Goodbye to 2016, in a lot of ways I am not sorry to see it go, I am ready for the change that 2017 will bring. This was a slow year for the store, but we made it to most of the AHJA shows in 2016 and love being with familiar faces and taking part in the fun. Look for us to be at the 2017 shows with the trailer cheering everyone on!! I’m hoping for a better year this year and I’m looking for suggestions as to what you, my customer, would like to see changed or added to make ABRT the place you want to shop. There is a lot of competition out there with the internet, and trailers at other venues that you travel to, but don’t forget that ABRT is YOUR store and we strive to make you happy and support our riding community keeping it strong. We keep the schedule up on the website and update FB, so follow us and be in the know. This year makes 9 years of business and I am always learning and trying to improve, I make mistakes and try to learn from them, and I’m always trying to improve. This year we will be looking for scholarship applications for the Emily Parker St. John riding scholarship in March, I will be blogging on topics that I think will be of interest to my customers, do videos on products and apparel, add new merchandise that keeps up with the demands of my customers, and of course well have in store sales, promotions and open houses. It is VERY important to LIKE us on FB as we update it a lot with news and upcoming events!! Thank you for shopping with us and we look so forward to a great year in 2017.
QUICK HORSE BUYING TIPS
You are probably thinking “quick” tips, this is a huge investment there’s nothing quick about it, and you would be right. The quick part comes into just plain common sense, it will help you weed out what you need to know so that you don’t waste time looking at horse that wouldn’t pan out. As a tack storeowner I see more people buy inappropriate horses that they can’t ride because of behavior or physical ailments, and they could have been avoided. I have bought and sold horses, I am not a horse trader but I enjoy looking and selling from time to time. I have been successful at finding some really good ones that have gone on to big careers, or are with happy owners.
The initial phase is reading a sell ad or getting a description of the horse. There are often words used or things said that could tell you a lot. Depending on what kind of rider you are you may not need the sensitive horse because you will not get along if you are a busy rider or a beginner, horse like this get irritated and can be unforgiving. Quiet is great as long as that doesn’t mean wont go at all, or if you push it to do something it gets ugly, lazy horse are not always kind. Learn the undercurrent of the verbiage and ask lots of questions. Letting a seller talk will often bring about facts that you need to know.
If you get to phase 2 and you’re going to see the horse then you need to take someone with you that is knowledgeable. NEVER ride the horse first, get the trainer or owner to show you the horse under saddle. Its good to see its gaits from the ground and make sure that it is safe. If you do ride walk around for a minute and make sure that it is relaxed and listens to your aids, then take it through the paces. It’s always good to introduce a new environment if its possible, an open field, a walk around the barns or a quick trail ride. Also plan more than one ride on the horse, maybe the next day or so, horse have good and bad days too.
Phase 3 is getting more serious because you’re getting more professionals involved, or getting a professional involved for the first time. If you have a trainer who hasn’t been involved thus far, make sure they come and see the horse. The trainer knows your riding ability and will be able to determine if the horse will be a good match for you and fit into your riding program. If that goes well you must get a vetting, don’t trust that the horse is without issues because someone tells you they are or they’ve never had any issues. Horse are athletes and they need to be up for the task they will be given. Lots of behavior problems come from discomfort in horses, and you don’t want to buy someone else’s problem. A vet can do a good general health exam and flexion’s, and then go from there with x-rays and ultrasounds. I generally do general health and then start with Flexion’s of the front and hind legs. If a horse does not flex, I’m done!!! I do not want to do diagnostics for the owner, so if they don’t flex its not my responsibility to find out why, a very wise vet here in town once told me that. A good vetting ensures that the horse can do his job, and it’s a great baseline for your records and future health of your horse.
There are so many small details, but these are some generalities. I would consider getting an unbiased opinion too, like a knowledgeable friend to help, someone who doesn’t tend to gain anything from the horse financially, but only has your best interest at heart. Like I said I’ve seen people get horses they cant ride or they are
not sound for the job because of commissions, friendships or notoriety. So protect yourself and be smart. My father always told me that something better will come along, and as hard as it was to believe sometimes, he was right, so don’t get emotional about a horse until the process is over and all of your vetting has produced good results.
Well CAD #8 is now on the books as another success! There is so much preparation that goes into making this one day a success, I want to thank all my employees that worked hard to get donations for prizes, and setting up tents and getting the warehouse ready in the heat for this big day, its doesn’t go unnoticed all your hard work.
It was a beautiful and hot day and the customers poured in all day. WE had some really good sales, we had breeches at 20% off, summer tops at 30% off and strap goods for 10% off, all of these items flew out the door. The goodie bags, that were very generously given by my horse health vendors, had a great assortment of products for sampling, and the BBQ was delicious and plentiful. The Grand prizes were a Wintec Dressage, won by Tim Pendley, and the Great Plains Barrel Saddle won by Mary Catherine McGill. In addition to the 2 grand prizes were the 15 minute drawings, we gave out 22 15 minute prizes away from Ariat, IRH, Nunn Finer, One K, Samshield, EquiFit, EquiBrand, Kerrits, Intec, Davis, JPC equestrian, Noble Outfitters, Jacks, Shires, Tory Leather, The Finishing Touch, PRI, Hands On grooming gloves, Breyer, C4 Belts, and so many more. Everyones gift brought a big smile to their face!! We had a great time on Saturday and appreciate everyone that came and supported us on our big day. We do love our customers, we know you have choices and we are glad you choose Alabama Blue Ribbon Tack!!!!