As horse owners we all strive to buy our horses the best equipment possible to ensure their safety and comfort.
We know that the most expensive products are made from the best materials, they have been designed to be stronger, more comfortable or more flexible due to expensive technological research. When it comes to our horses performance, money is no object even if that means you going without.
So what about us horse riders?
What if the items you chose to wear impacted your horses performance? Maybe not directly or even in a way that you are aware of but gradually, bit by bit, the items you choose to wear impacted your horses performance?
Let's use this current hot weather as an example.
It's competition season so giving your horses time off in the hot weather isn't an option.
You make changes to their routine by riding them early in the morning or late at night when it is cooler. You know your horse will be kept as cool as possible and at a reduced risk of injury because you have invested in ranges such as Kentucky Horsewear and Equi N Ice that are scientifically developed to keep you horse cool and/or reduce core body temperature.
You are wearing your old breeches, high street T shirt and socks and basic helmet, why would you invest in anything more expensive? It won't make you ride any better... right?
Well that isn't necessarily true!
Lets look at those old breeches.
Typically they retail around the £25 mark, normally made from a rayon/nylon mix they are thick and heavy. You may even struggle to get the zip on your boots to fasten over them. They almost certainly bunch at some area and that can cause them to dig in. How do they make you feel?
You probably feel hot, which naturally leads to you feeling tired, frustrated and generally fed up. You finish your ride early. Tomorrow it's still hot, and you remember how you felt yesterday in the saddle. Do you ride? Maybe not... how does that impact your horses fitness, performance and as a combination the way you feel?
Does becoming hot and bothered in the saddle change the way you ride? Do you put in less effort? tire quickly? become frustrated quicker? How could this impact your horse?
Over the last year, more and more equestrian brands are investing in technological research to design products that make you, as a rider more comfortable.
The equestrian industry has looked to golfers, cyclists and runners to understand those industries and how the fabrics and products they make help athletes perform. Leading brands such as Miasuki and Kingsland Equestrian are utilising this research and creating products that make you as a rider perform better.
Let's compare those old breeches with this pair from Kingsland Equestrian
Retailing from £119 there is no denying these breeches are significantly more money than some but let's look at why.
Made from a breathable fabric - these will keep you cool in the saddle. This unique fabric is also dust and water repellent. The fabric is also thin, without being see-through. No more stuffing your breeches into your boots!
This magical fabric also allows you to flex and move in the saddle as you need to. They even come in a range of silicone options. Full seat for those riders who like to feel super stuck to the saddle and knee grip for riders who like to be able to move.
This superior fabric also comes with an extended lifespan. They stay clean for longer - essential for the white and beige options and we expect them to last around three times as long as cheaper breeches (so long as you follow the instructions)
Buying cheaper breeches really is a false economy.
Lets take a look at some other items that we believe you should consider investing in to improve your performance and comfort in the saddle.
Lets look at your riding hat.
No riding hats are cheap, and that is for a very good reason.
It is expensive to design, develop and ensure that a riding hat meets essential safety standards, but not all riding hats are created equal.
Some are thick, heavy and while they will absolutely protect your head should you fall, they don't feel (and often look) good.
A typical riding hat will weight from around 750 grams, considering that your head is an essential part of your body used for balance, this is quite a significant weight to add on.
Other riding hats, such as the ranges from KEP and Miasuki weigh as little as 500 grams. In addition due to superior engineering they have 5 different safety ratings, rather than the 1 of other brands.
Further more, these hats have unique cooling systems so that horrible hot and sweaty feeling when you take off an unventilated hat is a thing of the past.
Lets look at your socks.
Okay so surely socks are socks? Well when it comes to horse riding they aren't.
High street socks are designed for one thing, to be worn with shoes. They are generally too thick, too loose, too hot and without the appropriate support.
Technical socks keep your feet and ankles cool, supported and are sleek and smooth enough for you to easily zip your boots up. Plus many of them are now made of advanced fabrics that keep your feet smelling fresh! Now that really is worth investing in.
Let's look at your T shirt.
Bought from the high street for around the £5 - £10 mark. Often made from a cotton/polyester mix. Basic without great shape but functional. Washes okay, but quickly loses shape. Is it cool and comfortable? Does it flex and move with you?
Technical fabrics have advanced for t shirts and polo shirts probably more than any other item of clothing. The feel of technical fabrics along with the stretch and sometimes deodorising qualities, make them ideal for equestrians.
An investment into a technical pique polo shirt will help you stay cool and fresh, the quality also lasts and keeps it shape wash after wash.
Alternatively a 100% cotton t shirt that is weaved from the highest quality cotton in a delicate weave is an ideal choice that will last
Here at Equissimo, we passionately believe that it is essential that you invest in yourself and your own performance as well as your horses. Long term investment in quality pieces will save money in the long term as items last through multiple washes.
Equestrianism is a 50/50 sport and if you only invest in the best for 50% of the partnership you can't expect 100% of the performance.