It's surely wonderful that we have so much choice these days.
There's so many brands of horse wear products, many of which are not even stocked at Dressage Performance yet even our customers feel overwhelmed with choice when we offer several different premium European equestrian brands.
It can be hard to choose which color to go for but perhaps the most difficult choice is the brand, especially if you are yet to try and test a saddlecloth out with your saddle and your horse.
Most of our customers have a favorite brand and our most popular brand would be a close tie between Equestrian Stockholm and LeMieux.
LeMieux and Equestrian Stockholm produce quite different designs and styles, they also fit into very different budgets too.
LeMieux is a UK brand and is thought of in the UK as an 'everyday' style that you would use during regular training sessions and for those times when you know you just want a quality pad at a really great price. However, LeMieux introduced a new range of products around two years ago called "Loire". This Loire collection has elevated the everyday into something you can now wear for special occasions too.
The trend throughout equestrian products is glossy and shiny. If you love gloss, Equestrian Stockholm will not fail to disappoint. However, the introduction of LeMieux Loire sees that gloss and shine adorned on an everyday style pad that you can chuck in the washing machine too.
Having said all the above, I know riders who use Equestrian Stockholm dressage and jumping saddlepads as their everyday pads. Even though they're crafted from a glossy shiny material, they're pretty tough and will stand up to everyday use. The satin type outer material doesn't scuff, tear or snag easily and the inner material is wicking, breathable and soft too - I am almost certain I've never heard anyone complaining of Equestrian Stockholm saddlepads rubbing their horses coat.
LeMieux make a much more 'structured' style pad - this means it holds it's shape well and sits up into the gullet of the saddle, with no moving around. They can be combined easily with the LeMieux Sheepskin Half Pads too as the whole LeMieux Loire range now comes with a small D-Ring tab at the front to attach to your saddle.
When first introduced, in some attempt to rival the PS of Sweden saddlepads, Loire had a small panel at the front which housed memory foam. Great for comfort for the horse. Not so great if you want to combine your pad with shims, half pads or sheepskin risers.
LeMieux responded to requests for Loire to have the memory foam pad removed by introducing the D-Ring option. So unlike either Equestrian Stockholm or PS of Sweden, those with close contact saddles or who find pads move around when riding, you'd definitely want to opt for a LeMieux pad as they stay put the most.
PS of Sweden is a relatively new brand to Dressage Performance. Requested by our customers, it was introduced as it sits perfectly alongside Equestrian Stockholm and the other brands that we sell.
The pads are softer, lighter and more of an in between daily use and smart dressed up wear. So we think they sit between Equestrian Stockholm and LeMieux in terms of their style and design.
PS of Sweden pads do not have any fixings at the front, they rely solely on the use of the girth loop to secure. Some have found that this causes the pad to slide but on the whole, the anatomical shape the small pads at the front prevent any shifting around.
The wear-ability and the wash-ability of PS of Sweden is unsurprisingly good. The material is high quality and does not snag, tear or damage easily and even though it's a little cheesy, we just love the embroidered quotes down the spines of the pads!
The Equestrian Stockholm and PS of Sweden pads are much more high-class in their look - the quilting is stunning on both pads and they offer beautiful accessories to match.
LeMieux still offers that very professional look.
Personally, a simple box quilt on the pads leaves us feeling a little uninspired but then again, we're not denying we're a fancy bunch who love bling and glamour!
So to conclude this ramble on the most interesting of topics - premium saddlecloths of course - your choice of pad depends on your style, discipline, how you want to use your saddlecloths and even just what your favorite color is.