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Where Did 2022 Go?

Where Did 2022 Go?


How are you? I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas 2022 spending it with family, friends and the ponies. Not to mention eating your body weight in chocolate.

I don’t know about you, but I always find the time in between Christmas and New Year feels a bit like no man’s land, especially if you are lucky enough to have the time off work.

Whilst I’ve been catching up on some paperwork and doing some website updates I realised it’s been ages since I last blogged.

Perfectly Imperfect

I love blogging, yet for some reason the whole of 2022 has not had one blog, except for this one of course. If I’m completely honest with myself it probably has something to do with my fear of being perfectly imperfect.

See, even though I have been really, REALLY busy this year with Lady Saddler work picking up; continuing my QEST scholarship training; and putting in some boundaries so that I can still function as a wife and a mother to two teenagers, I also suffer terribly with anxiety.

This often brings about impostor syndrome, where I doubt myself and my abilities as a Saddler despite the extensive professional training, experience, accomplishments and even the positive feedback I receive.

Quiet often I will work far more than I need to. Burning the candle at both ends to make sure my customers’ items are PERFECT. Then, when perfect is not achieved (let alone maintained), I crash and burn out.

I retract from everyday life, feeling guilty, embarrassed and a failure. I wallow in my own self-pity until my passion suddenly burns strong again and the cycle repeats itself.

It’s stupid; it really is. I know I’m doing it sometimes and it’s like I can’t help myself. It’s so frustrating.

It’s hard maintaining a professional image and growing the business when I have these regular demons to contend with, but the more I talk about them, the more people I find understand me, and even have the same demons themselves.

Life doesn’t quite feel so isolating after all but it does mean I have to get used to being Perfectly Imperfect.

My Review of the Year

In January, I was admitted into hospital with major abdominal pains. Turns out it was appendicitis. It wasn’t until I came out of surgery that I learnt I could have died, had my appendix burst. That shocked me!

During my 12 weeks recovery, I recognised that my lifestyle was eliminating actual ‘quality time’ with my family. We had mastered the art of being ‘passing ships’ at night.

Being so focused on making a living, building the business and continuing my professional development that I forgot to live in the here and now.

Realising I have lost so much time with my husband and children that I slowed down, set boundaries in my business, my day job and home life and what has resulted has been truly wonderful.

I no longer stress. I am PRESENT each and every day for my family, and the business is working much more efficiently.

Not For Everyone

My biggest achievement this year was finally recognising that I am not always going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

My business and it’s products and services simply do not appeal to everyone and I’m OK with that, but it was difficult getting my head around it at first.

I know people buy from people and they have to get to know, like and trust you in order to have any kind of relationship with you.

So, when I get positive feedback from you, it is heartwarming to knowing that some of you have stuck with me since the very start of my training journey, back in 2015 and others have joined us along the way.

My business has grown organically over the years, mostly through word of mouth and repeat custom.

I don’t have a massive marketing budget to help me but what I do have is truly handmade ‘quality’ products, a personalised one to one service and a lifetime of customer care to offer, which is very rare these days.


This year I have completed more training.

In May, I completed the Neue Schule’s Certificate in Equine Bits and Bitting Science course with a Distinction. I intend to offer a full fitting service of both bit and bridles in the future and so this is the start of that.

I have also completed nine days of Advanced Bridle Making and Bridle Fitting training with Master Bridlemaker Frances Roche, from Windsor and Henley Bridles as well as the official SMS Qualified Bridle Fitting ‘practical’ training with the Society of Master Saddlers, all thanks to my scholarship provided through the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST).

Bridle Making

Throughout the year I have been very lucky to work with some wonderful horses and their owners to help them achieve a more comfortable fit of bridle by either adjusting their existing bridles or make new ones.

I love this side of my business, as I get to rub noses with some of the most cutest of ponies and the handsomest of horses and if you have met me, you will know that I have such a passion for my craft and ensuring you are happy as the customer.

Gift Collection

Amazingly, this year, my gift collection has reached almost every corner of the globe, thanks to my Etsy store.

Etsy is well known on an international level. Their platform calculates all the postage and sales tax at checkout, making it much clearer and hassle free for international buyers; resulting in more sales.

I was also able to make a new product this year for my gift collection, following a request from a supporter.

In December the Side Saddle Keyring was born. It is similar to that of the Deluxe Saddle Keyring. It is hand painted in a two tone stain and features a unique silver plated stirrup iron.

Side Saddle keyring with a split ring and clip

Initially, I made just five of these side saddle keyrings and once I released them via my newsletter, they were all snapped up just in time for Christmas.

Social Media

Some of you may have noticed that I post much less on social media these days than I did before. There are two reasons for this:

Firstly, being on social media several times a day was taking me away from my family. I like being organic rather than strategic and planned and so it was time consuming and started to feel a bit forced.

It was also not setting a very good example to my children, so something had to give.

I do get inquiries and even local work via these social platforms, so I didn’t want to remove myself completely from them, but instead, I redirect all inquiries to my website or mobile number.

Secondly, I created a newsletter that I send out to my community of supporters and customers on a regular basis.

My time is best spent communicating with people who actually want to hear from me. Afterall they wouldn’t be on my mailing list if they didn’t want to hear from me.

I generally aim to send a newsletter out weekly, but sometimes life takes over and its delayed, but that’s OK, my community don’t seem to mind. If you want to sign up to the mailing list, Click the banner below:

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What to Expect in the New Year

In the past, when I’ve written one of these ‘review the year’ blogs, I’ve announced what my goals for the forthcoming year are (except last year, when I didn’t even write a review blog).

However, this year, I’m not really going to do that, mostly due to not wanting to put any pressure on myself.

I’ve done enough business related training to know that goal setting is an important part of business growth but I also know that it can affect some peoples’ mental health, and I’m one of those people, especially when you put impostor syndrome into the mix too.

I have come to the decision that my work will speak for itself.

Whatever I decide to do in 2023 it is going to serve me, as a person, first and foremost, then my family and then the wider community. No pressure just passion and on my terms.

Equine Welfare

Finally, this year, I will be ensuring that our equines welfare is at the forefront of our minds.

There is increasing pressure from small groups of people that want the riding and working of equines to be banned. This is bad news for everyone who owns a horse and either rides it or works it under harness.

So, to ensure that our children and our children’s, children can enjoy the thrill and excitement of riding horses, we must consider the welfare of our equines at all times.

This means we have to be sensible and pay particular attention to the way we care and treat our horses. For example. Excessive feeding and exercise, the way their saddlery fits and the weight strain we put our horses under.

Saddle and Bridle Fitting

In my line of business, Saddlers and Saddle Fitters can ensure that your equine is comfortable in their tack. We do not judge people but sometimes we have to point out the obvious.

Bridle fitting is generally a once only event unless of course your equine has an accident or becomes particularly sensitive. However, saddles should be checked twice if not four or more times a year. This obviously depends on your feeding and exercise regime and if you suddenly change a saddle for some reason.

Also, lets not forget the elephant in the room – Riders weight. We don’t like to talk about weight of riders but regardless of anyone’s thoughts, a rider’s weight does affect our equines and how they perform.

Whether you lose weight or put it on (including carrying a baby) it will affect the weight distribution and any positive or negative pressures your horse will feel, not to mention the saddle may become unsuitable for your bottom.

If in doubt, call your saddle fitter. You can search your local fully qualified and insured saddle fitter (and/or saddler) here.

Happy New Year

Finally, whatever you do in 2023, enjoy it! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Clair x

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