Stephanie Liefting has many fond memories from the NRM3DE.
She’s been inspired by the likes of Olympians Tinks Pottinger and Sir Mark Todd as they nailed the cross country, been in awe of Sally Clarke and Squirrel Hill and their stunning dressage test, and even placed fifth in the CCI3* aboard a horse she bred, broke in and started herself taking all the way through.
Her four decades of riding have set her in good stead to know what is required. These days she is not so involved with the competing side of the sport, but as managing director of AMS Saddlery, she’s still hugely involved.
AMS Saddlery is the retail arm of her business, with Prestige Equestrian the importer and distributor for Prestige Italia saddles, LAS helmets and Equilibrium Products UK. They are businesses she has run for many years with her partner, the late Laurence O’Toole.
“Laurence was instrumental in the start up and development of Prestige Equestrian,” says Liefting.
It will be a strange NRM3DE for many without his presence but there’s no doubt there will be plenty of heartfelt stories shared.
AMS Saddlery are sponsors of the CC1* Open Class at the championships, and Liefting will be there with a range of stock and loads of advice – including offering on-site saddle fittings.
Liefting is proud of the extensive product selection she carries with AMS Saddlery – all of which is available both in store and online.
“We import a number of quality brands and pride ourselves on offering value for money, that way there is a range of price brackets to suit everyone.”
Saddle sales and fittings is their speciality area.
“We want to ensure the customer makes a sound investment in a saddle that suits the rider as well as fitting the horse correctly which is imperative to top performance.”
The NRM3DE is a favourite for her, and one she has attended for the past 25 years either as a competitor or with AMS Saddlery.
“It is our national three day event championships – and it’s a fitting prestigious finale for the eventing season. It always was our most challenging CCI event and for me holds so much history and prestige. The young horse championship is also a wonderful opportunity for showing off our future stars and giving them exposure.”
It’s a very busy event for her too, setting up her pop-up shop with all sorts of goodies.
“It is a huge job so I always look forward to selling as much as possible so we don’t have to load it up and take it home!”
Being a rider, she feels she has a huge advantage and is happy to put her extensive knowledge to good use for her clients.
“I know the products which are available throughout the world, enabling me to ‘fit’ the right product to assist or solve a problem,” she says. “I have a mind full of information about saddlery and tack as well as horsemanship which sometimes I feel goes to waste, so I enjoy it when people ask me questions or just pick my brains.”
And she’s extremely proud of the high level of service she offers through her businesses.
“The cost of running a business in New Zealand can be high when you consider the freight, import fee and taxes. It can be a challenge to stay price competitive in a global market and it really hurts to see so many of the equestrian community making their purchases Online. It this continues, there will not be any tack stores to walk into – to touch and smell the leather.”
“I love being part of the equestrian community,” she says. “I have made so many good friends from it and had some great times . . . and I hope to have many more.”Steph Liefting
For more information, head to www.amssaddlery.co.nz or through Facebook.