I have just returned home from having a very enjoyable, and admittedly much needed, visit with my sisters. We packed as much fun into our brief time together as we possibly could: hiking, skiing, walks together along the frozen shoreline of the ocean. But for me, the best time of each day was near its close, in the evening, when, with glasses of wine in hand, we shared stories of our growing up years and then of our times apart as grown women, and the connections between the two.
This recent visit got me thinking, however, about how our personal histories are so intimately intertwined with the histories and origins of our families. To my mind, our understanding of the history of our families is crucially important to our understanding of ourselves, our present and even in the shaping of our futures. In our case, our mother and father were both children in England during the Second World War. Their experiences shaped not only their youth and adult lives but also in so many ways they also shaped the lives of us four girls, a subject I am sure to return to.
Thinking about the importance of family and its influence on who we are, I am also inspired by an historical family whom I have visited through the printed page, the Brontë family. If I could, I would thank each of the three writer sisters, Anne, Emily, and Charlotte for insisting on their right to be creative before the world openly recognised and gave women permission to do so. Having first published in 1846 under male pseudonyms, because of the success of their works, in 1848 they openly revealed their true identities. That took great courage.
In that same year of 1848, Pehr Adolf Janson of Köping, Sweden, a member of another historical family that has intrigued me of late, also demonstrated courage by his struggle to lift himself out of his family’s poverty by becoming a saddle maker’s apprentice.
Four years later, on March 22, 1852, Pehr is awarded his certificate as a Master Saddler by the King of Sweden, crafting exceptional saddles and harnessing in Swedish leather. In this same year he establishes the Hästens company. Alongside the crafting of saddles and harnesses, this saddler's tasks also included the making of the finest horse-tail hair mattresses and leather goods. The importance of origins and histories is quite evident, then, when we speak about companies too.
One of the things which Red Scarf Equestrian admires about the Hästens company is the way in which Hästens remembers and honours its company’s history. This shared honouring of history and horse has prompted us to ask Hästens to celebrate their own equestrian rooted history by a collaboration on a Hästens manufactured saddle pad. Before the invention of saddles, riders wore just blankets over their horses’ backs. After the invention of saddles, the saddle pads and blankets served to protect the horse’s back, yes, but also to distribute the weight, cushion the horse’s back and also cool the horse down. The same attention to detail that Hästens brings to their mattresses are present here too in this saddle pad, bearing the classic (and famous) Hästens’ blue check pattern. It is a matter of precision and quality.
Recently, the first saddle pad prototype made by Hästens was received by Red Scarf Equestrian. We are excited to be included in the process that has taken the idea of this saddle pad from conception to launch, thereby honouring all of the equestrian tack made by Hästens so many years ago.
I love my sisters, and I cherish my time with them. Family is everything. But this can also be true in the corporate world. I thus cherish, too, this invitation for Red Scarf Equestrian to become a part of the Hästens family.
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