Monday, December 26, 2016

Spotted Gecko Designs



Merry Christmas everyone!!!  I hope everyone had a great holiday and you got some great horsey gifts!

I love horsey gift shopping for my friends because it's so easy to do.  Simply find something that I think is awesome and buy it for someone else.  Not for me.  Ok, maybe also for me.  

Over the last few years I've had a few things that have grown legs and walked at horse shows, things like brushes and whips often look just like your neighbor's brushes and whips and get picked up.  Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don't.  I've been thinking of unique and permanent ways to mark every day items to prevent this from happening, and to make them a little more special.  

I started my hunt for personalized brushes for a friend, I found several sources but some of them were way out of my budget, or the seller didn't have very good communication so I was worried about the transaction. Finally I found what looked like just the right match on Etsy.

Etsy is a great place to find personalized items from small business owners,  I've been looking at browbands and bonnets recently, although I do wish they had an "equestrian" section to make it easier to look at all the options in one spot.  One of my favorite small businesses, Higher Standards Leather Care started out on Etsy as well.  

Spotted Gecko Designs had exactly what I wanted.  They were crazy fast answering my questions, sometimes replying back in less than 2 minutes!  They were super patient with me when I realized I could have ANYTHING EVER engraved on my gift brushes!  I literally spent hours looking at horsey clipart trying to to decide on the perfect one.  THEN I had to pick out the font.  I'm not even getting to what happened when she mentioned that she could do different types of brushes as well.  I finally settled on colored brushes that matched my friend's colors.  


During the entire process Olivia was both patient and helpful, working with me on the entire design process.




She double checked on what I wanted and how I wanted it engraved, and she sent me pictures of how it would look on the brushes before she began the process.


Then she sent me pictures of the finished brush before she shipped them out to make sure she got it totally right.


Due to a delay in shipping that wasn't her fault in any way, she didn't get one of the brushes in time to send it out.  She let me know it was a possibility, updated me during the entire process, and even included an extra gift to make up for the delay, a stock pin done to match the color of the brush.


Isn't that pretty?  I think my friend liked it more than the brush!

The brush and pin arrived just in time for Christmas and the second brush is on its way as we speak.  I can't recommend Spotted Gecko Designs more for their customer service and attention to detail.  I will definitely be back to buy brushes for my friends, brushes for me, and maybe a nice browband for Stella.  

Be sure to check them out and give them your business!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winner winner chicken dinner!

I bought a saddle!!!!

I stumbled upon a saddle that was in my price range and looked promising on Ebay.  I did some googling and was excited to find out that tall people hated it!!!  It had a very short and forward flap and anyone over 5' 5" said it didn't fit their leg at all.  Which sounded just about perfect for me!

I had some alarm bells go off talking to the seller and decided to google like mad and see if I could find another one.

Finally I located one at VTO.  It was more expensive than the Ebay find but I could take it on trial and send it back instead of working on reselling it so I decided to email VTO.  I was quite surprised when they told me they wouldn't even consider sending it until I sent them pictures of my horse, and me on my horse.  They didn't want to send me something that didn't look suitable and they were concerned the tree would be too wide.

Pictures sent and they approved enough to send me the saddle.



After a few days on trial they asked for pictures of the saddle on Stella, and me in the saddle.   Looks pretty good!




They analyzed the fit and asked for more specific photos from certain angles




Finally they told me to take a few extra days and make sure I really wanted it.


All of this on a low budget saddle they barely made a commission off of!  The service simply blew me away!   To care on such a level about someone they didn't know was amazing.  I can't recommend them enough.

What do I think about the saddle?  Overall I'm happy to have something that fits Stella well, she seemed to work well in it, going long and low, picking up the bit, and bucking less and less with each ride.

Quality wise I'd say it rates among the newer courbettes which I expected.  It isn't as nice quality as the saddle I'm selling but I think with some oiling and conditioning the leather will improve a bit.  I think it was a good value for my money, and without wasting a great deal of money shipping things back and forth or buying and selling I'm glad it worked out.

Now to get past my busy time of year and work so I'll have some leftover energy to ride in the evenings!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Xmas list

A few days ago I made a Christmas list for the trailer owner, with some ideas of things I thought would be handy to own as a new trailer owner myself.  Today I'm making a list of gifts for gifters on a budget to people who are budget conscious.  In other words, things I'd buy for myself because I'm too cheap to buy the real deal.

These black and white breeches from this Ebay seller.  I've purchased things from them before, and they ship fast and as advertised.  I really like the look of white breeches with black seats, I hate plain white breeches and I think that these break up the vast marshmallow picture and look classy at the same time.


I've been drooling over patent leather dressage bridles for some time now, I think a shiny noseband would look really good on  a horse with a big plain face, I.E. Stella's solid black snozz.  I like this Patent bridle available at Jeffers because it's on sale and still looks quality!


Jeffers carries two other affordable patent bridles, this Uniquely English bridle, and the same bridle with white padding.  I think that the noseband would be overwhelming on Stella's face but it would be great for a bigger headed horse.


Another thing I think is classy but different are rolled nose halters.  A little bit of refined elegance and something a bit different, they look fantastic on small faced horses such as arabs but I've also saw one on a fjord that looked great.  They are available at several retailers, and made by Perris as well as Tory leather.

This one is available at Big D Web

This Ebay seller has a rolled nose option in both 3/4 inch and 1 inch width.  Lancaster Amish goods is an online outlet for Bartville tack, an Amish run tack store in Pennsylvania.  Bartville are the folks who make all the leather for Bit of Britain and is a must visit store but being Amish they can be difficult to get ahold of (service is outstanding).  This Ebay option is a great alternative.


I've talked about the great products and customer service from Higher Standards Leather Care before, they make great smelling soaps that make cleaning your tack less of a chore, and you can get this combo pack with both a soap in your favorite scent and a conditioner for just $31.00


My favorite store Riding Warehouse carries three of their soaps for just $14.95 each and I even have a %15 coupon code for my readers just in case you didn't order quite enough during their %25 sale.


These beta grip reins from Cornerstable Tack, I like rubber reins for their grip but I struggle with how thick the reins are.  These beta grip reins are similar to the Nunn Finer reins in a more affordable price range.


Semi custom half chaps from Millbrook Leather.  I like the look of these semi custom chaps and they look like great quality for the price.  I'm not big on a custom monogram but I like how you can pick your color pinstripe, my only regret being no purple.  Sad face.

In the optimistic view that the next saddle arriving on trial will be THE saddle, I have added a saddle cover to my list.  I've had THREE different cases and busted the zipper on all three, leading me to believe that I'm simply not meant to have a saddle in a case.  I've picked this cover for several reasons.  First, purple.  Duh.  Second, it's padded and waterproof to protect against trailer leaks (grrrr) and cat scratches.  Third, it comes from another tack store I like, Equus Now




That's it for today!  I'll add more gift ideas as I come across them.  

October HT wrap up

My BIG MOVE UP at the October show was a big fat fail.  This is me, dismounting off of Stella in the middle of a massive XC melt down...