“I FEEL LIKE A PIONEER”

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Meet the owner of the only tackshop allowed at Barbury Horse Trials when eventing resumes this weekend.

“Nervous but looking forward to supporting the riders.”

That’s how Sally Platts feels about her Tiggas Saddlery being the sole trade stand at Barbury Horse Trials on 11/12 July.

Since Covid-19 put competitions on hold, Barbury marks the return of British Eventing fixtures under strict new rules. Aske and Twesledown will run on the same weekend.

To comply with government guidelines, there will be no general public allowed into the events - and no tradestands. However, Barbury organiser Musketeer Event Management invited Tiggas Saddlery to attend to cater for its competitors’ needs. 

“It’s fantastic to be asked,” Sally told ETN. “Tiggas is known for having all the emergency kit in stock.

“It might be replacement gas canisters [for air jackets], a £2 jumping stud or a £300 pair of boots – they all get forgotten. Electrolytes, leg grease, reins, bridles and bits are other items that typically broken or left at home.”

“Horrendous year”

Tiggas Saddlery, which trades mainly at shows, has had “a horrendous year so far,” says Sally.  

“This will be our first show of the season, and I will be the only [trade stand] there. It will be very different; I feel like a pioneer.”

Face coverings and hand sanitiser at the ready, Tiggas Saddlery stand at Barbury will operate a one-way system. There will be a card machine on the front counter for grooms to collect what they need quickly without entering the stand.

“It’s a bit scary, and so important to make sure everyone is safe,” said Sally. 

“I daren’t get excited about making any money from it. But at least we’ll be there. And I think riders will support the businesses that are supporting them.”

Very little help

The coronavirus pandemic has been a particularly hard knock for this Lincolnshire based retailer. 

Having previously worked on the show circuit for country clothing company Brocklehursts of Bakewell, Sally acquired Tiggas Saddlery from long-time owners Charles and Michelle Gough only last year.  

“I’ve had very little help, apart from the bank deferring some payments. It’s very difficult when you don’t have a bricks-and-mortar business,” she explained. 

Future prospects

Although Sally says she’s “a hands-on girl who prefers being outside and meeting people at shows”, she plans to update Tiggas Saddlery’s website to future-proof the business.

“I’ve got other events pencilled in for the rest of this season, but no-one knows what will happen. All we can do is go from week to week,” she said. 

“Barbury will be unusual this year. But I’m so pleased to be able to play a part in supporting the event and the riders.”

Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay