As a small business, still considered in its beginning stages, I feel like reputation plays a big roll in establishing a brand. First impressions can make or break you, and word of mouth is a huge aspect of a business's marketing strategy. We all know the equestrian world is a small one. People seem to always know each other, regardless of where they are from, and word travels quickly. Horse people love to talk. Whether it is about their own horses, other people's horses, shows, soundness issues, etc. If it relates to horses, we're talking. The same can be said for equestrian gear, products and tack. We're all looking for the best deal, the coolest new equestrian set, the hottest trend.
When I started Rebel Equestrian, I set out to create a line of equestrian products that were unique, and fairly priced, so that the average rider had a chance to own some beautiful tack and equestrian gear. As we are all very well aware, horse riding can be an extremely expensive sport, and simply just keeping our equine friends comfortable and thriving, without the gear, takes up a fair amount of our income.
The products that Rebel Equestrian offers, are all of that. Above all, they are the highest quality I can source and keep everything in a price point that I feel is fair. I recognize that riding horses isn't a necessity but rather a luxury, but I also know that horses make horse people happy. Nothing else can fulfill that want. So while pretty saddle pads, horse boots and leather halters with crystals and rose gold are by no means a necessary part of our daily lives, I still feel like it's important to offer these products to a wider audience, and let everyone dress their horse in cute horse accessories. It took a lot of time, and effort to find the perfect manufacturers for our products. There were many misses, and samples that simply didn't meet my expectations. I feel extremely fortunate to work with a team of manufacturers that understands my vision and my attention to detail.
When I packaged up a couple of saddle pads for an order, I had no idea that the receiver was an equestrian blogger based in the US. They had purchased the saddle pads as a pre sale, meaning the price was slightly lower than if you buy directly from our inventory. We offer this as a way to cut costs even further, and in return you have to wait the 6-8 weeks for production time. In return, you get the first pick of our new released equestrian sets, at a slightly discounted price.
Rachel from Decidedly Equestrian purchased both the Midnight Peony and Pink Posey Dressage pads. She ordered both saddle pads in an XL, as she has a large Warmblood gelding. I had read her blog previously and I know that she reviews things with pure honesty. Something I really respect. In the age of online shopping, it's hard to get a tangible feel for how a product is going to be. Honest reviews from bloggers really take the guess work out of buying from a brand for the first time. Rachel's review is no different.
. Rachel from Decidedly Equestrian's gelding Jax wearing our Pink Posey Dressage pad. Proof that chestnuts and geldings look absolutely stunning in pink.
We had not spoken prior to her review, and there was no incentive for her to speak one way or another about the saddle pads she received. In fact I had no idea she would review these two newly released saddle pads.
When I got a notification on my business instagram, I opened it up to see a link to the review. I was a bit nervous to be honest. One of my biggest flaws is that I don't take criticism well. Not because I think our brand is perfect and everyone should feel the same, but I hate letting people down, and I hate failing. (Side bar, I'm really working on this! I know failure is part of life... but i really struggle) In my mind, a bad review is negative, non-erasable stamp on our brand. In reality, a bad review is one persons outlook, and can always be used as a learning experience!
When I tell you my mind was blown. I opened up the review and read it in it's entirety. I was honestly almost in tears. It was so nice to hear these words being spoken in such a positive review of our saddle pads. I have been getting feedback of our products since I opened Rebel Equestrian. Most of it is always super positive, but the people telling me these things are friends and family. I always think, they have to be a bit biased, as they are my loved ones.
A perfectly honest review, by someone who has absolutely no ties to me. That just also happened to be an insanely positive, rave review. She gave Rebel Equestrian's new saddle pads 10's across the board. For everything including quality, style, fit, performance and value.
Rachel found Rebel Equestrian through Instagram. Which, really shows the power of social media. Instagram is such an important tool to use, as a small business. Where else can you basically get free advertising, and an entire platform to show off your business's products, services and features? Small business owners: If you aren't taking advantage of social media, you absolutely should be.
When I designed my saddle pads, I had many details in mind that I really believe are paramount in creating a functional saddle pad that is comfortable for the horse, and lasts. First and foremost, before colour, before, material and details, the fit must be correct. That means an anatomical shape, and wither clearance.
It was so nice that Rachel noticed these small details, and appreciated them as well. I know that I am by no means one of the top equestrian brands. Rebel Equestrian is no Lemieux, we're not PS of Sweden, but there is no reason that we can't offer a product with similar quality and design.
Receiving feedback from someone who rides, who likes high quality equestrian gear, and who is well versed in what top equestrian brands offer was extremely rewarding. It gave me peace of mind in knowing Rebel Equestrian is on track with the exact values and mission that we started out with. Rachel recognized our saddle pads for what they are: high quality, created with the horse in mind, and at a fabulous price point. Whats not to love about that?
There are a few excerpts that really stick out to me, as great feedback and really made me feel like people are enjoying the products we are offering.Some of my favourite quotes from her review were as follows:
"The thickness is on par with the nicer pads out there…AND there’s a nice build up of extra foam in the front like some of the Le Mieux and PSOS. For the price…I’m not sure how she’s doing it."
I really loved this excerpt, because it just proves that equestrian gear doesn't have to be expensive to be high quality. We could charge a lot more for our equestrian accessories, but then what? We're completely going against everything we stand for!
My other favourite sentence from the blog post is:
"But the biggest shock of all…seriously my favorite part…these pads actually fit Jax. There’s a very well done wither cut back and it fits super under the saddle and fits the contours of his back better than any other brand I’ve tried. Exceptional pad design…really…I’m really impressed."
Decidedly Equestrian's birds eye view of our saddle pad fit, featuring high wither clearance and a front cut back.
This is literally a direct pat on the back from Rachel as far as I am concerned. If a saddle pad is pretty, and it doesn't fit, it is useless. No one wants a saddle pad that cuts in at the wither. That bunches up under the saddle and moves around. It isn't practical or functional.
To read the review in it's entirety, as well as reviews of other equestrian products, check out Decidedly Equestrian.
Interested in one of our newest floral saddle pads? The restock for the Midnight Peony and Pink Posey saddle pads is currently in production and we should see them arriving to our warehouse by late September or early October. We have all sizes of dressage pads returning as well as jump pads!
We love to hear feedback! Did you love this article? Do you have a review of one of our equestrian products that you'd like us to see? Comment below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
Decidedly Equestrian is in no way compensated by Rebel Equestrian, and all opinions and views on her review are hers, and hers only.