2021 was a big year in terms of equestrian equipment and apparel. We saw a lot of major changes and demands in both what riders are wearing in the show ring as well as shifts in the dynamics of new training equipment. Let’s take a peek at what I've seen as the biggest changes for the year.
Safety Air Vests really hit their stride this year, I've seen a huge shift in riders wearing them. Not just jumpers either, I've seen this premium piece of safety equipment become more commonplace with both hunter riders and junior equitation riders as well. After watching hunter and eq rounds all season, as well as watching the big eq finals. It's clear the judges are completely on board with riders wearing safety vests over their show attire.
We now carry several different brands, Hit-Air Sport, Helite, Free Jump, and coming in late Spring of 2022, Samshield will have one of their own. (New product alert!! Samshield will be offering one in classic black and NAVY!!!)
Essex Classics went straight to the task of creating a show shirt that would pair well with not only the air vest but also the mesh show coats that have become so popular over the last few years. The Essex Classics Dusk Show Shirt is black or navy talent yarn with beautiful satin contrast trims on the interior of the collar and cuffs creating a beautiful silhouette in and out of the show ring.
The benefits of using an Essex Classics Dusk show shirt are instantly clear when you layer your show coat and air vest over top. The dark shirt creates a seamless look no matter what style vest you choose, as for the mesh show coats, you can no longer see even a hint of contrast with the dark shirt under the mesh show coat. I call this a win for riders everywhere!
With the increased demand of riders in airbag vests, we had a lot of riders ask for a show coat that they could zip into the air vest for a seamless look. Late in 2021, we added a line of air vest-friendly show jackets. The expertly tailored show coats by Oscar and Gabrielle drape beautifully and easily accommodate your air vest simply by zipping it in. A subtle notch at your hip lets the vest lanyard free to attach easily to your saddle. We expect to see more show coats accommodating air vests in 2022. (New product alert - Rumor has it RJ Classics will have an airbag accommodating jacket released soon!)
Breeches are always a top seller and this year we saw a big move with our competitive riders at the upper levels. We saw many riders move to European tailored breeches like Samshield, Animo, Ego 7, and Equiline. The Equiline Ash was the runaway favorite for European brands. They are my top pick as well, they look and feel fabulous to wear. For American brands Tailored Sportsman takes the lead with their sock bottom breeches, but the Ariat Tri-Factor is quickly becoming a go-to rider favorite.
The top pick for headgear in 2021 will come as no surprise. The Samshield Miss Shield offers modern styling in a classic design with all of the perks competitive riders demand. Face shielding to protect your face from the sun while you ride, easy to use and convenient helmet liner replacement, and plenty of venting for airflow on those scorching hot summer days. It should be noted that Kask Star Lady Hunter proved to be another popular style in 2021, offering many of the same benefits found in the Miss Shield.
This past year we have seen some riders favor riding in tall boots every day over paddock boots and half chaps. This is my go-to riding style, although your tall boots do see a bit more wear, I prefer a tall boot over a half chap. The Tucci line of tall boots along with their sister brand Ego 7 was hands down, the top pick among riders for us. There are also some subtle signs that full chaps are coming back into trend (and we're 100% here for it!).
Moving on to the tack scene, Flex-on Stirrup Irons have been popular with jumpers for a while now. It's time for the hunters to enjoy them too! We saw many riders jumping on board with the classic look of the Hunter and Hunter H Irons from Flex-on. To the point where we had trouble keeping them in stock over the summer! Riders who have made the switch say they love the shock-absorbing design of these irons as well as the angled wider footbed with the ultra foot grip! I'm a bit hesitant to give up my MDC irons but, I see trying the Hunter H in my near future!
Horse boots are always popular with all disciplines. The Arma Bell Boots have been our top pick for the last 2 years. The rainbow of colors and the budget-friendly price point make this bell boot a winner for those of us with horses that pull shoes or go through bell boots like candy.
For leg protection, the trend for Equifit boots really picked up steam. These boots are top quality and well made. Riders love the way these boots fit their horses and the durable long-wearing design.
Jumpers have really enjoyed our selection of European bits this year from companies like Beris, Trust, and Poponcini. Hunter riders are still enjoying the functionality of the teardrop snaffle bits. We've also seen an increase in the popularity of the Pessoa-designed Magic System Pelham bits from Metalab with Big Eq riders.
Farm House Tack has loved all the ups and downs of our year! We couldn't do what we do without riders like you. Comment some of your favorite buys and best moments from the year down below. Thank you from all of the family and Farm House Tack.
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