New Year, New Addition - Diary of a Disabled Saddler!
I hope you are all well and had fabulous Christmas and New Year Celebrations!
Now we have our first full year owning Rimells' and everything is a bit more settled and established I can get down to starting this blog! First things, first introductions...
For those who don't know I had an accident leading my horses to the field six and a half years ago which triggered a rare nerve condition. This has gradually got worse over the years and now affects the whole left hand-side of my body. I am in excruciating pain 24/7 but I will not let it stop me! I always had a very high pain threshold and the only thing that stopped me in my tracks were blinding migraines, which literally blind me when I have them. Apparently those that develop/have the propensity develop CRPS have both mirgrains and very high pain thresholds. They still don't know exactly how the CRPS is triggered but they do know it is my immune system attacking the nerves which then loops into a cycle creating the constant agonising pain.
I used to be in Event Management but that was unfortunately not a feasible career after my accident. Some days I am OK-ish and can do a fair bit, on bad days getting up is like climbing Everest and so the energy required for Event Management just isn't physically possible anymore. However, I grew up with parents who are always on the go, very determined and very work orientated so doing nothing was not an option! When I was younger we lived in South Oxfordshire and Mike Norton was our Saddler, he was actually the first one to suggest Saddlery as a career however as I got older I knew my father was keen for me to go to Uni, so I did.
I was lucky enough not to get into my first or second choice Uni and went into clearing, before then I had never heard of Hartpury. One of the girls in the year above on my yard went there and suggested I look at it. I went and loved it and was lucky enough to get snapped up by them. So in 2007 I went off to Hartpury to study Equine Sports Science! I loved my degree and the subject matter, I was always a science nerd! Unfortunately circumstances conspired that I wasn't able to go to 'try outs' to be a part of the Academy Squad as my horse was injured the first part of both year 1 and 2 (tendon injury then recovering from a fracture) I then lost her in the February of my second year... I lasted 6 weeks and then knew I needed another so got a three and a half year old youngster (photo taken after I graduated, 1 year after I got him) who just wasn't ready come year 3. But I learnt so much and loved it.
When I graduated in 2010 I tried everything to get a job in Equine Nutrition but back then there were 250 candidates for every position so as a stop gap I went to work for Chanel in Debenhams in Oxford which then lead to event management and pulled me away from the Equine Sector but I was always trying to get back to it. I never stopped riding and still have that youngster I got in year 3 who is now 16 - he's nuts and I very quickly learnt I was his forever home, anyone else would have given up or put him down as he was verging dangerous, both suggestions were regularly mooted by my parents. Now, I am so glad I never gave up on him, since my accident he has become Kev the Wonder Steed, he's still a handful for everyone else, but for me? He's incredible, careful and super protective, just goes to show don't give up! Following the accident I am in pain 24/7 and yes, riding increases the pain but it keeps me mentally strong which is the key when dealing with this level of pain.
Along this road my workaholic nature set me on the path to Saddlery! I did two years at Capel Manor completing the Cordwainers Diploma in Bridlework, Saddlery and Harness Making. I was then lucky enough to be in a position to take up the reins from Sue. It is hugely important to me that Rimells continues, we are one of the remaining traditional Saddlers and the craft should never die! My intention is for this blog to give you some insight into what we do as Saddlers and how and why we do things the way we do and why it costs what it does for repairs, restorations and custom work... a bit like the repair shop but we will disclose the details and costs!
(Custom Noseband and neck strap) ......................... (Work bench mid-harness work)
I'd love for you to follow us and join me on this journey! Here we go...