Businesses often pitch me to post on this blog. I turn down most requests. Others, especially if the email pitch feels “boilerplate,” I ignore.
The owner of a family-owned company offered me a free Saddle Box via email. If I wanted a free box, business owner Phil Van Treuren said, I could send him my postal address. Phil said nothing about being on the blog, nor mentioned “free for an honest review,” but obviously his inquiry arrived because of this blog.
Googling Saddle Box and browsing the site told me Saddle Box is a curated collection of equestrian-themed sample goodies designed for and delivered by subscription. It’s a family-owned and run business complete with photos of the Van Treurens on the website.
I liked what I saw but wondered what I’d do with whatever came in the box. Once a week, I ride school horses, someone else’s horses. I already invest in lessons, fly spray, peppermints, cooling shirts, and various items of equestrian apparel.
Then, I decided to keep what I wanted and give the rest of the box to my riding instructor Christine.
Meanwhile, back at the barn
About the time Phil’s email arrived, I’d been riding Dylan, a lanky senior OTTB gelding for a few weeks. He’s bay, 16.2, and also Of Certain Age. He seems to enjoy attention, even relish grooming.
I’d been browsing the web for some newbie-friendly, noninvasive massages to help Dylan feel better, perhaps less achy, and more alert. Christine had shown me stretches for him, but we agreed they’re beyond my current strength level. Gentle rubdowns seemed more my speed, yet I was having trouble finding something uncomplicated.
Then, the Saddle Box arrives
I set the box on our living room hardwood floor, the best photographic background I have. The crime fiction writer in me sent me to grab a yardstick, as used in evidence photos.
Meanwhile, another householder decided to check out the box. He loves boxes.
I’m getting ahead of myself. This is what the box looked like as soon as I opened it.
Anyway, here are the ingredients in detail. When I got to the bottom, I froze, then my heart melted.
Perhaps you can see, on the bottom of the box is THE HORSE LOVER’S GUIDE TO MASSAGE by Megan Ayrault, LMP. The book shows easy Do No Harm instructions for a beginner like me.
I kept the book. (Sorry, Christine, but I also told her I was keeping the book before I gave her the box.) That night, I had just ridden Daisy, a Clydesdale cross mare, who isn’t as old as Dylan but also deals with some achiness and movement issues. After the ride and while Daisy was savoring a peppermint back in her stall, I gave the box to Christine.
My instructor worked her way through the box, but handed me back the vial of Herbsmith Sound Horse Liniment. She told me to keep it and go back into Daisy’s stall to rub it below her knees.
Daisy had moved on from her mint to her hay. At first, when I re-entered her stall, her body language gave me a, “Really? You’re back?” vibe. I bent over and applied the clear lotion to her legs. After a few moments, she relaxed.
On the drive home, I noticed my hands didn’t hurt. Keyboarding and driving irritate that joint where the thumb is. Maybe I should hold the steering wheel a different way? Maybe even keyboard a bit better? I ordered a bottle of the liniment.
A week later, Dylan got to enjoy some of the liniment, too.
Gratuitous Photo of Cat With Saddle Box