Horse riding is an increasingly popular activity for people who value contact with nature and a sense of freedom. So it’s no surprise that there is at least one horseman shop in every major city. Such stores usually offer standard sets, necessary for every person engaged in horse riding, whether it is a hobby or a professional. A large part of the equestrian shops also has special offers, children’s offers and a lot of gadgets intended to improve the comfort of riding.
How is one really? How do you distinguish a good horsemanship shop from a so-called “bush company” that offers low-quality equipment that can do more harm than good? You should know the answer to these questions, especially if you are not a professional or plan to buy equipment for your children.
The basic issue will always be the choice of the brand. There are some trusted horse riding stores that pride themselves on being spotless, often having a multi-generational tradition and working closely with studs and specific, well-known representatives of equestrian sports. Choosing from the brand itself, however, will be easy and may only result in spending more money on more shiny, reputable, but not necessarily functional equipment.
A necessity when choosing a store for riders is to check the opinions of Internet users, and preferably ask people who deal with horses on a daily basis. Often studs and kennels are able to present a rich and unbiased list of stores they can recommend. This is because if the equipment is responsible for an accident on the farm, the reputation of the farm itself may suffer, and it is not in its interest.
However, popularity alone is not enough. Some stores for riders are very famous, recommended by the majority of customers and cooperate with other brands, but there is no expert opinion in all of this. Fortunately, any elementary equestrian clothing equipment must have the appropriate signature, that it has been tested in accordance with safety standards and is fit for use.
For example: the most important product that we will equip ourselves or our pupils with in the equestrian store will definitely be a helmet. The helmet, of course, protects the head, a sensitive and valuable part of the body, which is highly vulnerable to damage when falling from a horse, especially in the case of children. The sign of the quality guarantee on the helmet is CE EN 1384, which means that the product has received a quality certificate, designated by experts signed by the European Parliament.
Of course, saving is very important, especially when our hobby begins to require more and more money. Stores for riders can have a considerable spread of prices, so following the quality certificate first, and the price second, should be a priority for your own safety. If someone cares more about quality, he should start with a certificate anyway, what about a well-known brand, if the helmet will not even be functional? The prices of helmets start from a few hundred zlotys and go up, offering greater gloss, nicer design and to some extent increased functionality, but it is up to us whether we want to pay a multiple of the price for the appearance alone.
Equestrian clothing offered in stores for riders differs significantly from each other and this is where the steps begin. While a helmet as a basis that protects life and health has very strict rules, here we can say about greater freedom. However, this does not mean that every type of clothing offered by the equestrian store will be appropriate. The basis will always be the presence of a thermo-active, breathable fabric that will not only provide freedom of movement, but also protect against heat. This is especially important when the weather is bad and there is an increased risk of getting sick. The most typical choice in this category will always be fleece, known for everyday clothes, also in specialist clothing it finds its place in isolating moisture and temperatures.
There is also a third category of clothing that equestrian stores offer. Moving from top to bottom, we finally come to the shoes that are almost as important as the helmet. Most people know the importance of shoes in sports, they provide traction and stability from tennis courts to mountain climbing, horse riding is no different. Rider stores usually rightly advertise the need to buy several pairs of shoes. This is due to the very simple premise that you can ride a horse all year round and the weather can change overnight. The shoes we wear on a windy winter day will not be the same shoes we wear on a hot summer day.
In most seasons, we will pay special attention to the ease of keeping the shoes clean, their durability and comfort. Leather is the choice made by the majority of horseback riding shoppers. Cowhide and grain leather are the most popular types due to their high quality, which makes the shoe last longer. They are especially suitable for high boots, reaching the knee, and have high aesthetic value.
If we are able to make good decisions in the above categories, we rely on the opinions of both experts and ordinary users, then from this combination we should get clear messages about which stores for riders to choose and how to distinguish quality between individual products.