November 2008 - Issue 4 of the Nuttwell Saddlery newsletter

Containing all the latest news from Nutwell Saddlery as well as interesting articles on why it's important to fit a saddle properly and the use of numnahs, you can view/download the newsletter here. The newsletter is in PDF form and requires Adobe Acrobat reader to be installed on your computer. If you cannot read the newsletter, download the required software for free from here.

November 2008 - South West Equine Fair

Please come and visit us at stand 102 at the South West Christmas Equine Fair at Westpoint on 22nd & 23rd November 2008. Follow the link for more details.

November 2008 - Paula Lee sponsorship udpate

King Solomon III

King Solomon now 20 years young! Dear Solly is still fit and well and very sound. Tony (Kaye) even makes me lunge him on the hard every now and again, under his watchful eye just to make sure he is as fit and well as I think he is! This I always dread but Solly always passes with flying colours an amazing feat in itself, I know many younger horses that wouldn’t pass that test!

Horse & Hound

We had the most amazing time when Lucinda Green came down to do an article on Solly for the Horse & Hound (31st January 2008 issue). She is such a lovely lady and it was a real honour to meet her. She knew Solly from his eventing days and was very interested to hear all about his career change. She really couldn’t get over how he bulked up, especially his “Apple shaped bottom” as she put it! She was very thorough in her assessment, firstly scrutinising his conformation then trotting him up on the hard, then she rode him on the flat and over some jumps. She was here all day and even got a guided tour around the practice by Bob Barker, she was extremely impressed by the whole set up, especially the listed grade 2* indoor arena! And Solly made it on to the front cover!

The Winter B.D. Semi Finals 2008

This took place at Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester. Solly competed in 3 classes over 2 days. The Medium Freestyle, Medium Open and Advanced Medium Freestyle. We had a great couple of days ending up 8th in the Medium Freestyle with a brilliant 68.91% and 10th in the Medium open. On the strength of our percentage in the Medium Freestyle we were awarded a Wild Card through to the Championships at Hartpury.

Hartpury - Winter Championships 2008.

What an amazing venue! We competed in the outdoor arena in our first test, in the Petplan Advanced Medium Restricted Championships and came 5th. He did a lovely test but two late changes knocked our score down. We then went on to do the Medium Freestyle in the indoor arena. My trainer Sarah had come up to help me and Solly worked in well but started to feel a bit tired so we backed of him a bit and took it easy. I think he was pulling our legs because when we went through the arch way into the main arena he lit up like a firework! The atmosphere was amazing and Solly always seems to draw a bit of crowd. Solly set off down the centre line at speed and we didn’t seem to slow down! He got very strong and a bit on the forehand but he was really enjoying himself and I felt like a bit of a passenger! He still finished with above 65 percent but not in the placings, but that really didn’t matter it was great to be there in that company and we both really enjoyed it!

Summer Regional Championships 2008

The venue was Kingston Maurward again , a favourite of mine. Solly was feeling better than ever, we had two classes to contest. The Medium Open – A notoriously hot class and the Advanced Medium Restricted. Sarah was again there to help me and it made such a difference just having that extra input. Solly was round and soft and really coming through from behind. We went in and did a foot perfect Medium test, I kept thinking as I was going along “they’ve got to give us the marks for this” sometimes the more flamboyant moving horses seem to get favoured. But the judges obviously liked it and we ended up on 66.49 to finish in 7th place with the winner on 67.75 so we were all very close. We then had a tight turn around from the Medium Open prize giving to my next class, not that I thought this would be a problem as Solly has done his fair share of prize givings and is always very well behaved. Solly obviously had other ideas and when they all went off to do the lap of honour he joined in the fun and games! I then didn’t really get him fully focused after that and when he went in to the Advanced Medium he was still cantering around his prize giving – in his head! We came to do our rein back and – no he just stood there! I asked again – nothing, then he shot side ways hit the white board, threw his head in the air and walked off! Hmm. So I just carried on and tried to shut that part of the test from my mind, we had some nice canter work but a bit to much tension to get all of our changes through and had two late ones. Even with all that he came in 10th and got to do another prize giving – by then he decided they weren’t quite so exciting!

Home International

We recently were selected to ride for the South West Region for England as an individual at Advanced Medium level. We had an awful build up to the competition, with Solly having a very sore back due to the tree in my saddle giving up the ghost. It just shows the importance of checking your saddle thoroughly and regularly! Janet Legg came immediately and confirmed the problem that Tony Kaye had picked up on. Janet fitted him with a new saddle and Clare McDonald came and sorted his back. I felt awful that I had caused him such a sore back. He had a week off and then came back into work a week before the big event!

It was run as an International so all the horses had to go through an official trot up, which Solly passed with flying colours. It was held up at The Hand EC a most impressive venue. We were up there for three days, with the trot up on the first, a test on the second and a Kur on the third.

I got up early on the first day to do the arena walk at 6.30am, so as I could get acclimatised to the arena (not normally a problem with Solly). We then had to wait till the end of the day to do our test, Solly felt good and worked in well, though he was quite strong. We went in to the arena and the minute we went through the doors I knew Solly was on a mission! We had to enter in collected canter and we hadn’t even made it in to the arena before he was on his back legs! We went on to do the the test with six other airs above ground........his marks ranged from 1’s to 8’s. I just had to laugh he was having a ball, even the judges were laughing and one said she thought he was going around Badminton! I had done the thing we’re all told not to do, I had upt his feed the week before because I thought he might be lacking a bit of umph! Hmmm. I should have thought about it more, as he had had time off had had his food put up and was in a lovely saddle that he could really move in again!

Next day after very little sleep worried about it all happening again, I got up early again to arena walk, worked him in for 20 mins then, and then got on him 50 mins before his test. He felt brilliant but still quite bright, this time it was a Kur test and my music is very up beat. We seemed to have quite a big audience, with most people hearing how naughty he had been the day before and had come to see the fun! Any way he did a good test and only stood up once! We finished on a 66.58 and 12th which I was really pleased with considering our rear was in the middle of a compulsory movement which got us 3’s from both judges and a jog in the walk also cost us. Lots of people came up to me to say how great it was to see him competing and to see him obviously enjoying himself so much!!

It was disappointing but as Mary always says horses are a great leveller and even the best behaved horses have their day!

Due to this I felt I had better get him out asap to make sure he had got his naughtiness out of his system. We went up to Kingston Maurward where Solly still had a twinkle in his eye and did try to have a little rear but came second in the Advanced Medium. We then went on to do an Advanced test and he was brilliant, he did a lovely test and certainly laid any ghosts to rest by winning in style. It was probably one of the best test we had done, which is just great at his age. It was great fun to have a go at Advanced level, everything seemed to come up so fast and I had a slight counting problem with my four time changes but it was a wonderful experience. This is our second time at Advanced and he has won both times! What a star.


Solly is already qualified for the Winter Regionals, Medium and Advanced Medium freestyles but I will go out to try and qualify him for the Advanced medium restricted and then we will have a play at some more Advanced. We are off to Carl Hester’s for a lesson soon as I have been going up to his yard regularly to watch training sessions. I’m quite nervous but very excited about that. It will be interesting to see what Carl thinks of him now, as he gave Mary a few lessons on him and was at Athens with them. He certainly doesn’t feel like he wants to retire yet!

October 2008 - Kerry Davidson is now a qualified saddle fitter

After a long apprenticeship, several Society of Master Saddler residential courses, and a tough day of theoretical and practical examinations Kerry has PASSED her qualified Saddle fitter exams. She will now join Janet in providing you with a dedicated, highly skilled, and qualified team of Saddle fitters.

Like Janet, Kerry is available for fittings at your yard / home, or you can bring your horse or pony to Nutwell to make use of our superb facilities, including the indoor arena, which is a luxury on cold wet winter days. Kerry is also available for weekend appointments.

Kate attended the foundation course in saddle fitting in the spring of this year and we hope will be sitting her final exams in the Autumn of 2009. So the Nutwell team is ever expanding.

October 2008 - Nutwell Saddlery becomes a Society of Master Saddlers Approved Retailer

Nutwell Saddlery is delighted to have been accepted as a member of the Society of Master Saddlers. Janet, as a qualified saddle fitter and Master Saddler, has always been a member but it has always been the saddlery’s wish to be accredited in our own right.

We are a unique business specialising in remedial saddlery with associated item sales therefore not fitting completely into any category. Following an inspection or our premises and stock we were very excited to be informed that we could become members of the society and enjoy all the benefits this entails.

The society requires all members to follow a strict code of practice, of which we have always in the past maintained our standards by, but it is now nice to have this recognised by the only leading authority and society within the field of equine saddlery.


October/November 2008
December 2007
November 2007