Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A few Photos

I don't have much to tell, other than the last event of the season for our booth was a huge success!  We had people who showed up just to come shop with us, and folks who had no clue we were going to be there, but ended up spending a ton of money anyways.  Anytime I can get 3 saddle sales out of one event...I call that a success.  Everything else is just icing on the cake.

On top of that Mary and I have been trying to find the right person to help us with some custom leather work.  I kept telling her of guy I had met once before and have been trying to find his card.  Out of the blue, he rode up on his big paint horse, we got to talking, I introduced him to Mary only to find that they already knew each other from years ago. She just didn't know that he was doing leather work.  This should work out great as he can do things that we cannot, and we can get things that he needs at a discounted rate.

These two pictures are of the saddle line up I had prepared for the display the next day.  I even have a Crown C in there, which did not get near the response I was hoping for, and I'm starting to wonder if purchasing it was a smart move.  However, it won't end up being a money loser.

Here are some pics of our booth

Here are a couple of the pics from the NFR

I took a day off on Sunday and got some riding done.  I think Trax is wishing I would hurry up and get another lesson so we can work on our communication skills.  I was pretty proud of myself though for recognizing that he was not doing proper roll backs (turning the hip instead of the shoulder) and remembered what to do to fix it.  First I fixed my riding position and clarified my cues.  Then I reached down and popped him on the shoulder with a rein.  Not hard of course but just enough to make him say "YOU HIT ME!!"  However, it sure got his feet moving like they were supposed to, and MAN can I feel the difference!

After that we did pretty well.  I've started trying to work on our counter archs, and at first we really struggled, till BEC suggested that perhaps I was asking for too much arch. So the next time I tried it, it asked for a little less and a few less steps to start with, just to be able to reward the try. After that things started falling into place.

I rode Princess Melly that night too.  I guess I need to just make the time to get her back to the desert.  There isn't much to teach her, and we are getting our lead changes down, so the best thing for her would be just trail riding and going back to getting her a little less reactive.  It isn't going to happen in the arena I don't think.

In the last 4 days I have taken in so many new saddles.  I bought an old Heiser for next to nothing, which is my next before and after project.  I'm pretty excited about that one.  Then on Saturday, I took in 3 more consignments.  Sunday brought 4 more and another Heiser which I will recondition for a gal.  Monday, I went and picked up another at the post office which I bought on line.  That does not include the 3 I picked up the week before.   So I have plenty to keep me busy for the next couple of weeks.  I can whip out a conditioning job pretty quickly these days, depending on how bad the saddle is.  I've got a good system down and have figured out which products work best for different situations.

Yesterday it seemed like I was running crazy and as the sun was sinking low, I stood in the doorway of the shop trying to figure out which saddle I should start on.  Then I heard a noise behind me and the geldings were over in their pasture tearing things up.  They do this often at the end of the day, when they are impatient to come in and have their supper. I took the two spotted walker and put them away, and then grabbed Killian.

I put a rope halter with an extra long lead on him, tied it into a rein, and led him up to a car trailer so I could climb up on him.  We took a little walk around the block and it was nice to just enjoy the ride, without having to "work" on anything.

Killian is the only horse I would try that on, as he is the only one I know beyond of a shadow of doubt isn't going to spook or try to make a run for home.  These are the times when he redeems himself.  I just wish I had someone to ride with me more often so that he didn't sit for so long between rides.  But how can you not love a horse who can sit for as long as you need him too and still be as safe as if he was being ridden every day.

I feel a little melancholy these days, perhaps it is because for the first time in years, I'm ignoring the holiday.  Simon is leaving for WY, TC and I don't really do the gift thing to each other, and all my other kids are off doing their own thing with their in-laws.   Maybe Christmas day I will get TC to go for a ride with me.

For now I want to wish all my blogger friends a safe and Merry Christmas.  May you get to spend your time with family and friends .

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Whirlwind of Activity!

I just realized that it has been over a month since I have done a post.  Where does the time go?  I find it amazing that I have less time now that I am unemployed, than I ever did when I was working.  I wish I could say it was all horse time, but sadly it hasn't.

Trax is back home again and looking fabulous.  I made the mistake of rearranging the herd and put him in with Killian his first night back.  It was a huge mistake, and Trax got beat up pretty bad.  So now we are in the process of dividing all the pens in half, and everyone will have their own.

I have 2 pastures now, so its geldings in one and mares in the other...Trax gets to hang out with the girls.  I just can't sit and babysit to make sure Killian isn't going to pull any of his crap.  I will tell you that Killian got his ass beat for beating up on Trax.  I looked out the window and saw it happening so I was able to go out and discipline at the appropriate time.  It scared him pretty bad, didn't really hurt him much but it got the message across.

I have ridden Trax twice since he came home.  I'm worried about undoing his training so for now we work mostly on what I have been worked with by my trainer, which is mostly proper riding position and proper cues.  It is amazing how differently my horse responds to me when I ride him correctly!  Who Knew????  Okay so I guess a lot of people did, but I didn't realize just how much I was hindering my horses by lack of skill.  It was less evident in Trax because he did not have the training anyway, but it was clearly evident when riding Melody.  I will be taking a lesson a week, on Trax so that I can catch up to his training.  We will be going to a Ranch Versatility clinic in Jan, and I hope to at least know how to ride my horse by then.

Speaking of Melody, my equine therapist took a look at that muscle in the back.  She did a couple of little things right then (she was only there to drop off Trax and did not have her tools with her for a treatment) which made a difference right off the bat.  So once she gets some treatments we should see some real progress.

Sassy has taken a turn for the worse again, the deep cracks and thrush were back so I had her shoes pulled and have been treating her vigorously.  She is back in the boots temporarily, but eventually will go back to shoes.  I could have treated the thrush with the shoes on, but the cracks just kept getting deeper and deeper so when he pulled the shoes and trimmed her, I had him open up the cracks so I could really get in there.   So while she took a turn for the worse, she is doing better now, and is on the upswing again.  I think my farrier thought I was unhappy with his work, and I tried to explain that I am not.  I just needed to get to her feet is all.

The new year will be bringing a lot of changes for Sassy anyway, but I won't be sharing about that just yet.

Killian came down with some sort of fungus. I guess it would be girth itch.  But it got pretty ugly for a bit and required some shaving of his sides and chest.  A visit to the vet, and some internal and topical meds seem to have taken care of it.  He will find himself back under a saddle sooner than he likes I am sure!

The saddle shop has been keeping me super busy!  I have teamed up with another gal who also does tack and then expanded into western clothing and bling.  I don't even want to deal with those items, but when we joined forces and combined our resources for the mobile booth...HOLY MOLY!!!  You couldn't miss us.   With my 20' trailer, 12 saddles out front, and all her shiney pretty things, plus all the small pieces of tack, then more saddles inside...yes we got quite a bit of attention.

We set up close to home for the AZJRA last month, and did very well.  While we were set up, some folks on the committee for the Globe rodeo asked if we would come set up at their event in 2015.  Then I sent a picture of our booth to the NBHA and asked about their final race of the year which is in Apache Junction.  The gal couldn't get us the vendor form fast enough.  Then she asked if we would please come and set up at the first race of 2015 which is a four day event in Buckeye.   From what I understand this is a huge event, and we are excited for the opportunity.  With that in mind I have been scrambling to get inventory that is more barrel racer friendly.

It was quite helpful that I had a run on saddles lately, and have sold quite a few of them in the last few weeks.  It gave me just enough funds to buy more of what I need.  I sold some of my really good saddles, and even managed to get rid of some of the junkier ones that I was sick of dragging around.   Even sold one all the way up in Vegas...which worked out well since I just happened to be going to Las Vegas.

TC and I were very fortunate to have been invited to go to the NFR with BEC and her hubby.  It was a total blast!  I can't recall the last time I had that much fun watching a rodeo. BEC had told me it was like watching a live action movie and she did not lie.  There is no down time, in fact you hardly have a chance to catch your breath from one event to the next and if you need to go potty, you'd better figure out which even you can live with missing. There is no intermission to speak of.

When we weren't at the rodeo, we spent some time walking around the different vendor booths.  Clearly I have saddles on the brain all the time, because I could not go past a saddle booth and not fondle the merchandise.  I did a good amount of research, which will be helpful down the road as I am moving towards buying more saddles on line from out of state, and less local sales.  I find that bringing in fresh inventory that has not made its way around the valley yet, boosts sales immensely. Having sat in, and physically seen so many different saddles makes it easier to make those online decision now.

One of my favorite custom saddle makers is Hickman's Boot and Saddlery out of Idaho.  They used to be in Washington, but have since moved to Post Falls.  I have one of his older saddles for sale in my shop right now, and was just blown away by the quality of the work that Bob Hickman does.  I actually was able to speak to him on the phone about the saddle I have, and thought it was pretty cool that the minute he saw the saddle he was able to tell me everything about it, including the name of the person he made it for (which happens to be the person I am selling it for).

I had heard that he might be going to the NFR, so was kind of watching for his booth and sure enough, we walked right smack into him.  I introduced myself, and we chatted for a bit and then I asked if he had any body who distributed saddles for him.  He only has his shop and website.  I asked if he would consider doing that, and he said yes, and yes he would like to do that with me.  That means I would be the only person in the country with the ability to by his saddles at a wholesale price and redistribute!!!!!   We will be getting together via phone and email after the first of the year.  If you would like to see what I will be distributing you can click on the link here.

(Thank you once again BEC for suggesting that I ask about that) gotta give credit where it is due!

I could hardly contain my excitement about that for the rest of the trip and I am pretty sure that BEC is about sick of listening to me talk about saddles and saddle sales!

So anyway, the NFR....if you ever get the chance to go....jump on it!   Too Much Fun!

Now we are home and it is back to business as usual and trying to get ready for the weekend.  I've got saddles coming in left and right, some nice affordable ones, some middle of the road ones, and if everything goes according to plan, will have at least 1 or 2 high end saddles here in the next week or so too!  

With all that being said, I should probably get off the computer and back to work. I want to get some mandatory saddle time in today as well.  As in mandatory "butt in the saddle" time!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!!!!

I will try to have pictures for my next post!