We Are Proud to Announce the Exclusive “DUAL-GROOM” Brush collection from SP RHODES – 6 New Grooming Tools of Exceptional Quality​

We Are Proud to Announce the Exclusive "DUAL-GROOM" Brush collection from SP RHODES - 6 New Grooming Tools of Exceptional Quality

Equestrian sport is very much about tradition and legacy. We do what we do because it has been done a certain way for hundreds of years. Here at SP RHODES, we appreciate that.

However, there comes a time when a job at hand demands more from the tools required to get the job done right. We evolve as horse people but our tools don’t always evolve alongside. Why is that?

This question was the inspiration behind our new SP RHODES (SPR) Dual-Groom Brush Collection. We made a decision 18 months ago to research different shapes, efficiencies, weights and materials in relation to grooming tools. Our hopes were to enhance the overall grooming experience for both horse and rider.

We weren’t interested in creating “just another brush set”. This new idea needed to meet the criteria of both quality and enhanced utility. Prototype after prototype, revision after revision, different shapes, different wood options, different bristle fabrications ensued. Being patient has given us the confidence to say that any SPR brush in our new grooming collection is a “must have”.

Quality is about consistency and we can count on this new line meeting our standards; it’s within our control.

What we are really proud of more than anything is delivering what we consider to be an exceptional brush system that is superior in quality with friendly pricing. As expected, all of our new brushes can be customized with one of our logos, your logo and even text in your font of choice. Purchase custom or blank; either way, you will be investing in new salon quality tools that will improve the overall grooming experience for both you and your horse. 

In our initial meetings, everyone seemed to face the same grooming dilemmas. Below we outline some of these points:

1. Why are face brushes so small and narrow? Why can’t they fit entirely in our hand in a more comfortable way? The job could be done faster if the brush weren’t so tiny; especially when dealing with a horse who isn’t fond of face grooming. At home, we would always end up using full-size polishing brushes rather than standard face brushes. What could we do to improve this experience?

With a standard face brush always feeling too small and a full size polishing brush feeling too big, we needed something that felt “just right”. Our new SPR Dual-Groom Face Brush design fit the bill. Ergonomic, fits perfectly inside your hand, side slots for secure handling, one pointed end, one round end (Dual-Groom design) and the most luxurious natural fiber you will find in a face brush. It also happens to fit in you pocket so also ideal for ringside touch-ups.

The Dual-Groom aspect of the brush design relates to the bristle configuration on the underside of the brush. The bristles follow the contour of the wood block so that one side can be used for precision grooming (eyes, ears) and the other side can be used for general grooming. All three of our foundation brushes in the SPR Dual-Groom Collection feature this design innovation. 

2. Most full-size brushes feel like large bricks. Both ends come to a point. They are heavy. Areas on the horse that require precision grooming (armpits, behind the ears, etc.) benefit from a pointed brush end; we can all agree. What if we had another option in the same brush? What if the opposite end of the dandy brush also featured a rounded end with increased bristle count? Maybe the flank needs a more vigorous groom while the top of the head doesn’t. The idea of a two-in-one brush that works efficiently on all areas of the horse. 

We decided to apply the same theory to the polishing brush, the natural fiber dandy brush and a brush with waterproof bristles. The idea of easy to hold, light in the hand, efficient to use, multi-purpose and high-quality was a winning combination. 

For the dandy brush, sisal fiber was our natural fiber of choice. Derived from the Agave plant, this fiber is perfect for a horse brush. It features antibacterial properties in addition to rot and mildew resistance.

3. We then moved on to the body brush. Most body brushes use goat hair as the primary fiber. There are a couple of things that made us consider an alternative; goat hair tends to shed out of the brush block frequently. What if we used a more sustainable bristle fiber that had inherent benefits far greater than goat hair? Enter wool. Resilient, less shedding, still extremely soft but with a thicker filament allowing for a stronger fiber. Stronger means longer lasting. Wool fibers do an exceptionally great job of distributing oils and won’t leave as many stubborn hairs behind. If you have a horse with a dark coat and have had to brush off the brush hairs, you know what we are referring to. This problem was now also solved. 

The density of our body brush is also luxurious. If you can see the wood block through the hairs of a body brush, you may want to consider a better quality option.

When we say this, we mean waking up and going to the horse show or barn only to find Black Beauty in a stable blanket covered with shavings. Getting the shavings off the horse isn’t an issue; getting the shavings off of a blanket can be; especially wool or fleece. For this reason, we created another brush offering that is also dual-purpose. Our Ring Ready Show Coat & Horse Wear Brush can be used for last minute show coat lint removal at the horse show or for removing shavings and other debris from horse wear. Fleece and wool blankets are notorious for attracting shavings and particulate; hang this brush on the stall and never be frustrated again. Old school riders will never use a synthetic lint brush or a sticky roller brush and it’s for a reason. The short, tight bristles or our show coat brush are ideal for both horse and rider wear. We of course suggest you keep one for your horse and another for yourself. 

We have put a great deal of time into our new brush collection and hope that they bring many hours of productive grooming. As we all know, grooming your horse is part of reinforcing your bond. Doing so by using the right tools is the best way to go about it. 

You can shop for any of our new collection here on this website under “Horse Brushes” in the top menu. 
Happy Trails,

– Elizabeth

How Do You Prepare Your Equestrian Brand For Success?

𝙄𝙩’𝙨 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙖𝙘𝙝…

If you already have an equestrian brand or are looking to establish a new one, here are three quick tips on how to help your brand fly 🐴💫.

1. 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡. 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐚𝐮𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞.
The equestrian world can’t be lumped all together as one target market. Who is your most suitable clientele and what are they seeking? A business can never be “one size fits all” so the best way to grow your business is to focus on a group of customers that will suit you best and get to know them really well.

𝟐. 𝐃𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐞𝐥𝐬𝐞.
Maybe you are really great with young horses, difficult horses or work best with made horses at high-level competition. Perhaps you have a very laid back personality and would be the ideal candidate for a low-key retirement stable. Look within yourself to start being more of yourself and volunteer what makes you unique for the world to utilize for mutual advantage. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. It’s much easier than trying to be what doesn’t come naturally to you. Customers can sniff out lack of authenticity more easily than you think. The closer you get to your personal convictions in how you develop your brand, the more customers you will attract.

𝟑. 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐨𝐭𝐞 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬.
Eat well. Exercise. Surround yourself with positive influences. When you make the decision to devote your life to success, you will notice that you gain momentum. Success attracts more success. When we say, “success”, we don’t mean financial necessarily, we mean “being well” and enjoying your journey towards whatever it is you define as “success”.

Whether you are a mom trying to balance motherhood with running an equestrian business or a young trainer looking to learn the ropes, a commitment to being healthy and developing good self-care habits is essential.

We hope these three tips give you something to think about.

The intense focus, confidence and last minute calculations that go into every stride towards your branding will determine whether or not you are able to reach top flight  ❤️.

Thank you to Erynn L Ballard for being the inspiration behind this post.

Live A Beautifully Branded Equestrian Lifestyle™

Authentically Connect to your Equestrian Brand

Elizabeth Rhodes - Principal at SP RHODES Equestrian Identity (formerly Saucy Piaffe) and Big City

It’s a bustling and balmy Saturday afternoon at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. As I enter the entrance gates and walk past the hunter ring I can’t help but notice the bombardment of signage seeking my attention. Everything from high-end real estate opportunities to private jet sales. Every step I take is another exposure to another company, perhaps selling the same service as the last.

It all blends into a wash of logos and colors and seemingly similar messages. Will I remember any of it when it comes time for me to consider a private jet purchase (insert eye roll) or explore a luxury real estate purchase? Perhaps.

If done correctly, I will recall the resource I need immediately. If done ineffectively, I will turn to my friend Google, only to inquire with one of the top ranking search results or ask a friend for a suggestion.

 

I suppose what I am trying to illustrate here is that in order to stand out in a busy mishmash of equestrian brands, you need to be easily differentiated. What does that mean? It means your equestrian service or product can be similar to that of a competitor but your core values, customer service and final product outcome

s need to say otherwise. What you aim to sell, whether it be a horse, product or serv

ice needs to be different enough to have both an emotional and practical impact (have utility) so your potential equestrian consumers take interest.

To do this, you need to be authentically connected to your equestrian brand. Wholeheartedly and unequivocally being fully invested in your core values, your process and the story behind your brand will help you connect with customers on both an an emotional and practical level. Not “sometimes”, not “part time”; All. The. Time. 

Here are five ways to keep connected to what you do so that you can pass authenticity along to your customers:

1. Know your “Why?”. Your journey towards establishing a strong equestrian brand will be peppered with setbacks, challenges and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Being open to feedback, commitment to process and continual self-improvement are necessary parts of the journey. Try your best to reflect on the “The Why?” of starting your own equestrian venture. If your reason comes from the heart because you have always wanted to pursue this dream then you will have a much easier time seeing it through. “The Why?” is what helps you build core values. Why do you do what you do and how does your passion come through in every customer transaction? Consistency in the process of pushing your core values through every business interaction is an important part of building a strong equestrian brand. Consistently implement your “Why?”; it especially becomes useful when you feel overwhelmed, which is frequently the natural state of every entrepreneur. In fact, if you aren’t reflecting on your “Why” on the daily, it may be time to start asking yourself “Why Not”.

2. Know the job of your brand. Every successful business recognizes there is a job to be done within a certain market. Being creative and identifying what is missing in your target market is what your focus needs to be. Targeting a market that already has a sufficient saturation of goods and services that you are looking to offer can be very difficult unless you are able to differentiate yourself based on doing the job a little (or a lot) differently and of course, better. This can be as simple of having a core value set (see #1) different enough from your competitors that the consumer experience leaves your customers pleasantly surprised. If you are a dressage facility offering full-service care, perhaps you include an additional service that gives the client more value add and comes at minimal cost. Something that is novel, but useful. This can be something as simple as offering a more formal social opportunity once a month; a wine and cheese or an evening out. The added perk of organized social time away from the horses can be all it takes to get people talking about how the morale and environment at your facility is stand-out; an extension of your core values. If you are priced the same as your competitor, or even more,  you may find yourself getting more inquiries because word has gotten out that “it’s a great place to board” – not just because of the care, but because you understand there is more than one job that needs to be done when caring for horses; you also need to care for Their People.

3. Have an acceptance for the fact the air gets thinner as you ascend. As your business grows and you take on more customers, there will be more complex relationships and increased pressures. Those who are best in class quickly realize that you can’t make everyone happy and that is a natural function of leading a business. My mentor always tells me that a diamond is a piece of coal that did well under pressure. Liken this to being an equestrian entrepreneur and it still holds true. The business becomes a living, breathing entity that demands attention. While you may still be in charge, you need to listen to what your business tells you; the driving force of decision making becomes more about paying attention to what the business says rather than what you want the business to do. Sometimes it is your employees that bring this to your attention; sometimes it’s your bottom line; sometimes it’s your customers. Maybe it’s time to expand? Maybe it’s time to scale back? Maybe it’s time to take a huge risk? Sometimes, if you haven’t found the success you thought possible in the first three years, it’s time to revisit your core values and ask yourself if your “Why” was for the right reasons? If not, reassess your direction so that you can “re-calibrate” to “differentiate”. Also try and remember that being receptive to the direction the business tells you to go can step on toes when it’s time to grow. You have to be willing to weather that storm. Being an innovator means you take what equestrian consumers know and make it better; that’s bound to ruffle feathers. In the case of innovation, ruffling feathers means that you are doing a good job. Boats are built to be rocked in the ocean; if you are looking for a steady journey in the world of being an Equipreneur then it’s best to stay on dry land. When your “Why” grows into a toddler and it’s hungry, you have to feed it, even if that means making tough decisions.

4. Know Your Value. The race to the bottom refers to a competitive state where a company attempts to undercut the competitions prices by sacrificing quality standards. Good quality work is well worth the investment because you are supporting fair wages and in many cases, domestically made product and skill that has legacy. Legacy could mean multiple generations of horsemanship behind the brand or many combined years of experience and skill. That is worth something. When a company functions on solid process using properly resourced products and pays their employees properly (so the caliber of work stays consistent), there won’t be many promotions. When there are, jump on! It is unlikely it will happen often. To revisit the dressage facility example, if you have stalls with soft stall flooring, bed with quality bedding, feed well and retain your barn staff because they are paid fairly then you should be confident in maintaining your price point and the right customers will pay for the consistency and assurance that comes with a well-run machine. Resist the race to the bottom; when you function on promotions alone, you are telling people what you are worth and going back up to fair market value will be perceived as inflating prices even though they were fair to start. Being connected to your value is one of the most important aspects of being authentically connected to your brand. When you believe in what you do, you believe in what you charge. This is the main reason why luxury brands like Hermes, Gucci and many others are steadfast with their pricing; they believe in the quality of their brand. The byproduct of knowing your value is a connectedness that transcends the distance between you and your customers; meals taste better when the chef really cares.

5. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The organic growth of your equestrian brand is a natural process. Taking shortcuts will set you back and over time and erode the trust you have built within your consumer community. An authentic connection to what you do means you will respect your brand enough not to artificially inflate Facebook likes, make grand claims without backing up your statements or skip important steps in building a strong foundation (like a business plan). Oversights and shortcuts will have negative impacts in the long run. Don’t rush; it is the process on the way to your success that is the most fun and the journey never ends; because if you are a true Equipreneur, once you reach your initial goals, you will have already set more.

Stay Authentic,

Elizabeth

Elizabeth-Anne Rhodes is an Entrepreneur and the Founder of Saucy Piaffe Inc., now SP RHODES Equestrian Identity, a company specializing in equestrian branding, servicing customers worldwide. Elizabeth takes a special interest in business strategy and equestrian product innovation. She dedicates much of her after hours time to continuing education including Harvard Business School with a focus on sustainable business strategy, scaling ventures and disruptive strategy.