I grew up as a carefree, horse-loving little girl with off-the-rack riding clothes and tack. I had never really experienced custom riding supplies – I had never really experienced the finer end up riding, such as A-rated shows or horses worth more than $7,000 or so. As I’ve grown up and graduated from an equestrian college that taught me just how many options I had when it comes to my supplies. Beautiful textiles customized to my tastes with my name or initials are now options I’m strongly considering.

In considering my options, I spoke to Katrina from The Clothes Horse, which makes beautiful items, all custom. The Clothes Horse creates blankets, sheets, scrims, coolers, covers, and curtains for your tack room, all from scratch. I did some investigating, and Katrina helped clear up some of the questions and misconceptions I, and I’m guessing others, have about customization.

Why Not?

Why do people spend money on nice supplies, but decide not to customize it. “Instant gratification,” Katrina says. “Making items from scratch takes time. Sometimes a customer is in a situation where they have a need for something, such as a stable sheet or blanket that is instant – they need it now. Custom simply cannot happen ‘now.’ However, I tell my customers that the wait, which has become markedly shorter in recent years, is so worth it. The result is that you have something special that is beautifully hand crafted, and will be something you are still using many years from now.” That alone seems like a pretty great reason to spend the extra time or money, whichever is troubling you, to customize your product.

“Another reason is that some people are overwhelmed by the idea of making all those choices – they worry that they will make a mistake and things won’t fit or won’t be pretty. However, we have many years of experience patiently guiding the customer through the process so that the end result meets or exceeds their expectations. We also stand behind all our work, and if something is not right, we will continue to work with a customer until all is well. A benefit to working with The Clothes Horse is that you are working with the person who will be making your blankets, trunk covers, or tack room curtains. There is no ‘middle man.’ This gives you the opportunity to truly fine tune your order with less margin for error.”

Just How Custom is ‘Custom’?

What can I have monogrammed onto my supplies? How much control do I have? Katrina proved that I really do ‘run the show’ when I’m customizing. “Recently, it has become fashionable to add graphics, such as horizontal stripes along the side of scrims and wools, and they can be made in all kinds of colors, widths, and can be placed in different locations. Sometimes embroidery is then added either above, below, or on these stripes. Also, it is fun to play with embroidery locations. Traditional placements on the barrel, hip, and back corner are still the most popular, but we are seeing more and more names or logos added to the shoulder area. Another fun place is along the neckline. Embroidery placement does not change the price, so it can be a fun place to make your sheet more personalized without spending any more money than if you placed it in a traditional place.” That was comforting to me, because I usually have to watch my budget when I’m shopping for my horse.

“We can also embroider almost anything! Names and initials remain the most popular, but we have done things like My Pretty Pony, Hello Kitty, and numerous college logos. Of course, any company or barn logo is also possible. Custom embroidery designs cost a bit more, but nothing is more distinctive, and more clearly says, ‘This isn’t off the rack!’” Perfect, that’s just what I’m looking for!

My Name or My Horse’s Name?

Normally, I label everything with my name. I’m afraid I’ll lose anything I don’t! However, I LOVE my horse and I want him to have his own collection, too. What do most people monogram with? “Rider, by a lot!  I think since horse people are often a bit superstitious, many are leery of putting the horse’s name on their horse clothes. For some reason, pony names are more often embroidered than horse names. I cannot say that I have personally seen anything bad happen as a result of having a horse’s name on his clothes, but we do often joke that if you have one for sale and it isn’t getting sold, just give up, decide to keep him, and buy him a whole wardrobe of horse blankets with his name on them, in your colors. As soon as they arrive and are paid for, it seems the horse gets sold!” Looks like I’m monogramming my name on everything!

I can’t think of anything much more exciting than a custom sheet, blanket, or cooler arriving in the mail. That’s a typical thing for a horse girl to say, but I bet you know the feeling!

For more information on customizing your materials, visit theclotheshorse.com.