I think I speak for many equestrians when I say that I invest in good quality equipment and tack for the comfort of my horses and myself. When we make any investment, we want to protect it as well as we can to make it last for as long as it should. Horses can be notoriously destructive with even the most well-made products, so knowing your favorite brands' warranty and replacement policies can save you hundreds.
Making the Most of your Purchases - Warranties and Guarantees
Who doesn't love a surprise from your horse?
We've all been there - make this present less painful!
When we purchase new tack and equipment, we want to make sure that we get the most value out of our purchase. Did you know that many helmets will have replacement policies or discounts if (or when!) you have a fall and need a new helmet? Or that several blanket brands offer warranties concerning their products and waterproof-ness? Or that if you buy a beautiful saddle, that there is a way to identify your specific saddle in case it ever gets stolen? In order to make use of these wonderful warranties and offers, there are four things you should do after purchasing your products.
- Save your receipts!
- Read all of your paperwork that comes with your product as soon as you bring it home.
- Mail in or go online to complete any registration forms that come with the purchased items.
- Record the serial number of your saddle.
Save Your Receipts!
If there is ever an issue, your receipts are proof that you purchased an item - for both the original store of purchase and the company who made your product. Almost all warranties or guarantees are solely based on the purchase date and require the original receipt - take it from people who know first hand! To make sure that you don’t lose these important receipts, an envelope or a binder can help keep you organized and keep them all in one place.
Read the Paperwork!
If you buy something such as a new blanket or helmet, you should read all of the fine print in the paperwork that comes packaged with the product - don't just throw that booklet in the trash! Some warranties only guarantee manufacturer defects, while others will cover other damages or issues that appear while being used. Many have time limits and restrictions. At the very least, reading the paperwork just means that you’ll become familiar with the brand and know what you can use to your advantage.
If you have a fall from your horse that involves your head and you are worried that your helmet may have been damaged, you MUST bring it in to be evaluated by the store you purchased it from. Helmets are designed to crack and break in order to absorb the impact of the fall, so your skull doesn't take the blow instead! The downside is that the same helmet is no longer safe and cannot protect you from your next fall.
Many helmet brands offer a warranty, registration, or guarantee policy in case you have a fall or head trauma so they can track their products and help replace them more easily. They also study impacted helmets to improve their designs for the future! Helmet companies promote rider safety and hope you buy their helmet again.
Charles Owen offers a discount program to help replace a helmet after a fall. The helmet must have been purchased within the last three years and you must have a receipt or proof of purchase date. If you go to their website, you can complete an accident form, which must be completed before a helmet is replaced by the company. You will receive more of a discount on a helmet during your first year of ownership versus your third year of owing the helmet, but this is a way to help make sure that riders are encouraged to use safe helmets. If you have a fall, fill out the Accident Report form, and bring it with your helmet to the store where you originally purchased the helmet. They will send your helmet to Charles Owen and work with you to get the appropriate discount for you!
Another helmet brand that offers a “Crash Policy” is Samshield. Samshield helmets can be replaced after a fall within a period of 4 years. They offer a 25 percent off discount for a new helmet after a fall. Make sure to bring your helmet back to the store where you purchased it for help to get a new discounted helmet. Expect to wait some time for a decision from the manufacturer. The helmet must be sent to France for analysis.
OneK helmets offer a discount as well within three years of purchasing your helmet. They require you to fill out the Accident Report form on their website and return your helmet with the form. Their website lists their available helmets and the discounted price at which you can receive a helmet for, should you need to replace your OneK after a fall. You will also need to include a copy of your original sales receipt!
Register your Products!
Many products will come with a small registration card. In order to use their guarantee or warranty, depending on the product, you’ll need to send in this card. For Charles Owen helmets, the card only has the identification number for the helmet, while other companies may ask for your mailing address, etc.
Other equestrian brands will offer warranties and guarantees to make sure that customers are happy with their product. Horse blankets can often be registered or covered by warranty if specific steps are taken after purchasing the blanket new. Be aware though, if you have a blanket mended by someone other than the manufacturer, most warranties will no longer apply!
Record your Serial Number!
What if you just bought a beautiful new saddle and it gets stolen? How do you do make sure that it’s identified correctly? High-end saddles often have serial numbers stamped on them in various places - typically under the saddle skirt or flaps. Take a picture of these numbers, and write them on your receipt copy, if you have one. They are a series of numbers or letters unique to that specific saddle, but be careful not to confuse them with the other stamps that indicate seat size or tree width. These numbers generally appear together in a cluster. If it isn't clear which set of numbers is the serial number (sometimes we can't even tell!), just record them all!
When we invest in our horse’s comfort and our safety, we want to make sure that we get the most out of our investments. So be a smart consumer by keeping original sales receipts, and educating yourself on the warranties that your products may have. It will protect your investment and more importantly, keep you safe.