As I walked around the trade show I tried to take a picture whenever anything caught my eye – for good or for bad. I figured if it caught my attention it was worth a look. Since the shop I was there with really only does apparel, we didn’t buy any tack. But I think anyone who has basically ever read this blog knows how much I love tack, especially interesting tack. There wasn’t a lot to be found that really caught my attention (nothing like my beloved PS of Sweden bridles anyway) but I thought a few pieces were worth sharing.
Your eyes do not deceive you, that is a raised padded fancy stitched Micklem. I didn’t notice any difference in the leather quality, and the choice of stitching pattern is… interesting… but it looks like they’ve finally dressed it up a bit. They still have the regular flat utilitarian looking one as well.
The other bridle in the Horseware booth had a little bit different side piece on the noseband than normal. Otherwise it was very standard looking.
The most “different” looking bridle was definitely this one from Nunn Finer. Don’t ask me, I have no idea. That’s a whole lot of straps.
Yup, sparkly glittery bridles, not just confined to the browband. I think the idea here is to blind the judge and force them to give you better scores. Either way, you sure can’t miss these things. I saw lots of patent on dressage bridles as well. All of these people who used to only do plain jane black and white have gone off the rails! And, hey – more power to them because it gives me something to take pictures of.
It was pretty hard to miss this saddle from Pariani, with it’s rubbery feeling anti-slip knees and panels. It’s called the Pro Grip, which seems obvious. It definitely had an interesting feel, like little rubbery spikes (not actually spiked, but rounded tip).
Who loves colored piping? Prestige does. I don’t know if I’d ever be that brave, but it’s a cool option. Their irons are kinda like if Jin and MDC had a stirrup iron baby.
Yup, those awesome and very economical eventer pads from PRI are available in sea blue and hot pink. That’s the same pad I bought from BoB in navy… although they don’t carry these two colors. For $38 it’s a nice pad and I know several friends that would love the sea blue. Maybe someone will stock it?
On to helmets! Remember that lace KEP? One K is in on it, too. Not actual lace though, just a printed pattern.
Samshield has a center leather option with a pattern very reminiscent of lace. I, of course, loved it. But to be honest I sort of fell all over myself in love at the Samshield booth anyway. Megan opened an account with them so Julian demonstrated how to do a proper fitting, with me as the lucky guinea pig, and he showed all the liners, all the options, all the differences between models, how the vent system works, the key design points, etc. The Premium is like heaven on my head. And oh my god the OPTIONS. I couldn’t even. Samshield on the list of eventual must haves? Yes.
The picture that I tried to take for this option came out awful but I loved it so much I have to mention it, so here’s a stock pic from their website. This is the new Shimmer option for the center that I thought was to-die-for pretty… it almost has a wet look to it in the light. It glimmers without being glittery and is fun and unique without being garish. Totally gorgeous. I also got to try on the different glove models and thought the navy color was really pretty. Although IMO, everything they have is really pretty – always elegantly finished with a real high end look. Absolutely nothing here looks cheap.
The other new thing from Samshield is their XC helmet. I admit, my first thought was “Spartan”. It has a really unique look that I think people will either love or hate, but either way you have to admit the features are well engineered. First – the ventilation was amazing. No exaggeration. Second – it was so lightweight it felt like you weren’t even wearing a helmet. Since it’s made of carbon fiber it’s super strong but very light at the same time. This thing has safety ratings out the wazoo. Pictured is the blue one but it also comes in black.
One K seems to be going the way of the Samshield, trying to offer lots of options in that center area, and crystals along the edges. It looks a lot cheaper and less elegantly done than Samshield, but they’re trying to fill that niche in a lower price bracket so I guess that’s the point.
Tomorrow – apparel and boots!