Daydreaming and Window shopping

When life gets a little stressful, as it has been for me lately, I find myself focusing more on whatever fun things I have planned. For me, right now, that would be our Coconino trip in July with the horses, and our Europe trip in September for Burghley/seeing stallions.

It’s become a bit of a hobby to watch the weather in Flagstaff, where Coconino is held. This past weekend they had their first show of the year there, and on Friday it was snowing like crazy. I can’t imagine driving to a horse show in a snow storm, that’s definitely not a thing in Texas. But as our weather heats up and the humidity becomes unbearable, I certainly find myself looking forward to those 50 degree and 15% humidity July evenings at Coconino.

This is crazy for the end of May

I’ve also already started a “want to see” list for Burghley shopping. When we were in Germany for Bundeschampionate a couple years ago, I looked at all kinds of things we don’t have heare, and I bought some tall boots. There’s so much stuff over there that we don’t have here, or that is way cheaper to buy over there. It’s really fun to poke around the shops and see so many things that are different from what you typically see here.

I really want to check out Fairfax. I’m not the biggest fan of their marketing tactics, but I do like a couple of their products. The most interesting one to me is the breastplate.

The Fairfax Performance Breastplate - Andrew Hoy

I like the simple collar design, having a horse who jumps with a lot of bascule and motion through his shoulder. The bridge style breastplate has worked well on him but I  still feel like it pulls between his front legs, even when that strap is adjusted as loose as I can safely make it. The Fairfax is basically a bridge without the chest strap. Is it as stable as a bridge? Probably not. Would my horse be more comfortable in it? Maybe. I want to look at it in person and ask some questions. It’s stupid expensive though, for a breastplate. Over $300, even in the UK.

Another brand on my list is Champion, the maker of my skull cap. I love that thing, and have been really impressed with the brand in general when it comes to safety and design. Their body protector looks interesting, and they have some new helmet colors and styles that they teased at Badminton but aren’t available yet. It’s such a hugely popular brand in the UK (and having the skull cap, I understand why) but they’re just starting to branch out over here. They’ve got my interest though, so I want to see more.

The other brand that I’ve already got bookmarked is Henry James Saddlery. A couple people that I follow on Instagram in the UK have been using this brand and I really like that you can build your own bridle on their website. They have a really neat crownpiece that sits up off the poll, a figure 8 with buckles on both sides of the nose (so you don’t end up with awkward buckle placement over the mouth) and a pretty non-crank flash. They also have a slightly modified version of the NunnFiner soft grip rubber reins that I love so much, and a wide stirrup leather ala Millbrook but in what looks to be much nicer leather (on a sidenote, I noticed this morning on RW that Ovation has come out with a wide stirrup leather as well, and it’s only $40! Anyone tried those yet? I’ve been pretty pleased with my Ovation strapgoods in the past…). Last fall Henry James teased a breastplate similar to the Fairfax but I haven’t seen anything about it since. A similar cheaper option would certainly be nice.


Once we get closer to Burghley and there’s a vendor list, I’ll go off the deep end completely and make a must-see list. I swear Europe has so many more fun brands than we do, and more unique designs. It’s fun if you’re into that kind of thing. What are some of your favorite UK brands, or cool new products? I’m having fun with the virtual pre-window shopping.


16 thoughts on “Daydreaming and Window shopping

  1. I have theTotal Saddle Fit wide stirrup leathers, I love them and they are available in long as well as standard length.


  2. My saddle fitter is a rep for Fairfax and I’ve always drooled over their bridles, but the $500 price tag makes it a no go for me. Plus the browband is permanently attached and I love my shiney browbands too much.


  3. I love that more brands are coming out with wide leathers. My millbrooks absolutely changed my life, and are holding up well a couple years in. They’re decently nice French leather but they have stretched a fair amount for sure. To be honest for my next pair I will probably skip trying TSF’s version, as I’ve never been impressed by their leather quality, and just give those ovation ones a shot.. happy to spend less if possible!


  4. Our Eventing rules changed here in a Canada and we now are required to have Beta 3 vests. I tried the Champion Titanium at Land Rover and thought it felt decent, then found one on eBay NWT for under $200 CND so I figured it was worth a chance. Wow, by far the most comfortable Vest I have ever worn. I don’t even notice it on me, I like 100x more than I ever did my Tipperary. Highly recommend.


  5. I love reading your blog! We have decided to go to Burghley too! Last minute. Didn’t know the shopping would be so extensive.


  6. I can vouch for the quality of Henry James tack! I have 2 pairs of the rubber reins with stoppers and the leather and craftsmanship is amazing. The rubber stays soft without being too limp and they are holding up better than my Nunn Finer reins.


  7. I love my Fairfax saddle! Haven’t had any experience with their strap goods, but the saddle is made of excellent quality leather. It’s not buttery soft French leather, but it’ll hold up to a lot more abuse. Aaaand now I want a Henry James bridle. You’re a terrible influence you know.

    I just bit the bullet and sent in my entry for both weeks of Coconino. I signed up for the classic three day for the second week. It’ll be my first long format event, so I’m excited but also nervous!


  8. the 50 degree evenings and no humidity is the best part of living in the desert, no lie 😀 If you guys are doing the southern I-10-and-north route to Coconino, I’d offer to buy you dinner or lunch on the way 😀 – I wish I could come watch because I suspect it’d be a blast, but we have puppies who won’t leave home until late July.


  9. I like the design of that breast collar – but really all it is, is a slightly modified polo breast collar. I don’t have a mono flap so I am able to create the same thing by attaching a jumper breast collar to high up on my billets instead of my D rings.


  10. I think if I went to either British B-event I would be hard-pressed to drag myself away from the shopping to actually watch! It’s good that you will have a game plan. I saw an ad for Champion for the first time just yesterday, and thought, “A-hah – that’s the brand I always see on the Brits!” They do seem to make very high-quality and well-engineered products. But I thought you just got a new body protector? Hope the boots escape Customs soon… ugh.


  11. I would love to see those Henry James bridle in person! I would especially be interested in the crown piece!


  12. I drove from Eastern Montana to Texas last week. I experienced every single season in a span of 24 hours, including a blizzard (Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico) and 40mph winds (Texas). Super fun when driving 1500 miles alone with a horse and 3 dogs. It makes me giggle when Texas weatherpeople say the weather here changes in 15 minutes. Texas has NOTHING on mountain and northern climates when it comes to weather changes!


  13. The stuff in Europe is way more fun than most of what’s here. I’ve been buying from overseas a lot. I just ordered a saddle pad for the pony from Premier Equine. I want to try sheepskin against her back and they had a cute enough jumping pad with sheepskin underneath for a reasonable price point. And then I had to get her some little jumping boots to match since they were on clearance.
    I can’t wait for you to go and tell us all about the awesome new stuff over there! (And also the stallions.)


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