Those of you who have followed our story for a while will know that FR Vincitore is a true ‘passion project’. Laurie saw a problem that she knew needed to be fixed and worked, tested and refined her idea until she had a solution. That problem was that reins needed to be secure for riders to communicate with their horse, but that unbreakable link was problematic when the reins got caught - or the rider was tangled in them. Laurie witnessed a few accidents involving those scenarios, and that sparked our journey.

Today, we’re known and loved by riders for our quick-release reins. Reins that are just as stylish, high quality and grippy as normal reins, but that come apart in a moment if needed. Laurie has worked incredibly hard to get the word out there about what we do, and now it’s time for the next stage of our brand. While our full range of reins, the FR Vincitore Original, Eventer and Libre reins, are all available on our website, we’re proud to share the details of our retailers with you.

Being stocked at a range of different equestrian retailers means that we can reach even more people. And that’s important to us for several reasons! Not just so that we’re able to stay profitable and trading, but so that more people can learn about quick-release reins and add them to their safety kit! Our reins are suitable for training at home in all disciplines and they’re FEI, BE and BS-approved for competition days too. So, without further ado, here are the different retailers who stock our reins:

Charles Owen

Our association with leading British riding helmet brand Charles Owen started when we were the first brand to be part of the Innovation Hub. This is a business accelerator set up by Charles Owen to support people with ideas to improve the safety of horses and riders but need some help to develop it into a product and reach consumers. Now, we’re proud to be stocked on the Charles Owen website alongside their riding hats, jockey skulls and body protectors.

Houghton Country

Houghton Country is a specialist equestrian and country brand with both an online shop and a huge purpose-built store just outside of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Houghton Country stocks a huge range of leading brands and up and coming names, including LeMieux, Ariat and Horseware and… FR Vincitore! They opened their shop in 2016 and it’s become a real destination shop for horse owners around across the north of England and the Scottish borders.

GS Equestrian

GS Equestrian is an online equestrian brand with a website offering hassle-free shopping for a wide range of high-quality clothing, equipment, nutrition and pet supplies. The brand is based in Devon and sells to customers across the UK and around the world, helping our reins reach horse riders in a range of countries.

Craftwear Equestrian

Craftwear Equestrian is an online family saddlery that focuses on excellent customer service and high-quality items for horse owners and riders. Founded by riders who understand how important it is that kit, clothing and tack work well and last a long time, Craftwear Equestrian is the perfect home for our high quality quick-release reins!


Our final retailer - for now! - is Agrihealth, who carry our reins in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Agrihealth is an animal health and equipment supplier, and their website is a one-stop shop for everything from bits and curry combs to riding boots and our quick-release safety reins.

We’re always interested in speaking to new retailers about stocking our reins, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch to learn more about our products and what makes them totally unique!

It’s been an amazing first six months of 2024 here at FR Vincitore, and we can’t believe we’re only halfway through the year! We kicked off our events season early by heading to Spoga Horse with the team from the Charles Owen Innovation Hub, a trip that led to our partnership with This Esme. We also took the huge step of exhibiting under our own brand for the very first time at the National Equine Show in March. What a wonderful decision that turned out to be and it was a joy to meet lots of people face to face for the first time!

Since then, we've been able to share our work with This Esme with the wider world, and it’s been amazing, bringing so many new followers and customers our way. The competition season is just getting into its stride too, so we know that people are on the hunt for kit that will help them stay safe and ride to the very best of their ability. We’re proud to be the only company selling quick-release safety reins, so what better time to recap our collection, share the design differences and help you pick which is best for you.

The FR Vincitore Original Rein

Our very first rein design to be developed, tested and released on sale, the FR Vincitore Original was developed by our founder Laurie as a direct result of seeing riders and horses getting caught in their reins. Whether that was a small girl who became tangled by the neck falling from her pony or seeing horses running loose with their legs caught in their reins and catching their mouths, Laurie knew something had to be done. She was also convinced that the reins needed to look and feel like high quality leather reins while delivering that quick-release safety that was so clearly needed.

The FR Vincitore Original Reins are handmade from slim-profile ,high-quality leather, and we’ve included soft bio-grip technology to offer unrivalled grip in a range of conditions. The slim rein design means you enjoy subtle, sensitive communication with your horse and exceptional comfort in the hand. We were thrilled with the response to our Original Rein design, and so were you, our customers! You can take a closer look at this design here: Some of our customers  mentioned that you’d love some extra grip for those occasions when the weather or your horse makes staying steady and applying the brakes a little more challenging….

The FR Vincitore Eventer Rein

We unveiled our second design, the FR Vincitore Eventer Reins in autumn of 2023, just in time for the wet, wild and chilly weather of winter. As requested by our customers, we kept the slim profile rein design but added rubber grip and rubber stops to add even more grip. The result is a rein that’s perfect for all occasions, giving you the slim profile and feel needed for flatwork and the grip you rely on for jumping, faster work and riding in inclement weather. Just like our Original Reins, they are available in black or Havana brown leather in full, cob and pony length. To make sure you get the right connector for you, make sure you know your weight in kilograms and choose the connector with the weight range that best suits you.

Shop the FR Vincitore Reins here:

The FR Vincitore Libre Rein

When Laurie started exploring another addition to our rein collection, she once again asked for feedback from our customers, followers and fellow riders to see what they wanted us to design. This time around the feedback was largely for rubber reins, so that’s exactly what we’ve delivered! Unveiled in March of this year, the Libre Reins are classic rubber grip reins and come in two thicknesses - 12mm and 16mm - depending on your hand size and preference. You can  choose to specify these with leather loops for extra grip if you like or have just the leather reins with a rubber coating.


We’ve also made sure that our Libre Reins sit at a lower price point than our other designs, starting at just £58.00 a pair. It’s a tough time to be a horse owner and we know that every penny counts, so we hope this is the perfect way to get your hands on safety reins without breaking the budget. Take a closer look at our Libre Reins here:

We recently announced a collaboration with vlogger and influencer Esme Higgs - known as This Esme on You Tube - and in this blog we’re taking you behind the scenes of our partnership! We first met the lovely Esme at Spoga Horse in Germany earlier this year, and we’re thrilled that she’s helping us spread the word about our quick-release safety reins.

If you’re a horse rider in Britain who loves social media, you’ll almost certainly know who Esme is! Esme first started sharing videos documenting her horsey life in 2015 and she’s now one of the biggest influencers in the equestrian world with more than a million followers. She shares a mix of tutorials, horse care videos and vlogs about her horses (Mickey, Joey, Casper and Duke) and her life. Esme works with lots of well-known brands in the equestrian space, is an ambassador for the working horse and donkey charity Brooke and is expanding into the beauty, fashion and fitness sectors.

Growing up on social media

Esme grew up in the spotlight of social media, with her fans witnessing her transformation from a horse-mad young rider to the confident young woman she is today. She first started her YouTube channel because she wanted to film her lessons and competition rounds, but her phone kept running out of storage. YouTube gave her a free place to store and document them, and that led to her first followers. We love it when problem solving and a good dose of initiative come together and lead to exciting things!

Innovating to solve a problem

Those of you who know our back story will be aware that our reins were developed because our founder Laurie saw that there was a real need for reins that release if a rider or horse gets caught in them. A lifelong rider and mum of an aspiring show jumper, she had seen a few incidents where children got tangled in the reins as they fell. There was one particular accident which meant Laurie knew she had to act. A child came off their pony and as she fell, the reins tangled around their neck. Thankfully, between the girl’s mother and Laurie, they managed to catch the pony and release the child with no more than a few burns, but it left everyone very shaken.

Reins that offer safety and style

That moment inspired Laurie to take her quick-release reins from an idea to a real product. Just like Esme, she’d seen a problem and developed a solution. Her design, which was then developed and tested in connection with a team from AMRC Cymru, part of the University of Sheffield, is perfect for riders of all ages and levels. The quick-release connector is incredibly clever, so much so that Laurie has patented it! Our reins are made from high quality leather and are available with a range of grip styles. That means there’s no need to compromise on style or safety - you can absolutely have both.

We’re thrilled that Esme is now part of the FR Vincitore family. We know that her involvement will help raise our profile even further, so that more people of all ages can ride more safely. Plus, we know that Esme will be safe when she’s the saddle, whether she’s creating her videos, riding for fun or out competing. Esme has already created some wonderful videos for us, so make sure you follow her on Instagram  and check out her YouTube to take a look for yourself!

In last month’s blog we mentioned that Laurie was just back from Spoga Horse in Germany and whizzing around preparing for the National Equine Show in Birmingham. It was set to be our very first outing with the new trade stand and an amazing chance to meet customers and other equine business owners in person.

Now that the dust has settled, we’re pleased to report that the show was a huge success! The response to our unique quick-release connector was incredible, and people were so interested to see how it works and see our reins in person. We had so much amazing feedback on the look and feel of the reins too, in particular about the premium quality of the leather and fittings. Huge thanks to everyone who came to visit us and took the time to chat and ask questions. It’s literally a dream come true to be able to take Laurie’s vision from concept to reality and see how much people love the result! And, speaking of end results, we also have some exciting news for riders who love rubber reins and want to benefit from the FR Vincitore difference…

New! The FR Vincitore Libre Reins

We’re over the moon to share a brand-new design with you - the Libre Reins which boast a classic rubber grip. These reins come in two thicknesses - 12mm and 16mm - so you can choose the right grip for your preference and hand size, and you can choose to specify these with leather loops for extra grip if you like! They are British Eventing and British Showjumping legal so you can enjoy security, safety and style when you’re competing this summer, even at affiliated events. Plus, these reins start at just £58.00 so they are very kind on your purse – ideal when horses seem to empty your bank account at every opportunity!

Our new Libre Reins are the ideal choice for those of you who like the supreme grip rubber reins provide and, of course, they have the same quick-release connector as all our reins. That means they work exactly like regular reins - even if your horse sees a stride, throws a bronco-worthy buck or dives for a snack - but will release in a moment if you get tangled in them or they get caught on something. Each connector can be reused up to three times and we sell spare connectors in packs of one or three…

The new FR Vincitore Libre Reins are available in black or Havana brown leather in pony, cob or full size, and you can choose from a chrome or gold coloured quick-release connector. There are three safety connector options to choose from depending on the rider’s weight, so they are suitable for men, women and children. Take a closer look and snap up a pair here:

And just like that, we’re into the second month of 2024! This year is just galloping away with us (in a good way) with so many exciting plans finally coming to fruition. It’s the result of a lot of hard work and dedication, and Laurie could easily use another four (or more) hours in each day to get everything done. As we write this blog, she’s just back from Spoga Horse in Germany, where we were lucky to be featured on the Charles Owen stand as part of their Innovation Hub. Spoga Horse is the leading trade fair for the global equestrian industry, and it gathers the most incredible array of businesses for three days in Cologne to share their latest innovations and products.

It’s safe to say that when Laurie first dreamt up her idea for quick release reins to improve our safety in the saddle, she hoped and dreamt that one day she would be able to share them somewhere like this. But for that dream to come true alongside a brand as well-known and respected as Charles Owen is just the most amazing result. Laurie had a fantastic time and has come away with lots of ideas and even more plans for the future of FR Vincitore. The event was a also a rare chance to meet entrepreneurs and innovators at all sorts of different stages of their journeys and all with a shared passion - horses. So, a big thank you to everyone who came to see our safety reins and had such lovely things to say about them.

Now that Laurie’s made it back to the FRV office and regrouped, it’s time for the next challenge! We’ve got our heads down and are busy planning for a very exciting marker in our journey - the first ever stand-alone FR Vincitore trade stand! The branding looks fantastic, and we’re thrilled to be able to take our reins to events where riders can see them in person. Plus, our first event is less than a month away. We’ll be taking the trade stand to the National Equine Show which is being held at the NEC in Birmingham on the 2nd and 3rd of March.

This show is aimed at the horse-loving public and it’s the perfect place to discover new products for you and your beloved horse. You’ll find us at booth number H44, so if you’re planning to come along then make sure you come and say hello! It’s a wonderful chance to see how we’ve combined top notch safety features with high-quality leather and exceptional craftsmanship.  We’ll be taking our full product range of quick-release safety reins - the original FR Vincitore, our Eventer reins with safety grip panels, and our new Libre reins. The latter have rubber reins which we know lots of you wanted, so we look forward to seeing how they go down! Laurie will be on the stand both days, ready and waiting to show you how they work and answer any questions.

We’ve taken a few moments away from packing and dispatching lots of reins ready for their new owners to write a blog that looks back at 2023. With Christmas just a couple of weeks away and a whole new year peeking tantalizingly around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reflect and review the past 12 months. And what a year it’s been for FR Vincitore! We’ve had a rebrand, joined the Charles Owen Innovation Hub, launched a new design and were featured in our industry bible, Horse & Hound. Pretty amazing, don’t you think? So, without further ado, let’s dive in:

A change of name came first…

We kicked off the year as ‘Free Reins Equestrian’, the brand name picked by our founder Laurie Williams when she founded the company in 2021. But after a couple of years spent growing the brand and finessing our offering, it was time for a change! We unveiled ‘FR Vincitore’ in May and the response was amazing. We took the opportunity to give our website a facelift and polish at the same time and are thrilled with how it looks. Vincitore means ‘winner’ in Italian, and we believe it reflects our commitment to putting horse and rider safety first - we’re the ‘free reins winner’ when it comes to innovation and serving our customers.

…then being the first business in the Charles Owen Innovation Hub!

In August we were finally able to reveal some very exciting news that we’d had to keep under our hats for months while the final details were put in place. FR Vincitore was the first ever business to join the Charles Owen Innovation Hub, an exciting business accelerator which was set up to support people who’ve had amazing ideas to help improve the safety of riders and their horses but need some help to develop it into a product and reach consumers. Whether that help comes in the form of help to take an idea from conception to reality, or testing, manufacturing and quality control or even support developing a marketing and promo strategy, the Innovation Hub is a much-needed addition to the equestrian business landscape and one that we are thrilled to be part of. If you have an idea, you think could boost horse and rider safety, why not apply, and see how they could help you?

A new rein design followed…

As we mention in our rebrand paragraph, we’re totally focused on serving our customers. That’s why our reins combine our unique quick-release connector with gorgeous premium leather. One thing our customers have asked for is a rein design with super-duper extra grip. We want people to be able to use our safety reins for everything from hacking and schooling to show jumping, eventing and team chasing. So, Laurie went back to the drawing board and designed the Eventers Reins. This combines the same quick-release connector with a slim profile rein, handy rein stops and extra grippy rubber coating. They’re proving very popular already, and we’re busy working on yet another new design - watch this space!

…which was featured in Horse & Hound!

You can imagine our delight to open up Horse & Hound and see our gorgeous new Eventers Reins in the ‘new in the ring’ page. Horse & Hound is the biggest magazine in our industry and so to get approval of their team and included in their pages is always a thrill. We’ve also been featured in Rural Life, Equestrian Business, Equestrian Trade News and Your Horse!

We even carried out research with Dr. David Marlin

Our eagle-eyed followers on social media might have spotted us sharing the results of the research we carried out in conjunction with leading equine scientist Dr. David Marlin earlier this year. We wanted to delve into how many riders have experienced their reins getting snagged when they were on the ground and those whose horse or pony had been caught in the reins. The results were so informative and helped us make the case that everyone needs to have safety reins as part of their kit, just like a riding hat, safety stirrups and body protector. Take a closer look here.

All these moments have been so special, and we can’t thank you, our customers and supporters, enough for helping us get this far. Sometimes running a small business can be so all-consuming that it’s tempting to only focus on what’s right in front of us, rather than celebrating the wins. So, an early new year’s resolution is to remember to shout from the rooftops about the good days and take the tough ones with a pinch of salt!


You might be reading this because you spotted our new Eventer Reins in Horse & Hound earlier this month and decided to see what all the fuss was about. Or you might be a committed FR Vincitore customer who loves riding with the peace of mind our safety reins offer. Either way, we thought that for this month’s blog we’d take a closer look at some of the key design features of our safety reins. Let’s kick off with a quick reminder of our design process!

How we designed our safety reins

Our founder Laurie was inspired to design a quick-release rein after seeing riders getting caught in their reins. One particularly nasty incident resulted in a child being dragged with their reins wrapped around their neck, and that image stayed with Laurie the whole time she was brainstorming ideas. The problem she needed to overcome is that the reins need to take a lot of pressure when the rider is in the saddle and not separate - but still come apart in a split-second if there’s an issue. They can’t come apart if the horse and rider jump a fence ‘on the buckle’ and the reins take the strain. They need to stay connected even if the horse puts in a huge buck or dives for a particularly tasty patch of grass! So, Laurie set about finding smart quick release technology that would come apart only when needed.

The quick-release connector

The quick-release connector is the heart of everything we do. It’s what allows our customers to enjoy their favourite equestrian activities, from hacking and lessons  to eventing, show jumping and hunting - knowing that their reins will come apart if they get tangled in them. As we mentioned above, the reins needed to stay put when needed too, and that’s when Laurie was reminded of a ski boot binding. If you’ve never been downhill skiing, here’s a quick explainer.

Your foot goes into a (rather rigid) plastic ski boot, and that then snaps into a binding on your ski when you’re ready to hit the slopes. But a little like your reins, if you take a tumble on the snow, it can be helpful if your ski comes off. Otherwise, there’s a chance the ski will get caught and your knee gets badly wrenched. People can easily rupture tendons and ligaments or even suffer dislocations if they fall, and their skis don’t release when they need to… But what about when a ski racer is flying down the mountain at speeds of 80mph? Surely, they risk their skis pinging off when they’re under pressure during a turn or landing from a jump? Thankfully , that’s not the case! The clever design of the ski binding means they stay put under these normal pressures, but release if the ski racer falls and starts to skid down the hill.

Smart design paired with great aesthetics

That design informed the development of Laurie’s quick release connector, which was then put to the test. Laurie partnered with a team from AMRC Cymru, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre who helped her ensure the connector only released when it’s supposed to. That design, which can be reused up to three times before the connector needs to be replaced, is used in all our safety reins. What changes around it are the rein styles, as we know that different riders want and need different colours, grip styles and profiles in their reins. The original FR Vincitore rein design, which comes in soft black or Havana coloured English leather, has a slim profile rein with a bio grip coating. That makes it an excellent all-round rein that’s perfect for day-to-day use, show jumping and hacking. Our recently launched Eventer Reins are made from supple, strong Italian leather with a soft rubber coating and added hand grips. That additional grip makes them perfect for eventing, team chasing and hunting, or any other riding adventures where that extra grip will come in handy.

If you’re keen to invest in reins that combine style and top-notch safety credentials, why not take a closer look? You can browse our online shop here. We’re busy putting the finishing touches on a new design, so make sure you keep an eye out for that over the coming weeks!

We are over the moon to share our latest product with you all, the FR Vincitore Eventer Reins, and they are the cherry on the cake of an amazing 2023. We’ve had a brilliant year so far, rebranding to become FR Vincitore, working with the legend that is equine scientist Dr. David Marlin on industry research, being part of the new Charles Owen Innovator Hub and now launching a brand new product! We wanted to share the product development process that our founder Laurie goes through when she’s more working on new reins for our customers, and tell you all about the new Eventers Rein, just in case could make it onto your Christmas list this year…

The FR Vincitore product development process

When Laurie decided she needed to do something about riders getting tangled in reins by inventing a safety rein, she didn’t go it alone. Laurie knew how important it would be that the reins worked completely as normal except when something or someone was caught in them. That meant 99.9% of the time they would need to allow a rider to take a firm contact, steer, ride over drop fences, hold a bucking or strong horse and even stop a pony diving for grass with a young rider! But, if there was ever a need, they had to be able to come apart in a split second to release a tangled rider or horse. That’s why Laurie partnered with a team of product testing experts at AMRC Cymru, which is part of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. Laurie took her prototype connector and developed it with the experts there, who extensively tested the reins at a state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facility. The result is a patented FR Vincitore quick release connector that’s incredibly effective and very subtle.

Taking a patented idea to market

Laurie’s original focus was on creating reins for children and teenagers - after all, the whole project was a response to seeing children getting caught in reins! But the idea proved popular with riders of all ages, so she quickly developed different versions of the connector for people in three weight categories. These have been a great success, with riders loving the top quality reins crafted from English leather with a choice of connector weights and colours. So why did Laurie decide to develop even more reins? Well, as you’d expect from someone who is so focused on serving riders and keeping them safe, Laurie was listening to you - our customers.

You loved the quick release connector that keeps you safe if you take a tumble or your horse gets caught, but some of you wanted something more… Our riders who enjoy galloping and jumping across country as part of eventing, hunting, team chasing - or even for regular fun rides and hunter trials - wanted something a little more grippy. A sweaty horse, wet and muddy day or just tired arms can all leave you needing a rein with extra grip to help you keep a good contact. So, Laurie went back to the drawing board and decided to develop reins that give riders extra grip compared to the original FR Vincitore reins.

A new design with extra grip

Just like she did with the first round of product developments, Laurie ensured that the new Eventers Rein combined the patented quick-release connector with the same top quality manufacturing and materials riders want from their tack. That means that whatever your discipline, you can choose to ride with peace of mind... So, if you want grippy rubber coating and hand holds along the reins to ensure mud, sweat and even pouring rain can’t disrupt your ride, make sure you check out the new Eventers Rein. They’re available in pony, cob and full size in black or Havana brown leather and choose from a chrome or gold connector.

We’re thrilled to have come such a long way in a short time and already have huge plans for 2024 and beyond - make sure you come along for the ride!

A phrase we hear again and again in the world of equestrian sport is that ‘accidents happen’. While the partnership between rider and their horse is a unique and wonderful experience, it also comes with its fair share of risks. Most riders are careful, never setting foot in the stirrup without a helmet on, others add gloves, air jackets or body protectors too. To shed light on some of the lesser-known risks and the importance of safety reins, we teamed up with leading equestrian scientist, Dr. David Marlin, to conduct a comprehensive survey. With 3,286 riders from leisure riders to professionals and everyone in between taking part, the results are not only valuable for our research but also for every rider concerned about safety in the saddle. In this blog, we'll delve deeper into the insights we've gathered and share why safety reins should be an essential part of your riding gear.

Common rider safety choices

Our survey kicked off by asking riders about their choices when it comes to their safety equipment. Here's what we found out:

Now, let's explore some statistics that highlight the necessity of safety equipment, in particular quick-release reins.

Catching reins on an object

Our survey then asked riders about their experiences with the reins getting caught on an object, such as a hook, a tree or a gatepost. Out of the 1,535 respondents who answered this question, 937 of them had experienced a situation where their horse had caught its reins on an object. Even more concerning, for 479 of them, the reins didn't break, which suggests that the force was likely transferred to the horse's mouth or head.

Reins tangling in the horse's legs

Another aspect of our research focused on situations where the reins became entangled with the horse’s legs. Among the 3,249 respondents, a staggering 2,355 riders had experienced this frightening situation at least once, with some reporting up to five incidents. Plus, almost half of these riders (1,046) stated that their reins did not break during these incidents. This puts both the horse and, if they step in to help, the rider at significant risk, increasing the potential for greater injury and harm to the horse's mouth.

Getting tangled in the reins in a fall

Next, we asked the respondents if they had ever been tangled in the reins after a fall. Out of the 135 riders who experienced being tangled in their reins after a fall, some endured this ordeal up to three times. And, nearly half of them found themselves being dragged by their horse or pony, a situation that can quickly turn very dangerous. Furthermore, out of those riders whose horses were entangled in the reins, a staggering 65 reported injuries to their beloved equine companions.

In one of the most startling revelations from our survey, 83% of riders reported that their reins did not break after becoming entangled in them following a fall. This statistic is a clear indication that a lack of safety reins not only places the rider at a higher risk of injury, but also endangers the horse's wellbeing.

How to improve rein safety

Our collaboration with Dr. David Marlin has shed light on the importance of safety equipment, particularly safety reins. These findings underscore the need for riders to invest in gear that can prevent accidents and injuries. Safety reins play a crucial role in ensuring both your safety and your horse's. They are designed to release in the event of a fall or if the reins get hooked on something when you're dismounted. To explore our range of innovative safety reins and learn more about our research, take a look at our online shop.

2023 has been a truly exciting year for us so far, and it just keeps getting better and better! We’ve unveiled a rebrand to become FR Vincitore, been working around the clock on the new Eventer Reins behind the scenes, heading to events whenever we can to cheer on our sponsored riders and, we can now reveal, also being the first ever business invited to join the Charles Owen Innovation Hub!

The Charles Owen Innovation Hub is an exciting business accelerator which has been set up to support people who’ve had amazing ideas to help improve the safety of riders and their horses but need some help to develop it into a product and reach consumers. Some lifesaving ideas may never see the light of day as there’s such a wide range of knowledge needed to launch a product. However genius the idea is, the people behind them, just like our founder Laurie, need help, and Charles Owen is there to provide it. Whether that help comes in the form of developing an idea into something that can become a real-life product, to advice on manufacturing and quality control or support developing a marketing and promo strategy, the Innovation Hub is a much-needed addition to the equestrian business landscape and one that we are thrilled to be part of.

Charles Owen is a legendary riding helmet brand that was founded by Mr. Charles Owen himself over 100 years ago in 1911, and ever since the company has had a laser focus on making equestrian sport safer for everyone taking part in it, whatever their level of ability, Now the trusted choice of leading riders, brand ambassadors and grassroots riders alike, Charles Owen has decided to enable support for everyone who has an idea, however small, that could make equestrian sport safer. With an inhouse team boasting highly experienced designers, engineers, marketers and more, Charles Owen is perfectly placed to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of safety innovators.

Here at FR Vincitore, we had already developed our product and gone through robust testing in conjunction with AMRC Cymru, part of the University of Sheffield, when we partnered with the Charles Owen Innovation Hub. What we needed was support and advice to help more riders and retailers learn about our product. The sales and marketing teams at Charles Owen have been a huge help and been connecting us with more people in the industry. We’re excited to see what comes next!

Our founder Laurie adds: “As an inventor, no matter how good you know your idea is, it can be lonely and expensive trying to make it a reality. I’d seen first-hand what happens when a rider or horse gets caught in the reins, yet it was harder than I ever thought to get people to sit up and take notice of my safety reins. Every day has been a learning curve, and something like the Charles Owen Innovation Hub would have been an enormous help to me when I was starting out. I really do urge people with an idea to get in touch with them - you never know where it might take you!”

The Charles Owen Innovation Hub is now open for applications from all British-based inventors and businesses. If you’ve ever had an idea for a product that you think could help riders stay safer in the saddle or protect horses when they’re doing their job, why not apply?

Accidents are sadly an inevitability for most horse riders - it comes with the territory when you care for and ride a half-tonne flight animaI! Even with the most well-behaved horse and experienced rider there’s the potential for a bad step, slip, spook or bad driver to set the wheels in motion that end up with a fall. That’s why there’s so much innovation and focus on safety kit for riders, to try to ensure that when an accident does occur, the risk of injury is as low as possible. From modern riding helmets and jockey skulls with low-friction layers to reduce the risk of brain injuries to air jackets utilising motorbike technology to protect the spine, we’re safer than ever before in the saddle.


But one obvious area of risk was being ignored, until a rider and horsey mum called Laurie Williams decided to do something about it. Laurie has over 32 years of riding experience and runs her own equestrian business alongside taking her keen showjumping daughter out competing. She kept seeing incidents where riders would become tangled in their reins, and they really worried her. It was sometimes due to a fall, at other times when they were opening or closing a gate while mounted, but always creating a dangerous situation for horse and rider. One incident was the catalyst for Laurie to start investigating rein safety and to find out if she could find a solution herself.

A terrifying accident

Laurie saw a young girl become tangled in her reins after a fall, and they were wrapped around her neck. The conventional reins didn’t break despite the pressure and forces being exerted, putting both the girl in immediate danger and her pony in considerable discomfort. With quick thinking and intervention, Laurie managed to secure the pony while the girl's mother helped free her. The experience left the young girl shaken and with burns around her neck. This worrying event motivated Laurie to find a solution to prevent such accidents from happening in the future.

Designing a safer solution

Motivated by her personal experiences and a passion for rider safety, Laurie began contemplating the design of reins with a quick-release system. Her vision was to create a simple, lightweight solution that could separate the reins in an emergency, allowing riders and horses to be easily freed from dangerous, dangling reins. Of course, the reins needed to stay connected even if the horse and rider jumped a huge drop fence or a pony suddenly dived for grass and snatched at the reins, so there was a lot to work on!

Partnering with experts

To bring her innovative idea to life, Laurie sought the expertise of the product testing team at AMRC Cymru, a part of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. Collaborating with these professionals, Laurie extensively tested her safety rein ideas and developed the design. Eventually, Laurie unveiled the patented FR Vincitore system, an innovative and practical solution that met her vision for safety.

A helpful analogy is to think of the quick-release binding on a ski (bear with us here!). The skier can race downhill at 80mph, take off and land from huge jumps and take corners at crazy angles, and their ski boots will stay firmly in the bindings. But if they fall, and their legs are pulled in dangerous directions and awkward angles that can break limbs and rupture tendons and ligaments, the binding instantly releases. That’s what Laurie has invented for riders - reins that are seriously tough and stay connected when you need them to!

Craftsmanship and quality

As Laurie progressed in her mission to create safer reins, she knew that as well as safety, riders want attractive, high-quality tack. In 2021, she approached an experienced bridle maker renowned for their craftsmanship and use of fine English leather. This collaboration was the finishing touch to the FR Vincitore product line, ensuring both safety and style.

Today, Laurie is on a mission to spread the word about her quick-release safety reins, and that’s led her to collaborate with equine scientist Dr. David Marlin and other industry experts. She’s also completed her BSc in Equine Science to equip herself with the knowledge and expertise needed to further the brand’s aims. By taking this approach, we can continually enhance our products and develop new ones. Make sure you follow us on social media for updates, sponsored rider updates and our latest news! The brand was born out of a genuine desire to make riding safer for both children and adults, and our reins prove riders can prioritise safety without compromising on style.

We’ve recently given our business a huge rebrand to become FR Vincitore, and we are so excited to share it all with our customers both old and new. While a big part of that is telling our story and spreading the word far and wide about our quick release safety reins, we’re also reintroducing our sponsored rider team. Our sponsored riders help to boost awareness of our products by sharing them with their followers, and we are lucky to have a really good bunch on our team! They are both junior and adult riders competing enjoying a range of disciplines, and we’re proud to support several young para equestrians too. Let's introduce you to each of them.

Holly Davies

Holly is a talented show jumper based in Cheshire who competes all over the north of England and further afield. We’re following her and her very promising young horse Forrests Rock n Roll to see what heights that they can reach together. She recently qualified him for the five-year-old finals at Northcote Young Horse Show and we can’t wait to see what she achieves next. Holly runs a busy breeding and training yard along with her partner and fellow show jumping rider Levi Critchlow and it’s becoming an operation to watch.

holly at bolesworth 2022

Flo Norris

We also sponsor another show jumper, the talented Flo Norris! Flo is based between the UK (where she’s at Ben Maher’s HQ) and Belgium, and in 2021 competed for Team GB in the young rider Nations Cup in Cabourg France! We’re proud to support Flo and love following her as she moves up the levels in jumping with her exciting string of horses. Flo’s brother is used to competing with a very different kind of horsepower - he’s British F1 star and McLaren driver Lando Norris.

flo norris

Hayden Hankey

Hayden is a top event rider based just down the road from us here in Cheshire and we’re proud to support him on his competitive journey. Hayden enjoyed a stellar May, the result of lots of hard work over the winter and through the spring, with a trip to Belsay Horse Trials with four horses resulting in a first and third place in the Open Intermediate fourth in the Six-Year-Old class and second place in the Novice! How’s that for a good outing?! We’re excited to see what happens in the second half of Hayden’s season and will bring you plenty of updates.

hayden hankey at belsay 2023

Carmen Edwards

We’re delighted to also sponsor showjumper Carmen Edwards. Carmen is based up here in Cheshire and his career is on an excellent trajectory, winning at 2* and 3* level in 2022 and really building on his successes with a win in the Bramham Classic 1.40cm recently. Carmen also produces horses for sale will his brother and fellow showjumper Will and we love hearing about the successes of partnerships he’s helped to put together.

carmen edwards

Frankie Townsend

We’re proud to support the incredible Frankie Townsend on her horsey journey and love seeing her updates! Frankie is a ten-year-old para rider who has epilepsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, making her day-to-day life far more challenging than it is for the vast majority of her peers. Frankie remains so upbeat and enthusiastic and shares her horsemanship and riding adventures with her ponies Bean, Aurora and Biscuit on Instagram. Make sure you check her out at @frankies_ponies!

frankie townsend

Francesca Lugo

We’re delighted to share that we support eventer and show jumper Francesca Lugo. Francesca took five years away from riding to focus on school and university and is now back and training hard with her stunning flea bitten grey Fils. Her mare Fefe is currently in foal to Olympic gold medal-winning stallion Big Star, so we’re excited to see the foal when he or she appears!  (I couldn’t find masses on what she’s been up to bar schooling etc, but do let me know and I can add in)

francesca lugo

Laura Cocking

Laura is an event rider based in the stunning hills of north Wales and has previously been part of the Great Britain young rider squad! Now a senior Laura is out and about competing on the BE and BS circuit in Wales, the Midlands and the North of England, which certainly keeps her busy! Her exciting string of horses includes the smart German-bred gelding Christoff, gorgeous mare Coirban Miss Sarco and the lovely grey gelding Luxley.

laura cocking

Beau Williams

Beau is our founder Laurie’s daughter and she’s an up and coming young showjumper with two lovely ponies – Emma and KoKo! It was whilst accompanying Beau to show jumping competitions and Pony Club rallies that Laurie first came across the idea of quick release safety reins, having seen children getting tangled in falls. Now Laurie knows that Beau – and lots of other children and adult riders, can enjoy their riding and stay safe thanks to FR Vincitore safety reins. Beau is competing up to 110cm and we love following her progress on her Instagram account, so make sure you take a look!

beau williams

Dylan Flack

Last but by no means least, we also support another incredible young para equestrian, Dylan of @panaero_and_peppers_adventures on Instagram. Dylan has Ewings Sarcoma, a type of cancer that most frequently appears in the bones and soft tissue in the legs. Dylan is an absolute warrior who manages to have a smile on his face regardless of everything he goes through and adores his ponies  Inki, Pepper and the youngster Karuso. We really are in awe of Dylan and his mum Jess and are honoured to be part of his riding story.