This year Euro-Horse exists 25 years. And that will be celebrated on Saturday 29 April with a great promotion in the webshop, during the Belgium Power Reining in Grathem and in the store in Moordrecht.
In recent years, Euro-Horse has grown into one of the leading westernstores in the Netherlands and Europe. What once started with a minivan and some saddles has grown into a mature company with a shop in Moordrecht (NL), a warehouse in Montferland (NL) and 2 trucks with saddles with which they drive through the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany for saddle fitting consults. In addition, Euro-Horse can often be found at major western competitions in the Netherlands and abroad and they have an extensive webshop.
We look back and look ahead with Evelien and Dominique.
How did you ever started Euro-Horse?
I have my roots in showjumping and dressage. I have ridden many horses, for myself and for others. At one point I came into contact with western riding through a German friend. She had a quarterhorse and invited me for a ride. The way of riding really appealed to me. There was more relaxation in a more natural position. That's how I made the switch to the westernsports. We soon ran into the problem of getting good quality saddles. Westernriding was still in its infancy here in Europe. I wanted to contribute something to develop the westenriding in the Netherlands and became an apprentice at Continental Saddlery in Germany where I learned everything about western saddles, fitting and horse anatomy. In 1998 I invested all my savings in a small stock and minivan and I started selling good quality westernsaddles with a good fit for a fair price. In addition to my four-day employee job, I drove the other 3 days to various stables to measure saddles (by appointment) and Euro-Horse was born!
I started with westernriding around 1998. Before I did some dressage and jumping, but I ran into a cutting and reining at that time. This caught my attention as of its untouched character, the many possibilities and the great manoeuvres. I met Evelien at the stables of Peggy the Kraa where Sanghita, my wife, worked. Not much later, Evelien also sold us our first western saddle. Later I became stablemanager and and when Evelien drove routes in the west of the country, she sometimes stayed there overnight. At one point I asked her about the future of Euro-Horse and what her plans were. A few years later she asked me over for a cup of coffee and a chat about the future and possibilities. I have been working at Euro-Horse since 2014 and as a partner since 2016. I quickly gained Evelien's confidence and thus the free hand to continue building Euro-Horse.
What are you most proud of?
The fact that Euro-Horse has grown into a mature company with the saddle fitting service as the heart of the company and that we matter in westernsports makes me proud. And that we have been expanding our range of products of which, just like with the saddles, we put the comfort of horse and rider first. Of course I am also proud of our fine and professional team, with whom we actually try to help people with their questions as best as possible. We are constantly innovating and growing, so that our customers benefit optimally from our services. This has also proven itself in times when the economic conditions were less, because we are now celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of Euro-Horse
I am quite proud of the quality products that we sell, sometimes even exclusively in Europe. Nowadays also in our store and of course on the road and through our webshop. What I really like is that large stables in Europe are huge Euro-Horse fans and we are present at many of the major shows in Europe. With this we have grown from a relatively small and unknown company to a fairly leading European company, which has also become better known and larger in the Netherlands at the same time. The good cooperation we have within our team is decisive in this.
What does the future of Euro-Horse look like?
We continue to try to support westernriding with well-fitted saddles and all kinds of products in which well-being, quality and innovation are important. We will ensure that we remain the market leader and will do everything we can to grow the sport and to get more people enthusiastic for westernriding.
In the future we will expand Euro-Horse even further and we will continue to develop in all possibilities and try to help our customers as best as possible. We consider quality, well-being and innovation to be important pillars here. This also means upgrading and/or renewing services and products. The work therefore always remains interesting for me.
What does an average workday look like?
Three to four days a week I am “on tour” with the truck to fit saddles in the Netherlands and Germany. I also always have an additional range of western tack with me in the truck. On Tuesdays I am working in the shop in Moordrecht. There we do things like maintenance, such as preparing traded-in saddles for sale, processing and sending orders and discussing with the team whether we still have everything on track. I try to keep two days a week free for myself, but when you have your own company that is not always possible.
My day usually starts with doing some deskwork. Then my day usually consists of saddle fit services, where I visit the customer at the stable, especially in the Netherlands and Belgium. If there are shows, of course I'll be there. These are usually multi-day events. Other things I do are saddle repairs, following trends in sales and thinking about Euro-Horse's strategy. My work is therefore very diversified and both physically and mentally challenging.
What is different now than 25 years ago?
Westernriding has grown. People in equestrian sports, including westernriding, are much more aware of horse welfare. The westernsportss have also become more accessible, people hear or read more about it. You can actually use any horse breed for westernriding. There is more conscious thought about the training of the westernhorse and there is also much more attention to things like the biomechanics of the horse than before.
I agree on that. There is more awareness in westernsport. Twenty-five years ago everything was more basic. The people have acquired more extensive knowledge, which has increased the quality. Also regarding the use of saddles, tack and other products. I also think that the quality of the horses has also increased enormously. Moreover, Euro-Horse has also grown into a mature company in 25 years.
How do you follow trends and developments?
By going to the major fairs in the United States and Germany once or twice a year. Of course for westernriding but also for other things like equine care and stable supplies. In addition, I stay informed of specific developments for example in the field of saddle fitting, but also in things like osteopathy and biomechanics, in order to be able to assess a horse as well as possible and to give appropriate advice during a saddle fitting session. For example, in 2017 I did the course Osteopathic schulte Sattelanpasser bei Welten-Böller. Being able to properly assess the movement of the horse with saddle and rider in relation to the free movement of the horse alone is extremely important. Finally, we are, of course, in close contact with our suppliers about developments and findings of their products.
By maintaining contact with horse professionals and visiting fairs. I follow competitions in America on the live stream and at European shows I always walk around the stables and look around. I ask customers to find out what is going on and what their needs are. We also try to have sporthorses ourselves and we like to ride outside with our (brood)mare. This is the best way to find out what you really need as a horse owner and which products are nice to work with.
On Saturday 29 April 2023 we will celebrate our anniversary. This day you get a €25 discount when you spend €100 or more in our webshop, during the Belgium Power Reining in Grathem (NL) and in our store in Moordrecht. Use the code PARTY25YEAR *
*with a minimum spend of €100,-
*only on the 29th of April 2023