Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bits and Tack:
A Conversation

            When it comes to horses, riders, bits, and tack the answer is almost always the same.
            “It depends.”

            What kind of horse do you have? How old? What’s their health like? How are their teeth? What discipline are you participating in? Is this a pasture ornament you ride on alternating Sundays or are you both training to compete?

            What kind of rider are you? Do you have heavy hands? A light touch? Somewhere in the middle? Are you new to your discipline? Is your horse new to it?

            Every one of these questions go together to give us a baseline. But that’s it. This is just the beginning of the conversation.

            The answer to any question about tack will be as individual as every horse and every rider.

            And the answer will change if that horse gets a new rider or if that rider gets a new horse.

            Because riding is a symphony of communication and teamwork; and no two teams will come together in the exact same way.

            So the answer to every question you may have about what will work best starts with all the questions above and won’t end until you feel the magic between your animal and yourself.

            I say magic, because when it all comes together there are no other words to describe it.

            And it all starts with a conversation that starts with the words“It depends.”

            Our store is run and staffed by walking encyclopedias of everything equestrian. We are hoping to find a way to better communicate some of that hard earned wisdom.

            But, because everything MUST be approached on an individual case by case basis, the task is a little daunting.

            There are some general rules of thumb, but they really are no more than likely scenarios. Really, it’s just a good place to start.

            Still, it seems a shame to hoard this wealth of expertise for locals only. Not everyone can come down to Brenham with their horse and spend the day.

            It’s an amazing experience and I have seen it transform a rider’s relationship with their horse, but it’s not practical for everyone.

            So we are going to try to put together some articles and YouTube videos, in an attempt to share what we know. But we want it to be a conversation.

            Do you have any questions?

            How about any suggestions?

            We want to hear from you. If we put our heads together we have an opportunity to put decades of experience in one place.

            There is no substitute for the hard lessons we have all learned, but maybe we can pass what we know effectively onto the next generation.

            So that they may make a whole new set of mistakes, instead of just repeating ours. 

If you have trouble leaving a comment below contact us using FaceBook, Instagram, email, or snail mail.
4765 Hwy 290 E
Brenham, Tx 77833

Written by L.H. 
A cubicle denizen we keep in the way back, back, back of South Texas Tack in Brenham, Texas
Life's Ride

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Rodeo, Antiques Week, and BBQ

           We’re always a little sad to see the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo end.

           It’s an event that celebrates our roots, and the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit you can find in every nook and cranny in the great state of Texas.

           The scholarships, the international exposure, the spotlight on innovation, the exchange of ideas and best practices, and the cultural and culinary delights all come together to create an event like no other in the world.

           We go to a lot of rodeos, but around these parts we all call HLSR “The Rodeo”.

           A few Saturdays back we had a family come up from Houston. They were here for the rodeo all the way from Costa Rica. They had heard about South Texas Tack from the people they had met at HLSR.

           It was really something watching them load their rental car. Newly shaped hats going to what I consider an exotic locale, but to them it’s just home.

           We come together once a year in Houston to celebrate Western culture and agriculture with an eye towards an even better future for our children’s children… and the BBQ.

           Oh, how we love the BBQ!

           But all is not lost.

           The Rodeo may be over but just over in the next county is the world’s largest flea market and antiques show. Give or take 10 miles of junk, treasure, fashion, and food set up in cow pastures, tents, buildings and trailers. 

           Twice a year Fayette county is transformed from pastoral paradise to flea market nirvana, and it’s nearly impossible to quantify. It’s Antiques week and it just… is.

           “Many people don’t realize that Antiques Week is not run by any one single organization, group or person. It is actually a bunch of individually run events that all coincide over roughly a ten-day period. By our count, there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 shows going on during Antiques Week. Pretty impressive, especially when one considers that no one is in charge.”   Roberto Alvarado of Show Daily Magazine

           Only in Texas.

           For 11 days we will be in the Boot Box on Neece Hill at the Lone Star Gallery in Warrenton, Texas. It’s a chance for us to get out of the store, to meet people with whom we might never otherwise come into contact; to talk with and learn from those outside our immediate sphere.

           Plus, all the boots we take out there are 20% off.

           Last fall we met a German foreign exchange student. Listening to her talk about the shock she experienced getting off the plane her first day in Texas and seeing all the cowboy boots; talking about our culture and the agricultural roots that are much, much more than just ‘footwear deep’.

           There’s never a dull moment in rural Texas.

           So much to see.

           So much to do.

           As the sun sets on one event, there is another dawn waiting to take our breath away.

           We don’t live in our Grandparents’ rural communities any more, but it’s definitely a place built on the dreams they had for us… and BBQ.

           Oh, how we love the BBQ! 

Written by L.H. 
A cubicle denizen we keep in the way back, back, back of South Texas Tack in Brenham, Texas
Life's Ride

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Best Kept Secret at
South Texas Tack

            We got a phone call from a customer who’s been coming in to STT for years. The question he had went a little something like this: “Where in the name of San Juan Hill is the sale room?”

            Someone once told me that humans almost never look up because we have no natural predators that attack from above.

            I haven’t gone out and verified this information, but the story has stuck in my head.

            Which is how it became a part of my (not so grand) theory about the STT sale room… the sign is too high.

            The evolution of the sale room is an interesting one.

            Instead of hoarding things and putting them on sale every now and then, we put those items into the sale room and discount them right away.

            Why wait?

            Useful things will break or wear out at an unfortunate time. It’s a variation on Murphy’s Law.

            An old pair of boots and a roll of duct tape are a potent combination. But eventually a rainy day will go from interesting, to dicey, to a string of expletives your Momma would take you out behind the wood shed for.

            Yes, there are rare occasions when even duct tape can’t fix it.

            It’s alright to take a moment while the shock wears off. The words on this page aren’t going anywhere. Take all the time you need.



            Glad you’re back.

            The sale room is located in the south east corner of the building.

            For those of you who know you will not have a compass on your person, come in the front door, hang a right, and look for the blue sale sign.

            But you gotta look up.

            And while you’re looking up, take a moment to admire the decor. You will see family trophies from the family ranch decorating a family run store.

            That’s the other reason we created the sale room. STT is run by horse people, for horse people. We try to cut our customers a break whenever we get the chance because we know what it’s like.

            With it being show season and rodeo time, expenses can add up. That’s why we’re having the Annual Rodeo Blowout Sale, every Friday and Saturday during the month of March.

            Buy any two items from the sale room and you will get an additional 10% off at the register. There are some exceptions, but that is an additional 10% off your whole ticket. Not just the sale items.

            We can’t run a sale like this for long. Not without going dark.

            Turns out the electric company is very particular about when and how often they get paid.

            But you can’t take advantage of the sale if you don’t come into the store and look up. You’ll see the sign for the best kept secret at South Texas Tack. 

Written by L.H. 
A cubicle denizen we keep in the way back, back, back of South Texas Tack in Brenham, Texas
Life's Ride

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Junk Gypsies
Perhaps All of Us Have More Than We Realize

            There once was a time when we all lived in imagination. Back when weebles wobbled but never fell down.

            GI Joe took Barbie to the ball on a Tonka truck and hot lava flooded the living room forcing us to hop from chair to couch to avoid getting burned.

            When I look at the collected work of the Junk Gypsies, I am instantly transported back to a time of infinite possibilities….when my backyard playhouse repelled the attacks of mutant pirates and other assorted baddies.

            The Junk Gypsies have never lost that sense of wonder. They have never stopped questioning the status quo and never learned to color inside the lines.
And the world is a better place for it.

            For those of you not familiar with their work, the Junk Gypsies turn trash into treasure. The term “upcycling” definitely applies, but doesn’t do it justice.

            Country folk have made do with what they had for generations. When cash is scarce, the available can become its own commodity. 

            But this isn’t just about making do. There is an art and dignity in taking the unusual and creating the unexpected. And in this art two sisters have found their passion; while wandering the highways, byways, and country roads of Texas. 

            And, as if we weren’t already blown away by the shop in Round Top or the biannual Gypsy Prom, the gals who grew up working in the first pizza joint in Overton, Texas have designed their very first boot line.

            Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better…

            It did.

            Introducing the brand spankin’ new Junk Gypsy boot line by Lane. Funky chic cowgirl style with a wanderlust twist, these boots were made for lookin’ gorgeous and getting it done.

            So glad those gals never learned to color inside the lines.

            We here at South Texas Tack have lined up a trunk show to help introduce the world to the new Junk Gypsy boots. All the details are on our website, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

            In other words… we are excited!

            And once you get a gander at these photo’s I think you will be too!
In a world where so much has become disposable, the Junk Gypsies remind us that our junk only loses its value when we blind ourselves to the infinite possibilities; when we limit ourselves to coloring inside the lines.

            Perhaps all of us have more than we realize.

Written by L.H. 
A cubicle denizen we keep in the way back, back, back of South Texas Tack in Brenham, Texas
Life's Ride

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A New Opportunity

            When my boss sent a memo asking me to start writing blogs I thought, “Sure. Why not?”

            Seemed like it would be fun! I tend to have a slightly skewed perspective and a strange sense of humor, but I knew I was surrounded by good solid folks who wouldn’t let me go too far into left field.

            I may have slipped one or two by them, but so far no one has complained.
So I started researching the proper way to blog over the Christmas break.

            You see, here at South Texas Tack we take what we do really seriously. All of us are looking to expand our knowledge base and we are always going to some kind of training or another.

            It’s a good day for us when a customer comes in looking for a D ring snaffle bit and we can direct them to where they are in the store. When that customer goes home happy, that’s a good day.

            But it’s a great day when a customer comes in cause the bit they’re using isn’t quite getting the job done and we get to spend a little time talking about what’s going on and what they’re trying to accomplish. Finding solutions and helping riders get to the next level in their given discipline. That’s a great day!

            So we study. We ride. We keep an ear to the ground.

            Blogging about life at South Texas Tack has felt really natural.  Being honest and talking about what it is we do here, that’s my default setting anyway.

            I’m as tech savvy as the next person, when it comes to working with a computer. Bless my college guidance counselor for talking me into taking those computer application classes.

            But computer code and network security…it might as well have all been written in Greek.

            HTML just reminds me of a really bad Scrabble hand.

            It would be really easy to let it slide and just focus on the actual writing. But, that’s not how we do things at South Texas Tack.

            So it’s time to take a step back and a deep breath. Maybe I would prefer be at the barn over sitting in front of a 
computer screen. But, I pay for my time at the barn by sitting in front of a computer screen.

            So nose to the grind stone it will be.

            Cause, as someone much smarter than me once said, “Hard is not the same thing as impossible.” 

Written by L.H. 
A cubicle denizen we keep in the way back, back, back of South Texas Tack in Brenham, Texas.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Until the New Year

           South Texas Tack is almost always closed on Sundays. That’s how it’s been since the beginning and that’s how it’s gonna stay.

           This store is owned and operated by a local family; family being the operative word. The decision was made early on that this store needed to reflect their values. Sunday is for family. So Sunday we are closed.

           The same holds true for Christmas.

           Between Christmas and New Years we are closed. This year we aren’t opening back up till Monday, January the 4th.


           Because of family.

           The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can stress even the jolliest among us. There’s a lot to do and a finite time to do it.

           But when the halls are decked and the presents are wrapped it’s time to immerse ourselves in family, and as you know that doesn’t just mean blood.

           I met this little girl at a Christmas party this year. She’s the daughter of a friend of a friend and currently in the 8th grade. She’s hyper like I am so, of course, we found ourselves geeking out and talking too fast about the meaning of life and the shape of reality. It’s hard not to be impressed by the generation coming up behind us. They have access to information and experiences that didn’t exist in the pre internet days of my childhood.

           Sometimes it worries me. What if it’s too much too fast? But this child didn’t seem to be suffering from information overload. In fact, she seemed to be thriving on it.

           Maybe this internet thing is gonna work out after all.

           There was a bit of talk about social pressure. It’s hard for us old folk not to go there. That’s when she told me about her grandparent’s ranch. The place she goes to just be herself; to unplug.

           Which brings me back to the South Texas Tack Christmas hours.

           People around these parts don’t know the meaning of the word quit. There is no giving up. There is no too hard. We go and we push and we work ‘til the job is done.
But when the job, is done we take the time to reconnect… with ourselves and with each other.

           South Texas Tack could make money during the holidays if we stayed open. But money is not a good enough reason to ignore our values. We use this time to rest, recharge, connect, and reflect. Spending time with those who feed our souls.

           Like years past, I will be using this time to assess. What went well this year? What could have been better? My brother will generously listen to me go on and on. I’m a talker thinker and he’s an introvert… either a very good listener or a very put upon sibling. I’m not actually sure.

           Whichever side of the coin he actually falls on, I’m grateful. Grateful for my family. Grateful for my friends. Grateful for my work. Grateful for my wonderful coworkers and grateful for our amazing customers. It’s a joy to spend my days with other horse lovers and equestrians. It’s a joy to do something so close to my heart.

           Being asked to blog about it has been a bit of a shock, but I hope to adapt… at some point.

           My brother will get an earful about it.

           And, hopefully I will come back ready for whatever 2016 has to throw at us. 

Written by L.H. 
A cubicle denizen we keep in the way back, back, back of South Texas Tack in Brenham, Texas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Santa Claus Came to Town…

           Santa came all the way down from the North Pole to visit us here at South Texas Tack… and I missed it.

           It all started at Thanksgiving.

           I only had the one day off, so my little family came to me and we celebrated with some friends who are as close to us as blood. Fifteen of us got together to eat too much and carefully avoid all things political. The little buckaroos ran around burning off their sugar rush while the babies made mash potato art on their highchairs and the adults caught up with each other while eyeing the last of the pie.

           The tamales were a huge hit, but nothing beats four kinds of pie.

           My little sister ‘from another mister’ spends her days wrangling a room full of four year olds.  She has been teaching for a few years now and her immune system has become almost bullet proof.

           Unfortunately, she is still a carrier… and that’s when it started.

           Looking back, I can see that I have been exposed to five colds and one case of strep throat since Thanksgiving.

           And after weeks of gutting through at half steam… I went down like a felled Christmas tree.

           Missing Santa Claus. 

           He was here to take pet pictures last Friday… and I missed it.

           He stayed to have dinner with us and the Chappell Hill Historical Society… and I missed it.

           He came back Monday to help us spread a little Christmas cheer with some local kids who haven’t been feeling too well…and I missed it.

           Today is my first day back. Unfortunately, Santa has other obligations and couldn’t stick around.

           Still feeling about as steady on my boots as a newborn foal, but I’m here. Now, to make up for lost time on my Christmas shopping.

           South Texas Tack gift cards, hats, and t-shirts for everyone on my list. 

Written by L.H. 
A cubicle denizen we keep in the way back, back, back of South Texas Tack in Brenham, Texas.