How Horse & Hound tests products
When it comes to buying new stuff for or your horse, whether it’s waterproof breeches or lightweight turnout rugs, the wealth of choice can make it a bit of a minefield. Horse & Hound is proud to be your first port of call when it comes to giving you an insight into how items perform, fit and last – and how well they stand up to the competition. We believe that any product should be easy to use, look good and operate effectively, while also providing value for money and proving strong and robust enough to stand the test of time. These are the criteria our team keep in mind as they put each product through its paces.
The quality of Horse & Hound’s reviews and buyers’ guides is built upon a rigorous and independent testing procedure combined with the knowledge and experience of the testing team. They are a team of real riders and owners, and have a sterling reputation in the industry, known for delivering the key points you want to know in a concise and easy-to-digest way. Manufacturers can’t pay for a good review – we’ll tell you how we see it.
Who tests products for Horse & Hound?
The testing is headed up by our products expert Georgia Guerin. She’s an experienced equestrian writer and horse owner, and has been working on product content for various magazines and websites since 2015.
With such an array of products to test, Georgia calls upon other staff members with a range of experience (plus a couple of independent professionals) to help. As a team they are able to efficiently test everything they can get their hands on and convey the pros and cons of each purchase. The team includes…
Carol Phillips – owns an Irish Sport Horse and has a keen eye for detail
Pippa Roome – eventing editor who has previously competed to what is now CCI2*-L
Becky Murray – based in northern Scotland, Becky has two Irish mares and two adorable Shetlands
Victoria Rea – has reviewed products for a number of equestrian titles and has experience hunting and eventing
Sophie Cheeseman – a keen dressage rider with a young mare who tries a bit of everything
Emily Secrett-Hill – a lifelong horse owner, Emily now considers herself a “happy hacker”
Where are the products tested?
The team test the products on their horses at home. Wherever possible and necessary, we will try items on a range of different horses to ensure we’re happy with our thoughts on fit or performance.
Products are given a “first look” review to begin with – this is our first impression of a piece of kit or clothing based on spending some time with it. We will have had our hands on it and given it a really thorough going over before trying it on ourselves or our horses and using it. The information we can give you after this first look will give you some sense of what it’s like to use, even if it’s only an initial view.
As soon as we’ve given it a more thorough test, we will update the review with a full scoring and additional thoughts – and possibly award it “Horse & Hound Approved” status.
How does Horse & Hound score products?
Horse & Hound scores each product out of 10 across a number of categories, including performance, style, durability, ease of use and value. To ensure consistency, the team uses an adapted version of the dressage scoring system. No product that scores less than 5 will be published.
10 excellent – given when all of product’s requirements are fulfilled to their utmost. These products stand out as looking, feeling and performing better. They have everything a rider/owner looks for, with no significant weakness, at a price that offers value for money.
9 very good – given when all of the requirements of the product are fulfilled, with most of the it being considered as ‘excellent’ but perhaps lacking 100% consistency.
8 good – given when all of the requirements of the product are regarded as ‘good’. These products perform to a high standard, but might fall short against competitors in a particular category.
7 fairly good – given when the basic qualities are clear and correct, even though everything needs a little more of something. These products don’t quite stand up to the competitors in their categories.
6 satisfactory – given when the product is basically correct but lacks in one or more qualities, such as a good fit or durability.
5 sufficient – given if the product achieves the basics of what it sets out to do. These products may do just about do the job but offer a disappointing user experience and may lack modern technology.
What is “Horse & Hound Approved”?
Products that not only pass the test but impress us enough to score top marks after the complete test period, are awarded our “Horse & Hound Approved” recommendation, welcoming them into a very exclusive club. This recommendation allows us to recognise more of the greatest products on the market and will help equestrians choose the best products for themselves and their horses.
Note for manufacturers: if one or more of your products have received the H&H Approved recommendation and you would like to use this logo without the watermark, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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