Ever gone on a Saddle Search?

Christmas morning started out quite normal, we woke up kinda late and enjoyed our time to sleep in then we slowly wandered over to my parent’s house for opening presents and breakfast with my family and his.  We had a wonderful time, Annie was of course loaded with awesome presents from both sides and Simon and I were equally blessed. 

Over the years since Hubby and I have been married, I have basically had to buy my own Christmas presents.  Hubby always figures that I would pick out something I would want but little does he know that I really love being surprised.  I do appreciate picking out my own gifts but there is always that excitement that I miss by not knowing what is in the box… And no, I have not succumbed to wrapping them myself either. 😉

So, I opened a present that I knew was under the tree, a new 3 in 1 Eddie Bauer waterproof parka with a zip-in fleece.  It is teal, (is there really any other color… except almost every other shade of green?) and as I was inspecting the interior pockets of which I didn’t check out in the store, I noticed a bunch of crumpled up paper.  Hmmm?  What could this be?  They don’t stuff the pockets of jackets now do they?– were my thoughts.  I pulled the paper out and there were three separate pieces, all plain white, not that brown tinted kind that they use to stuff shoes.  I happened to notice that there was black writing on one of the pieces.  That’s odd.  So I opened it up and there was a note in Hubby’s writing – it looks as if I am now in a scavenger hunt for hand written pieces of paper.


“This is your first clue to find your mooooo, you need to migrate home.  Just because I was third place in class ‘A’ I still stayed up all night.”  What on earth could that mean!?  I thought and thought and did so out loud too.  There were a few things that went through my head such as, Who stays up all night?  The horses?  Well, yes… But what is a class ‘A?’  A car?  No… We have old Land Rovers but they were never classified as Class A, they are Series I, II, and III… Sunnie stays up all night and I once entered him in a show or two.  The ribbons are still in the horse trailer but what would Class A be?  In all my wondering, my Dad mentioned a sail boat race which Hubby was quite heavily involved in at a point in his life.  I of course, in all my thinking, didn’t notice what Dad had said so we left for home which the note said to do and I wanted to march right to the horse trailer and take a look at those ribbons.  Hubby quickly stopped me and told me to call Dad if I couldn’t remember what he had mentioned… Which I couldn’t.  Dad picked up the phone, “Dad, what did you say about ‘Class A?'”  He mentioned sailing again and I knew right then it must be Hubby’s trophy box that he’s had in our bedroom since we got married.  I looked at the brass plate on top, and sure enough, “Third Place, Class A.”  So I opened it up and inside was a note and a necklace.  It said Merry Christmas and unscramble some words which spelt out “Horse Trailer Tack Room.”  HA!  Right where I was headed in the first place!  I put on the necklace and thanked him, then headed out the door and asked if he was coming.  Nope, he was building a fire in our stove so off I went.

Out in the horse trailer I opened the door and didn’t see anything out of place, it was still a fairly organized mess, if you can have that.  I didn’t see anything… Then I looked down and on top of a bag of oats I just bought the other day, was a little white piece of paper.  It said, “You are now 1 mile away from your next clue.  You need to get to work and make me a mocha.”  So off we went… Once at his shop, he opened the door for me and I glanced over at the mocha machine, it had a note taped to the on/off button.  The note then said, “Oops!  You’re out of water, go get the key that unlocks Mt. Shasta Spring Water’s to get a new jug.”  Well, I knew that Mt. Shasta was no longer next door (our water supplier/delivery guy) but I did know where the key was that used to unlock that door so I went to the drawer and pulled out the key which had a paperclip and not attatched.  It then said, “One last stop, if you know where this key fits.”  It was the key to our storage unit out back!  I went out the side door and tip-toed across a frozen gravel parking area between our shop and the storage units behind it.  It was literally like a frozen pond… Very dangerous to walk across in my new clogs!  But I made it, and opened the door and inside was a very large box.  I do carry a pocket knife so the tape was no obstacle and the note said that I had hit the end of my trail!  I tore in to it and made a mess with peanuts (we call them farkles in my family) spilling everywhere.  Then I pulled out my very own…












Yep, I got a J.J.Maxwell Hope saddle!  I have wanted this saddle since I was a little girl and would go into the saddle maker’s shop and drool over all the tack and saddles in there.  His stuff is gorgeous and so well thought out.  Not only was the gift such a huge surprise, but it was given so creatively (I tend to know what a gift is before I open it if it’s under the tree), it was such a surprise, and showed my Hubby was thinking of me all the while. 

But there’s more of a story behind this, there was a very generous lady involved, Dianne of Canyon Creek Kigers.  I have bought two horses from her and we have developed a friendship through our Kigers and our love of them.  Dianne had this saddle built for her gelding Chinook, and recently had an accident which made her decide to sell the saddle.  Dianne had offered this to me for an absolutely amazing price to where it opened up the door to let us buy it from her.  It had only been ridden in once and that in an arena so it is practically brand new.  It has two styles of stirrups, my favorite (shown above), and the more western style that are on the saddle.  It also has a breast collar and bucking rolls too.  The saddle is built exactly as I would have ordered it and with Hubby’s love and generosity combined with Dianne’s generosity, I finally have my dream saddle. 

Thank you both, with all my heart.

PS: And in case you’re wondering about that first note, “To get your moooo!”  The saddle is, of course,  made out of cow leather… 😀


About mudranch

I live in the country, I love to take photos, I'm a shepherdess, I adore my husband and daughter, I walk in the will of Christ.

Posted on December 26, 2008, in Family, Horses, Kiger Mustangs, Me, Photography. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Holy smokes! That is, without a doubt, the most gorgeous saddle I have ever seen. What a fabulous present! Let’s see pics on horseback next!

  2. Whoooee!!!!!!!!! Way to go to your hubby!!! And congrats on your lovely saddle! Are you totally thrilled or what? Have you tried it out yet?

    I’m so happy for you. What a fun Christmas experience 🙂

    New Mexico

  3. Wow, tell Simon that he just earned a gold star from me 😉 That is so fun! Especially, when it was so unsuspected.

  4. What an amazing husband! Sounds like he made up for all those years he let you do your own choosing. My husband was awesome to me this year, too….

  5. Hoorah! There was only one person I wanted to have this saddle and it was you! Glad Simon was so successful, he was determined to surprise you at last.

  6. Oh Joan! How wonderful!!:) That is a gorgeous saddle and what a fun way to get it! You husband “rocks”! Congratulations on getting the saddle of your dreams!! Tammy

  7. Oh goodness, that is a beautiful saddle! I just love the tooling. What a special treat! And your hubby scores big points for creatively sending you on a saddle search!! Glad to hear your holiday was merry and bright!

  8. I love your little lambs!

  9. Goodness gracious and lord have mercy, the saddle and the thoughtfulness of your husband are just too stinkin’ cool. I hope you enjoy every mile in it…and that those bucking rolls never become necessary.

  10. Excellent gift and gift giving!

  11. What a sweet surprise!

  12. Aunt Dale and Uncle Carolyn

    Hey Joanie!

    Loved your story of the Saddle Search! Simon did a really good job making that present last awhile in the opening. (We suspect that Grandpa Cookie may have helped a little bit!)


    DER and Carolyn

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