Italian and French equestrian brands have long been ahead of the rest when it comes to tailoring and precision craftsmanship. But the Swedish are unbeatable when it comes to making functional gear that lasts.
While custom made Italian leather boots and tailored wool blazers look and feel amazing, when the temperatures drop, or the rain clouds roll in – equestrians need straight-shooting, no-frills gear that can ride out what’s being thrown at them. And nobody understands the trials and tribulations of working and riding in rough weather like the Swedes do.
The Swedes love horses, and 500,000 of their citizens ride regularly. An additional half a million people have regular contact with horses, and in terms of the number of equines, Sweden is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe.
However, the weather conditions in Scandinavia are far less forgiving than those found in the other parts of the world. In some parts of Italy, riders never even experience snow, whereas in the Sweden temperatures can hover under freezing for six months of the year.
The Swedes don’t let the weather ruin their fun though. The old maxim “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,” actually originated in Scandinavia. And that motto is reflected in the gear they produce, which enables riders to do what they love all year round in some of the most extreme environments in the world.
Thanks to high-tech, functional materials and minimalist designs, Swedish gear is appealing even to those who have nothing to do with horses. What you see is what you get, and we like what we see.
We’ve rounded up seven of our favorite brands below.
Hööks Hästsport is the biggest company in Scandinavia within the equestrian sports sector. Founded in 1931 in Borås, smart construction and quality are at the heart of the brand’s aesthetic. Hööks Hästsport mixes contemporary Scandinavian design with nordic practicality to equip riders with clothing that is rugged enough to endure the elements but stylish enough to wear out afterwards.
Stierna was founded by Helena Strömbäck in 2015. Strömbäck had the vision of creating a line of high-fashion equestrian gear that lasted season after season. The collections are simple and timeless in design, so that each item is an investment.The brand is well known throughout Scandinavia for it’s functional pieces, which are used by professionals such as veterinarians and riding schools, as well as the mounted police in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Founded in 1867, what began as a glove factory has expanded into one of Swedens’ most popular equestrian brands.The company specializes in seasonless staples, technical outerwear and insulating base layers that are as durable as they are timeless.
Uhip is a Swedish brand that concentrates on creating warm, comfortable performance-wear, adapted for equestrian sports. The brand gained widespread recognition in 2011 when they launched an innovative garment for riding that covered the legs and saddle area ‘the riding skirt’. In parallel, they released a special riding coat with patented cuffs that could fold down to warm up frozen riding fingers. The brands motto is to create only products are highly functional – and they sell everything from merino wool base layers through to compression socks and waterproof trousers that actually feel comfortable to ride in. All the coats have hoods that are big enough to pull over your helmet in bad weather and two-way zippers at the front and back for comfort while in the saddle or mounting. The brand is committed to sustainable manufacturing principles, and garments are produced using upcycled materials and eco-friendly fabrics.
Mountain Horse founder Lars Sjöswärd created the world’s first winter riding boots in 1988 because he couldn’t bear to see his eight-year-old daughter suffer from frozen toes anymore. While making reliable boots for equestrians was the original focus of the company, now their product range has expanded to include an enormous range of jackets, trousers and accessories for demanding riders. Mountain Horse has become one of the best known and largest Scandinavian horse and rider labels – and rightfully so too.
By twisting contemporary tailoring with weather-ready textiles and modern technology, PS of Sweden makes products for horse and rider unlike anything else on the market.Karin Bjärle, founder and owner of the PS of Sweden believes in technology and mutual respect as a necessary foundation for a successful work environment. Bjärle is best known for inventing the first anatomical bridle in 2012. Since then, her company has developed over 30 different bridle designs and grown its equestrian product catalogue at an impressive speed.
Equestrian Stockholm was founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Johanna Ingelsson, who was inspired to create an eco-conscious equestrian brand with a focus on sustainability and women’s rights. The brand follows a ‘no feathers, no fur’ modus operandi, and most garments produced are filled with 100% recycled materials instead. Equally at home lunching in the city as riding rough, what the brand lacks in tradition, it makes up in style. And it’s social-media friendly collections have made the brand a firm favourite among equestrian influencers too.