Blazing saddles

My knowledge of horses is limited and extends to the fact they have four legs, a mane, they can run fast, people bet on them in races and you definitely shouldn’t eat them (unless you’re French or you buy discounted lasagne!)

So when my mother suggested I buy my horse mad cousin something ‘horse-related’ I smiled, and nodded… ‘sure, I said’

It wasn’t until about a week later when my wife asked me .. did you get Alice a present yet.. it her birthday in 4 days and we’ll need to get it posted. That it fully dawned on me that I didn’t have a clue what to get. I didn’t even know where to start.

But of course it was obvious, I started where I always start: Amazon. After about 20 minutes of browsing through books, DVD’s some and clothing (which I think was for the owner rather than the horse.. but I can’t be entirely sure)I shut the laptop lid and thought I’d just send some chocolates instead.

But as I browsed Hotel chocolate. I realised I was doing myself a disservice.. I always pride myself in getting a good gift for someone, with at least some thought put into it… so I ventured back online and typed in horse shop near bath (yes, yes.. I now know they are called saddleries!) I found one called Puddys and browsed the website – there was quite a lot to choose from and most of it was way out of my budget. Owning a horse is a seemingly expensive pastime.

I found a few items and made a shortlist, the shop was only 20 minutes up the road so I thought I’d take a drive and have a browse.. maybe even ask for some advice, so that’s what I did.

I arrived at PUDDY and stood outside for a few minutes, there was a tractor and a large horse box (think Winnebago for horses!) outside – we’re definitely in the Somerset countryside I thought to myself. I had a feeling I was going to be out of my depth here.. but I ventured in anyway.

I had a look around, but actually ended up feeling even more self-conscious, as I picked up some bright coloured bottles just to make sure I didn’t look too much like a luddite.. as I picked one up called ‘Devils relief’, a voice came up from behind me, ‘stiff joints?’

products at Puddys saddlery

I smiled and bent my arm up and down and said no, I’m fine – just a late night’, the look of bemusement on her face immediately indicated to me she meant my horse and not me! A second look at the Devils Relief bottle confirmed that, ‘Devils Relief helps ease stiffness associated with limited flexibility…’
‘Oh you mean my horse…’, the assistant laughed and maybe even started to edge away slightly, so I quickly followed up with, ‘…Actually, I’m looking for a gift’, ‘..but I don’t have a horse and I have no idea what I’m even looking for!’

The assistant gave a kindly smile (probably thinking ‘got a right one here!’)
‘For the rider or the horse?’ she asked.
I explained further it was for my cousin, and the assistant led me to an area with lots of brushes and ‘things’ she said these were always welcome items.. unless I wanted to buy some clothes.

I was about to say yes, clothes would be a great gift, but then somewhere deep inside my brain.. I realised I had no idea what size I’d be buying. S I stuck buy the brushes and asked a few more questions.

In the end I bought this horse brush set (which apparently has gone down a storm with the recipient!).

The lady at Puddys saddlery was extremely helpful and the shop itself is a delightful mix of saddle workshop and local store filled to the brim of lots of horsey stuff. As I was paying I heard some other staff helping customers and it certainly sounded like they were giving some great advice.

A very specialist shop – but if it’s your thing, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Saddles at Puddys shop near Midsomer Norton

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