Thursday, January 27, 2011

Random Stuff

At the weekly Backcountry Horsemen meeting last night, the comment was made (in reference to a local tack shop) that we should shop local, because if we don't, they soon won't be there, and we'll have no choice but to shop online.

I've been thinking about this, and too be quite honest, I'm a bit torn. Shopping is generally not high on my funmeter, except at Cabela's or Big J's. Shopping online saves me time, gas, and usually money, as I can find better prices. But, I must admit, there are times when I want to be able to hold something in my hand before making the decision to buy it. And, at least where the tack store in question is concerned, it's too small and jam packed, rarely has anything I'm looking for, is overpriced, and, by the way, the proprietor is an asshole. Doesn't make me want to stop in.

Mike's Western, in Enumclaw, is a little better. It's still too small and crowded, but Mike, who is a good old boy from Texas, knows where everything is, and if he doesn't have it, he can get it. His prices are fair, and generally negotiable. He recognizes you when you come in, and will take time to shoot the breeze.

So, I guess for me, the decision to shop local or online boils down to the experience. Your mileage may vary.

Speaking of tack, I picked up two new pieces of tack at the gun show, of all places. One is a leather scabbard that fits a scoped rifle. It's clearly seen use, as the leather is soft and well broke in. It's in excellent condition, and I talked the seller out of it for 40 bucks. Brand new, it would have been at least $125 or better.

The other item I picked up is a 1957 Marlin 336 RC chambered in 30-30. What's that? You don't think it qualifies as tack? Pshaw! Mrs. BR and the daughters buy fancy show tack and clothes, but my idea of tack merely takes another form. Besides, I've been jonesing to get my greasy mitts on one of these classics for awhile, and this one is in better condition than most of the newer ones that were for sale, and the price was better. So there!

I rode a different horse tonight. Our friend B is away at college, and her gelding, X, hasn't been getting much saddle time. She's happy to let us use him, and, since I am considering care leasing him come Spring, I need to test him out. X is a Morgan-something or the other cross. I think he is eight. I decided to give him a go tonight. DN3 suggested that I longe him first. To which suggestion I cast a rather baleful look. While I don't criticize the activity, it just isn't something I do. I want to saddle up and get to gettin'.

She made the point, however, that he hadn't been getting much exercise, so I said, fine, have at it. It was quite the show, with X looking more like a bucking bronc than a saddle horse. It did give me pause to question whether this was a good idea, but having seen him under saddle on numerous occasions, I knew all would be well. He was being a bit lazy, and, I suspect, testing me out. Once he realized that I had a clue, he became very responsive. His trot is a bit rough, but he has a nice lope.

I want to work him back into shape, and then try him out on some trail rides. If that works out, I'll probably lease him, and train him to carry a pack saddle. I'm excited about the prospect.


Bag Blog said...

Maybe the local tack shop should start selling online. It could help prices and inventory.

Deb said...

Having been to many tack shops I know what you mean about the proprietor being an asshole. There are some out there that really should get out of the business 'cause they've got the personality of a fish, and then there are the ones like my friend, JD, at Eamors. He always has the time to say hello to anyone who walks in the door and, like Mike's, if he doesn't have it, he knows where to get it. Now that's what I call customer service.

Buck said...

So, I guess for me, the decision to shop local or online boils down to the experience. Your mileage may vary.

My mileage is the same as yours, BR. If proprietors and their employees treat me well I'll treat them well. The flip side of that coin is true, as well.

innominatus said...

Everybody ought to own at least one .30-30 lever action. I think it should even be a law.

Jessica said...

That is quite a good range of topics in one blog post, Dave.

I'm with you on the shopping, too. It's really hard. We actually lost the one "new" tack shop near by--partially because they were indeed over-priced--but the consignment store is thankfully still there and they are all very nice, knowledgeable, and helpful there.

Do I want to buy a saddle online? Not so much. And I didn't. But I need a new saddle pad, too, and waiting for the right one to appear second-hand won't really work.

It has to make it hard for local businesses to manage their inventory, that's for sure.