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!