During the month of February, we are running a competition to win a pair of Agaso Breeches when you try a pair on in store. Agaso is a small company based locally in the South East who produce stylish and comfortable breeches, which we all love.
To get to know the lady behind the local brand, we have interviewed her so you can get to know her too. So, here is the interview with Brenda Smith, the face behind the brand at Agaso:
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Kent and now live in East Sussex and have been working in the equine industry for over 40 years. I have the BHSII (British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor) award, a BSc Hons in Equine Sports Coaching and PGCE which has allowed me to freelance coach riders at all levels and lecture up to degree level.
Biomechanics of the horse and rider has always been one of my main focuses, which has allowed me to work to improve the way the horse and rider work in synergy developing the muscles that aid the performance of the horse.
I had the opportunity to research under the guidance of Prof Hilary Clayton at Michigan State University in 2007 and 2013. I have researched various aspects of the biomechanics of the horse and rider, including straightness of the rider using a saddle pressure mat and rein contact using rein gauge sensors. This work culminated in a published research paper.
My husband and I started Agaso in 2016 and starting trading in August 2018. We spent two years on developing the brand and a strategy for the company before launching, to ensure that it was exactly how we wanted.
Time was spent in India, where the breeches are manufactured, to ensure that the breeches were made ethically and supported our brand.
What is your earliest equestrian memory?
Apart from the donkeys on the beach when I was a child, my earliest memories with horses started when I moved to a village in Kent when I was 8 years old. There was a field full of horses behind my house and I found the person who was looking after them. I started to help her with the horses, I got to ride some of them and this person is still one of my best friends now!
What was your motivation behind desigining the brand?
From my experience in coaching and lecturing, I saw the need for a material that was more akin to that worn by athletes in other sports. It seemed that riders had become accepting of uncomfortable and inappropriate materials at an affordable price and nothing was being done to provide athlete level wear to riders.
I wanted to provide comfortable breeches creating better mobility for the rider – treating the riders as athletes in their own right.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I love researching the needs of the market and then developing a product that will help solve some of the key problem’s riders face day to day. Seeing an idea evolve into the finished product ready for market, as we have done with the Agaso breeches, has been fantastic too.
I have also met some really interesting people within the equine industry and that is definitely one of my favourite parts of my job.
Do you have a horse of your own? If so, tell us a little about them.
Yes, I do! She is a 15-year-old, 16hh chestnut Hanoverian, who I have had since she was just 6 months old. She lost many years of work due to illness (which is now resolved) and didn’t really start any work until she was 11 years old. I am now hoping that we can start to compete as she is now a strong and well-muscled horse.
How big is the team at Agaso?
The team at Agaso is just myself and my husband, Stuart.
We have, however, surrounded ourselves with people who support us. An example of this is our marketing expert who helped create our brand and continues to support us, not forgetting our social media help which is done as a favour to us too.
What is your favourite quote to live by?
“Always treat others as you would wish to be treated”
Our tag lines for Agaso are:
“Ride wild and Free”
“For the Wild Ones”
What was it that sparked your interest in horses?
I guess it’s just the wonderful nature of the horse. I have always loved all horses and have no discrimination of breed or type – I just love them all!
What are your plans for Agaso?
Our next goal is to develop the brand into a well-respected name in the equine industry, to really help create better mobility for riders through using our breeches.
Is there anything you would have done differently up to this point with starting Agaso?
Not really – we are happy so far!! I think only to have a little more money to help with development going forward would be brilliant.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
We have our new Competition breeches coming in the late Spring/early Summer, which will go a long way to helping the rider as an athlete!
We have received great reviews from customers, who are finding the breeches very comfortable for running in, as well as riding, which is a testament to the quality of the material they are made from.