Why I bought it: Light, comfy, well ventilated. I liked the look of it as well...modern without being "look at me" noticeable.
Price paid: $90 CAD
Verdict: Meh. It looks cheap close up, and on my head feels pretty much the same as their base schooling helmet, just with a nicer chinstrap. That being said, it's flattering on everyone I've seen it on and perfectly acceptable for local shows where I might feel a little underdressed in my (Ovation Protege) schooling helmet. The price point is still very reasonable for what it is.
Why I bought it: I liked the contrasting side panels and the idea that it's pretty versatile - I'd wear it in clinics or events, even the local dressage shows under my coat.
What I paid: $20 CAD (on clearance) Reg price is about $45.
Verdict: Super value for the money! Nice enough tech fabric, flattering on, not see through either! I'm not sure it's light enough for summer, but a great spring/fall shirt. My only caveat: I feel like the sizing runs quite large, and also the sleeves run pretty long - I wish I had ordered a size down/the cut was a little less boxy. But, for $45 it's decent. For $20, this shirt is a definite win.
Why I bought it: ASTM/SEI/BETA certified, flexible size range, great price point.
What I paid: $190 CAD.
Verdict: I like the feel of it, a lot less like an old school boating life jacket than the others I tried! Really adjustable - as a short person I appreciate the adjustable shoulders. My only complaint is that my chest is relatively large compared to my waist and I feel like the rib cage area doesn't adjust quite small enough in the size I needed to order for my chest. Still, no regrets, it fits well enough, is comfortable on, is as flattering as a safety vest can be, and most importantly - it's certified! All that for under $200 delivered to my door. Win.
Why I bought it: Midge is currently uneven in her shoulders. Saddle fitter recommended a corrective pad to keep my saddle stable until she evens out. This pad has removable shims, so I can keep using it as a shock absorbing half pad after it's use as a corrective pad is over. This particular one was one of the few in my price range.
What I paid: $109
The verdict: Great! Love the dark cotton material, love that it's easily washable. I like that the foam has a similar feel to the thinline pads - I'm not a fan of the feel of the really soft squishy pads. We're maybe not the most stylish, but this is good quality and will do the job for a lot less $. Win.
Why I bought them: Needed new field boots, and options were limited with my kid sized feet and adult sized calves. I was disenchanted with the Mountain Horse boots and these came in my size at a similar price point.
What I paid: $289 CAD.
Verdict: Initially, "meh". The fit and quality were alright, but the zippers wouldn't stay up, and the top buttons were awkward. 6 months later, these are my go to boots - they broke in beautifully and are super comfy. The zippers have also magically started staying up, which helps :) Not sure I'd buy these again without comparing more options, but I'm happy enough with them.
Why I bought them: I didn't, but I was going to! Great price point, get generally good reviews.
What I paid: I won them at a show. Normal retail is about $40.
The Verdict: Another "meh". Neoprene is easy to clean, Velcro is fine, looks wise they're fine. They seem a bit flimsy though, and I worry they'd get hot. They sit in my tack box and pony goes naked for now. I'd maybe save my money and spend a little extra for something that feels a little cooler and more substantial protection wise, but that's just me!
Overall: I'd recommend any of these products for someone on a budget. The ones I've said "meh" to, it's only because I wouldn't rule out finding something a lot better for a little more $ if your budget has a some wiggle room or you're able to find quality used stuff. I'm perfectly happy with all the above items for the price point they retail at, the quality on all is totally acceptable and I expect many years of use from each item.