Going to horse shows is fun for so many reasons. One is definitely the opportunity to see what's new in horse products and pick up a few items you may need. Often the top manufacturers are there with reps that can fit you for boots or clothing. They really know what they're doing. I stopped at the Der-Dau booth and was very impressed with their boots and the customer service. Now this is a top of the line product and you're going to pay a handsome price. But, custom, if properly fitted is the best choice and can last a lifetime.
Let's say you aren't in the market for custom right now though and you still need boots or something else that needs to fit just right. Of course you want the best your money can buy. Here's where that outstanding customer service comes in. At the Winter Equestrian Festival [WEF] another booth I stopped at was Kocher Tack. Josey Kocher talked with me about the importance of proper fit and that he feels it's his responsibility to be sure the customer buys the right product for her body. Fashion is one thing but fit is another and if it doesn't fit, it's just not worth it at any price.
I asked Josey about boots and he said that there are a few brands that have a nice variety of sizes that are able to be a great fit for many people without the expense of custom. And, you take them home right away, instead of waiting for weeks. I saw him working with a customer and although a boot fit great in the foot, it was too loose in the ankle. Ok, let's try another size, I know we can do better. At that same time, someone that he'd fitted a few days before showed up to tell him how great the boot was working out and that after only 2 days it was breaking in nicely - a very happy customer.
Apparently the same goes for helmets as it's important to get a helmet that fits the shape of your head. Again, there are some outstanding brands that realize there are many different types of heads out there and they go to the trouble of manufacturing a range, not just the egg shape that is most common. Charles Owens was the company that Kocher mentioned saying 'They try new things, they come to the shows and they care about equestrians.'