Equestrian Blog

News and thoughts from around the equestrian community

Guide To Jodhpur Boots!

There are many different types of horse riding boots on the market and jodhpur boots are amongst the most popular. Jodhpur boots were originally designed to be worn with jodhpurs and are ankle length which makes them easy to pull on and off, as well as offering a greater degree of flexibility than long riding boots. They were originally worn with a strap fitting around the back of the boot and securely fastened in place with a buckle at the side. This traditional style is still popular with riders today, but there are plenty of alternatives available, depending on personal choice. Jod boots with safety caps are very practical around horses! Boots that are laced up the front are generally known as paddock boots, some boots have front zip fastenings while others have zipped located at the rear. The most popular styles are those that feature elasticated sides, which make them easier to get on and off…particularly useful for younger riders. These boots are extremely versatile and you’ll find they look just as good with jeans when you’re out and about in town!Choosing Your Jodhpur Boots When it comes to shopping for jod boots it’s important you take your time and make the right decision on the boots best suited to your circumstances and style of riding. Safety around horses is always key, which is why many opt for a pair of boots that are fitted with reinforced steel toe caps, designed to help keep toes protected should your horse stand on your foot. Then there are everyday boots that can be made from either leather or more usually a synthetic leather. These are great if you need one pair of boots that you can wear to do jobs around the yard and ride in as they tend to be a little more durable and easier to clean. Top of the range boots can feature extras such as waterproof membranes, padded ankles, Thinsulate linings, full grain leather uppers and dozens of technological advancements all aimed to optimise wearer fit and comfort.  

Spring Is Here!

Yippee…the clocks went forwards yesterday, which means lots of lighter evenings. Great news for horse owners, as it means we can actually see our horses in the day light, something which has become a distant memory in the last few months!   Hairy Beasts Horses everywhere are starting to shed their winter coats and at the end of a good grooming session most horse owners come out of the stable hairier than their horse. For those with clipped out horses the task in hand isn’t quite as bad, although the inside of their rugs will probably see a build-up of hair, which will need brushing off before you even think about washing them!   It’s Nearly Show Time The show season is due to start soon, so if you haven’t already made a start, now is an excellent time to start getting your horse fit and the pair of you ready to show the world what you’re made of. It’s a great idea to book some lessons to get you both focused and prepared for a busy season…it’s true that practice does make perfect! Don’t forget that if your show jacket is looking a little shabby, or your jodhpurs aren’t quite as comfortable as they used to be…we’ve plenty of new ones to choose from at prices to suit all budgets.     Paddock Maintenance Paddock maintenance will have undoubtedly slipped during the dark, cold and wet winter months. Now’s the time to make the most of the lighter evenings by poo picking, fence mending, harrowing, reseeding and rolling. Do you need some extra electric fencing so you can strip graze your paddock once the grass starts to appear? Now’s also a good time for picking up any litter that’s blown into the field and generally making it as safe as possible for your horse.   Stable Spring Clean? A glimpse of the sunshine might just inspire you to give your stable a bit of a spring clean. Pick a sunny day to get rid of the cobwebs and disinfect your stable so that it can air and dry out before your horse comes back in from the field. This will reduce dust in the stable helping to keep your horse’s respiratory system clear and healthy. It’s also a good time to get your winter horse rugs washed, dried and stored safely away ready for next winter.   ‘Feel Good’ Time! Like many outdoorsy people, I’ve been literally counting down the days to when the weather turns warmer, the evenings get lighter, the grass begins to grow in the horse field and my horse can go out naked…without a rug on. For most horse owners, this is payback for getting through a pretty dismal winter dealing with lots of mud, high winds and wet rugs. Here’s to lots of lovely, long evening hacks after work and good luck to anyone who's about to start the show season!  

Ehning secures last-gasp jumping victory at Saut Hermès

The Saut Hermès Jumping International tournament in Paris came to a thrilling close yesterday as Germany's Marcus Ehning and his stallion Cornado NRW snatched victory by just three hundredths of a second. The Grand Palais in the French capital played host to some stunning feats of equestrianism over the weekend, so it was only fitting that the much-anticipated finale – the Grand Prix Hermès – should come right down to the wire. Jump-off Under the beautiful spring time sunshine, Ehning and Cornado NRW thrilled the sold-out arena by taking victory in the jump-off against the much-fancied home favourites Patrice Delaveau and Lacrimoso HDC. Only four riders made it through to the jump-off, including Great Britain's Laura Renwick on her gelding Bintang II. Renwick eventually finished a respectable fourth with two poles down at the death. Third place was taken by Katharina Offel of the Ukraine on her horse Lacontino. Although Delaveau and Lacrimoso initially laid down a fantastic clear round in an impressive time of 37.62 seconds, Ehning once again demonstrated his class and composure by guiding Cornado NRW round in 37.59 seconds, just shading the competition. Nail-biting finish Ehning's winning performance may have disappointed some of the partisan home crowd who were eagerly cheering on Frenchman Delaveau, but the impeccable manner of the victory was a joy to behold for everyone in attendance. This year's Saut Hermès Jumping International deserved a nail-biting finish and credit must go to all the riders who competed in the jump-off for delivering first-class entertainment. After securing the top spot, Ehning said: 'I am very happy with my horse, he did an incredible first round. I saw Patrice's round in the jump-off, he was fast, but I still thought I had a chance. 'Kathi Offel gave me the right tip for the five strides to the penultimate vertical and it all worked out very well today.'

Christmas Cheer with Horslyx!

Mini Horslyx are a healthy alternative to sugary sweets and contain no artificial colours or preservatives, which makes them suitable for all horses and ponies. These nutritious treats are perfect stocking fillers for your equine friends this Christmas! Unique and highly palatable, Horslyx contain a full range of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It’s formulated to help balance the deficiencies in forage and grazing – you could say that it’s the equine equivalent of a human multi-vitamin tablet! The Horslyx Mini Rainbow Box is the ideal horse Christmas gift and contains each of the four Horslyx formulations, original, garlic, respiratory and mint. The colourful packaging includes a printed name tag graphic, making it the perfect horsey present! As well as being a great gift, Mini Horslyx has a multitude of uses. It can be a welcome distraction during vet and farrier visits, is a useful tool for stretching exercises and is effective at encouraging reluctant loaders and those difficult to catch. Mini Horslyx are easy to handle and can be fed by hand or emptied in to a manger. They’re priced at £3.50 each or £13.75 for the Horslyx Mini Rainbow Box.  

Mountain Horse - Daughter’s Cold Feet Created International Business!

It’s 25 years since Lars Sjöswärd grew tired of his daughter Catherina always complaining that she was cold when she was riding. He and Catherina took matters into their own hands and created the world’s first winter-lined riding boots, Winter Rider, the hybrid riding shoes Easy Rider and the well-ventilated and cosy Rocky Mountain riding jacket. That was the start of Mountain Horse, and the rest is history. Today Mountain Horse’s products are sold in 35 countries but the company is still based on the same solid foundations as it was 25 years ago: fashion, function, safety and innovation. Clearly a lot has changed over the 25 years that Mountain Horse has been dressing the world’s riders but there’s also a lot that has remained the same:  the company’s head office is still on the farm in the village of Vallda in Halland, the whole family is involved in the business and the philosophy that shoes and clothing must be stylish, high quality and practical hasn’t changed. What has changed over the years is customers’ knowledge and requirements: today’s customers are far more choosy than they were when the business first started, which suits Mountain Horse really well. Every year there are two new collections, one in the spring and one in the autumn and every year they launch a number of innovations in the form of built-in safety features, smart design solutions and new, functional materials for clothing, shoes and boots. Some 25 people currently work for Mountain Horse on Paradisets väg in Vallda. All design work is still done in house and many employees ride in their free time. Milestones in Mountain Horse’s history: 1988 Lars Sjöswärd founds Mountain Horse. 1988 Catherina and Lars develop the first successful products: the Winter Rider riding boots, the Easy Rider hybrid riding shoes and the Rocky Mountain winter jacket. 1992 The owner’s son, Bertil Sjöswärd, starts working for the company.  He has experience of the sports shoe industry and drives the business forward, helping with international growth. 1994 The first Stirrup Control Sole is launched. 2000 The owner’s other son Rolf Sjöswärd joins the business as shoe design manager. 2000 Bertil Sjöswärd takes over as CEO from his father Lars who founded the business. 2000 Mountain Horse is the first company in Sweden to launch a riding shoe which is a certified safety shoe. 2002 Mountain Horse launches the world’s first safety shoe for children. 2003 Rolf Sjösvärd invents and starts developing the SCS3 safety and stirrup system. 2005 SCS3 is patented and the sole and associated stirrup are released on markets the world over. 2007 The Mountain Horse Pony Cup is launched and is an immediate success. 2013 Lars and all his children are totally committed to and active in the development and operation of the business. It’s a real family business. Check out the Mountain Horse Collection here.

The Savings Start Here – at our End-of-Season Sale!

Our End-of-Season Sale starts on Wednesday 14th August at 8am online and 10am at our stores (9am at Cardiff). If you saw last month's post about our recent catalogue photo-shoot, you'll know we're getting ready for the new Autumn/Winter season. The catalogue deadline will soon be upon us and the new season stock will soon be starting to arrive. Of course, we'll need to clear space for all these new products – and that means that we've got to clear a lot of stock in a short space of time! There's only one way to do that – sell it as cheaply as possible! With so many products to shift, we've reduced thousands of them by at least 40%!!Online While the Sale starts on Wednesday, we'll make the whole selection available for you to view, in a Preview mode, a day or so beforehand. The site won't let you buy until the Sale starts, but you will be able to add any Sale items to your wishlist to speed up the process of buying it on the day! Adding to the wishlist doesn't reserve the items for you but it does reduce the chances of missing out on the available stock if you come back to check out your wishlist as soon as the Sale starts. In recent Sales, we've seen thousands of customers using their wishlists in this way – it's a bit like having a Fast-Pass at a theme park! To set up your wishlist, you'll need to log in to the site - or register if you haven't got a login. Here's where you can log in or register. Once you're logged in, simply browse as normal and use the white 'Add to Wishlist' button for any item you want. To see all the items you've done this for, just click on the 'Wishlist' button on the header – visible from any page. Every time you add an item to the wishlist – or click on the 'Wishlist' button, you'll see all the items you've already added. You can then put any one of them in your trolley – or all of them in one go! For most of the year, wishlists are really there to help present-buying friends and family. If you use the 'Share' function, you can email your wishlist to someone else – and hope they'll treat you to something on there! Whichever way you prefer to use it, it's a much quicker way to beat the queues on a busy day! Happy Wishlisting!Instore The Sale will start at our normal opening time of 10am in our stores (except for our Cardiff store, which opens at 9am). Each store will have the following offers available: 10 unbeatable deals – with over 60% off these selected styles At least 40% off many Spring/Summer 2013 styles At least 60% off the original price of hundreds of items of 'Clearance' stock If you're planning a visit to any of our stores during the Sale, here's a quick guide to each store, their contact details, their opening hours and much more. We'd love to welcome you at one of these stores very soon! Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire Cannock, Staffordshire Basingstoke, Hampshire Radyr nr Cardiff, Glamorgan   The Sale will run all the way to the August Bank Holiday Monday – but who knows what will be left by then? Whatever is left may be reduced even further but to be sure of a great deal on the items you're looking for, you can't beat the first day of a Robinsons Sale!

10% Off EVERYTHING This Easter Weekend! (Online AND Instore)

It may still feel like the depths of winter but Easter's here this weekend - and to celebrate, we're offering you the chance to save even more on your equestrian shopping over the Easter period with a '10% Off EVERYTHING' offer!  Online - It's live from 12:30 pm today (Thursday 28th) and it lasts until 11:59 pm on Easter Monday - here's the important bit: just look out for the box on the checkout page that asks for any voucher codes and simply enter the code SAVE10 in there to ensure the discount is applied to your order.  It won't subtract the 10% from the items you buy unless you do!  Don't forget, you'll still earn Rider Rewards points, as normal for all online purchses.  You can also use this code to claim 10% off your purchases ordered via our telephone ordering service over the Easter weekend, although our Call Centre will be closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Instore - Simply travel to any of our four stores on Good Friday, Saturday or Easter Monday and you'll find all items are offered at 10% off!  Please remember that all our stores will be closed on Easter Sunday, in  accordance with UK trading laws. As shoppers, we can all be quite cynical about such offers (it's usually safer if we are) so here are a few clarifications about what EVERYTHING covers: New Season Items? That's right! All items in our new Spring/Summer 13 Catalogue will all be reduced by 10% until Easter Monday. It doesn't matter whether you order online, via the telephone or venture instore, all the items marked 'NEW' like, for example, our Requisite Crest Embroidered Jeggings will be offered at 10% off the normal price – that mean's they're £25.20, instead of £28! With around 28% of the products in our current catalogue offered for the first time this season, there are plenty of new styles for you to choose from – at 10% off! Clearance Items? Correct again! They may be reduced already, but we're happy to knock another 10% off the reduced prices* of everything you can find in our Clearance selection, which, at the time of writing consists of over 850 different styles! * If an item was badged as '50% off' before, an extra 10% off the reduced price means it’ll be available at 55% off the original price.  How does that work? Here’s an example: The Pikeur Vigo Gilet (‘Was £92’); was offered last week at £45.99 (50% Off).  This weekend, the extra 10% off is taken from the £45.99 previously offered price.  10% of £45.99 = another £4.60 off, reducing the price to £41.39, which is a saving of £50.61 from the original ‘Was’ price of £92.  £50.61 is 55% of £92, so you should expect to see a ‘55% Off’ badge against this item this weekend.  Branded Items? Yes-sir-ree! Discounting the big brands is not exactly popular with the brand owners but we're going to do it anyway. It's only for a few days and we all know that if we don't do it, someone else will. However exclusive or prestigious the brand, every item we offer will be 10% cheaper this weekend! Nosebag Café Purchases? Correct-a-mundo! If you're off to our Ashton or Basingstoke stores, you'll find that even your instore cup of tea will be 10% more relaxing than ususal – that's because we're offering 10% off food and drink purchases from our Nosebag Cafés! It may not be a 'free lunch' but 10% of it is! Feed & Bedding Purchases? Affirmative! We've never done this before because feed is so low-margin but…once again, if you're off to our Ashton or Basingstoke stores, you'll even be able to save 10% on all the feed items we offer. At both these Megastores and at our Cannock Superstore, we also offer bales of our own Robinsons shavings. Guess what – they'll be 10% off this weekend!(Sorry to our Cardiff store customers – there just isn't room for these bulky items at your store!) Vouchers? Take a wild guess! We often exclude voucher purchases from our 'blanket' discounts for administrative reasons but not this time!If you want to spend £9 to get a £10 Robinsons voucher, this is the weekend to do it – online, instore or via telephone! I know what I'd be thinking if I saw '10% Off EVERYTHING' in someone's advertising - that somehow it wouldn't be - and I wouldn't blame you for thinking the same thing yourself.  That's why I've gone into such detail here.  If we're going to knock 10% Off EVERYTHING without the usual 'exceptions apply' part, we really need to be sure that believe us! Have a great Easter weekend, whether you venture out into the cold or not.  I hope you can find some time to take advantage of this great offer before Easter Monday draws to a close.  Unlike so many offers, this one really is exactly what it says in the headline! As always, thanks for reading, Paul

10% Off Yard & Tack Room Products (online only, 11th – 17th March 2013)

Spring is finally here! With the return of lighter evenings and (relatively) milder weather, we can be forgiven for feeling like woodland creatures at this time of year, as we blinkingly emerge from our hibernation-like winter state! The change of seasons brings with it new promise and a new sense of purpose. Competitive riders are especially motivated by the new 'season', although to them, the word 'season' is not necessarily applied to spring per se but the show season, event season, or any other competitive season, defined by their chosen discipline. Spring is also a time of opportunity for non-competitive riders, as the better conditions make hacking opportunities more frequent and longer. Let's face it; things are just more fun, however you want to ride, when it's not cold and dark most of the time! To help you get organised as you make the most of the new season's opportunities, we're offering 10% off our prices for Yard & Tack Room items sold online, all week! I suppose that when you think of Yard & Tack Room, the first image it conjures is of forks and shovels – they are, after all, the items you spend the most time with, when you're doing your jobs in and around the stables. Together with their natural companions, skips and collectors, after a winter of heavy use, perhaps your mucking out tools (possibly even including your wheelbarrow) are beginning to show signs of wear and tear and are ready for being replaced. More likely, you'll be considering ways to improve your 'stable environment' after a winter of frustration with certain aspects of the yard. Perhaps the time has come to address the way you store your equipment or update some of the necessary accessories that every yard needs to run smoothly and efficiently. At this time of year, many riders' horizons are set far beyond the confines of your stable yard. A new season (however you choose to define it) brings with it the opportunity to get out and about and if that means travelling to shows, events, farm rides or any other type of expedition, there's a whole wealth of things to prepare for. For example, in recent years, we've noticed that the folding wheelbarrow has become a hugely popular addition to a growing number of horseboxes all over the country! In addition to these savings on a wide variety of products, all products priced £1 or above will also earn you Rider Rewards, which can be used to pay for all or part of your future purchases – just make sure you use your site login to claim the points! If you can't remember what your password is, don't worry! Go to our 'Forgot Your Password?' page and send us the email address you used when you registered and we'll send you a link to reset your password. Thanks for reading, Paul. PS Thanks also to Izabela Motyl for supplying the fantastic photograph. I hope it really gets you in the mood for some springtime riding!

New Season, New Products, New Catalogue!

Spring is finally on the way – which means that so is the Robinsons Spring/Summer Catalogue! It's the first major catalogue we've produced since we launched our popular Rider Rewards programme in December, so you'll be able to see just how many points you can earn for adding each item to your order! If you saw a copy of our recent End-of-Season Sale catalogue, you'll probably be familiar with the idea of how many points each product will earn. If not, here's more about Rider Rewards. After lots of thought and some feedback from customers, we've decided to reduce the page size and the number of pages (to 116) but we've re-designed the pages to ensure that we can pack in as many items to each page as possible – in fact, we've managed to 80% of the choice we printed last year onto less than half the amount of paper. Here's why we decided to reduce the size of the catalogue. Of course, thanks to the web, fewer pages and smaller dimensions don't mean we're offering fewer products! Our paper catalogues have always been just a small selection of our whole offering but our website is where you can find over 18,000 size and colour variants of around 7,000 distinct products, which we believe is a wider selection than you'll find from every single equestrian website elsewhere! New & Exclusive Did you know that over a quarter of the products in the Spring Catalogue are new to Robinsons? That's over 2,000 size and colour variants from nearly 300 styles that you won't have seen in a Robinsons catalogue before! Did you know that nearly one in six products in the Spring Catalogue are exclusive to Robinsons? That's over 1,000 size and colour variants from 200 styles that you won't find anywhere else! In addition to that, there are products like the Sherwood Chester Jodhpurs (as featured on the back page) which are available in three colour choices which are exclusive to Robinsons. Plus, there are even 101 size and colour variants from 19 styles in the Spring Catalogue that are both 'New' and 'Exclusive'! Top Brands Top brands feature even more heavily in our 2013 Spring Catalogue than in 2012. Top-branded items now make up over three quarters of the products in that catalogue, when last year they made up two thirds. More than half the products in the catalogue come from 20 of the most trusted brands in the UK today! Great Prices We've tried hard to offer a selection of products that are priced competitively and that are more affordable than ever. Here's a summary of each of the most popular sections of the catalogue, with a guide to the price point you'll find in around half of the items in that section. We hope you'll agree that our Spring/Summer 2013 selection represents great value for money! Did You Know? Did you that 28% of the items in our Spring Summer 2013 Catalogue are New and 14% are Exclusive? Also, 53% of the items are from 20 of the UK's most trusted equestrian brands.   KEY: 1 block = 1 style of product offered Did you know that 1,839 styles are included in the Robinsons Spring Summer 2013 Catalogue, but around 7,000 styles are offered on the Robinsons website? That means there are nearly three extra products that aren't in the catalogue for every one that is!