Product Reviews: Spotlight on AETA February 03 2014, 0 Comments
I know that AETA isn't a product, but it is a great trade show where I got to see/feel/experience a lot of great products firsthand, so rather than focus on just one brand, I have a few to feature this week. For those of you that don't know, AETA is the American Equine Trade Association and their January trade show is where hundreds of brands come together to meet with buyers who may be interested in carrying their products. Despite a snowy Saturday, the 2014 show didn't disappoint!
First, a lot of us have heard of Epona products. They make great grooming tools like the flower shedder (which I have and love) and recently came out with a few new items. I got to try their Ulta Mitt grooming mitt and Jewel Tool Groomer curry and I really liked both. The grooming mitt is great for removing dust and adding a shine to your horse's coat, and I found that mine spends more time in the house than the barn as my cats absolutely love it too. I may have to get a second one so that the cat's don't have to give it up. Then there is the jewel curry. Not only does it look nicer than a regular black rubber curry, it's softer yet firm to remove dirt while acting like a bit of a massager to your horse. And the part I like about it best is that it is contoured for your hand too, so it fits nicely in your palm without your hand cramping or getting tired with a flat back curry (I hate that!). It's already replaced my traditional curry and my horses are all much happier.
After visiting with Epona, I had a chance to talk to the owner of Majik Equipe, maker of the all new Boyd Martin Boots. SMB, step aside for BMB! I've been riding my horse in my old Veredus anatomic gel boots - the original ones that are gel and cork and conform as the horse's legs warm up and I love them. However they aren't ventilated and while I bought a few pairs so the pair I'm using now only has several rides and shows on them, there is definitely better technology out there and I'm due for an upgrade. What impressed me most about the Majik Equipe Boyd Martin Boots line was that all of the boots were incredibly flexible, lightweight, and didn't hold water yet also extremely durable and strong, offering some of the most advanced protection for the horse's legs that you can find on the market today. They had a few deconstructed boots so that you could see and feel all the layers and how they worked and get a hands on look at how the technology kept your horse's legs cool and protected while allowing the flexibility for range of motion.
The cross country boots come in black and white with matching overreach boots, and are available to order now. However, that's not even what I was most excited for. On the site you can see their full line of boots, but their newest product combines the air cushioned strike pad with the cross country boot lining technology for a boot that is out of this world. I was fortunate enough to get my hand on a set and I am even more impressed with these than I am with the cross country boots. They have a semi-rigid outer shell similar to the Pessoa Veredus carbon fiber models, but the strike pad is filled with air so that it more evenly distributes the shock with basically no impact on the horse's legs. The lining has perforated holes to allow ventilation, and they are still able to move with your horse so as to offer protection without inhibiting movement.
There aren't any pictures or information on the stadium jumping boots, so I'll take a picture of my set and add them to this post so you can see more of what I am talking about. Next on my shopping list - a set of their XC boots for when I go hunter pacing, fox hunting, and cross country riding!
For the Rider
Now, enough about the horses, what about for the rider? Well, aside from the stunning new FITS line (I'll talk more about that in a separate post since word on the street is they're doing a contest and giving away a free show outfit including their new Zephyr show coat), I got to spend some time with Julien of Samshield helmets. Wow. Wow wow wow. They fit. Properly. Without giving me a big red spot on my forehead that makes me look like Peyton Manning after every blown Super Bowl play, and without the accompanying headache I've just grown to expect from my ancient GPA (not their fault, it's over 8 years old and I'm well overdue for an upgrade). Samshield has been all the rage in Europe and is gaining ground here in the states as well, and now I know why. In addition to incredible fit, the style is stunning, options are completely customizable, and they also recently released matching V-Skin gloves.
I do have to admit it was the first time I've had gloves that properly, completely fit. They make half sizes. They have elastic and super supple leather in all the right places. They have a wonderful texture and feel, and a contact that makes it seem like I'm not wearing gloves at all. I wanted the gloves and helmet so badly, I was tempted to just walk around the conference with them on for the rest of the day - they were THAT comfortable. While they may be a little on the pricey side (they compare to GPA), they fit better, feel better, and in my opinion look better than some of the other high end helmets on the market today. On my shopping list: the Samshield Premium in grey with top leather, and black/grey chrome, and matching gloves in a 7.5 (there's those half sizes coming in handy).
So that's it for now. Have you tried any of the above products, or have brands you'd like to review? We're looking for guest bloggers, and always open to input from you on what you'd like to hear us review next. Just drop us a line at email@example.com and let us know what you think!
Updated to add pictures of the Boyd Martin Boots by Majik Equipe. They are amazing, I just love them so far and can't wait to show in them!