“ Don’t try this at home, we are professionals”.
At ABRT we spend a lot of time fitting boots and helmets to customers, and we take pride in our satisfaction rate of happy customers with their fit. We have spent time in educational seminars given by experienced helmet developers on how to fit helmets, and the safety features that they provide. It is not a process that we take lightly and try to ensure that you will leave happy and have the knowledge to properly wear your new helmet or boots to get the best wear out of them. This all leads up to a new policy that we are implementing in the store, we now charge a $10.00 fitting fee for these services.
The good news is that the $10.00 fee goes toward your purchase of helmets or boots, even if you don’t buy them that day. As the owner of a small business, esp. a tack store, I compete with a lot of internet competition and encounter an occasional customer who wants us to use our expertise to fit them and then order from another on-line store.
WE PRICE MATCH, our vendors typically have price protection on their products to protect the integrity of their brands, so I have never understood this, but it does happen. Fitting boots and helmets can take up to an hour of time to insure the right fit, and we love doing it but it’s a let down to see someone leave after all our hard work L
So, I hope that everyone understands why we have this new policy and will come in for great customer service!!!
We were pleased to award Elizabeth Snow with the Emily Parker St. John Scholarship check on May 16th, with her sweet mom. She received a special cooler for her horse, which will proudly display that she is a recipient of this special scholarship, and will be a keepsake for years to come. Our hope is that she will use the money to do some special things that maybe wouldn’t be possible without the scholarship proceeds, and foster her riding and her horses training. It is a special privilege to be able to take part of young riders lives and share Emily’s legacy at the same time. We will continue to follow Elizabeth throughout the year and see how she and her horse are progressing, so stay tuned in for updates. And don’t forget we award the scholarship every year, so next year it could be you…….
Meet the 2017 Emily Parker St. John Scholarship Winner! Elizabeth Snow..
Written By Elizabeth Snow
“There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart… pursue those.” -- Michael Nolan.
Horses possess something in them that is simply breathtaking. Maybe it's
the way they hold themselves with confidence and quiet authority, or the intelligent glint in their eye. Whatever it was, it captivated me 7 years ago when I first sat on a horse.
I began riding when I was 5 years old at a Hunter Jumper Barn that is
now called GKM Equestrian. I had tried sport after sport and I hadn’t found my nitch. Finally, my mom agreed to let me have a go at horseback riding. I don't think she realized what she had gotten herself into. I rode a lesson pony called Ziggy for a while until he was sold and my trainer, Ms. Sandra retired.
So the next week I came to the barn, and was greeted by a younger
woman (whom i thought to be 16) who began to teach me. I didn't know it then, but Jenna Stauder would have the hugest impact on not only my riding, but who I am as a person. My friend Ellie and I continued taking lessons, switching between Jenna’s cute little Arabian, Benny, and a mare called Doc. Life was fine and dandy until Jeanne Cox, the owner of the barn, sold the stables to begin retirement. It was devastating to my 7 year old self because I didn't really know if i would be able to able to keep riding.
So after a summer of boredom, I was able to follow Jenna to the new
eventing barn called Dreamweaver. That's exactly what it was too,
because it was there where I truly began setting serious goals
for myself and my future in horseback.
Christmas of that year, which was 2012, I got my first horse, Sport. He is the most dorky, yet adorable dude around. He never fails to put a smile on my face and seems to make all my problems go away. I continued to ride one to two times a week for the next 3 years. When I entered the 6th grade and still hadn’t gone anywhere with my riding, I decided I needed to be at the barn more. I have 6 siblings and both of my parents work full time so this was very unrealistic.
I asked if I could begin homeschooling for my 7th grade year, and my
parents obliged. I could not be more inspired by my parents generosity in letting me homeschool and ride 5-6 times a week. It hasn't even been a full year and I see such a difference in my riding, how I work with my horse, and my understanding of equines in general. My barn family at Full Circle Horse Park has been such an inspiration and has helped to fuel my passion.
People have allowed me to start riding their horses for them, which is a
wonderful learning experience. While improvements have been made to
my horsemanship, winning this scholarship would be so beneficial to what I do as a rider. I personally would use it to take lessons with more clinicians, and for shows. The knowledge that can be gained from getting an extra lesson here and there is immeasurable.
I would also like to mention how beautiful it is that you choose to honor
your daughter this way, Mr and Mrs St. John. Giving young riders an
opportunity to chase after a sport your daughter so clearly loved is one of the most kindhearted and selfless things I’ve seen. You both are in my prayers.
ABRT headed to Auburn for the 2017 AHJA Kick Off show in March. It was a beautiful weekend, cold in the morning but warm in the afternoon, with lots of sunshine, couldn’t have been better. The trailer was in the trees near the barns, food and all the action. This year ABRT did some fun activities like a scavanger hunt, and trivia questions for prizes, we also raffled off a nice Ariat equipment bag, and sponsored short stirrup and the competitors dinner Saturday night. The competitors dinner was really good, Jim N Nicks BBQ, Morgan Hurd was instrumental in choicing BBQ and setting everything up for us. We love being able to do things that give back to our customers, we are so lucky to have such a loyal customer base and I hope to always earn your business and trust. The first show of the season is so much fun because everybody is fresh and ready to get the season started, a lot of people are moving up, starting with new horses or just practiced all winter and ready to show their stuff! I am looking forward to a great season with all of my AHJA peeps, we love spending our weekends helping everybody out with their clothing and tack, forgotten things, lost things………. Check out our schedule online and call if you need anything, well load it up and bring it. We hope that everyone has a great 2017 show season and we look forward to seeing everyone!!!
Goodbye to 2016, in a lot of ways I am not sorry to see it go, I am ready for the change that 2017 will bring. This was a slow year for the store, but we made it to most of the AHJA shows in 2016 and love being with familiar faces and taking part in the fun. Look for us to be at the 2017 shows with the trailer cheering everyone on!! I’m hoping for a better year this year and I’m looking for suggestions as to what you, my customer, would like to see changed or added to make ABRT the place you want to shop. There is a lot of competition out there with the internet, and trailers at other venues that you travel to, but don’t forget that ABRT is YOUR store and we strive to make you happy and support our riding community keeping it strong. We keep the schedule up on the website and update FB, so follow us and be in the know. This year makes 9 years of business and I am always learning and trying to improve, I make mistakes and try to learn from them, and I’m always trying to improve. This year we will be looking for scholarship applications for the Emily Parker St. John riding scholarship in March, I will be blogging on topics that I think will be of interest to my customers, do videos on products and apparel, add new merchandise that keeps up with the demands of my customers, and of course well have in store sales, promotions and open houses. It is VERY important to LIKE us on FB as we update it a lot with news and upcoming events!! Thank you for shopping with us and we look so forward to a great year in 2017.
QUICK HORSE BUYING TIPS
You are probably thinking “quick” tips, this is a huge investment there’s nothing quick about it, and you would be right. The quick part comes into just plain common sense, it will help you weed out what you need to know so that you don’t waste time looking at horse that wouldn’t pan out. As a tack storeowner I see more people buy inappropriate horses that they can’t ride because of behavior or physical ailments, and they could have been avoided. I have bought and sold horses, I am not a horse trader but I enjoy looking and selling from time to time. I have been successful at finding some really good ones that have gone on to big careers, or are with happy owners.
The initial phase is reading a sell ad or getting a description of the horse. There are often words used or things said that could tell you a lot. Depending on what kind of rider you are you may not need the sensitive horse because you will not get along if you are a busy rider or a beginner, horse like this get irritated and can be unforgiving. Quiet is great as long as that doesn’t mean wont go at all, or if you push it to do something it gets ugly, lazy horse are not always kind. Learn the undercurrent of the verbiage and ask lots of questions. Letting a seller talk will often bring about facts that you need to know.
If you get to phase 2 and you’re going to see the horse then you need to take someone with you that is knowledgeable. NEVER ride the horse first, get the trainer or owner to show you the horse under saddle. Its good to see its gaits from the ground and make sure that it is safe. If you do ride walk around for a minute and make sure that it is relaxed and listens to your aids, then take it through the paces. It’s always good to introduce a new environment if its possible, an open field, a walk around the barns or a quick trail ride. Also plan more than one ride on the horse, maybe the next day or so, horse have good and bad days too.
Phase 3 is getting more serious because you’re getting more professionals involved, or getting a professional involved for the first time. If you have a trainer who hasn’t been involved thus far, make sure they come and see the horse. The trainer knows your riding ability and will be able to determine if the horse will be a good match for you and fit into your riding program. If that goes well you must get a vetting, don’t trust that the horse is without issues because someone tells you they are or they’ve never had any issues. Horse are athletes and they need to be up for the task they will be given. Lots of behavior problems come from discomfort in horses, and you don’t want to buy someone else’s problem. A vet can do a good general health exam and flexion’s, and then go from there with x-rays and ultrasounds. I generally do general health and then start with Flexion’s of the front and hind legs. If a horse does not flex, I’m done!!! I do not want to do diagnostics for the owner, so if they don’t flex its not my responsibility to find out why, a very wise vet here in town once told me that. A good vetting ensures that the horse can do his job, and it’s a great baseline for your records and future health of your horse.
There are so many small details, but these are some generalities. I would consider getting an unbiased opinion too, like a knowledgeable friend to help, someone who doesn’t tend to gain anything from the horse financially, but only has your best interest at heart. Like I said I’ve seen people get horses they cant ride or they are
not sound for the job because of commissions, friendships or notoriety. So protect yourself and be smart. My father always told me that something better will come along, and as hard as it was to believe sometimes, he was right, so don’t get emotional about a horse until the process is over and all of your vetting has produced good results.
Well CAD #8 is now on the books as another success! There is so much preparation that goes into making this one day a success, I want to thank all my employees that worked hard to get donations for prizes, and setting up tents and getting the warehouse ready in the heat for this big day, its doesn’t go unnoticed all your hard work.
It was a beautiful and hot day and the customers poured in all day. WE had some really good sales, we had breeches at 20% off, summer tops at 30% off and strap goods for 10% off, all of these items flew out the door. The goodie bags, that were very generously given by my horse health vendors, had a great assortment of products for sampling, and the BBQ was delicious and plentiful. The Grand prizes were a Wintec Dressage, won by Tim Pendley, and the Great Plains Barrel Saddle won by Mary Catherine McGill. In addition to the 2 grand prizes were the 15 minute drawings, we gave out 22 15 minute prizes away from Ariat, IRH, Nunn Finer, One K, Samshield, EquiFit, EquiBrand, Kerrits, Intec, Davis, JPC equestrian, Noble Outfitters, Jacks, Shires, Tory Leather, The Finishing Touch, PRI, Hands On grooming gloves, Breyer, C4 Belts, and so many more. Everyones gift brought a big smile to their face!! We had a great time on Saturday and appreciate everyone that came and supported us on our big day. We do love our customers, we know you have choices and we are glad you choose Alabama Blue Ribbon Tack!!!!