Linda Smith. I started "Something Different."

Tel: 01825 840086
The Village Works, East Hoathly, E Sussex BN8 6QA

Something DifferentSomething Different is not perhaps the most obvious name for a tack shop especially one specialising in selling largely secondhand bits and bridles and saddles to children and young people as well as providing washing and repair facilities for horse rugs and blankets.

Linda Smith, who founded the business 14-years ago in a shed at the bottom of her garden in Ringmer, East Sussex, even admits that in the early days she received one or two telephone calls from people expecting, how shall we say, Something Different.

“One of my favourite customers even told me that whenever he made out a cheque to Something Different he got a telephone call from his bank manager asking for our address”, says Linda.

But despite or because of the name nobody can doubt its success.

Her first sale was a secondhand bit worth £3.50.

Today, based in East Hoathly, East Sussex with a staff of four, Something Different attracts clients from all over Sussex as well as Kent.

Something Different“People looking for secondhand equipment and clothing for their children come to us,” says Linda. “So do professional riders who want, for example, their boots repaired. We do everything.”

Which is not surprising seeing as Linda has been doing everything in and around the horsey world since she was three years old.

Her grandfather used to drive the old horse-drawn horse boxes to and from the races on Epsom Downs.

Her mother's family, who lived in Burwash, East Sussex, were gypsy pony sellers.

“The first time I ever sat on a horse was when I was three years old,” says Linda, “After that I was completely addicted.”

At 15 years old, she joined the Hope in the Valley Riding School at Lewes and started training for her BHSAI. Within six-months she had gained the qualification. At 17 years old she was a qualified teacher.

After that she worked for, among others, Gordon Smythe, at the time a very successful Lewes trainer.

“I only weighed six and a half stone,” she says. “So I used to train the two-year olds. Then I went on to Hunters, Point-to-Pointers. I also used to hunt with the Old Surrey and Burstow.”

Her favourite horse, she says, was Lorelei Sea Hawk, a part-bred Arab. She had him for 17 years.

“He did everything,” she says. “He won lots of prizes. He was fantastic.”

Linda says she decided to start Something Different first, because she had two children and it was difficult for her to do any teaching and second, because she had always dreamt of running a tack shop.

“I remember I was helping my friend, Nicky break a horse. I said to her, If I start a tack shop are you interested? She said, Yes. So I did. Fourteen years later, she is still helping me,” she says.

It could be an ordinary story of a girl wanting to run a tack shop. Instead it's Something Different.


Images of Linda Smith and her horses
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