"Um, hey dad, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, what is it?"
"Can I please take $250 out of my savings account to buy a saddle?"
This was me at 19 years old, finally getting the nerve to ask my dad for money for my first saddle. I'd been riding for years, but never had my own saddle. I hadn't really needed one, since every horse I rode had a saddle already. However I found myself in a situation where I needed a saddle. Not wanted (although I did want one) but needed.
Here was the situation. I was riding and showing Blair's half-arabian mare Porteeya. I was mostly showing her Western Pleasure, but Blair and I both decided to try her out in Hunter Pleasure, a relatively new class. Blair had been borrowing a hunt seat saddle from a friend of hers for a few months, and now this gal wanted her saddle back. Blair didn't want to buy a saddle at that point, so she said since I was showing Teeya I should buy my own saddle.
It's not like I didn't have any money. I had been working since I was 14 years old. Most of my paychecks went into the bank as mandated by my father. He let me keep some money, but he was pretty hard-nosed about me saving most of it. So for years I had been presenting my paychecks to my parents to deposit for me. At 19 I didn't have a checking account or credit card of my own yet. Suddenly I was seeing a problem with this current money situation.
My dad was against all things horse. He didn't want me riding, but had allowed it because it didn't cost him any money. I was pretty sure that he was not going to let me buy a saddle, but instead of asking I started shopping. I was lucky enough to walk into a tack shop that had mostly western tack that happened to have a few inexpensive hunt seat saddles. The sales guy told me they ordered a few of them and they hadn't sold, so they dropped the prices just to get them out of the store. I sat in one that was the right size for me and I really liked it.
Now, at that point my saddle education was this - buy a saddle that fits the rider first, then worry about if it fits the horse. Truthfully, I never knew you even needed to fit a saddle to a horse. Blair had 5 or 6 saddles that she used on all of her training horses, unless the horse had a specific saddle. I didn't check saddle fit - I just tacked up with whatever saddle she told me to use. So this new saddle seemed fine, since it fit me great.
Now I just needed to get the money somehow. Time to ask my dad.
He said, "No."
To be continued...
Riding as exercise
6 days ago