Saturday, December 13, 2008

A little more about me

I don't have a website for my tack business. I never have. Probably I should, but I just can't seem to find the time or interest to get that done. And honestly, at this point I don't need to have one. I have more business than I can handle, and even though I'm a fast worker, it's been more than four years since I didn't have an order backlog.

However, it hasn't always been like this. When I first started selling tack online, I was a complete unknown in the hobby and I spent a lot of time convincing people to take a chance on me and my work. One of the ways I did that, was to tell the prospective buyer all about my real world tack experience. Since that experience was, in fact, rather impressive, I had a pretty good degree of success with this strategy. Eventually, though, as I built a reputation within the hobby, I stopped telling people about my background. It seemed more relevant to talk about my tack and how it was doing in live show rings across the country.

Still, I do think it's worth mentioning that I spent some eight years working in the tack industry. The first and most interesting part of that time involved a big truck and an even bigger trailer.For five years in the early to mid 1990's I lived on the Hunter/Jumper show circuit, setting up shop alongside the showrings of big A shows all over the Southeastern United States.
"My" store may have been just forty feet long, but it had more inventory than many local tack shops, both in quantity and quality. We definitely catered to a high end clientele. Everything we carried with us was the "good stuff".
I carried all these displays in and out every day for years. My dog Abbie was raised on the circuit and for a time she really was one of the famous show dogs. I'm quite sure more people knew her name than mine!
And here's a picture of me, sitting on the mobile shop steps enjoying the view with one of my bosses' boxers. I'm sitting next to a stitching horse that was used for repairing tack. One of my only regrets about this time in my life, is that I didn't learn how to do more tack repairs. I did a few, but honestly, I was afraid that if I showed more interest, I'd end up doing all the repair work on top of my other duties.
This is what the few from the steps looked like more often than not. We usually tried to set up next to the main hunter ring, although there were some shows that put us next to the jumper ring which I really loved. If you had asked me early on to pick a favorite hunter, this horse would have been my choice. Sadly, his $700,000 price tag put him well out of my price range. He was sold to an amateur in California and I never saw him again after that first year.My boss did have two very nice Amateur Owner hunters that often travelled with us. This is CC, who my favorite of the two. I didn't show them, of course, but I did ride them a lot on non show days. My favorite place to ride was the Kentucky Horse Park cross country course.
One last picture of me on "my" truck. This was my daily driver while I was on the road. I do miss the horse shows sometimes, but I do not miss the driving!I wasn't part of the model horse hobby during this time. I'd buy maybe one or two OF models a year and I did keep up my subscription to The Hobby Horse News, but that was as far as it went. However, I think in the back of my mind, I was always knew I'd go back to the models someday, and when I did, I was going to learn how to make tack that really looked like the real thing.