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Flugel asked in PetsHorses · 1 decade ago

Sale of Equestrian products in supermarkets?

I am collecting research and opinions on the sale of equestrian products, specifically riding helmets, in supermarkets. I would really appreciate any opinions on this subject. I would particularly like to know your feelings on the following points:

1. Price- They are normally very cheap does this mean you compromise on the safety and reliability or does it encourage more people to take up the sport and open it to those other than the rich?

2.Fitting- supermarkets do not have trained fitters usually. Is this a problem, especially when you consider the dangers of the sport and the recent fatalities?

3. Effect on small businesses- How does the sale of cheap products affect small, local tack shops? Are they losing out or is the sale of equestrian products in supermarkets helping them out by bringing more potential customers?

4. Effect on the sport- It is a fast growing sport- is the sale of cheap products helping this? Is it bringing more people into the sport who may not have been able to do so without cheap products. Is the sport benefiting from this?

Please feel free to make any other points or comments that you have.

Many thanks,

Flugel

8 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    1 - In my experience, the products aren't that much cheaper. However, I think that products made for supermarket shelves cannot possibly be made "by people with horses, for people with horses" as they are with brand names such as Charles Owen, Toggi, Requisite, Dublin and Harry Hall to name a few. As far as quality, most are tested to some standard but I am unaware (and would doubt) that it is to the current standard required by most riding schools.

    2 - Having worked in a riding school for many years, I have seen people come in wearing equipment bought from Tescos etc. The hats are a "one size fits most" with an adjustable dial at the back (like a helmet worn by builders). This, quite frankly, frightens me. Having been saved from severe head injuries on many occasions I cannot stress enough that if only one thing you wear fits - make sure it is your hat!

    3 - Put simply, yes. Established equestrian people, such as myself, know good products when they see them. I would buy a grooming brush or prehaps a bucket from the supermarket, but when it comes to hats, jodhpurs, boots etc. I go to my local tack store. People new to the sport are unaware of the low quality of the products that they buy, and think that tack stores are robbing them blind when infact they are not! Put it this way - your starting horse riding and haven't a clue - are you going to drive to some obscure place and get a hat that some crazy person spends half an hour fitting over your perfectly styled hair, and then pay £40+ for it, or are you just going to pick up one for £20 in Tesco while you're getting your groceries? The answer is simple, unless people are educated that HATS SAVE LIVES!! If asked I am sure they wouldn't compromise on quality and safety but the thing is, they do not know that they are doing it! The mindset is "oh well, Tesco/Asda/Lidl/Aldi sell it so it MUST be safe" - wrong, it isn't.

    4 - I think it can encourage people into the sport, which is good. However, for the reasons mentioned above it is worrying. With so many people taking up riding in substandard equipment, the number of lawsuits against riding schools will surely increase. The riding schools can't win - the customer is either angry at being turned away because of the substandard hat, or is allowed to ride and angered when they injure themselves badly when they fall.

    Just to add, I think the sale of hats and body protectors shouldn't be allowed in supermarkets. I am fine with jodhpurs, grooming equipment, riding boots etc. because no one really gets hurt (except in the pocket due to the false economy) from using these. Body protectors and hats save lives, their quality simply cannot be compromised. I have seen injuries worsened by poor quality or even poorly fitted equipment. A fall in an oversized body protector could result in worse injuries than the same fall with no body protector at all. The bottom line is - everyone falls off but beginners fall more often, and often harder as they are inexperienced of the technique of landing!! The sport is suffering a lot of bad press at the minute with so many event riders being tragically killed, and the same people saying "it should be safer" are the people who are naively buying low grade equipment because they trust the shops that sell it.

    Beginners need all the help they can get when it comes to safety and that is who these poor quality goods are marketed at. There should be a law against safety equipment being sold from any shop other than a specialist one with qualified fitters. Riding with a poorly fitted piece of safety equipment can be just as dangerous as riding without one at all.

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  • Debi
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It's a swings and roundabouts situation.

    If I happen to see horse-related item in a supermarket while I'm shopping you can bet I'm going to go and take a closer look.

    If it's something I need I might buy it or not - depending on what I think of the quality. As far as I'm concerned if I can get it while I'm shopping then it saves me petrol as I don't have to run out to the tack shop.

    On the other hand most horse-items I've seen in shops are actually of a lower quality than I'd like or happen to be stuff I don't want anyway.

    I do like my local tack shop - I can buy just about anything there and if they don't have it in I can order it - I can't do that at Lidl.

    As for the effect on the sport itself, I think it may be of some small help as parents of aspiring riders are often timid when it comes to diving in the fray at an actual "specialist" shop - it makes it all look more frightening too them.

    Availability of cheap horse items in town center stores will mean that a lot of kids will get the Christmas presents they actually want rather than whatever Grandma happened to pick up so that's a good thing too.

    and once these new kids are "in" the sport they will soon find out that the cheap items don't last long or they'll want the same type as their friends so when that time comes they'll drag their bewildered parents in to the tack shop.

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  • 4 years ago

    You know what the solution to this is, don't you? Don't buy horse products from them. Walmart tried this in our rural area. It didn't last long b/c they were carrying crap. That, and everyone knew you could drive a couple of miles in the country and get a custom made leather halter from the nice little Amishman for what you could buy their cheap-o nylon halters. The same thing has happened with a lot of "specialty" items. If there's a fad, they're going to capitalize upon it. Quilting. Scrapbooking. Whatever. While its hot, you'll see several feet or an entire ailse dedicated to little must-haves for a little bit cheaper than the scrapbook shop or the Quilt shop. Problem is, as the fad fades, sales drop, and less an less is offered until they carry little if any of what you need. You can always go back to the specialty shop when that happens...IF it's still there. Lusi...yup. Horrid nylon halters with flimsy clips and snaps, terrible nylon bridles with a gawdawful nasty looking curb bit made of some mystery metal, probably infused with lead or some other toxic metal from a 3rd world country...Combs and brushes, hoof picks. Sawdust horse feed. Yeah, it wasn't pretty. You know, being relatively conservative politically, one wouldn't think I would put much into the whole "sustainable" mantra that has been tossed around for the past few years, but I believe in what makes sense, regardless of which "side" of the political spectrum claims an issue as its own. Do you think the rising fuel and energy costs and such will prove the mega-marketers are not, in fact, "sustainable" and we'll see a return to more small, local merchants? They are notorious for promoting certain specialty items at a loss until they run the little guy out of business, then returning the prices of the items to a comparable level of what they were at the specialty shop...as the margins shrink, it's on a much greater scale for the big guys... From a service perspective alone, how nice would that be!!!

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  • 1 decade ago

    While a free economy is all well and good, I do have a problem with Tesco selling riding gear. My saddler employs three girls who are trained in fitting protective helmets. Those of us who have been riding since day dot know the supreme importance of a riding hat which fits correctly - but hobby riders who go to the local riding school once a week or go pony trekking on holiday possibly don't realise just how exact the fitting has to be. One that is "OK" just won't do; it needs to be perfect, otherwise it is dangerous. Tesco can't feasibly employ and train the same calibre of staff as a dedicated shop. In my eyes, selling an item intended for safety (such as a riding hat) without providing expert advice on use and fit, is negligent.

    Saddlers depend on the sale of hoofpicks and headcollars; they are bread and butter. Every saddler stocks the leatherwork and expensive specialist items - but it is large sales of everday cheap stuff that really keep the till rolling. If we pick up our hoof oil along with cabbage down the supermarket the local shops are quickly going to disappear - the same as the greengrocers did when the giants moved to town. I for one don't want to lose my tack shop!

    I really don't think selling low cost jodhs and dandy brushes in a supermarket is going to bring more people into the equestrian world; I think it is the regular maintenance costs and time required that puts people off, not the purchase of starter items. Cheap sales will help horse owners on a budget, but they will not create more horse owners.

    Interesting question, have a star :)

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1. Depends on what's sold. If you get a helmet from a well established manufacturer for less in a super market - go for it. If it's a helmet from a company nobody knows - be careful. Other stuff like grooming supplies or supplements - I go to W.M. anyways, and my mane and tail detangler is cheaper there then in a tack store, so why not save money?

    2. Same as in 1., if it is a safety related product I want to buy I rather go to a specialist.

    3. I've owned a fishing tackle shop in Germany and had to deal with this issue, but in the end it's your personality and specially the service that keeps your customers coming back. The shop is still open, operated by my ex and pay's still for my health insurance, and we have fishing gear sold in super markets around us too.

    4. It definitely will help the sport, again my example with the detangler - $27.00 in a tack store, $18.00 for the same stuff in the same bottle at the supermarket, means money left for a main brush.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You get what you pay for! Knowledge of what the salesman is selling is priceles! Folks, we better keep supporting our local feed stores and tack shops, where people know the difference between hay and straw. I would never buy a saddle from someone who was at the shoe dept the day before! Buy the video tape.."The high cost of cheap prices!" Geez......

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    thatd be cool. itd be good publicity for the sport too, not enough people understand how hard we work when we ride, they all think its just the horse doin the work.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That sounds like a good idea.

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