Equifit Leather Half Pad. I got this for a steal brand new on eBay, and absolutely love it! It adds the right amount of cushion and padding without being bulky. It's easy to clean too, I just wipe it down after I'm done cleaning my saddle.
Also, my CWD saddle. Although I questioned it after hearing the price, it has definitely been worth the price. It fits my horse great and is so comfortable I can ride in it all day. It is wonderful to be able to focus on my riding and not have to fight the saddle to have a correct position.
I have been so pleased with my FITS Claire Show Shirt, it is so comfortable and light-weight I can wear it all day. I wouldn't pay full price for it, but for $75 or less, I think it's a great show shirt.
I bought four pairs of Grand Prix breeches and they all fell apart within a few months with very gentle care. I was very disappointed, and will stick with Ariat Pro Circuits and Pikeur from now on.
I think I would shop more at the local tack stores if they were closer to me. Both are right at 55 miles from where I live and 25 miles from the barn where I ride. Plus, their selection is pretty limited for riding apparel. I have found some nice things I wouldn't have found elsewhere, but it takes serious effort and planning to go. Not just because of the drive, but also because they're closed the days I'm off from work. As a result, I usually just order from SmartPak or Dover and keep my fingers crossed.
I wouldn't expect one of my customers to pay full price for a shelf worn item (like the size 34 breeches originally posted), but I would appreciate the opportunity to extend a discount or order a fresh pair. We aren't all mind readers, so if you walk out of the dressing room and say you don't want them, some will assume they don't fit well, not that you plan to go home and order them online.
Definitely not taking it personal! I understand your points. I never would think to ask if a price could be matched. I'd feel embarrassed! I did have one tack shop by my college that was owned by a lovely couple. They always had a catalogue available from their supplier so we could see what could be ordered. Their mark up was 15%. I think I spent my food allowance there more than once! Lol. There was another store close by with a bit wider selection. I asked them if they could order a Stubben girth in a size 56. They considered it special order and told me it would be final sale as it was a rare size and they did not want to pay shipping back and forth. I guess it depends on the store, but I still prefer buying online.
I always give the local tack stores a shot. If I need something yesterday, off to the brick and mortar store I trot. However, what gets me is the dearth of sizes on clothes, belts, gloves, blankets. I'm a sucker for Edgewood or Tory leather belts, will buy them regardless of whether I need them or not. BUT. The tack shops NEVER have these in size 32, 34. EVER. The rack sits forlorn, with a few belts, always the ugly/glitzy wide ones, in child only sizes. The inventory is never replenished - every time I go in there, it's the same selection. Horse blankets - same deal. I'll be looking for a particular one, and they always are "currently out" of that style or size. Or they'll have only the sheets, when I need a mid or heavy weight. Of course they then try to get me to buy the sheet with a liner.... more junk to put on the horse, and it's bulky and by then, twice the price. (I'd go on, but it's freezing in here for some reason, and my fingers are going numb!) I gotta go feed now anyway. Boooo, it's snowing again.... ugh.
Last edited by ILuvmyButtercups; Dec. 26, 2012 at 08:33 AM.
Reason: horrid spelling! My fingers are COLD!!
I buy local whenever I can... for example, I could get my dog food more easily and conveniently at Petco or online, but the small pet store we frequent is run by the nicest people I've ever met, and they constantly make up for the longer drive by offering us discounts, throwing in extras, plying my dogs with biscuits, handing me a fresh Keurig-brewed cup of coffee while I shop, etc. I want to keep them in business and I don't mind a few extra cents per bag of food to keep that money in my community and going to nice people.
I LOVE my local tack shop, but the problem is that it's not local to me—just to the barn (an hour and a half away). Given the time constraints with which I ride, it's not always possible to pop in (although I'd love it if they were open at 10 at night!), so SmartPak it is a lot of the time. Having said that, I'd never try something on, just to go buy it online!
Anyway, back to the original topic at hand, I remember another GREAT purchase. This eBay seller (http://myworld.ebay.com/sympco5586) makes amazingly high-quality saddle, bridle, and halter plates for so cheap with incredibly fast shipping. I'd highly recommend them. If they don't have any listings for bridle/saddle plates, just send them a message and they'll create one. (I've probably bought them all up over the past few weeks.)
P.S. AliCat, I need to stop into your shop! In desperate need of a good bra fitting and some good bras—you should PM me when you're typically there.
Bobby's padded raised bridle- beautiful, soft leather, and very attractive
Schneider's Big Fella blanket- fits my Perch/TB perfectly and is very nicely made
TuffRider ribbed low-rise breeches
Equine Comfort Sheepskin pad - very, very nice, and love the girth slot.
Tredstep Giotta paddock boots - SO COMFORTABLE
SmartPak fleece girth - love it, especially for the price.
Equine Couture breeches- HATED the fit. Way too tight in the waist compared to the rest of the fit.
Tredstep deluxe half chaps. Going on 8-9 years and considering a new pair but these still work great.
Rambo & Rhino high neck blankets. Love a blanket without leg straps. One less step.
Bow Balance Stirrups
Ariat Pro Circuit Breeches
Fleeceworks shaped pads. Fit is great but it looks like crap after a few washes. Overpriced fleece.
I love the traditional front but the sleeves and back are made of a lightweight stretch material. Underneath the more fitted coats, like a soft shell, its perfect! No bulk and crinkles under the sleeves. I wish they made a soft blue as well!
My best purchase. I have one pair (custom dress boots) that i bought in 1973 (that is not a typo). I have just replaced my stock paddock boots after 10 years. If you have narrow feet, this is the only way to go - do not try anything else, do not pass go, just send in ~$220 and get these directly from them.
Next best: Equine Athletics show jacket. Don't know what happened to them, but this was a great jacket for the hot weather.
Not so good: Circuit bridles from Dover. Bought two of them, a hunter and a jumper (w/figure 8 noseband). Nosebands were odd on both - gigantic around the nose, and just odd. The rubber reins were great, and lasted 8 years .
Oddest: i had a Barnsby Esprit saddle, and needed a wider tree. I found one, and when it arrived, it looked NOTHING like the other one. I liked it anyway, and later found the Barnsby rep at a horse show in Ireland. He explained that they build them on two different tree styles. ??? Go figure, and there is no way to know one from another (such as, by using a product code on the saddle). ?? As an engineer, this blew my mind. Still have the saddle, still love it, but wow, that was something else.
Aramas wide noseband bridle. soft, supple and gorgeous foe very little money. I bought a second, some extra reins and a martingale all because the first purchase was SO nice.
SmartPak wellfleet double brown elastic overlay girth. Beautiful and soft. I only wish the elastic was a bit stretchier.
Ariat Pro Circuits: I've been wearing this brand for years and since having them come up on TOTD, they are the only breeches I wear.
Bogs: I hate mud and having cold feet. These take care of both issues
LL Bean Snowfield jacket: keeps me warm and dry whether I'm riding my scooter or my horse. I have two.
Paris bridle: it was only $60 less than the Aramas and truthfully isn't worth more than $20 or so. I hate it.
Pessoa turnout sheet: It fell apart almost immediately on my 24/7 pasture horse. The other is doing okay on my stalled horse, but I hold a grudge.
Equifit Ankle boots. The straps are super short and I can't believe how much debris they collect. To be fair, the company contacted me about the issue, but I can't see that there is a fix other than a refund. I do like the fronts, but I'd really like my horse in a matching set of boots which is why I went Equifit in the first place.
Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"
My local tack shop purchases the Horze items using %50 coupons and then sells them for full price in their store. Sneaky.
I love the equine couture breeches, especially the sock bottoms.
Kerrits wind pro breeches, super warm and they don't attract hair or shavings
Ariat tek grip winter gloves, these gloves last me several years of daily stall cleaning, feeding, and riding. Warm in the winter and still thin enough I don't need to take them of to buckle the bridle.
Smart Pak fleece girth, excellent value for the price.
Thinline pad: I'm on the wagon under daugther's Butet
Beris Low Port Mullen Bit: took a bit of hell to get it from Europe but very well made, less than the Herm Sprenger duo even with international shipping
Back on Track Fleece Blanket: I am a believer. From the minute we put this blanket on our pony she's been happier and relaxed, AND warm. Well worth the insane price.
Journeymen custom half chaps: see below on Ovation chaps, yucko these are gorgeous, they fit and they will last
Wilkers custom show pads, who knew you could order one specifically sized to your Butet for the same price as stock??? love it
Not so great:
Ovation chaps: bought a pair in Dec and by January the zipper had to be restitched on, also the elastic that goes under the boot is stretched out, also within just a few weeks. Worst $45 I ever spent. Went to Journeymans to get them restitched and ordered a new pair of chaps
Happy mouth mullen bits: they just don't fit great, sizing off for ponies?
BEST: Parlanti custom boots. Going on 6 years or so with these being my daily wear and show boots and they still are gorgeous.
Animo breeches. Once I had these, with the spandex lining through the seat, I can't ride in my TS anymore.
Trust bit. I bought this at Aachen and adore it, the mullen with a small port, the horses love the metal and the room for their tongue.
Signature leather gloves. They last forever and are the best gloves I've ever had ever. Worth every penny.
Pinkston's turf goods leather halters. Look amazing, leather feels great and they are cheap.
Why did I buy?
TS trophy hunters. Loved them at first but they all got holes in the crotch within a year and after riding in the animo's I can't even wear these.
Amigo blanket liners. They are cheap so that's good, but they really don't hold up well.
Der Dau custom boots. I am ashamed to say I have never worn them. They just feel so blah compared to my partlanti's. I am going to make an effort to wear them this year to make my parlanti's last longer.
Ariat Olympia Breeches. SO worth the price! They fit me absolutely perfectly. If I was richer I'd have these in every color.
Tredstep Giotto Paddock Boots. Super comfy, very nice looking, and perfect fit.
Horze Turnout Sheet. For $50 this thing is AMAZING!
Smartpak Padded Leather Nameplate Bracelet. SO SO pretty and nicely priced.
Elite Half Chaps. Lovely fit, soft leather, nice design, but after a few rides the dye wore completely off where my stirrup leathers run across my leg and over the foot where my spur straps go. I still wear them daily because, hey, they're just for schooling anyway!
No outright terrible purchases this year.
Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
Mickmar short shank bit. My horse LOVES the roller
Wintec Pro Jump (old style) -- fits my horse and is surprisingly well balanced for a $300 saddle (like it better than some saddles that cost $3K+)
Sprenger Bow Balance stirrups. Never thought I'd spend so much for irons but they've cured the problems with my old knees.
Wahl cordless clippers - i have the small ones. They are durable, don't get hot and I use them to clip horses, dogs and cats.
Mattes shimmable pad - So convenient to adjust saddle fit
No Knot Hair Net - Silly to get excited about a hair net but these are great and they last forever. I've hunted three seasons with one so far and it's still going strong.
Passier Lederbalsam - It is the only conditioner that I use on my tack.
Stubben EZ-control bit - haven't found a horse that likes it
Dr. Cook's Bitless bridle -- Also haven't found a horse that likes it although I have a horse that I ride in a side pull, so am not against bitless bridles. I've bought two of these bridles over the years thinking that I might have a horse that would like them and still no dice.