Another day – Another lesson

Life is full of surprises.ph-country_f8f492999cea1ed0c7a326c8c73c4e18

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.

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note the chalk diagrams of the ever patient horse’s muscles
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More explanations about
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trees and things 🙂

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.

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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

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Polishing Carla’s Saddle
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except you cannot see our hands doing the work 🙂
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Templates for every saddle – and don’t muddle them up!!!!!
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racing saddles – weighing almost nothing
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saddles and saddle and saddles
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colours and leathers and shapes
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Early blades to cut the leather
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Horobin legacy continues
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Peter ‘at work’
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when he is not driving from saddle to saddle

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.

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Measuring
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looking good

Photographs from the wonderful riders I shared a week with, and Peter Horobin Saddlery 

You what? 😂

You what?,

I’m going  on a horse trail.

Why?

Good question, and one I ask myself not infrequently.     And my answer always seems to be vaguely unsatisfactory.

Certainly, not because they are there, as with Everest.

Rather, I  want to. No idea why 😂.

O Except perhaps because Kate Pilcher has inspired me (www.globetrotting.com.au) 😃

“Do you have any idea of how sore you are going to be?”

Yes.

“For 5 days?”

Yes.

“Who are you going with?”

No one.

And so the conversations peter out, always with the same look of incredulity and pity!!!!

Which begs the question, why am I in Cape Town, getting ready to go on a horse trail tomorrow and what am I in for.

To both, I have no idea except perhaps there is something about ‘the stars conspiring’ (https://leepowrie.com/2017/01/10/horses-stars-and-me/#)

and life is too short not to take up opportunities.

And so, the opportunity to visit Dee’s Saddlery was too good to miss.

Lovely Dee

An enchanting store filled with stirrups, saddles, caps, jackets, jodphurs, boots – an alladins cave for riders.

People popped on, to buy, to chat

think I should get my horse a toy,

why?

Not sure😃, maybe she would like one,   Perhaps she is bored

I gave my horse a ball and she looked at me and never touched it.    Have a glass of wine, forget the toy 🍷⚽️⚽️

We had such fun, jodhpurs, chaps (so very kindly lent), advice, warnings, and encouragement: topped of with wine to celebrate – madness, adventure, joy, horses, life.🍾🐴

Clearly our attitude was good 😜
Practising 😂😂😂



Am I organised, do I have the correct gear – make sure you wear the pants you always ride in, the instructions say, don’t try to ride in new clothes.   Ha ha – I don’t normally ride, so that is one I have already messed up on!!!!!   But committed now.  With brand new pants I have never worn before 😩


Flying in to Cape Town is always special, such a blessed city.  Is it a good omen that the tv cameras at the airport have a series on horses I wonder?


Being met by family is also special and a dinner to celebrate, family, babies soon to be born, and the same questions – why, why, and why.

Although, there was some support this time, – thank you cousins 😜and a quick Google of where I am riding to raised the anticipation considerably.

She likes crazy
They think I’m mad 😂
He gets it 😜

If my body holds up, if the horse holds me up, if my spirit holds, this will be a special special time.

Time will tell……

 

After Jebel Hafeet 

We stopped at the Al Ain Mall. Deserted (it was Friday- holy day), sophisticated and very well ‘stocked’. All the brand shops, Apple, Zara, Marks & Spensors as well as remarkable individual stores – the jewellery stores were stunning – photos don’t do them justice 😩

Diamonds to die for, gold to melt your heart and security being ‘not an issue’ everything is available for scrutiny.

There is a whole level devoted to games, which also hosts an ice rink ! Oh to have had more time!

The city is spotless; disciplined in a middle Eastern kind of way. Men are courteous, not supercilious or presumptuous (of course that may be as much as indication of my advancing years as anything else 😜) and the women gracious, slightly shy but open to conversation always.

A drive through the market (Al Aflaj?) revealed a different world. Goats in tiny pens, herded together by perhaps owners, age, sex, colour, and camels too. Tall ones, surprisingly small ones, dark brown, usual sandy beige, babies suckling. We watched one bring paraded like a stud horse before a potential buyer. We watched another being loaded into a bakkie (ute). It was done very ‘unceremoniously’ and was difficult to watch, but clearly ‘the way’ here. We did not ‘engage’ at the market as both Annie and I often do, but drove through ; I was very aware of being an outsider, non local and the men hanging round the animals were equally clearly non locals, Afghani, Bedouin etc.

A quick stop off at home to have a drink and check the rugby score 😂

And we were off again

An ice rink in the desert – go figure
Play zone
One and two 😔
Flawless
Breathtaking
Such craftsmanship
With tiny detail
And 23 carat shimmering
There’s eating, using and now flaunting 😂
Someone wears it?…
Every size
Shape…
And colour
Please don’t separate us
Please pick me

It works ….

OHS would have this country shut down in a week 😂

06/10/2016

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Construction Africa style
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With a smile always
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Scaffolding
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Butcher
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Shop 😃
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Till you drop
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Need to ‘refuel’? I did – yummy
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Need a lift?
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Or a bag?
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Or just about anything