Saturday, December 1, 2012

And the winner is......

Thank you to those who left a review of their purchase at Five Star Tack. All names were put together and the winner, who was randomly, is


Erica left a review of our Signature Breastplate and as the winner of our drawing will have her choice of either a Chelsea figure eight bridle, Wembley hunter bridle or Wyndham dressage bridle - all less reins. Erica, please email with your choice and size!

It is very gratifying to learn how happy our customers, and especially their horses, are with their bridles and breastplates. We work every day to design the best quality, top performing bridles and strap goods and are committed to maintaining the highest standards for our customers. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Take A Break From Shopping Large

It's Small Business Saturday. Are you shopping at your local tack shop or do you shop at the Walmarts of the tack world? We have a select group of tack shops that carry Five Star's bridles. Sometimes they even have better pricing than what you'll see on our website. These shops have products that are carefully selected for quality as well as product differentiation from what the large stores have. They also have great service and knowledgeable sales people.

Some of my favorites and where you'll find a good selection of Five Star Tack's bridles are: The Tack Box in Middleburg, VA. They carry both our hunter and eventing style bridles as well as breastplates. Ask for Berk when you go. She's the best! The Tack Shelter in Colts Neck, NJ has many of our bridles. Located in the middle of horse country, they are a well known store and can expertly fit your horse with one of our bridles. They also carry our bridles in their mobile unit. In Pennsylvania you can find both our hunter bridles and figure eight bridles at Bit of Heaven Tack in Pottstown. They have a large selection of tack and apparel along with great service. The Paddock in Connecticut has a good selection our hunter bridles. We don't have many shops out west but Alta Hills Tack in Sandy, Utah exclusively carries Five Star bridles. For a complete list of stores see this list.

While people may complain that their local tack store doesn't have the prices or huge selection that the big box stores have, the better tack stores are more like boutiques. Realizing that you can't always compete with the big stores they often carry products you can't find at the big stores as well as carrying the products their customers want. Plus the smaller shops can give you a level of service not possible online. There is nothing like being greeted by name when you walk into your local store!

It's harder for tack stores to compete on price with the big guys because they are not able to purchase the big volume of an item to get a price advantage. The big stores and manufacturers are all very well funded. In many cases they are either publicly traded companies or owned by private equity firms. We all like to get a good deal but if smaller businesses can't compete with the Walmarts then they will have difficulty surviving. That unique selection you enjoy at your local shop may be gone if that shop has to close. Then your choice will be limited to what the mass producers carry. Even us small online merchants are not immune to the challenges of going against the "big guys".

So get out there and shop small today!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Want To Win A Bridle?

How often do you rely on a product review when deciding to make a purchase? If you're like many of us, feedback on a product can influence whether to purchase or move on. Especially when buying tack, since you can't feel it, a product review either positive or negative can influence your decision. On our end a review helps us to know what we are doing right as well as where we need to improve.

If you have purchased a Five Star bridle, breastplate or one of our other strap goods over the years, you are invited to leave a review - it's easy! Simply go to, locate the product you own and scroll down the page to where it says post a review. Every review posted between today and November 30th will be entered into a drawing for your choice of either a Wembley Hunter Bridle, Wyndham Dressage Bridle or Chelsea figure eight bridle (all less reins). If you own more than one of our products you can get more than one entry into the drawing! Just leave a review for each product.

The winner will be chosen in a random drawing on December 1st. The winner's name will be posted here, as well as on Five Star Tack's facebook page and on With the holiday's coming you could be the winner of a beautiful bridle for your horse or give it to your favorite trainer or a horse crazy family member. It would make a great barn gift too! 

Wembley Hunter Bridle

Good luck!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fair Hill Wrap Up

Fair Hill International was blessed with good weather for the Fall Championships for the CCI** and CCI***. While the traffic was lighter than last year the majority of visitors to Five Star Tack had heard of us, with many already owning one or more of our bridles. The most used word to describe their ownership of Five Star Tack's bridles was "love". It was very gratifying to hear as I endeavor every day to make sure our products are of the highest quality and style.

Customers not familiar with Five Star Tack were impressed with the luxurious feel of the Sedgwick leather used for our bridles.With the decline in the quality of bridle leather due to rising costs, it makes Sedgwick's a stand out.  Here is a video of what goes into making the leather. The amount of hand work that goes into the finished product is something not often found today. It's worth a watch!

From the start of our year at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day to Fair Hill International, it's been a fun year with some ups and downs but mostly ups. To be a part of some of our country's top shows is special and I am thankful for the huge amount of support from my Five Star sistas Wendy, Vicki and Gail! As always it's a pleasure to be able to follow along with the careers of our Five Star sponsored riders as well as hearing all the great things our customers are doing with their horses whether it's bringing along a new OTTB or trying to make the Olympic Team. 

So while it's the end of the competition season, the Holiday season is quickly approaching. Make sure to follow this blog as well as add Five Star Tack to your interest list on Facebook so that you don't miss any news on our Holiday promotions along with new products that will be in stock! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Product Alert!

What the Five Point Breastplate is to Eventing, the Bridge Breastplate is to Show Jumping. I've been wanting to make a bridge breastplate since I first saw them on numerous show jumpers at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. I had put it on the back burner until I saw them again at the London Olympics and decided that the timing was right to design one. They are not widely available in the US except for the very expensive one with the initials on it. Currently if you want to purchase a different brand you have to buy it from an overseas tack company and pay hefty shipping and duty fees.

Like clothing designers re-interpreting what they see on the runways, Five Star Tack will do its own interpretation of this popular European breastplate. A sample has just arrived from which revisions will be made to give it a distinctly Five Star look without the $360 price tag of the one with the initials on it. Like all of our products, it will be made from the best quality Sedgwick leather, beautifully stitched while providing comfort to your horse and security for your saddle.

This is what a bridge breastplate looks like:

My goal is to have it be fully adjustable to fit a wide variety of horses. I'll probably change the width of the straps for added strength, maybe add some elastic along with some padding and make the rings smaller. It will only be available in chocolate with stainless fittings for now. 

The plan is to have this available for Holiday Shopping. I hope it becomes a popular breastplate with our show jumping customers!

If you ever have a suggestion for a product you would like to see Five Star Tack make, send me an email at 


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Five Star Tack's Piccadilly Hunter Bridle

The Piccadilly is the first design I did for Five Star Tack. I wanted to provide an alternative to the many similar looking hunter bridles. When you look at a row of fancy stitch bridles, for the most part they are all very similar in pattern; angular with not much imagination. I wanted to do a more organic pattern and one that when lined up alongside other bridles you would recognize as a Five Star bridle. 

I wish I could say that the design process was very technical but usually it's a doodle on a piece of paper or a finger drawing on a foggy mirror. I have no idea how to do a vector drawing!  After a couple of edits this is what I came up with. 

I thought it was pretty good and I liked it. Unfortunately because of the high stitch count it was hard to find a company to reproduce it. Most wanted to stay with the same pattern they had been using which I thought was boring and really what was the point of starting a new company if I was going to copy what was already being done? Eventually I was able to find a company that was willing to engage in the labor intensive process of stitching my pattern onto the bridles. 

This is how the Piccadilly looked when it first came out:

It has undergone a few revisions such as changing how the noseband hanger is attached to the noseband. Initially the noseband and browband were wider but the bridle sometimes over powered smaller horse's faces so I made it more narrow. Everything else about the bridle is your classic hunter bridle. From the Australian Nut Sedgwick leather to the neat and tidy stainless steel buckles, the Piccadilly can go into the best hunter rings and give you just a boost of style that I think is lacking with other bridles. 

This is the Piccadilly now:

This is one of my favorite pictures!

It has become a very popular bridle for Five Star Tack. I have customers that tell me how they saw someone whose horse was wearing this bridle and they felt a kinship with that person and their horse. I think the Piccadilly bridle is close to achieving cult like status! 

The Piccadilly has a cousin in the Wembley hunter bridle that came out in 2011. The Wembley is the same as the Piccadilly but with an integrated crownpiece. The funny thing is you either love the integrated crown on the hunter bridles or you hate them.  If I had to choose just one of the two to carry I'm not sure which one I'd keep because I like them both. 

Which one would you choose if you could only have one?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Five Star Tack's Chessington Bridle

Every year I try to come up with a few new ideas for bridles to keep Five Star Tack's product line fresh.  I spend a lot of time on the internet sourcing ideas. Sometimes I'll get an idea from a posting on a discussion board, maybe I'll see something that someone in Europe is doing, and I've even gotten ideas from fashion and apparel websites.

Soft is a buzzword in the bridle business right now. Soft padding, soft leather, comfort are words you'll hear people mention when talking about bridles they like. So I decided to design a bridle that encompasses all of that. I also wanted to design a bridle that was a bit simpler, not so much fancy stitching like alot of our other bridles. What I came up with is the Chessington bridle.

The noseband straps where they go across the boniest part of the horse's face have soft padding. There isn't any raising so it's a nice piece to have across the face. It's got a floppy feeling but by no means floppy construction. Like all our other figure eights, it has padding behind the noseband rings which people love. It's not chunky as I didn't want there to be this big visible piece of padding so it provides protection without being noticeable. 

The browband is plain raised but I added just a bit of decoration. The crownpiece has a similar feature. It's a quieter bridle but still with something extra to make it stand out. 

The crownpiece is integrated so there isn't the second strap going over the poll. I did an extra piece of padding, a bumper if you will, that will shape to the horse's ears. I could have done ear cut outs like some other bridles but I didn't want to alter the shape of the crown and the cut outs have to match up with where the horse's ears sit which doesn't always happen. With the Chessington design the crownpiece maintains it's traditional width and the padding will contour to your horse's ears which I'm hoping people like. 

The best thing about this bridle? The leather. I do the touch and feel on every brand of bridle I can get my hands on and I simply haven't found a bridle leather as nice as Sedgwick's. It has just the right combination of heft with softness. It has such a great feel and breaks in so easily. The downside is it's expensive and not always easy to source. While I am always on the look out for something comparable that is less costly to purchase, I haven't found it. I like how this bridle came out. If you think fancy stitching is going to overpower your horse's face this is a good choice.

So the next time you are shopping for a bridle, why not give the Chessington bridle a try?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Fever!

We all have our dreams and for many of us who ride one of those dreams is or was to compete in the Olympics. So that dream didn't come true for me and my dream of going to watch the Olympics in London died when I figured out what the cost was going to be!

None the less, it's time for some fun and to shake off the retail doldrums that come with the summer months! Five Star Tack is putting some of it's most popular bridles on Sale at 30% Off along with 20% Off our Strap Goods. I may even put a few specials on our Facebook page so be sure to check in!

This sale will only go on during the equestrian events so whether your sport is dressage, eventing or show jumping treat yourself and your horse to one of our fabulous bridles or breastplates!

For the complete schedule of the Equestrian Events visit here:

Prior purchases are not eligible for sale pricing.



Monday, April 23, 2012


What was once a thought has turned into reality as I will be making the 11 hour drive with trailer in tow to  Rolex on Wednesday! Here are the details and I hope to see you there!

Location: Stand 139 which is near the shuttle drop off and where the radio broadcast is happening. 

We'll have our new bridles and breastplates along with a few samples that I will put together for the big event. 

Purchase one of our slick Five Star Tack T-Shirts with proceed's benefitting one of the OTTB charities we give to through our "Bridles with Benefits" program. Speaking of Bridles with Benefits, Five Star Tack will be presenting one of our bridles to the highest placing OTTB as part of the Canter USA award! 

Cheer on Five Star rider Doug Payne as he and Running Order compete in their first four star! 

Be sure to stop by with your friends at the end of each day for Happy Hour with complementary beer, wine & soda and whatever else we can bring in! It's our way of saying "thanks" for being a fan, customer and for spreading the word about Five Star Tack. 

Off to put more bridles together!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Murphy's Law

This pretty much sums up how I feel this week (and I can do the hair too).

You know that old saying "When something can go wrong it will and at the worst possible moment"? Well, that's been the last couple of weeks. You see I am still waiting on a large order that I placed back in the middle of January to arrive. That would be the order that a. has about thirty back ordered items in it, and b. is the inventory I am taking to Rolex. Unfortunately in life you can't control everything and this is one to those things I have no control over. 

Despite adding in extra weeks to insure that the order arrived on time it still has wound up in the waste land known as Customs Clearance. Despite many calls to the shipping company and urgent pleas on my part (they must roll their eyes when that crazy woman calls yet again), the best I am able to get is an estimate of when I can expect delivery. What started as the end of March has turned into this Friday (best case), Saturday (not likely) or Monday of next week. If there was something that could go wrong with this order it has between not being completed by the stated time, getting picked up late and labeled for future delivery, lost paperwork, you name it and it's happened. Of course if I wasn't going to Rolex the order would have been here weeks ago. 

Unfortunately "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight" does not apply outside of the U.S. We are so accustomed to being able to get what we want in an instant and it can be hard to understand why the rest of the world does not operate in this manner. We expect good service from the companies that we do business with. I am like anyone else in this regard and it irritates me to not be able to provide the service people expect. It's no fun to have to yet again tell someone that the order they placed back in February is still out of stock especially now that the competition season is in full swing. Although considering the horror stories I've been told about importing products, I should consider myself lucky it hasn't been worse. I hope it doesn't get worse!

If you are waiting for an order I will make sure it ships before I leave for Rolex and I apologize the wait has been so long. 


Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Anniversary Five Star Tack!

I always enjoy going back and looking at photos from when Five Star Tack first started designing bridles. We've come a long way since then! Three years ago this weekend Five Star Tack went "live" and I've learned a lot about running a business since then. I know in another three years I will look back and see how much more I've learned!

They say most new businesses fail within the first year and I am thankful to the unwavering support of my family as well as all of our customers in helping Five Star Tack get this far. We've grown by leaps and bounds from three years ago and one of the most important things I've learned is to stick with my niche and maintain my ideals. While Five Star Tack will never be the Smartpak of bridles or be carried in every tack store like some other brands I think what we do we do very well. While it would be great to have the ad spend that some of these companies have along with the economies of scale, the reality is my hard earned dollars go towards product development and donating to the charities I love.

So to usher in the new product season we have several new products as well as updates of current styles and as many of you know, when the new styles come in the "old" ones are retired and put on sale! Here are the highlights of our 2012 product line:

The new Chessington figure eight bridle and Wyndham patent leather dressage bridle. As seen on Facebook, these two bridles have been widely talked about and I can't wait for them to come in.

Our popular Star flash noseband bridle will now come with a padded comfort crown, similar to the crown style of the Chelsea bridle.

The Ainsley flash noseband bridle will now come with a removable flash noseband instead of the fixed loop it's had in order to give it added versatility. It will also have a slightly wider noseband and brow band.

The Ascot figure eight bridle that is sold in tack stores will now come with round raised and padded figure eight straps and matching rubber reins.

The Chester bridle has undergone another update and will now be round raised and fancy stitched with a wider brow band and noseband with a flash noseband. It will also have an integrated crown piece in place of the plain crown piece it had previously. There are a few full size of the now "old style" left that will be posted on Facebook this weekend.

Our very popular Waverly dressage bridle will now come with your choice of brow band; either with the celtic cross that we've been using or a very pretty raised browband with an inset of swarovski crystals.

The Signature breastplate will now have a padded wither strap, thanks to your suggestions.

Now for the good stuff (you know I like to make you read). To celebrate Five Star Tack's third anniversary and to make way for new stock we will be having a special sale Saturday and Sunday!
This sale is limited to in-stock items only. No back ordering out of stock bridles and the sale does not apply to the new bridles coming in. Bridles sold as "exclusive to tack stores" are not included either. Items that have been updated will be priced at 25% off and current stock (not being updated) will be priced at 15% off. Discount will be shown in the price when you go on PLUS if you are a Facebook fan or "like" our page send me an email at for a coupon for an extra $10 off of your order so tell your friends to like our Facebook page!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome 2012!

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions but you wouldn't think that with all the changes that will be happening here at Five Star Tack! 2010 was all about new experiences, and basically still at stage zero there was only one way to go - up! 2011 was both a year of incredible growth but also the frustration that can sometimes go along with it.  Here are the highlights:

In 2011 more tack stores decided to carry Five Star Tack. It is gratifying to have stores that share my belief that selling the same looking strap goods as every other store does not make for sales. But, there are many more that still insist on selling the same look alike brands. That's okay. I'd rather have a few good customers than risk depleting both human and financial resources in the quest to be bigger. It's okay to be a dinghy boat in an ocean of cruise ships as long as you are going with the current. I am most appreciative of the tack stores that have chosen to carry Five Star and I hope you will check out our store locator and shop the tack store nearest you. 

Our direct business, rallied for a strong finish at year's end. The economy impacted sales the first half of the year. Sales from events we sold at were way down from the prior year, until Fair Hill. I am thankful to the number of people who came up to say how much they loved both their Five Star bridle and what the company is about and it renewed my energy for the business. Needless to say, Fair Hill was huge and the rest of the year as well! There is still a long way to go and as anyone who has developed a new product or retail store knows, it takes many cash infusions in order to get to the point where the cash coming in is greater than the cash going out. 

What is Five Star Tack doing for its customers? First, you will notice a big change with the website as we move to a new shopping cart/hosting platform and payment processor that will greatly allow for customization and an easier ordering process. We will be better able to showcase not only Five Star's products but also our sponsored riders and our customers! Many customers have sent in photos of their horse in its Five Star bridle and it will be great to feature them. If you haven't sent in your photos there is still time as it is looking like February for this feature to make its debut. You will also be able to shop Five Star Tack directly from our facebook page as well as shop from your smart phone. 

Product wise, there are new products in the design process! There is a new crownpiece design that I think will provide the best combination of great comfort and fit. There is a figure eight bridle that, if it works out, will be unlike anything available here in the US. If it goes into production there will be a matching dressage bridle. The popular Signature Breastplate is being updated and will now have a "grab strap". You asked for it and we listened! We are also updating the elastic design so that the width can accommodate the five point breastplate and we are also updating the Ascot figure eight bridle. In addition there will be more girth offerings including the popular anatomic style, but with Five Star's distinctive design. 

One thing that I did not give enough attention to that I am going to put more effort into is the Bridles with Benefits program. We were able to make a small donation to three thoroughbred charities along with bridles donated by customers and a few new Five Star bridles. This program can be so much more but I have to do a better job at promoting it. 

Oh, and look for Five Star Tack at Rolex this year! There are many logistics to be worked out but I am very excited to be going.

As always if you have any suggestions for what we could be doing better please email me at!

Best regards,