When Riley retired from jumping and showing, I decided to try once again to make him a dressage horse. I purchased my first dressage saddle for him, and although his dressage career was short lived due to arthritis, dressage took ahold of me once again.
After 20 plus years of law practice, I broadened my horizons by starting a equine-related embroidery business, which really took off. I wasn't necessarily looking for another business opportunity, but happenstance led me to speak to the designer/owner of Trilogy Saddles, Debbie Witty, and she piqued my interest when she told me she was hiring. It wasn't long before she trained me, and I began representing Trilogy.
In late 2015, I became an independent saddle fitter. When not operating my two businesses, I spend my time riding my Dutch Warmblood gelding Vavite Fortuna, and my Oldenburg mare Shantal Rox, going to horse shows, and enjoying life with my silly dog, Rory, and the best husband on Earth.
Also in 2015, I earned my USDF Bronze and Silver Medals!
My very biggest challenge as a saddle fitter would be my own Oldenburg mare, Shantal Rox. This mare was nicely trained, but very particular, and her body shape didn't work in her favor. She was narrow in front, wide behind, very petite at 15.2 hands, and built slightly downhill. Everything about her--that shape, her very expressive movement, and her sensitivity--conspired to make traditional saddles uncomfortable for her. We tried dozens. Every saddle slid forward, jamming the steel tree points into her scapulas, restricting her movement. Her back would get tense and hard, and the wool panels couldn't keep up with how she changed on a weekly basis. I knew she could be my Grand Prix horse, but I didn't know if she would. The saddle stood between us and that goal.
Through sheer frustration, I happened to discover Dynamic Saddles. The cryptic description of the saddle with a polymer tree and foam panels, quite frankly, scared me. But I had to try it because my traditional-materials saddles were literally keeping us from progressing. Our very first ride in the Dynamic, the mare moved her shoulders, relaxed her back, and took air into her lungs like she had never done before. I was sold on the saddle and began representing Dynamic Saddles in 2017.
Thanks to the saddle, the Grand Prix didn't seem impossible anymore! In 2018, Shantal and I did both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special in competition, and in 2019, we were awarded the SCDCTA Year End Championship for Grand Prix in the AA Division.
In 2019, I fell in love with Spectra Therapy Laser Wraps, and became an authorized representative for these amazing products! In 2019, I also added Fager Bits to the products I offer my clients!
For my 6th birthday, my Mom finally gave in and let me take riding lessons! I count that as the luckiest day of my life, because my love of horses and horse sports kept me grounded and focused, and in many ways shaped the path of my life.
I started out riding Saddlebreds in the saddle seat discipline. By age 7, I had my own 3-gaited Saddlebred, Max, and we were heavily into showing. A few years later, I had a non-gaited horse to show as well--Demi (pictured above)--so I could show in the pleasure classes. I excelled in both equitation and pleasure, and the saddle seat discipline definitely taught me what it meant to show…I mean really SHOW…a horse.
Ironically, during those early years, I don't recall giving any thought to the very flat, minimal saddles we used on the Saddlebreds. There wasn't much to them. Like most kids, I could slip right off and jump back on without a care. Those were the 70s, and a saddle was just something you put on a horse's back to ride.
It wasn't until I got into dressage, in my late teens, that I realized there was more to a saddle than just putting it on a horse. Money was tight, so I was constantly trying one used saddle after another. Nothing really worked or was comfortable, so I struggled along, not knowing that there was such thing as a professional saddle fitter.
When I graduated law school in 1989, I was riding an OTTB with a real trainer at a real barn. I decided I could afford a nice saddle, so I bought one, then another, then another. Before long, I had six saddles, none of which worked very well. I also bought another horse…a scrawny OTTB named Riley…and everything took a left turn! Riley disliked dressage but loved to jump, so there I was in my mid-30s, learning to jump on a green OTTB! I added a few jumping saddles to my collection. Along the way, I became a little more educated about what a difference the right saddle could make. My OTTB, Riley, became a wonderfully-successful show hunter, and my ultimate saddle for him was a Butet that was made for him and me! I loved it and it enhanced my riding and his performance.
Adrienne & Looks Like Riley, Upperville, Virginia 2007
Photo: Christina Handley
Adrienne & Vavite Fortuna at the Kentucky Horse Park, Summer 2015 Photo: Susanne Fischer.
Adrienne & Shantal Rox at the Region 1 Championships, October 2017
Photo: High Time Photography
Adrienne & Demitasse Peavine, Circa 1972
Contact Adrienne regarding your saddle needs:
Voice or Text: (832) 570-7234 Email: CompetitionSF@gmail.com