Life is full of surprises.
I mean, take saddles for example.
Yes, that’s what I said, saddles. They go onto the backs of horses.
Ever thought about them? Well of course not, nor had I until last week.
Like chicken breasts from the supermarket, saddles, just ‘were’. How many of us think about the size of the chickens that offer us these juicy large breasts – when I did, I baulked at the thought that they may be the size of dogs!!!!!
So why would we think about a saddle? No reason of course since we don’t eat them, and most people don’t go near them in day to day life.
Except I am not not on of the ‘most people’ having decided well into my 60’s that I shall learn to ride. Which means sitting in most instances on (in?) a saddle. Still I gave it (the saddle, not the horse) little thought – it just Was.
Some saddles rubbed me in uncomfortable places, some buckles chaffed and left reminders long after the ride was over, but mostly they just came with the territory.
Until I changed my territory and went on a fabulous trail to the High Country (blog to follow: HiddenTrails,Globetrotting.com.au) where I met a Saddle Maker. Not just ‘a saddle maker’ but Peter Horobin and his daughter Marlee who make saddles which are sent all over the world; these are ‘bespoke’ saddles – think Kate Middleton Duchess of Cambridge and her bespoke dresses and you get the idea.
Peter was amazing, teaching us about the muscles and bones around the shoulder of the horse, how saddles impinge or don’t on their movement, how poor mounting (climbing into the saddle for my non riding friends the wrong way) can bend the tree.
Yup, its okay I also didn’t know what he was talking about and heard the voice of a rather dumb naive blonde (that would be me) ask what on earth he meant. Turns out a tree isn’t what we were seeing all around us, but rather part of the saddle, a foundational part in fact.
And of course there was a next step – a visit to his shop/workshop/sanctuary/creative studio which I did today after my third only riding lesson put on the Mornington Peninsula.
And what a wonderland of energy, passion, skill and hospitality. The saddles – there are SO many different types, every one hand made, so many colours, so many uses, so many textures, it was like entering Aladdin’s cave, an abundance of smell, touch, leather, style and confidence.
I wished I had a horse so I could indulge myself with a saddle.
Instead I got to polish the saddle being shipped to Western Australia to Carla – a special new friend, with whom we rode in the High Country.
Envious I am of those that ordered saddles – they are getting works of art
And I had NO idea that a saddle could be such a special, wonderful creation – I thought only quilts fell into that category – another lesson learnt.