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.
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.
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.