a fantastic experience, I really enjoyed the lesson. Gary was so friendly and put me at ease. I only wish he lived nearer to me as I would have been looking to have regular lessons with him,” added Becky.

As well as the lesson Becky’s prize also included a Black Country Saddles girth and branded jacket and saddlecloth.

Homegrown Phoenix Takes Show Hunter Championships

AN electric atmosphere greeted competitors in the TopSpec Arena for the Black Country Saddles Show Hunter Championship at this year’s Equifest.

And having made the leap from dressage to showing just four months ago, Homegrown Phoenix ridden by Elliot Dowler claimed the championship spoils.

The 12-year-old bay gelding started his winning ways when heading the Middleweight Hunters earlier in the day before moving into the TopSpec Arena for the evening performance. 

Brought over from Ireland in April by the Miller family, Phoenix as he is known at home is produced by their daughter-in-law Leona Sanders from Bury St Edmunds.

Ridden by family friend, Elliot, Phoenix previously competed in dressage over in Ireland and started in the show ring in June this year. 

Said Leona: “It was fantastic to watch Elliot and Phoenix in the evening performance, the atmosphere was just fantastic but he behaved impeccably and never put a foot wrong.

“We are having great fun with him and have also qualified for HOYS which we are all very excited about.

“Phoenix has a wonderful temperament and has taken to showing brilliantly.  He has a lot of presence and was just superb on the evening.”

A Busy Year for Izzy Palmer

Towards the end of 2016, young Izzy Palmer was re-selected for another two years of opportunity for learning and development on the lottery funded World Class Podium Potential Programme.

Izzy rides the well known dressage names – Pinocchio and Touchdown M, who both belong to Black Country Saddles sponsored Sophie Wells.  Indeed Sophie is her mentor and trainer during which time their relationship has gone from strength to strength.

Said Izzy: “I first started by riding Pinocchio who is just a star.  Then more recently Sophie suggested I have a go to see how I would get on with Touchdown M who I now just love.  He is very talented and is teaching me a lot.  I am very grateful to Sophie for the opportunity and for all of her help.” 

Izzy was born with Cerebral Palsy and travels to Sophie’s base in Nottinghamshire from her home in Leeds to train with her mentor at least twice a week.

Their first major competition was the British Dressage Gold Winter Para Championships and Izzy said afterwards that both Touchdown and Pinocchio felt fantastic. Touchdown and Izzy won to become the Grade 4 (previously grade 3) winter champions and she also came third on Pinocchio.

Izzy was then selected to take part in her first senior international abroad at Deauville CPEDI 3* at the end of March, again with both Pinocchio and Touchdown. This was a big learning experience for her and she was proud of the boys coming away with superb results, a win for Touchdown in the individual championship test with Pinocchio third, before a win which included Pinocchio in the freestyle and a second and fifth in the team test!

It was then time for a quieter couple of months whilst Izzy focused on revision for her GCSE exams which have now finished. However, she managed a quick break in the middle of revising to take part in the British Dressage Gold semi-finals at Wellington. Here, the boys yet again made her proud with a win and second place, qualifying for the finals at the National Championships at Stoneleigh in September.

Izzy has also been fortunate to win the Young Disability Sportswoman Award at the Leeds Sports Awards and the Woman of Achievement in Sport at the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards.

Izzy is currently reserve for the para European Championships in Gothenburg with Touchdown M after winning the team and individual tests on Pinocchio at Hartpury CPDI and coming second and third on Touchdown M.

Both Pinocchio and Touchdown are ridden in a Black Country Saddle with Izzy riding Pinocchio in the Black Country Vinici dressage saddle with Touchdown in the new Black Country Dante Vinici.

Both saddles are very comfortable for her and the horses and said Izzy: “I love the close contact feel, especially with my disability.”

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

Master Bandsman Plays the Tune at Equifest

CerysFord-BCSHunterChampion-Equifest2016THE Black Country Saddles Show Hunter championship at Equifest provided a feast of quality on the Thursday Evening Performance.

With the first and second from the Lightweight, Middleweight and Heavyweight sections through, judges Richard Ramsey and Kevin Lee had the difficult task of choosing the Champion and Reserve in the electric atmosphere.

Said Wendy Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “We were delighted to sponsor the Show Hunter Championship in such a wonderful atmosphere.

“Equifest is a great show and we always see so many of our existing customers and many new ones.”

Winner of the Middleweight section, Cerys Ford and the charismatic, eight-year-old chestnut Master Bandsman were the judges’ choice taking the Championship after much deliberation and a close run competition with Karl Standing and the magnificent Golden Inca Cross who had won the Heavyweight class.

Cery’s and Master Bandsman also compete in Side Saddle classes and continued their excellent run at both Equifest and throughout the season where they have had an excellent run of success.

Karl and the huge Golden Inca Cross put in a sterling performance in the Championship, galloping their heart out in a bid to secure the title.

Gary Foggon and Gypsy Fortune Head to the National Dressage Championships

Gary Foggon and Gypsy Fortune at Port RoyalDerbyshire-based Gary Foggon and Gypsy Fortune have continued their rise up the dressage ranks by qualifying for the National Championships.

Competing at the Port Royal Regionals the pair secured their ticket by finishing second in the Elementary Gold section on a score of 73.75%.

Gary and Gypsy Fortune, a 16.2hh bay mare, have been in excellent form and have great support from their sponsor Black Country Saddles who designed and made a saddle especially for them.

Said Gary: “Gypsy Fortune is a star and we couldn’t have wished for more at the regional championships, there was a great atmosphere and she went really well in the class.

“Throughout the summer months she has become more engaged in her way of going with great expression and cadence throughout the test.”

As well as the second in the Elementary Gold, Gary was also fifth in the Novice Gold section, just missing out on qualification in a very strong class pipped by the last competitor in the arena.

 “Gypsy Fortune is a home-bred mare by Grafenstolz out of the first horse I owned, Bonny Bank Jay Jay who competed right up to Advanced level British Eventing and competed successfully to PSG in dressage,” said Gary.

“I named her after a gypsy told my fortune, I’m very sceptic, but when she told me I had a filly foal and my mare was back in foal which was going to be a colt I was captivated, she then went on to tell me my filly was always going to be in the ribbons. Looking back so far she has been right!

“A huge amount of team work goes into getting horses ready from trainers, farriers, physio’s, chiropractors, grooms, family and friends. Having a correctly fitted saddle that allows my horses to move to the best of their ability, which I have found with Black Country Saddles, is so important and I am very delighted and honoured to have Black Country Saddles as part of the team.”

TV Debut for Young Dressage Rider

Sophie and IzzyPARA dressage rider, Izzy Palmer has caught the attention of the media recently with a television crew for ITV visiting the home of her trainer, mentor and good friend Sophie Wells to film a piece on their relationship and Paralympic dreams.

Izzy recently started to ride Sophie’s horse Pinocchio, the wonderful chestnut gelding, now 19-years-old and responsible for rocketing Sophie into the Para-dressage spotlight.

Together they won Paralympic World and European gold and silver medals in team and individual competitions before Sophie retired him from Para competitions in 2012 and then able-bodied classes at Grand Prix level in July last year.

Sophie and Izzy are both sponsored by Black Country Saddles and had a great time filming the news piece.

Fifteen-year-old Izzy was born with Cerebral Palsy and travels to Sophie’s base in Nottinghamshire from her home in Leeds to train with her mentor and is thoroughly enjoying the experience.

“I am very fortunate to have such amazing support from Sophie and to ride Pinnochio is just so special,” said Izzy.

“We make the trip at least twice a week usually before school so it is a very early start but I am really determined to succeed in the sport and follow Sophie’s fantastic success.”

Added Sophie: “I very much enjoy helping Izzy who has developed a great partnership with Pinnochio and it is wonderful to see their progress.

“Izzy is on the Podium Potential Squad as part of the World Class Programme and has her sights firmly set at the top of the sport so everyone is doing their best to help her get there.”

Black Country Saddles Sponsor Ridden Hunter Championship at Equifest

Equifest logo1Staffordshire-based Black Country Saddles has announced an exciting new sponsorship at Equifest 2016 and will be supporting the Ridden Hunter Championship.

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

Said Wendy Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “Equifest is a fantastic event and we are delighted to be sponsoring the prestigious Ridden Hunter Championship on the Thursday evening.

“It is now such a popular show and bearing in mind that last year our stand was so busy we decided we wanted to support the event by sponsoring one of the championships.”

Many leading competitors now ride in the Black Country Classic Show Saddle which  offers 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 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.

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

More than 20 years of expertise has been combined to produce the saddle, using a specialist tree and the very best materials available today.

Perfecting Your Show Ring Gallop with Jayne Ross

Jayne Ross photo by Julian PortchDo you ride a Show Hunter, Show Cob, Working Hunter or Riding Horse? If so you will be required to gallop in the ring at a show.

You will be asked to gallop in the go-round after walk, trot and canter with other competitors so preparation is key.

The gallop pace forms an essential aspect of the marking criteria so it is very important that you get it right. I have judged and ridden several horses which have won a class with their gallop, so it could be the difference between a winning place or one half way down the line.

To achieve a correct gallop that will wow the judges, it is essential that you practice at home before expecting your horse to perform in the ring. When first teaching your horse to gallop, it is a good idea to ask him for a few strides in the school first, where it is a confined space, in case he gets excited. This also helps the horse to come back to you easily, which is a key element of the gallop and provides confidence in an environment they are used to.

The judge will be looking for a positive pace which moves forward easily into an extension with a lowered head and neck and then an obedient transition back to the canter.

It is crucial that your horse is off your leg and reacts to your aids for gallop. Practicing some ‘on and back’ will help to sharpen him up and also improve the downwards transition which should appear seamless and without any inconsistencies in the contact.

Once you have mastered the art of lengthening in the school, practice galloping in an open field where you will be able to open your horse out more. If he is a bit reluctant to go forwards, ride with another horse because this usually works a treat to help brighten them up. When practicing ask for a little more each time, rather than flat out to begin with, because this will teach the horse to lengthen gradually.

To ask for the gallop, adopt a slightly forward seat (like you would when cross country riding) loosen the reins by pushing your hands forward and ask him forward with a subtle leg aid. When making the downwards transition sit up into a conventional position and drop deeper into the saddle and gradually bring the hands back to their usual position.

Make sure you practice the gallop on both reins as although it is usually the left rein that you are asked to perform it on, you never know what the judge is going to ask you on the day!

It is also important to make sure your tack fits and allows freedom of movement for your horse.

Your show saddle must be comfortable for both horse and rider and fit well. The Black Country Classic Show Saddles I use were comfortable from the minute I sat in them and made me feel completely at home.

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.
Good luck with your gallop!

Hugely Successful Rolex Kentucky for Black Country Saddles Team

Rolex

Partners Rob Cullen and John Hartley have just returned from an absolutely fantastic trip to this year’s Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event having been joined and supported by a very strong team of highly qualified BCS Dealers from all over the United States.

John commented that the support from the dealers said everything about the ethos of the Black Country Saddles family with each dealer sharing their extensive saddlery knowledge with the never-ending queue of enthusiastic visitors to the stand.

Said John: “Dealers present included our long-time friends Patty Merli and Rip who brought along their very own “I love my Black Country Saddle” T-shirts that seemed to be worn by almost everyone walking by the longer the show went on!

“Alongside Patty and Rip were local dealer Bryan Lynch of Creature Comforts, Faye Flynn from Florida, Bob Cooper from Texas, Amanda Berges of The Saddle Tree, Ohio, Vet Thais McCoy from WA and Ann Jacobson from MN.”

Kentucky

Added Rob: “We are just back from an amazing Rolex Kentucky Horse Trials.  It was by far our best attendance and we were delighted to have so much interest on the stand.

“The US launch of the new Dante collection with its unique seat positions proved a huge success.”

Regular visitors to this fantastic competition, Rob, John and the dealers 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.

This was the 36th consecutive year that Rolex Watch USA has sponsored the Kentucky Three-Day Event, the longest corporate sponsorship in horse sports.

Left to right – John Hartley, leading event rider Jessica Schultz and Rob Cullen on the stand at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day-Event.

New Dante Vinici Jump from Black Country Saddles

Dante-Vinici-Jump

THE new Dante Vinici Jump from Black Country Saddles provides a jumping saddle that is designed for optimum performance of the horse and the rider.

Designed to enhance rider position when show jumping, the Dante Vinici is a fantastic example of the craftsmanship and technological advances available today.

Incorporating the well-established Vinici single/mono flap design, this saddle is high-spec throughout and has been developed as part of the new Dante range, which focuses on optimising rider position in the saddle.

This superb saddle incorporates the highly regarded flexible overlay girthing system with the straps lying on top of the panel.

Feeling at one with your horse is key to success and the hugely popular Vinici design has been developed into a stylish jumping saddle, with the Dante tree giving a narrow twist and making an ultra-lightweight saddle.

A squared-off cantle provides a slimmer look from the back which enhances the elegance of the saddle. In addition, the head nail is also square adding to the unique appearance of this saddle.

The Dante Vinici jump is available in Black, Brown or Oxblood and comes in sizes 17 to 18.5 inches.

Gypsy Fortune Heads for British Dressage Winter National Championships

trot1-Fri

Derbyshire-based Gary Foggon and the 16.2hh bay mare, Gypsy Fortune have secured not just one but three tickets to the Winter Dressage Championships.

Competing at Myerscough Regional Championships the pair secured their first ticket finishing second in the Elementary Open Freestyle to music.

Gary and Gypsy Fortune continued their fantastic form in the Novice Open where they finished third, securing their second qualifying place, before being crowned Novice Open Freestyle to music champion.

Said Gary: “Gypsy Fortune is certainly on top form having just had the most thrilling Regional Championships at Myerscough where she became the North West Novice Open Freestyle to Music Champion.

“She totalled four top five placings with three qualifying her for the Winter National Championships at Hartpury in April.

“Gypsy Fortune is a home-bred mare by Grafenstolz out of the first horse I owned, Bonny Bank Jay Jay who competed right up to Advanced level British Eventing and competed successfully to PSG in dressage.

“I named her after a gypsy told my fortune, I’m very sceptic, but when she told me I had a filly foal and my mare was back in foal which was going to be a colt I was captivated, she then went on to tell me my filly was always going to be in the ribbons. Looking back so far she has been right!

“A huge amount of team work goes into getting horses ready from trainers, farriers, physio’s, chiropractors, grooms, family and friends. Having a correctly fitted saddle that allows my horses to move to the best of their ability, which I have found with Black Country Saddles, is so important and I am very delighted and honoured to have new sponsor Black Country Saddles as part of the team.”

New Dante Vinici Dressage from Black Country Saddles

Dante-Vinici-Dressage

THE new Dante Vinici Dressage saddle has been developed utilising the very best in technological advances combining the closeness of the Vinici Dressage saddle with the new Dante design optimising rider position.

Extensive research and development has preceded the launch of this saddle and has contributed to its ability to help balance the rider.

The Dante Vinici Dressage saddle features a squared single/mono flap that offers outstanding closeness, maximising the contact between horse and rider.

The saddle also includes a narrow twist which helps with keeping the rider in a forward, upright position to maximise effectiveness.

The medium-deep seat and knee roll configuration offer non-restrictive security and support for the correct posture whilst the flexible overlay girthing system lies neatly between the cushioned sweat flap therefore avoiding any discomfort.

A squared-off cantle provides a slimmer look from the back, which enhances the elegance of the saddle. In addition, the head nail is also square adding to the unique appearance of this saddle.

The panels are designed to distribute weight evenly over a wide surface with a number of choices available to fit for all types of horses. The flap length and rolls are custom built to suit each individual.

The supreme quality of this saddle is accentuated by its calf covered leather, giving a soft and supple feel. The Dante Vinici Dressage is available in Black, Brown or Oxblood in sizes 17 to 18.5 inches.

International Rider Gary Foggon Joins Black Country Saddles Team

trot1-Fri

WELL-KNOWN for producing talented young event and dressage horses, Buxton-based Gary Foggon has gained sponsorship from Black Country Saddles for the 2016 season.

As well as a host of homebred horses to bring on, Gary has two event horses, Who’s a Boozer and Gypsy Squire aimed at the five-year-old championships at Osberton.

Gary will focus the talented six-year-old, Gypsy Fortune on competing in the world of dressage.

When not competing, Gary is also busy training riders in both disciplines, a role he very much enjoys.

When it comes to show jumping and cross-country, Gary rides in a Black Country Saddles Vinici Jump and in the dressage arena his preferred choice is the Black Country Saddles Dante Dressage.

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

“We developed the saddle so that I can sit in a more balanced and relaxed position which allows the horse more freedom.

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

Gary’s homebred horses Gypsy Squire and Gypsy Fortune are full brother and sister with both bred out of his former eventing mare, Bonny Bank Jay Jay by the well-known stallion Grafenstolz.

Added Rob Cullen of Black Country Saddles: “Gary is not only a talented rider but also has a great reputation as a trainer and we are delighted to have him join the Black Country Saddles team.

“He brings a host of innovative ideas when it comes to saddle design and development and his feedback has been excellent in recent months with the launch of the Dante range.”

Black Country Saddles Sponsor International Event Rider Ian Wills

Ian Wills and Hartpury Sky Is The Limit

International event rider Ian Wills has a new sponsor for 2016 thanks to Black Country Saddles.

Based in Brackley, Northants, Ian has three main rides for this season including Hartpury Sky is the Limit, Marli III and Fallulah.

Ian has his sights set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a four year goal to achieve his life-long dream.

Said Ian: “I am really excited about joining the Black Country Saddles team of sponsored riders and to be representing them in the world of eventing.

“I have three talented horses to ride this season and am so really looking forward to getting the competition season underway.

“With the success of 2015 putting me on the World Class Equine Pathway I now have Tokyo 2020 firmly in mind.  Being part of Team GB is a dream I intend to make a reality.”

Ian’s preferred choice from the Black Country Saddles range are the Vinici Jump and Vinici Dressage saddles which he says fit to perfection and help provide excellent balance whether in the dressage arena or on the cross-country course.

In 2015 Ian and Hartpury Sky is the Limit won the 8/9-year-old Advanced class at Aston Le Walls and was the only horse to finish on his dressage score.

Other notable completions included sixth at Hartpury International CCl** and fourth at Blenheim International Horse Trials in the 8/9-year-old CIC*** where Ian was the highest placed British rider.

Owned by the ever-supportive Brodie family, in 2016 Hartpury Sky is the Limit is aimed at the Grantham Cup at Belton then Chatsworth CIC*** followed by Tattersalls in Ireland CCI*** targeting a Nations Cup team place for summer 2016.  With these foundations laid Ian will then aim Hartpury Sky is the Limit at his first CCI**** and Badminton in 2017.

Adds Ian: “Eventing is the biggest test of a horse’s ability, agility and mind-set and more importantly, the biggest test of partnership and trust between horse and rider. Thanks to Black Country Saddles I have fantastic equipment which I can rely on at the highest and most demanding levels of the sport.”

Black Country Saddles Sponsor Showing Supremo Jayne Ross

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LEADING rider and producer Jayne Ross is the latest top showing star to join the Black Country Saddles sponsored team.

Well known for their prestigious range of saddles, bridles and accessories, Black Country Saddles produce a bespoke collection that has been developed to the highest level of craftsmanship with superb attention to detail.

Jayne has ridden and trained many top show horses over the years winning all major titles including five supreme championships at the Horse of the Year Show.

Based in Windsor, Jayne had a fantastic 2015 season winning the British Horse Society Supreme Horse Championship at the Royal International on the lightweight show hunter Time to Reflect.

She then finished the year by winning the Supreme Horse of Year Championship at HOYS for a second year running on the riding horse, Broadshard Simplicity.

Said Jayne: “I am very impressed with the Black Country show saddles and am really looking forward to riding in them this season. To have gained their support is a fantastic start to the year.

“The show saddle is so comfortable and is a fantastic fit for 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.”

Added Wendy Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “We are delighted to have Jayne join our sponsored team.  Her brilliance in the show ring, attention to detail and immaculate presentation is well known.  She is a winner through and through and also understands the importance saddles play in their success.”

Simon and Natalie Reynolds Join Black Country Saddles Team

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WELL KNOWN for their huge success in the world of showing, Simon and Natalie Reynolds have secured new sponsorship from Black Country Saddles.

With various showing championship successes to their names, the husband and wife team are a major force to be reckoned with especially when it comes to cob and show hunter classes.

Simon’s partnership with the maxi cob Hallmark lX has led to countless accolades while other multi-winning partnerships include the lightweight cob Cock Robin, small hunter Sporting Sam and working hunter Ballin County.

Natalie’s major wins came aboard the lightweight cob Casanova and of course her small hunter Bailey’s Over Ice.

Said Simon: “We are extremely impressed by the quality and fit of the saddles.  The leather is just superb and has such a premium feel. 

“We also like the fact the business is run by a team who fully understand horses and the horse world in general so recognise the exacting requirements of competitors like ourselves.

“Show cobs are not the easiest horses to fit when it comes to saddles but the team did a fantastic job making sure everything was just right.  The attention to detail is truly outstanding.”

Added Wendy Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “Simon and Natalie are a great team and have won many championships over the years.  We are delighted to be supporting them and look forward to success throughout 2016.”

New Dante Dressage Saddle

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THE new Dante Dressage from Black Country Saddles oozes quality and finesse and has been deigned utilising the very best in technological advances.

The saddle features a sleek look and a close contact design which allows the rider to feel closer to the horse. This saddle also includes a narrow twist which is preferable for some riders. It helps to keep the rider in a forward, upright position to maximise effectiveness.  Extensive research and development has preceded the design of this saddle and has contributed to its ability to optimise the position of the rider.

A squared-off cantle provides a slimmer look from the back, which enhances the elegance of the saddle. The saddle flap is also square as opposed to rounded, which creates a soft angle and sophisticated look. The skirt also features an innovative design, which really catches the eye. In addition, the head nail is also square, adding to the unique appearance of this saddle.

This saddle features a standard internal knee roll which provides an unrestricted feel for the rider and allows them to freely adjust their leg position.

The exemplary quality of this saddle is added to by the calf covered leather it is made from, giving a soft and supple feel. It is available in black, brown or oxblood in sizes 17 to 18.5 inches.

If you really want to stand out from the crowd in the dressage arena, look no further than the Dante dressage saddle.

New Dante Jump Saddle

Dante Jump

THE new Dante Jump from Black Country Saddles provides a luxurious saddle that is designed for maximum performance.

This innovative new saddle has a close contact design which allows the rider to feel closer to the horse improving the communication between horse and rider.

Incorporating a narrow twist, the Dante Jump enables the rider to sit closer to the horse’s back while the squared cantle design gives a stylish finish and slimmer appearance which really makes this saddle stand out from the crowd.

The saddle has been developed by skilled craftsman following extensive research to provide the show jumping rider with all the technological advances available today. In doing this, the Dante Jump saddle enhances the rider’s position and contributes to maximising their effect.

Standard size knee blocks mean that riders are not restricted and are able to adjust their position when necessary. The high-spec quality of the saddle is enriched through the use of calf skin covered leather, giving a deluxe feel and appearance.

The Dante Jump is available in black, brown or oxblood and comes in sizes 17 to 18.5 inches.

If you’re looking for a top class saddle to help you achieve that winning edge in the show jumping ring, look no further than the Dante Jump saddle.  Please contact your nearest dealer.

The New Cavalina Dressage Saddle

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The new Cavalina from Black Country Saddles has been specifically designed for the dressage pony and junior rider.

This beautiful bespoke saddle has a low cantle design helping to create balance in the saddle and suited to young riders who like more freedom in the seat.

The saddle is ideal for those riders who are used to a flatter style of saddle and are new to dressage designs, helping to create a harmonious picture.

The Cavalina comes in black and is available in 15 to 16.5 inch seat and the wide selection of panels and trees allow it to be fitted to a variety of ponies.

This hand-crafted saddle offers a design which is perfectly suited to the pony and creates a flattering picture which is sure to catch the eye and maximise performance in the ring.

The Black Country Saddles Cavalina is priced at £1,500.

For more information or help with buying a new saddle contact Black Country Saddles on 01543 578 243

Saddle Proves a Winner for Julia

Wexford saddle

TEN years ago, Perthshire based Julia Craig bought a brand new Black Country Wexford saddle for her event horse.

Now 10 years on and four horses later the saddle is still as good as new.

Said Julia: “A saddler came out to fit a saddle for my horse and I ordered the Wexford after the consultation. The model has a wider seat than normal for a jumping saddle and when it arrived it was just so comfortable and fitted my horse perfectly.

“In the last 10 years it has been used on two event horses competing up to Novice level and it shows no wear on the leather at all.”

Julia’s saddle has recently proved to be too narrow for her new horse so she decided to have it revalued by a Master Saddler and Qualified Saddle Fitter before trying to sell it.

Remarkably and much to Julia’s delight, the saddle was valued at £900 even after 10 years of use and general wear and tear, just £100 less than the original purchase price!

Added Julia: “The saddle was in great condition, it still had the original girth straps and had only been reflocked once. The leather was bedded-in but showed no signs of being worn.

“The saddle had been well looked after as I kept it covered in a dry tack room and it was regularly cleaned and though it was originally oiled I made sure that I didn’t over-oil or over-soap it.”

Having liked the saddle so much, Julia has just bought a new Wexford to fit her horse and has recently sold on her original Wexford saddle which continues to do its job and look the part for another owner.

Julia, who is a qualified BHSII instructor, has recently completed training with Kay Hastilow and has set up her own business as a trainee saddle fitter. Julia covers Perthshire, Stirling, Edinburgh, Fife, Angus and Aberdeenshire and stocks a selection of Black Country Saddles.

If you would like more information on saddle fitting contact Julia Craig on 07835714581 or email jcraig.goodlands@yahoo.co.uk

Top Results at HOYS 2015 for Black Country Saddles’ Sponsored Riders

THE team of Black Country Saddles’ sponsored riders notched up some fantastic results at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show.

Sarah Parker finished the show in style with Sarum Rembrandt taking the coveted Supreme Pony of the Year title after standing Champion M&M Ridden Pony of the Year and winning the M&M Ridden Welsh Section A Pony of the Year.

She was also second in the M&M Ridden Welsh C Pony of the Year with ride Menai Thomas, and they also picked up fifth in the M&M 133cm Working Hunter Pony of the Year.

The Katy Carter Show Team were on winning form with Poppy Carter and Rotherwood Rainmaker winning the 128cm Children’s Riding Pony of the Year and standing reserve champion.

The 138cm Children’s Riding Pony of the Year provided a win for Ellis Taverner-Burns with Rhos Exception taking the honours before she pipped her team mate Poppy in the line-up to take the Championship. Ellis also won the 133cm Show Hunter Pony of the Year with Scalacre Eclipse.

Kayleigh Catton headed the 153cm Intermediate Show Riding Type of the Year and then went on to stand champion with Llanarth Fair Play.

Cilgeti Prince Charming ridden by Alex Helliwell took second in the Lead Rein Pony of Hunter Type of the Year with Katy Carter leading.

Robert Walker also proved to be a man on form with Vantage Point crowned Champion Hunter of the Year. Starry Night headed the Maxi Cob of the Year before marking his retirement from the show ring.

Robert also picked up second in the Large Riding Horse of the Year with Firstman and Randalstown Rolex finished fourth in the Lightweight Cob of the Year.

It was also celebrations for the Oakes family as Victoria and Cairns Fergus finished second in the M&M 143cm Working Hunter Pony of the Year and younger brother Charlie took second in the M&M 122cm Working Hunter Pony of the Year with Chetwynd Caspar.

Victoria also finished seventh in this section with Roseberry Lullaby and then claimed third in the M&M 133cm Working Hunter Pony with Roseberry Model Man.

Cassie Hartley took fourth in the 158cm Intermediate Show Riding Type of the Year with her new ride Renkum Lausanna, whilst Acheval Boutique Amadeus was ninth in the Intermediate Show Hunter of the Year Championship.Kayleigh Catton took the 153cm Intermediate Show Riding Type of the Year and then went champion with Llanarth Fair Play.

Lily Ahern-Lee and Barkway Sweet William headed the Lead Rein Pony of the Year, whilst Kirstine Douglas picked up a very credible fourth in the Middleweight Show Hunter of the Year with Primitive Dancer.

Jo Bates finished fourth in the Maxi Cob of the Year Championship with Benny Hill II, whilst Runnon Watergate also took fourth in the Small Riding Horse of the Year to round off a very successful HOYS for the Black Country Saddles team.

Caring for your Tack throughout the Winter

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Making sure your saddle and bridle is looked after properly will, in the long run, save you money. Here John Hartley of Black Country Saddles provides advice on caring for your saddle and bridle.

When maintaining a used bridle clean your bridle regularly according to how often it is used. It is much better to give it a quick clean every time it is used but, if you don’t have time, a thorough clean once a week for a bridle in daily use should be sufficient.

A good way to keep your bridle in good condition is to wipe it off after use using a cloth such as an old flannel or dishcloth dipped in a small bucket of warm water and thoroughly squeezed out.

After cleaning the dirt and grease from the bridle, apply a coat of saddle soap. Black Country Balsam is a very popular choice and will help to feed the leather, keeping it soft and supple. The balsam should be applied with a dry sponge.

If the bridle is very greasy, or otherwise heavily soiled, you will find that a small handful of washing soda crystals added to the water will help enormously and will not affect the suppleness of the leather.

Should you be caught out in the rain whilst riding, immediate action is required! Dismantle the bridle as soon as possible and clean it in the usual way – then allow it to dry out slowly. Do not be tempted to place it near a heater or a sunny window to speed up the drying process as this will make the leather go very hard – and you may not be able to revive it. After drying, apply a coat of leather-dressing or oil followed by the balsam.

Do not oil your bridle too often: restrict oiling to when the bridle is new, when it gets very wet, or if it has been unused for a while and has dried out.

If you have just bought a new bridle, always check that it fits your horse before treating it with any kind of oil or leather dressing, as the saddler will not give a refund or exchange an oiled bridle.

Once this is done, apply a liberal coat of good quality leather dressing to both sides. Leather dressings are available in oil and paste forms – ask your saddler for his recommendation.

Before applying the dressing, dismantle the bridle and place it on some newspaper. If you are using a liquid dressing, the best way to do it is to pour a little into an old saucer and paint it onto the bridle with a clean, dry paint brush.

Allow the dressing to soak in and then, if the leather still seems to be quite dry, apply another coat. When the dressing is finally absorbed, apply a coat of saddle soap or balsam using an almost dry sponge. You can then reassemble the bridle and it is now ready for use.

For saddles use the same method as for bridles. Use only soaps or balsam on your saddle which are recommended by your saddler as some have been known to cause colour fade to certain saddles.

Another important tip is to store your saddle and bridle on a purpose-made rack where a fairly even temperature is maintained. This will help avoid any damage to either item and if possible keep them under a fabric saddle cover.

Liberty is BSPS Mini Rider of the Year

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Liberty Grota made the seven hour journey from her Pembrokeshire home to Arena UK in Lincolnshire worthwhile when she was crowned the Black Country Saddles BSPS Mini Rider of the Year Champion at the Summer Championships.

Partnering the stunning four-year-old, Cadlanvalley Superted, Liberty (10) won her section before going on to claim the overall championship.

Cadlanvalley Superted or ‘Ted’ as he is known at home is a 12hh Show Hunter Pony of unknown breeding as he was rescued by the Grota family 18 months ago. Despite his poor start in life this young pony has had a remarkable season with Liberty, standing Reserve Supreme of the Show at BSPS Wales on his first outing.

He has since been unbeaten as a First Ridden Show Hunter Pony and has also qualified for HOYS as a Lead Rein of Show Hunter Type with a younger jockey on board.

Liberty’s mother, Hayley, who breeds Welsh Section B ponies at her Cadlanvalley Stud in West Wales said: “This is Liberty’s favourite show and Ted is such a lovely pony.”

The BSPS Summer Championships seem to be a lucky venue for Liberty as she won her age class in the Rider of the Year divisions last year, but went one better this year to claim the Mini Championship. To add to their glory, Liberty and Ted also landed the Blue Division 12hh Show Hunter Pony section. To top it off, the talented jockey picked up the Wow Factor M&M First Ridden Championship with the grey Colne Torpedo.

Liberty won a Black Country Saddles bridle for their win in the Black Country Saddles BSPS Mini Rider of the Year Championship and was absolutely delighted. Her mother, Hayley added: “We are really thrilled and would like to thank Black Country Saddles for their generosity.” Ted went beautifully throughout for Liberty who belied her 10 years to ride with great maturity and elegance to wow the judges and claim the beautiful floral sash.

Liberty has qualified six ponies for HOYS in five different classes and will contest winter shows with some up and coming homebred Welsh Section B ponies.

Lucille is Rider of the Year at BSPS Summer Championships

Lucille Bywater and Westfirle Mr Mcgregor

Eleven-year-old Lucille Bywater rode her socks off to impress the judges on her way to claiming the Black Country Saddles BSPS Rider of the Year Championships.

Lucille partnered the 13-year-old Westfirle Mr Mcgregor to claim the under 13 age category class before taking the overall title against older competitors.

Lucille is a familiar face on the show pony circuit having successfully shown several Broadgrove ponies who are bred by her grandmother, Ann Fowler. This time it was the turn of her mother’s stunning 13hh welsh part bred Westfirle Mr Mcgregor to have his moment in the spotlight. Having been together for exactly a year, the combination has had much success in a variety of disciplines.

Her mum Victoria said: “I bought ‘Greg’ so Lucille could have a pony she could do absolutely everything with and that’s exactly what they do. He’s a wonderful pony and they know each other inside out.”

In the past year Lucille and Greg have competed on the dressage, show jumping and eventing Pony Club teams, qualified for the Royal International and competed at BE80 one day events. They qualified for the BSPS championships at BSPS 13A Cornwall and certainly made the journey to the Grantham based championships from her Bristol home worthwhile.

Lucille put her multi-discipline experience to good use in the second phase of the Best Rider competition, where competitors were under instruction from Jayne Ross. She captivated the judges with her knowledge and riding ability and Greg went beautifully for her.

A proud Victoria commented: “We were absolutely thrilled. It was such a fantastic competition as a whole and the second phase under instruction was very good and highly useful. It is particularly special for this pony to win as he is a true all-rounder and does everything for us.”

Lucille was the delighted recipient of a Black Country Saddle as her prize for claiming the prestigious BSPS Rider of the Year title. “We are really looking forward to the saddle arriving – we are hoping we might be able to have a dressage one as we would like to focus on eventing next year,” she said.

Lucille has recently acquired the 14hh version of Greg, Pebbly Grey Fox who she will compete alongside one another. Lucille has qualified three ponies for HOYS and will then focus on dressage through the winter including the Dengie Winter League Final, with both ponies.

Championship Showing Success for Cassie Hartley

Cassie Hartley and Archeval Boutique Amadeus

SHOW rider Cassie Hartley and her ride, Archeval Boutique Amadeus, have been in outstanding form this season capturing a host of titles at the BSPS Summer Championships.

The 22-year-old from Stafford has had an excellent summer with her Intermediate Show Hunter Pony produced by the Staffordshire-based Katy Carter Show Team.

Cassie and the 10-year-old bay gelding took the Blue Riband and the HOYS Intermediate Show Hunter classes by storm and then went on to stand Intermediate Show Hunter Champion.

Following this success Cassie and Amoo then went on to collect the Ronnie Marmont Supreme and the Best of the Best Area Supreme titles, before being crowned Supreme Champion of Champions for 2015.

Working at Black Country Saddles as a Client Executive, Cassie juggles her time in the office taking the orders, shipping out saddles, invoicing and dealing with customers as well as her riding outside of work.

Said Cassie; “I really enjoy my job and it is great working in an environment where I get to pick and design my own saddles. I ride in the Classic Show saddle and Amoo really does move well when riding in it.

“Having so many friends who also ride and compete helps to provide great feedback on particular saddles, what they would like to see in any new developments and so on.

Cassie will be heading to HOYS seeking success after an excellent season and will be hoping to continue their great form in the Intermediate Show Hunters classes.

Just Electric – That’s Rupert for You!

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ACROSS all equestrian disciplines every once in a while a partnership between horse and rider develops that is nothing short of legendary. In the world of pony showing few would doubt that this is the case for Poppy Carter and her pony of a lifetime Rotherwood Rainmaker. Courtesy of their sponsor Black Country Saddles, mum Katy Carter tells us more…

FROM a young prima donna, scared of getting wet, Rotherwood Rainmaker now dances to another level even in the heaviest of Great British downpours.

The delightful bay, 128cm Show Pony is made of the stuff of legends and has in recent years with his equally talented jockey Poppy Carter, won every major championship before them.

But what makes this partnership just so very special – mum Katy provides the inside information!

“He was just so difficult as a youngster and although I liked him when we went to see him, he definitely didn’t shout wow factor in the stable.

“Dad saw him advertised on the internet and we decided to go and see him at Di and George Brereton’s yard in Wales.

“As a three-year-old and in the stable you could see he was nice, but in a way quite ordinary, it was when he started to trot I just said we had to have him!

“The lift in his movement was just fantastic and he transformed into a star that I knew judges wouldn’t be able to take their eyes off.

“The bond that Poppy and Rupert have developed over the years really is quite magic and he always neighs as she walks towards him, it is very special to see.

“He was quite difficult to break and in fact it took us nine weeks to get on him but once we had his trust we were away.

“At their first show together they took the Overall Supreme Pony Championship at Area 4B as a novice and their winning ways have continued ever since.

“When he was a youngster he was quite a prima donna and hated rain when we were at an outdoor show.

“At Three Counties we were last as he cow-kicked in hand, which looking back was hilarious but at the time I really didn’t think so.  Thankfully these are now just memories of how tricky he could be.

“I rode him at the show because he was excitable at times but after I became cross with him it was a turning point and I knew he was growing up.

“At the Royal International that year as a four-year-old he went Supreme Pony Champion, a day I will never forget especially as Poppy was only nine-years-old herself.

“Rupert and Poppy have been really successful in the North of England Summer Championships £1,000 classes having won three times in a row which is amazing and I can certainly say he has a bank balance bigger than mine.

“In 2013 when he won there was the biggest thunderstorm but the rain doesn’t bother him at all now, in fact he couldn’t like it more and just wants to win for Poppy.

“At Royal Windsor Horse Show there was a fantastic photograph of them taken where Rupert had turned his head round to look back at Poppy and it just said it all really and summed up their great relationship – it is as if they can talk to each other.

“He just loves what he does and transformed from being such a horror into being just the best.”

By Rotherwood Peter Pan, Rupert was bred by Liz Mansfield Parnell who sold him as a youngster but she has followed his career closely and has been a huge supporter of their amazing achievements.

Rupert and Poppy compete in a Black Country Saddles Classic show saddle to enhance their overall appearance when in the ring with the close contact and neat appearance proving a huge winner.

His success has even led to him developing a fan base across the water in Australia where his full brother, Rotherwood Spring Parade has been very successful.

Adds Katy: “He has a massive fan base and has made such an impact on the show scene.  Rupert is now a complete schoolmaster and just a star.”

New Sponsor for Young Show Rider Tori Oakes

Tori Oakes and Cairns Fergus

Mountain & Moorland specialist Tori Oakes is celebrating after gaining sponsorship from Black Country Saddles, well-known for their bespoke range of premium saddles.

Based in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, 23-year-old Tori has been making her mark on the showing world with her yard of M&M ponies with 2014 proving highly successful.

Among a number of major titles, Tori won her M&M WHP class at the RIHS and went on to be Champion with her brilliant campaigner, Cairns Fergus. In doing so, she was the first person to take the title with a Highland Pony. The partnership went on to be placed third at HOYS and Tori also qualified two Welsh Section A’s for Olympia.

Wendy Hartley of Black Country Saddles said: “Tori is a talented and dedicated rider who is sure to enjoy continued success in the showing world. We are delighted she has joined the Black Country Saddles team of sponsored riders and producers.”

Tori is thrilled to have received sponsorship from Black Country Saddles and all of her ponies are ridden in a saddle from the range.

“I love them and won’t ride in anything else. When Cairns Fergus won at the Royal International he was wearing his Black Country saddle and bridle,” said a proud Tori.

There are currently seven ponies on Tori’s yard, all competing.  They are headed by the successful Highland, Cairns Fergus. He is flanked by two promising ponies who are both in their first year of open classes, the Welsh Section B, Roseberry Model Man and the Connemara, PSF Molly who are exciting prospects for the season and ones to watch.

Tori is already enjoying a successful season, having qualified five ponies for RIHS and her aim is to qualify seven for HOYS.

Black Country Saddles offer a selection of performance-inspired saddles including the Classic Show Saddle, so popular with many showing riders. They are beautifully designed with expert craftsmanship to ensure great fit, design and comfort.

International Dressage Rider Joins Black Country Saddles Team

Denise Hallion

BLACK Country Saddles are pleased to welcome international dressage rider and trainer, Denise Hallion to their team of sponsored riders.

Denise, who is based in Southampton and trains with Carl Hester, currently rides for South Africa competing at Grand Prix level and in 2011 and 2012 competed at many international competitions including the Spring and Sunshine Tour in the run up to the Olympics.

Denise has also successfully competed eventing in South Africa and show jumping on the national circuit up to Grade A level. Now in the world of dressage she is looking for a place on the South African squad for the Rio Olympics in 2016 with her top horse, Wervelwind, otherwise known as Verve at home.

The pair represented South Africa at the World Equestrian Games and also recently won the Grand Prix Special at the Dressage at Hickstead meeting.

Said Denise: “I am delighted to have the support of Black Country Saddles. In the past my top horse, Verve, had been struggling with wither pain despite regular physiotherapy and massage. He was diagnosed by the vet who said that his saddle was pinching him and impacting his performance in a negative way.

“Since having a Black Country Saddles Vinici dressage saddle, fitted by Jill Tremmil from Meadowlea Saddlery, Verve’s back has not had any saddle-related issues for the last 10 months and he is very much enjoying his work now. Whilst competing at Grand Prix level every little detail makes such a difference to my horse’s work and outlook.”

Said Mark Bryan of Black Country Saddles: “It’s great that Denise has joined our team of sponsored riders and we are excited to follow her progress this season nationally and internationally.”

Black Country Saddles Sponsor Kirstine Douglas

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BESPOKE saddle makers, Black Country Saddles has welcomed show rider and producer Kirstine Douglas to their sponsored team.

Based in Dumfries, Scotland, Kirstine has been showing since she was three-years-old and worked for well-known showman Robert Oliver for five years before setting up her own yard and she has been highly successful ever since.

Besides her competition career, Kirstine has judged extensively and is on five judging panels. Her duties have taken her to Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as well as all the major UK shows, a role she very much enjoys.

Kirstine’s most prestigious win came in 2012 when she landed the Cob Championship at HOYS with the lightweight, Barneebus. She has also claimed a Reserve Champion spot with the Connemara, Sydserff Lord Of The Dance. Wins at RIHS and Royal Windsor add to the many other placings she has achieved every year at HOYS.

Kirstine currently has 20 horses on her yard, including leading names and a host of youngsters being carefully produced.

The yard caters for a range of horses and ponies from Cobs and Riding Horses to Hunters and Lead Rein Ponies. The Middleweight Hunter, Primitive Dancer who was placed second at HOYS last year on only her third outing with Kirstine has already qualified for RIHS this year as well as standing Reserve Champion at the Northern Spring Show. She joins four others who have also secured their RIHS tickets.

There are two particularly talented cobs on Kirstine’s yard at the moment. The Lightweight, Captain Morgan stood champion at Area 1B and the Novice, Johnny Walker went champion at North Eastern Counties, when shown in the Open category. Kirstine also thinks a lot of her Novice Hunter, Annaghmore Huntsman who recently took the Reserve Championship place at the Scottish Spring Show.

Kirstine’s team are ridden in Black Country Saddles, which she says have made a remarkable difference.

“I have noticed exceptional balance in the saddle and also much more freedom of movement. I really love Black Country Saddles,” she said.

Kirstine has also spread the word about the saddles to many of her clients, with one having her horse recently fitted to give fantastic results and a Championship Title the following week.

Added Kirstine: “It is great to have the support of Black Country Saddles which combine quality with great fit and exceptional performance.”

Fantastic Run for Sophie Wells

Black Country Saddles sponsored rider Sophie Wells is continuing her fantastic run of success. Having claimed her first able bodied championship title at Hartpury in April, she contested the Roosendal CPEDI*** with great success.

Sophie and C Fatal Attraction, better known as Jorge, hit the road to representTeam GB at Roosendaal in the Netherlands. This was Jorge’s first international outing without Sophie’s 2014 WEG gold medalist Reece (Valerius). Fortunately Jorge remained settled without his companion and Sophie was delighted that he was on fantastic form.

Starting the competition as she meant to go on, Sophie and Jorge won the Grade IV Team Test with 74.3%, then the individual test with 74.4%, setting two international best scores with Jorge.  In the Freestyle Sophie and Jorge scored an amazing 76%, leaving them in second place behind Frank Hosmar.

Sophie had nothing but praise for this young horse, saying how much he has physically and mentally developed since his last outing in Deauville “I couldn’t be more proud of Jorge this trip, he has grown up so much, and started to put his mark on the international scene. He’s still so young, and has a promising future.”

Sophie now has her sights firmly set on the National Championships at Hickstead and Rio 2016 selection.

Black Country Saddles Roadshow

WITH the aim of promoting the importance of saddle fitting and the requirements of each individual horse and pony Black Country Saddlers are taking to the road with their new trade stand.

John and Wendy Hartley are well known on the show circuit supporting their daughter Cassie and this season they will be educating horse and pony owners while promoting the Black Country Saddles brand and range from the eye-catching Sovereign designed and made vehicle.

Said John: “We are delighted to have received the new lorry, it is stunning and will make it much easier to display our full range of saddles and accessories.

“The lorry is great and is very smart indeed. We are looking forward to getting out and about in it.”

John and Wendy, together with the help of business partner Rob Cullen and the team, will be touring the country so watch out for the lorry, fully logoed up with the Black Country Saddles branding.

Added John: “The vehicle has ample room to transport all the saddles, bridles and accessories to shows and events and also offers a great place to stay overnight. It will be perfectly suited to promoting the wide range of saddles we have available.”Show unit 1

Baby Joy for Gemma and Brett

Black Country Saddles Client Executive, Gemma Cullen and her partner Brett Gollick are celebrating after the birth of their baby boy Caleb.

Their first baby, Caleb arrived a few weeks early on May 26 but still weighed a healthy 6Ib 3oz and both mother and baby are doing well.

Said Gemma: “We are thrilled about the arrival of our beautiful baby boy, he is gorgeous and has light brown hair.”

Gemma is the daughter of Black Country Saddles partner, Rob Cullen and his wife Carol who are overjoyed with the newest addition to the family.

“We are over the moon and so excited to be grandparents,” beamed Rob.

Little Caleb has already visited Black Country Saddles HQ and maybe it won’t be too long before he’s an active team member too!

Black Country Saddles is well known for its family connections with partner John Hartley and his wife Wendy’s daughters Cassie and Rachael both working for the business as a Client Executive and Bridle Maker.

Carol’s sister, Judy is employed as book-keeper while John’s sister’s son, Simon Newitt is a Cutter and was overjoyed four months ago with the birth of son Joshua.

Adding to the family tree, Tom Langford, also a Saddler, is the son of Wendy’s brother and also has a young toddler, Hollis, now 15 months.Gemma and Caleb

Lilly Ahern-Lee – Going Places

Lilly Ahern-Lee

There are times raw talent is there for all to see.  Is it due to the family genes? Is it due to starting to ride when so very young?  Who knows, both are certainly true for Lilly Ahern-Lee, the Black Country Saddles sponsored tot with a big personality.

At just three-years-old Lilly Ahern-Lee already has a fan base!

With her Lead Rein Show Hunter Pony – Caridines Little Lord – she has taken the spring show season by storm and captured the hearts of many spectators around the ringside.

Certainly full of life and with her own character, it was her personality that also secured her sponsorship from Black Country Saddles.  Lilly makes regular visits to their stand at the shows where she chats away with owner Wendy Hartley who couldn’t resist supporting this tiny talent.

Based in Keighley, West Yorkshire, Lilly is a member of Team Ahern, well known for their successful Aireview Equestrian Centre and she has many people to turn to for advice not least her mum Alex and auntie Kirsty who leads her in the ring.

Says Kirsty: “We decided from the outset it might be better if I was on the end of the lead rein as maybe she would focus more with her auntie doing the running.”

With Caridines Little Lord and her other pony the Lead Rein Show Pony – Barkway Sweet William – turned out to perfection in their Poppy Black Country Saddles, it was then down to Alex to source riding attire that would fit Lilly for the season.

“We had to have everything made and altered but it is so important the overall picture is right,” laughs Alex.

Owned by Vicky Fahay, Caridines Little Lord has proven a star pony for Lilly who took Reserve Restricted Champion with him at the BSPS Winter Championships.

As Lilly is so small Black Country Saddles developed a bespoke strap to go from one D-ring to the other on the saddle for her to hold on to when in the ring, an aid that is permitted in lead rein classes.

When not in the arena, Lilly has made a bucketful of friends on the circuit, including the many children supported in their showing by Team Ahern.

Having grown up together, her show time ‘boyfriend’ is young Thomas Quinney, just a year older than Lilly and also making a name for himself in the showing world, while her current hero is Poppy Carter, the young talent Black Country Saddles named one of their show saddles after.

Adds Alex: “Lilly and Thomas have played together since they were so young and are great mates at shows.

“Poppy is simply the star she looks up to and when she is watching Lilly from the ringside she is so proud that someone so successful is taking time out to follow her progress.”

With so much support from mum Alex, dad Andrew, grandparents Paddy and Jayne, auntie Kirsty and everyone else at the yard there’s no doubt any major successes are going to be well celebrated for young Lilly.

And one supporter also well known for celebrating the highs of showing – Wendy Hartley – is sure to be having a glass of champagne or two along the way as well.

Successful Rolex Kentucky for Black Country Saddles Team

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.

Kentucky

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.

Black Country Saddles Reign Supreme at North of England Spring Show

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.

Poppy & Rupert 2

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.”

A Busy Season Gets Underway

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

Location: Cheshire

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 Profile

Caesars Palace

 

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

Introduction:

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.

Three things you did’t know about him:

1)         He is very fussy

2)         He is a good-doer

3)         He is always relaxed and ‘good to do’

New Etienne Pony Jumping Saddle

LOOKING for a pony jumping saddle that offers the very latest in design and materials?

The new Etienne Pony Jumping Saddle is the latest addition to the Black Country Saddles collection.

The saddle has been developed specifically with the pony jumper and rider in mind.

Made from top quality calf leather, the Etienne has a forward-fitting seat to allow freedom of movement over the highest jumps and is custom-made for each individual rider.

A discreet knee roll provides support without blocking the leg position and the forward-cut flaps help the rider’s balance and security.

Built on a close contact tree, the pure wool flocking helps to offer the perfect fit and allows greater adjustment options.

This bespoke saddle provides attention to detail and design and craftsmanship that is second to none.

The Etienne Pony Jump Saddle is available in a range of width fittings and comes in sizes 15in to 16.5in, colour Havana – £1195.

Jumping into the Saddle

Here the team at Black Country Saddles provide advice on what to look for when buying a new show jumping saddle…

Question:

I am looking at buying a jumping saddle for my horse, what should I be looking for in my new purchase?

Answer:

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.

Talking Tack with Robert Walker

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.

Show Hunters

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.

10 Things You Didn’t About Katy Carter

Black Country Saddles sponsored show pony producer Katy Carter, from Stoke-on-Trent had a very busy and successful 2014 season.

Here we catch up with Katy to catch a glimpse of her hectic lifestyle.

  1. I went to Moorside High School in Stoke-on-Trent but I didn’t like school much as I always wanted to be out riding.
  2. My nickname was Budge!If
  3. I hadn’t become a show producer in the equestrian world I would have liked to have been a fashion designer or run my own restaurant.
  4. My Dad is the person who inspired me most and is still involved in producing show ponies.
  5. I have a dog called Widget, he’s a real character!
  6. I am fortunate to be sponsored by Black Country Saddles and my daughter Poppy has a saddle named after her!
  7. I help promote the saddles which not only fit extremely well but also enhance the overall appearance when it comes to showing.
  8. My favourite show of the season is the Horse of the Year Show which is a really prestigious event and you have to qualify to compete there.
  9. I could not live without my partner Jason, my two sons Harry and Harvey and daughter Poppy.
  10. I am a BSPS, PUK, Chaps, BSPA and Veteran judge and I have my BHSAI and BSPS Accredited Trainers Certificate.

Izabel Captures BSPS Mini Rider of the Year Award

YOUNG Izabel Worthington and her Lead Rein Show Hunter Pony, Conway Moonlight Serenade captured the Black Country Saddles Mini Rider of the Year Award at the BSPS Summer Championships.

Based near Whitchurch, five-year-old Izabel had a smile from ear to ear after claiming the prestigious award and winning a bespoke Black Country handmade show bridle.

Izabel

Although in their second season together, this year has been a big step up for the pair contesting affiliated classes for the first time throughout 2014.

Izabel, nine-year-old pony Mac as he is known at home, and her Mum Clare were on great form to impress the judges in the prestigious final at Arena UK, near Grantham.

The Black Country Saddles Mini Rider of the Year Award proved popular with the presentation taking place during the Saturday Evening Performance.

The championship is split into two sections; Lead Rein Rider of the Year and 12 years and under.

Said Clare: “Izabel and Mac have had a great season, we couldn’t be more pleased, he is a great confidence giver and just a brilliant pony both at home and in the ring.

“They have now formed an excellent partnership and made such huge progress throughout the season.”

Clare has chosen to have a bespoke show bridle made for their young lead rein show pony, Sycamore Jade who will come out under saddle next season.

“Winning a handmade Black Country show bridle is a fantastic prize and a great way to round off the year,” added Clare.

Qualifiers for the Black Country Saddles Mini Rider of the Year Award took place at shows all over the country with the final open to riders who had been awarded a Best Rider Card.

Picture Caption:  Izabel and Clare Worthington with Conway Moonlight Serenade and Wendy Hartley of Black Country Saddles.

James Takes BSPS Rider of the Year Award

A delighted James Painter won the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year Award at the BSPS Summer Championships.

Shropshire-based James and the 143cm Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony, Willoway Apple Jack, were on great form to wow the judges in the prestigious final at Arena UK, near Grantham.

James

The Award is one of the highlights of the show, with the presentation taking place during the Saturday Evening Performance when James won a bespoke Black Country Saddle as his prize.

Said James (19): “AJ as we call him at home, is a superstar. He is now 14-years-old and we have a fantastic partnership together.

“I look after AJ and prepare him for shows myself with help from my Mum, Liz and really enjoy going competing.  We have had a great season and he is just a fantastic pony.

“Winning a Black Country Saddle is just amazing and a brilliant bonus, I was over the moon to take the award, it was a great evening.

“AJ is very consistent and I really enjoy riding him, we have owned him for five years and this year have qualified for HOYS and also competed at the Royal International Horse Show.”

Qualifiers for the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year Award took place at shows all over the country with the final open to riders who have been awarded a Best Rider Card in the following classes:

Open Lead Rein and First Ridden, Open Lead Rein Hunter Type, Open Show Ponies, Open Show Hunter Ponies, Open Cradle and Nursery Stakes, Open WHP, Open Intermediate, Open Heritage Lead Rein and First Ridden, Open Heritage Ridden and Open Heritage WHP classes.

At the championship the competition was divided into six categories, with each winner receiving a Black Country Saddles jacket.

The sections were Lead Rein Rider of the Year, nine years and under, 11 years and under, 14 years and under, 17 years and under, and 25 years and under.

The classes and championship were judged using a two-phase system with marks accrued from a freestyle individual show before a second individual show with set movements required.

Picture Caption: James Painter with John Hartley of Black Country Saddles and judge Robert Walker.

Black Country Saddles Sponsor BSPS Riders of the Year

BESPOKE saddle manufacturer Black Country Saddles is once again sponsoring the BSPS Rider of the Year Championships.

A bespoke Black Country Saddle will be awarded to the winner of the Rider of the Year and a handmade Show Bridle will be awarded Mini Rider of the Year at the BSPS Summer Championships.

Held at Arena UK, August 20 to 23, the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year Award is one of the highlights of the show, with the presentation taking place during the Saturday Evening Performance. This year the award will be split into two sections to include a separate Mini Rider section.

Karen Ward of the BSPS said: “We are delighted to once again have the support of Black Country Saddles as the sponsor of the Rider of the Year and Mini Rider of the Year Awards. It is always a wonderful championship with great competition across the sections before the two final champions are chosen.”

Qualifiers are underway at shows all over the country and the final is open to riders who have been awarded a Best Rider Card in the following classes:

Open Lead Rein and First Ridden, Open Lead Rein Hunter Type, Open Cradle Stakes, Open Heritage Lead Rein and First Ridden. Open Show Ponies, Open Show Hunter Ponies, Nursery Stakes, Open WHP, Open Intermediate, Open Heritage Ridden and Open Heritage WHP classes.

At the championship the competition is divided into six categories, with each winner receiving a Black Country Saddles jacket and going forward to the championships.

The Mini Rider of the Year is split into two sections; Lead Rein Rider of the Year and 12 years and under. The Rider of the Year will be split into four sections including 13 years and under, 17 years and under, 21 years and under, and 25 years and under.

The overall Black Country Saddles Mini Rider of the Year 2014 will win a bespoke handmade Show Bridle and the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year 2014 will win a prestigious Black Country Saddle of their choice made to measure.

The classes and championship will be judged on riding ability, technique and overall showmanship with riders required to perform an individual show.

Izzy Hits Top Form

Izzy Palmer

PARA dressage rider, Izzy Palmer has been in superlative form this year with a host of wins and championships to her name.

Just 13-years-old, Izzy has formed a fantastic partnership with Gregonne Coco Chanel, owned by Alison Duck. Izzy has ridden the talented bay mare for two years, and now 17, Coco is her dream ride.

Competing in Grade lll Para classes, Izzy was born with Cerebral Palsy and is fanatical about riding, giving her both freedom and a ‘buzz’ when competing and training.

Said Mum Caroline: “Izzy and Coco have a fantastic partnership and they have been in brilliant form. We are having a great season and are really enjoying all the competing and training.”

Izzy is sponsored by Black Country Saddles and rides in a Vinici Dressage Saddle which allows her to be close to the horse thanks to its single/mono flap design.

Their winning form started early in the year at the Winter Para Festival of Dressage at Vale View in Leicestershire, when heading the Grade III Para Championship and further wins followed at the Home International at the same venue when claiming the highest placed Junior Grade lll title before they headed the Grade lll Restricted Championship at Hickstead.

Izzy who trains with Angela Weiss, is mentored by Sophie Wells, also a member of the Black Country Saddles team.

Also competing in able bodied classes, Izzy is a member of the BEF Excel Talent Programme and has her sights firmly set on riding at top-level in her chosen sport.

Kris Rides in Style and Comfort

RIDER Kris Brown has always tried to do the best for her team of young dressage horses.

Buying big-moving horses with shoulders and large fronts to match, Kris had often struggled to find saddles that allowed them to move freely and that were soft on their backs.

A chance conversation with a dressage judge led her to buy her first Black Country Saddle and she has never looked back.

Explains Kris: “I was looking for a new saddle for my six-year-old dressage horse Louis Dor and ended up buying a second hand Black Country Saddle after talking to the judge who was selling one!

“When I first bought the saddle I had it checked. The saddle fitter was pleased with the fit of this Adelinda and after I had looked into the wonderful range of Black Country Saddles available I decided to have a new saddle made for one of my other horse’s “D-SIGN”, who is now training with Dan Greenwood.

“He is very short-coupled and is prone to a sore back so it was suggested serge should be used on the panel to make it as comfortable as possible.

“This has been a great success with the serge making a huge difference and the saddle fits him really well. It is wonderful to find everyone associated with Black Country Saddles so passionate about their work and the fit of their saddles.

“As I am long in the leg, I went for the Optima Deluxe model which includes a knee roll which can be placed exactly to the preferred position of the rider and is custom-made for each individual.

“I was so pleased with the saddle for “D-SIGN” that I decided to get one for my other horse, Electron. Now all my horses have their own Black Country Saddle and I couldn’t be more pleased.

“Electron is a big horse and quite a late developer.  He is now five-years-old and as he is developing all the time I will keep a careful watch on how the fit of the saddle changes as it may need adjustment over time.

“I am now totally confident that my three horses have saddles that fit well, are comfortable and allow them to move as best as they can in the dressage arena.”

Successful Trade Open Day for Black Country Saddles

Black Country Saddles recently held a highly successful Open Day for its trade customers at their state-of-the-art premises in Cannock, Staffordshire.

This busy day included a champagne reception and provided the chance for visitors to view the exciting new and significantly updated Black Country Saddles collection.

Newcomers introduced to the range include the Solare, the Tra Li, the Classic Show Saddle, Poppy Show Saddle and the Ballina.

Partners Rob Cullen and John Hartley were on hand to go through questions fielded by clients covering many aspects such as types and qualities of leathers used; design feedback on saddle trees…the amount of interest seeming almost endless.

Black Country Saddles Managing Director, Mark Bryan said: “We had a fantastic turnout and it was great to see both long-established and also new clients throughout the day.

“I was delighted this included road trips from Devon and flight routes from Scotland. That said, it’s no surprise – we’ve had several transatlantic visits from Dealers new and old in the last few weeks alone!

“There was a lot of interest, especially in our new saddles, and the day provided the ideal opportunity to talk with so many members of the Black Country Saddles family.”

Robert Walker Joins Black Country Saddles Team

Robert and Party Time V at Royal Windsor

Robert and Party Time V at Royal Windsor

LEADING show rider and producer Robert Walker has secured new sponsorship from Staffordshire-based Black Country Saddles.

Well known for their prestigious range of saddles, the Black Country Saddles bespoke collection is made to the highest level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Cheshire-based Robert has produced many top show horses over the years, consistently winning major titles at the Royal International Horse Show and Horse of the Year Show.

Robert has a promising team of youngsters to campaign this season, as well as established stars, and has made a great start taking the Cob Championship at Nottinghamshire County Show with the heavy weight, Starry Night.

Success followed at The Royal Windsor Horse Show, with Robert taking the Novice Hunter Championship on Caesar’s Palace and Small Hunter title on Party Time V.

Said Robert: “The Black Country Saddles range is absolutely superb and we are delighted to have them joining our fantastic team of sponsors.

“The team has a wealth of experience and knowledge and 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.”

Added John Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “Robert is the ultimate showman and recognises the importance saddles play not only in the looks and impression when in the show ring, but also when it comes to allowing horses and ponies to move at their very best.”

Black Country Saddles Sponsor Top Show Producer Jo Bates

Jo Bates and Comberton Corncockle

Jo Bates and Comberton Corncockle

Bespoke saddle manufacturer, Black Country Saddles, is delighted to announce they will be sponsoring one of the country’s leading show riders and producers, Jo Bates.

Banbury-based Jo continues to be a major name when it comes to producing show horses with many major wins already under her belt and a lifetime of experience around horses and the show ring.  Jo and her daughter Holly run a busy training yard which focuses mainly on showing and dressage.

This season they will be aiming to qualify for key championship shows such as the RIHS in July and HOYS at the end of the season.

The Small Hack, Comberton Corncockle has already won two championships and Jo is delighted with their success and the fit of the new Black Country Classic Show Saddle.

Said Jo: “I am very pleased to have gained the support of Black Country Saddles. The team has many years’ experience when it comes to fitting and making bespoke saddles and their sponsorship is invaluable.

“Image is so important when you are in the show ring, and their saddles really do look the part as well as being a perfect fit for horse and rider. I am very impressed with the saddles and looking forward to riding in them.”

As well as Comberton Corncockle, Jo also has the rides on the Large Hack, Primitive Dazzler, Large Riding Horse, Daldorn Lara’s Theme and Maxi Cob, Colebourne for the season.

Jo had a fantastic Devon County Show qualifying for HOYS with Colebourne and taking the Hack Championship with Comberton Corncockle, the third one in a row.

Whalton Daydream has also been in great form taking the Hack Championship at BSPS to secure their RIHS ticket.

Added John Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “Jo is extremely hard working, produces horses to perfection and we are delighted she has joined the Black Country Saddles team of sponsored riders and producers.”

Well known for their prestigious range of saddles, the Black Country Saddles collection is made to the highest level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

A Day in the Life of Sophie Wells

Image

Here we catch up with sponsored para dressage rider, Sophie Wells MBE, as we take a sneak peek into her hectic daily schedule to find out what it takes to make your way to the top.

At the age of 23, she is reigning World and European Champion at Para Dressage Grade IV, with eleven Championship Gold Medals between her two top horses, Pinocchio and Valerius. She has also ridden as an able-bodied athlete at the Young Rider European Dressage Championships and the Young Rider World Cup, and now rides at Grand Prix.

I am based in Nottingham with trainer Angela Weiss, who is the Squad Coach to the World Class Development and Excel Squads, she is an international Grand Prix rider and also the Director of Para Dressage for British Dressage.

I am very lucky to have access to such wonderful facilities that are available at Angela’s, to help train my horses to the very highest level.

My day begins between 6am and 7am when I arrive on the yard along with Cheryl and Becca to feed the 22 horses that are based there. It is very hectic at feeding time making sure the horses all get their correct breakfasts.

I usually begin exercising the horses between 8am and 9am and have around eight horses to ride each day which takes me through until lunchtime. I ride all my horses in the Black Country Vinici dressage saddle which helps me feel closer to the horses, and also allows my legs to hang longer around them greatly helping my nerve problems too!

My para horse Reece is now showing great talent for tempi changes and Noki had a fantastic season last year in which we made our Grand Prix debut. Alongside my own horses, I also ride training liveries and work closely with Emma Sheardown who is also a para dressage rider.

At 3pm it is finally time for a break and some lunch followed by catching up on paperwork. I then often go for a session at the gym or to a physiotherapy appointment which might be for me or my horses or all of us! It is very important for me to make sure I’m moving freely and keeping up a strict, strengthening training regime, helping me to improve my position to get the best from the horses.

As early evening draws in around 5pm, the arena is harrowed and the horses are checked over and hand-walked if they have been in during the day. This is always a lovely, quiet time of the day to unwind and enjoy some time with the horses without the stresses of training.

The evening begins at 7.30pm with a nice hot bath to unwind in before dinner and some time to relax.

For more information about Sophie Wells MBE please visit www.sophiewells.com

Heading to China?

China 1

WITH ambitious plans to expand into the Far East the team at Cannock-based Black Country Saddles are developing relationships with the China-Britain Business Council to assist them in their efforts.

The export strategy is being carefully worked on and has led to BBC Midlands Today visiting their new premises, interviewing Managing Director Mark Bryan and filming saddles in the various stages of the manufacturing process.

BBC Business Correspondent Peter Plisner and the camera crew were on hand to film and interview both Mark and members of the team who enjoyed the time in the spotlight.

Said Mark: “BBC Midlands wanted to put together a news piece about a specific and specialist business in the region looking to promote their products and services to China.

“We were delighted when they contacted us about coming here to film our work and talk about our plans.China 4

“Being a worldwide business we realise the Chinese market is a sector we need to develop so we contacted the China-Britain Business Council who seem helpful and supportive.

“We are working closely with Chinese Business Advisor Mark Eaton and our relationship-building has included attending a regional Chinese Forum which proved to be an interesting insight into the opportunities and market place. Some facts were re-confirmed, some were new – all helpful – a very good Forum!

“Filming with the BBC Midlands team was an exciting morning and although it proved to be quite nerve-wracking in front of the camera for everyone it was also a great opportunity to showcase the skills of our saddlery team and the growth of the business as a whole.”