Why I just love to buy local
When we were living in the US, I had to order most everything online. Inlcuding riding gear, tack and horse care products. Because our small midwestern town did not have a tack shop. I think the closest one was about a 1.5 hour drive. Another one was a 2 hour drive. Yeah, not something you do on a whim.
And sure, you can easily return stuff in the US but I always found that a hassle, no matter how easy they made it. So sometimes I ended up keeping things that were not as I expected, or did not fit a 100%. Not a huge problem but sometimes a little uncomfortable 😄.
In those 9 years we were there, I had forgotten that nothing beats going to a storefront shop and actually try on things. And most of all, getting advice from a knowledgeable sales person.
What a coincidence!
When we found out our landlord also breeds horses and only lives about 25 minutes away, I was really excited. And when we asked him where we should go if we wanted advice about buying a horse, he immediately volunteered his wife 😉. I checked out their website and they have a very nice horse property and beautiful horses.
It is the ideal backdrop for an equine photoshoot. And it comes with the best models as well!
Horse talk and local insights
And then a few weeks ago, our landlord invited us to visit their horse facility. They breed sport horses, what are the odds! Anyway, we toured their barn and met with the horses. I fell in love a little with one of them, but I'm sure that's another blog post ...
The pastures were beautiful, green and in an amazing rolling landscape. The gorgeous barn is just the right size. No indoor riding hall but the outdoor arena is big and comes with good footing. And in any case, Swiss winters are nowhere as effing freezing as the Michigan ones. And I survived those 😳.
After the tour we had a nice light lunch with bubbles. We talked about all things horses (yes, in German!), about how their daughters are absolutely horse crazy and were very active and successful in the competition scene.
At some point, I mentioned to our landlord's wife that I needed new mini chaps. I tossed away my old ones before moving, I had bought them on sale and they weren't very good. And she recommended a nice store near us: Reitsport Stecken-Pferd .
Breeches, chaps, saddle pads, ...! Oh my!
So the next weekend, I gathered up my husband (because our combined knowledge of German is just sufficient) and off we went.
We looked around a little and after a couple of minutes, we were approached by a sales person. We explained in our best German what I needed and they immediately started pulling chaps from the rack to show me, telling me all about them. I think we understood about 60% and the sales person really tried to accommodate us by using all the English they knew.
Anyway, one pair looked nice so I said I'd like to try those. They gave me breeches and boots to wear, because, they said, that's how I'll wear the chaps and thus that is how I needed to try them on. I even had to sit on a saddle stand to make sure they fit properly! What a delightful difference from buying online! Anyway, when I put them on, they felt utterly great. I actually did not feel them at all, they were that comfortable. And so were the breeches ... . So I ended up buying both chaps and breeches and I refuse to feel guilty about it 😄.
We looked around a while longer, checking out the care products, the blankets, the tack, ... . They had so many beautiful saddle pads! It was a good thing that I don't have a horse yet or I would have left with a lot more than just chaps and breeches. And cookies. Because as a welcome gift, I received a baggie of homemade horse cookies! 💛
They'll definitely see me again!! 😁