Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rider’s Wednesday: Merchandise Surprise!

A few weeks ago, I was looking online for harness parts. My friend C.G. has a Percheron mare with a harness that only fits parts of her. Where the other parts are concerned, the horse is either too big, or the harness is too small, depending on how you look at things.

While we were online, I happened across the Frontier Equestrian website. I was surprised to discover that they had – wonder of wonders! – English draft saddles. The saddles advertised were leather, with cushy-looking seats and a choice of 8 or 10 inch trees.

The prices were so reasonable that I was tempted to place an order on the website then and there. But when I looked a little further, I discovered that you could not place an order via the internet. You had to phone it in.

“Must be a fly-by-night operation,” I mused narrowmindedly.

But I bookmarked the page anyway, and revisited it often in the next few days. Eventually I took the plunge and made the phone call. (Something I hate to do. I’d just as soon do my shopping anonymously, thank you very much…)

When the phone was picked up by an answering machine, I nearly hung up. Instead, inexplicably, I didn’t. I left a message stating which saddle I was interested in, left my phone number, and hung up.

Later that afternoon, Brad from Frontier Equestrian called. And then I understood why they wanted customers to place orders over the phone.

I have rarely met someone who represents a business who was so knowledgeable, friendly, or thorough. All measurements of all equipment was at his fingertips. And he knew what he was talking about.

When I asked about the measurement of the browband of their draft-size English bridle, he knew. The length of the headstall from bit to bit? He knew that, too – both the minimum and the maximum distances.

When I asked about a saddle that was twice as expensive as the one I had originally called about, instead of trying to sell me something that wouldn’t work, he was quick to tell me that the tree wouldn’t be wide enough for my horse.

When I asked about the difference between two different saddle styles, he asked knowledgeable questions about my horse and the type of riding I did. Then he made an informed suggestion.

I ended up ordering a saddle, bridle, and girth late on Monday afternoon. The package arrived -- with my order filled perfectly – on Thursday. The saddle is decently made and well worth twice what I paid for it. The same goes for the bridle and girth. All look exactly like their photos online. So seldom does one run into someone who actually knows his wares that I was momentarily stunned.

And so, I had to write and mention it. Hey – if I’d had a bad experience, with someone who didn’t know what he was doing, with poor service, or with shoddy merchandise, I’d certainly have written about it. I figure the least I can do is trumpet my good fortune when I finally discover someone who does know his stuff.

Check them out for yourself at: Frontier (I got the Icelandic English saddle on the draft tree.) It was a pleasure doing business with them. Now all I need to do is get my coming 3 year-old Percheron ready to ride!

Transcription Update
Regular readers will remember how very much I’ve been feeling like a certain chicken in a psychological study on tenacity in recent days. I finally had to contact the original recording studio and have them e-mail me a monster 5-hour long .mp3 file. I just got it last night. Just in time to download and head back home to the Great White North. Lots of work ahead in the coming weeks. I guess that’s a good thing. I'm certainly not one to complain about anything that brings an income...