Victoria Strongman, Manager of Victoria Saddlery, didn’t even realize how many local suppliers she carried in her shop until she started listing them for this article.
The store has always welcomed products from small local businesses, but walking around the store, even Victoria was impressed with how many Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland entrepreneurs have found their way onto the shelves.
“If a local business owner comes in, I’ll almost always take a few of their products and we’ll see if it takes off,” Victoria says. “We’re all just trying to support each other. It’s important for local businesses to help each other out.”
For horse treats, why not try Victoria-based Dogwood Bling or Kick Cookies, handmade in Langley. G’s Organic Solutions makes equine supplements and treats in Duncan, and Equus Soap Co. is a Langley business that makes dog and horse shampoos and coat conditioners, as well as soaps and balms for humans. Victoria Saddlery also stocks Hillbilly Heaven’s salve and Critter Coat Conditioner Spray, made in the Cowichan Valley, and “Vancouver-based Sweetwater Equestrian makes yummy-smelling saddle soap, leather conditioner and hand cream,” Victoria says.
For a one-of-a-kind rope halter check out FancyPants for the Horse from Nanaimo. Dry Guy Waterproofing can protect your technical clothing and horse fabrics, and pick up a jar of Rocky Mountain Riders Rescue Rub to help the equestrian in your life recover from injuries and get back in the saddle.
Keeping up with the latest technology
Mark your calendars for Victoria Saddlery’s semi-annual sale Jan. 17 to 19! It’s a great chance to catch up with current fashion and technology.
“Every year someone comes up with a new tech fabric that improves comfort and safety,” Strongman says. “If you look at the clothes we carried three years ago compared to now, they’ve totally changed.”
Breeches now have far less cotton so the colour doesn’t fade as easily and fabric doesn’t lose its shape. Knee patch and Full Seat Breeches are now made with silicone instead of suede. New bridles have anatomic head stalls to make more room for your horse’s ears and take pressure off of nerves.
“They’re a different shape so they don’t rub against nerves.”
Show jackets are now shorter, and fabrics are more technical. Helmets are updated every year too, so there’s always something new to see.
Maybe you’re searching for most modern safety gear, or maybe you just want some Samshield bling with Swarovski crystals. Either way, stop by the store on Keating Cross Rd to find great deals on treats and products for you and your horse.