I will admit to being brand-ified to a certain extent. Weatherbeeta blankets are my go-to, Cowboy Magic, and a couple other small things.
My question is, do you draw the line at some point whether you will try a piece of "off-brand" tack?? I am looking to buy a breastplate, and absolutely looove the Courbette ones, but not their $136 price tag.
I stumbled across an off-brand (or two, or three) at a different website for much more reasonable prices. But I catch myself wondering if the $40 breastplate will snap, or if the $55 one has good leather, etc.
I'd rather find well-cared for used tack than buy new off-brand, myself. You know that the leather quality is there from day go, and it has proven that it will hold up. For example I looked all over for a warmblood sized bridle for my youngest gelding (he has a moose head ) and off our version of Craigslist I got a Stubben bridle (that looked brand new) with a Sprenger bit for $100 used - and they will last me if I take care of them!
A lot of the cheaper stuff starts to look cheap as it breaks in from my own experience. The edges seem to lose their dye or look frayed, and the leather seems to wrinkle.
When Horseloverz had their stuff on eBay, auction style, I'd always try for bargains. One time I ended up with a couple of double bridles for about $12 each, and also a couple of flat cavesons (because I hate the raised stitched ones that came with the bridles) for maybe $8 each. I figured they'd be good for work bridles at that price. It turned out they were pretty darn nice. I put a patent leather browband on and used them as show bridles! And I show at some pretty big shows. Do they last as long as a $200 Fennells or LaSalle? Well, no- after a couple of years they start to get a little rough around the edges on some of the straps, but the price sure is right. I've purchased a couple more over the years- one is at my trainers right now for use on my show horse, I have another, brand new,hanging in the house as a spare. About the only place I notice a difference with these bridles is the reins- they just don't have the "feel" of expensive reins.
I also like one of the brands of Horseloverz cheap leather halters- I think it started with an "H". While not as soft and pretty as more expensive halters, they last a long time and I use them for turnout halters that stay on 24/7/365.
I do. I bought an off brand breast collar, so off brand that I don't even think it have a brand, from ebay and I've had it for 8~ish years now and it still looks (and feels) great!! Also bought a off brand figure 8 bridle (again from ebay) from some small little retailer in England. If feels cheap but has held up really well (going on 4 years now). So yeah, for strap goods, I've had good luck with off brand stuff, but it certainly is a buyer beware situation that you might get a piece of crud!!
I have learned spend the extra... there is a reason u love the other ones... i always try going for the deals as well because i dont like spending money...which is not good in the horse world... i did this with many saddles that were like 250... i kept sending them back because i didnt like them...they were cheap looking. I saved my monry and got one i liked...more like $800 which wasnt the BEST but still good quality... long story short...spend the extra to get the good ones
A couple of years ago I bought a saddle off eBay - no clue who the maker is, but I call it my "Tucker knock-off." Fits my horse well, fits me well, looks good and has held up well.
It cost me $250 - including shipping. I do have a "real" Tucker also, and that's my "main" riding saddle - but it's always nice to have a "back-up" saddle for a friend to use.
I've also bought handcrafted reins and breastcollars from a leather-maker who sells their "wares" on eBay - the most I spent was $80 for the pulling breastcollar from a company called Montana Mountain Horse. I ordered one, they didn't have it currently in stock, so they made one for me exactly how I wanted it and it is BEAUTIFUL. (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...6451598&type=3
So, to me, "name brand" only goes so far. Sometimes you can find better quality and a better deal going with no-names or smaller brands because they take pride in their work and will stand by it. Larger companies have a bad habit of taking on the attitude of "don't like it? Sorry about your luck."
When it comes to grooming supplies, I have my core group of brushes and stuff - a few of those overpriced blue/grey Oster brushes and hoof picks that I acquired through Christmas horsey gift exchanges with the riding club, but when it comes to detanglers. . .baby oil from the dollar store works just as well and I don't pay out the wazoo just because it has a picture of a horse on it.
Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.
Only if I've seen them in person. I've bought a few off-brand/unknown brand strapgoods at used tack sales. I got a beautiful standing martingale, maker unknown, for super cheap ($15), and really, really nice leather side reins with the donut also for super cheap ($10). The side reins had actually been hand-made for the old owner to her specifications by a guy she knew who did leather goods.
My first saddle was an off-brand saddle, a Coventry Cambridge close-contact. It was the cheapest saddle at the tack shop ($400 at the time, 18 years ago) and a knock-off of the Crosby Prix de Nations, as far as I can tell. I JUST sold it because I got a comfy couch of a saddle, but it was still going strong, and in great shape.
But, for anything leather, especially, I need to see it/touch it in person. Actually probably nylon stuff, as well.
As far as shampoos/detanglers/that kind of stuff, I'm totally okay with using non-horse-branded items
Saddle pads, boots (for horse), breeches, coolers, quarter sheets, grooming supplies... Really reluctant on leather goods and blankets unless I can see it in person. I hate blankets that rub so I stick to what I know doesn't, and I hate the feeling of cheap leather so I know I won't yse it if it isn't nice.
Some of my work bridles are on the inexpensive side, but, still good. My reins have to be the best I can afford. I once had a lesser quality rein break while I was riding my OTTB mare and it was kind of hair raising for a bit.
Saddles, I buy Billy Cooks or as close as I can get to them. No matter what type of saddle, they fit me across the board.
Saddles, bits, blankets and bridles, I want to see in person and will spend extra. I like name brands on that. The rest, not so much.
Some of the off-brands are indeed good stuff -- there are certainly lots of incidences when you really ARE just paying for the name. I have a fantastic breastcollar that I love from Tory leather that I got for $40 -- indestructible with great elastic, been used hard for three years and still is perfect. I've bought a few other "off-brand" type stuff from horseloverz and it's been really nice. Heck, everyone at the barn begs to borrow my $5 McAllister longe line because it is so soft and cushy and nice to your hands. I also have a set of zero brand vienna reins that are lovely and going on four years that I got for $10 because someone thought it was a broken breastplate. It doesn't have to cost a bazillion dollars and be the in thing to be good, just be discerning.
My work harness was a "house brand" from a tack shop that manufactured much of their own leather goods and about 2/3 of what a Walsh harness would have cost, and less than 1/2 of what a Freedman would have been. It was a great buy and has held up very well in some tough conditions. I buy knock off sheets and blankets all the time.
My reins have to be the best I can afford. I once had a lesser quality rein break while I was riding my OTTB mare and it was kind of hair raising for a bit..
Even brand name reins can break . I had the leather inside the rubber break on a pair of Stubben reins while on cross country, (after the first or second fence) the rest of the course was, umm, interesting to say the least, with basically a bungee cord on one side!!
It depends on what it is. I would stay away from off brand saddles or girths. I have purchased off brand head stalls, breast plates or other tack. Some of it I've been disappointed in and some of it turned out to be good quality stuff.
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."