English saddle trends in 2013 will remain very similar to last year’s pattern. Double covered leather and adjustable trees remain the norm. Overall the two major players continue to be Pessoa and Toulouse. Though Pessoa is a very well known name in the industry and continues to build on it’s range of saddles, Toulouse seems to be the big buzzword. This is not due to print or media advertising as much as it is word of mouth. Word of mouth would also cover internet “speak” as well as barn talk. Whereas Pessoa is a name that has been around for a number of years, Toulouse is a relatively new player on the scene that seems discontent to remain stationary.
The line began a scant number of years ago with just a handful of saddles but now encompasses more than 60 models. This includes models that have the Genesis adjustable tree system. Many models are offered with or without the Genesis system which adds an additional $450 to $500 to the model price. The Genesis adjustable tree, unlike many other saddle lines, does not just rely on being able to swap out the gullet plate that resides in the pommel area of the saddle, but it actually changes the entire width of the saddle, front to back with just a few turns of a screw. The Genesis adjustable tree system is an upgraded version of the Wellup system that many of you will remember from years ago. Even though the Wellup system seemed ahead of it’s time, it may have been too far ahead. It worked well but it had it’s faults. The main one being that the tree did not always remain locked in place. The Genesis system corrected that issue.
The Genesis system is not the only Toulouse claim to fame. Whereas Toulouse has saddles of it’s own design (a few), most models are a knockoff of more well known saddles. These include Antares, CWD, PJ, Passier and many others. These forgeries or copies are really quite remarkable in that they not only look like the real McCoy but the quality also seems to be there as well. The Toulouse versions of some of these French crafted $5000 saddles are just a fraction of the cost of what you would pay for the original. It also goes to show how far the Argentine line of saddle making has come.
Pessoa saddles have really added nice enhancements to their line as well. Choices in wool flocking with changeable gullets and new panel choices for different shaped backs. They also have several models with double covered leather which gives you the “broken in feel”! We do offer some nice choices in English made wool stuffed saddles such as Barnsby, Frank Baines and of course our own custom saddle line. Depending on your riding discipline and your saddle budget these lines represent just a few options available to you. We also offer flocking and saddle repairs through an independent master saddler. We are always available for saddle consultation and help with saddle fitting.
Scruff along with his other brothers and sisters spotted our “vacancy” sign about six to eight months ago. They looked to be only weeks old at the time. How nice that someone decided to keep the family together and drop them all off at the same time. It must have been a recent drop off as they weren’t in deplorable condition but they were definitely in need of water and food.
Louie the LabraDesian
Louie is new with us. His foster family is taking a vacation so we have accepted the offer of taking care of him for a couple of weeks. Louie is a LabraDesian: a Labrador/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix and is believed to be around 2 years of age. He was originally found wandering alone and in terrible shape. He was turned in to the LAB AND ALL BREED RESCUE AND ADOPTION NETWORK
in the Houston area. Praise God for the individual who turned him in. Christy and Kendall came across Louie through the rescue website
Here is a brief summary of what this organization is about: “Our organization was formed to aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of abused or abandoned animals. We provide humane care, temporary foster homes, veterinary care and treatment to rescued animals, and find suitable adoptive homes for our animals. Our volunteers are located throughout the Houston area, The Woodlands, Port Lavaca, Bay City, and throughout Brazoria County.”
Please support organizations like this. These individuals are doing God’s work here on this earth.
Little Care in the World
Taken 30 minutes ago at sunset. Rain most of the day and then a looseness about people and wildlife when the sun showed itself. This beautiful animal was fun to watch as it sat atop our Jungle Jim preening itself with little care for anything else. Such a lovely animal. The colors were mainly blues and whites. Watching for the short time I did, this bird went through a whole repertoire of actions: preening, swallowing, flapping its wings, itching and it seemed to be quite aware of me as it spent considerable time staring my way.
I had no idea the variety of fresh water life that we had in Bessie’s Creek until I experienced some of the turtles that live there. I assumed turtles populated the creek but didn’t realize the size that some of these turtles can reach. I happened to be sitting on the roadway bridge that overlooks the creek taking pictures of a squirrel sitting on a fence post when I heard noise below me. I looked down and happened to shoot a quick picture of the turtle that you see in the image. As a matter of fact there were two of the turtles but I was only able to get a picture of the one. Not knowing which variety of turtle I had seen, a little research led me to the “Chicken Turtle” which is quite common in Texas ditches, creeks, bogs, etc.
The Chicken Turtle has a beautiful reticulated shell and vertically striped rump. Its good looks along with its attentive nature are some of its endearing qualities. The name ‘chicken turtle’ unfortunately comes from the early days when these turtles were eaten in very large numbers throughout the southeastern United States. They are said to be quite good, tasting “like chicken.”
Chicken turtles are good captives. They are baskers, very shy and alert, plopping into the water at the approach of their keeper. They will soon become tame and though they will dive off into the water, they will quickly re-surface to see if any food has been offered. They do get larger than most first-time pet buyers realize however, with adult females reaching 11-12” inches within five or six years.
Kodiak - aka Grizzly
There wasn’t a day that went by Kodiak that I didn’t learn from you. You faced an uphill battle from the very first day you arrived yet you persevered through it all. Through all your adversity nothing seemed to change your attitude and the love you radiated toward others. Oh, how we learned from you.
You enjoyed the simple things in life. A run up a mound of dirt and back down or a quick swim in the pool to cool off. Oh, how we learned from you.
You had a genuine enthusiasm for everything that you did. I often referred to you as a gazelle because of your ability to run and leap at the same time. I’m sad to say that I have no video or images to share of your unique behavior. Oh, how we learned from you.
Many thought you were not the most attractive dog, yet those that came in contact with you quickly realized that what’s on the inside is far more important that what’s on the outside. Your warmth and character were shining examples for others to witness. Oh, how we learned from you.
You had a constant battle with skin issues but your love for life and love for others never wavered . Oh, how we learned from you.
I’ll never forget that first day you arrived. You were very scared and unsure of your surroundings. Where did you come from? Were you dropped off, abandoned in the area? Were you mistreated elsewhere, maybe at home? Did you ever have a home before the Lord brought you here? I wish I knew the answers but those answers may remain elusive.
God led you to our doorstep. Thank you Lord for sharing Kodiak with us. Oh, how we learned from him.
Indian Paintbrush making their “final stand” before the summer heat brings on their demise. Taken a week ago not far from our house. I have researched the purple flowers shown in the image but haven’t come up with anything. If you know what they are please share your knowledge.
Beauty and the Bush
I couldn’t let another day go by without posting this image of the rosebush in our backyard. The image doesn’t do it justice. Christy and I haven’t really done much in the way of maintenance with it over the years. A little cutting back of the branches every couple of years and re-anchoring it to the fence periodically. It was there when we moved in, planted by the former owners of the house. The roses have the deepest, richest red to their blooms. The number of blooms is so impressive, the branches seem to tire from the additional weight. The blooming rose bush tells us that the heat of summer is not far off.
Martin Luther King fought for civil rights. What set him apart from those so called leaders today? His focus was not on “himself”, it was on others. His desire was not to be on the six o’clock news like Al Sharpton, or on the clothes he wore. No, it was a genuine interest in bringing equality to all. God granted equality to all men and women regardless of origin or color. Martin Luther King believed firmly in this. We all remember Reagan’s famous words of “tear down this wall”, so too was Martin Luther Kings belief, let there be no difference or wall between any of us. In spite of the fact of whether or not Monday should or should not be designated as a holiday, the lighter load it brings to traffic for one day, the son or daughter who celebrates being out of school, the MLK street that exists in every city, let us remember in our “own way” what MLK fought for and the hope that more individuals of his integrity exists in this great country of ours.