All Dressed Up

Sunny is lame…again, so, since my horse doctoring knowledge is slim to none I did what any good lessee should do: I informed the owner and sought an opinion on immediate care from the barn manager. Nobody seemed concerned except me so I guess I’ll just keep an eye on him and at least make sure the little cuts on his heel and coronet band heal up well.

In honor of Laundry Day at the EquiNovice homestead, I bring you this extremely delayed riff on a couple of previous blog hops from Viva Carlos and Equestrian at Hart. I had to go dig to remember who originally posed these hop questions so that’s gotta be worth something, eh? These blog hops gave fellow riders the chance to show their equestrian fashion in two ways: clothes they like to ride in and horse related clothing that puts the quotation marks on “fashion”.

I will wear jeans and t-shirts to ride if I am volunteering before riding and I have worn some makeshift gear to riding lessons, especially in my earlier days. But to my lessons nowadays I like to wear polos, schooling tights, and my Mountain Horse Richmonds (which are the only non-custom boots I can find that will fit my giant calves…too bad they’re like 2in too short because apparently if you have wide calves, you cannot also be tall.) I wear either Noble Outfitter or a well-loved pair of SSG Work ‘n Horse gloves and to top it off I wear a super uncool/unpopular brand of helmet that I happen to like very much because it fits me as if it were made for me. I have a hard time shelling out a lot of money for a helmet because occasionally I feel like helmet companies take advantage of the fact that “it’s your brain! why wouldn’t you spend $500?!?!” but I am not so sure one is more protective than the other. I think a good fit is the most important thing.

 

I like to wear golf polos and those suckers can be pricey so I collect them slowly and patiently stalk clearance sections until I get what I want. I am picky on fabric and cut because the last thing I want to be worrying about while I am riding is a shirt that is too tight, or too short for my longish torso. Taking this picture also made me realize that I DO NOT need anymore schooling tights. DO NOT NEED. I seem to always want more. Every time I see my size on sale, I compulsively put them in my online cart. I don’t always buy them, but clearly, I am set in the riding pants department.

 

Now to some fun(ny) stuff. I am no stranger to the collecting of horse related clothing items. I am awkwardly attracted to all things horse. If I am in a library or bookstore I will pick up a book purely because the cover art includes a horse. It may not be about horses at all but I am compelled. Perhaps more school text books should take advantage of this.

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WEG 2010…can’t let it go. This isn’t even all of the branded apparel I own from this event. I volunteered there and it was a wondrous fairytale experience but it would be great to keep in mind that all of these items have dates on them…and therefore socially accepted “expiration” dates as well.

 

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This pair is kind of hilarious because although I am a Spanish Horse enthusiast, I have only ever ridden one once. I thought I was so cool when I bought the green sweatshirt. ANCCE does not offer any apparel and this is the only time they partnered with a local designer/store in Seville, Spain (El Caballo) to offer branded apparel. I remember the first and only compliment I received wearing this sweatshirt was from a Caribou Coffee barista who told me she loved my sweater and asked where I got it and what ANCCE meant. After casually declaring “I bought it in Spain and ANCCE is the Asociacion Nacional de Criadores de Caballos de Pura Raza Española,” I promptly felt like a total ass for multiple reasons. The maroon polo I bought at WEG 2010 after stopping by the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse booth to chat up the nice volunteers. The logo on that shirt represents the Royal Stables of Cordoba but more often than not, people assume it is a Crown Royal shirt. Sigh…I love whiskey, but not enough to wear a shirt.

 

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Here is the rest of the collection. Not too terrible since these are all shirts I wear mostly to the barn among people who understand. haha

Draft horse shirt shout out to the best Belgian in the business!!!

 

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A Little Thoroughbred Action

Last nights’s Lesson recap:

 

Horse: Argy 10 y/o TB

Conditions: temps high 70s, humid, light breeze

Arena: outdoor

Recap: Last night when I got to the barn Louie’s owner was there getting him groomed for a show this Saturday and it was clear they had just gone for a good ride so I took a seat and we chatted a bit. My instructor finished up with the previous lesson and came into the barn and told me to go ahead and grab Argy for my lesson. I’ve ridden Argy once before and, even though I really love riding Louie, I enjoy the opportunity to ride other horses as well! It was a good ride. We didn’t work on anything particularly ground breaking or new but that was okay for me since I didn’t ride much at all in the month of June. Argy is naturally more sensitive than Louie, which was nice in some respects since I didn’t end up expending all my energy in keeping him in front of my leg. His trot was really interesting. My instructor mentioned that sometimes he has trouble working through his back and using his whole body so sometime he can get caught just kind of rushing his feet along shuffling and not really relaxing and stretching into the trot so to help him I would need to be loose in my body and swing with him to help allow him to use his body better. It was good imagery and really worked! Plus, I can tend to get tense and “perch” in the saddle if I over think things, so it helped me sit better too. It felt like slow motion when we both stayed loose- almost slower than I naturally would have wanted to go but my instructor assured me that it was a good trot for him. The magic is getting that slow motion feeling but with the sensation that more of the horse is in front of you than behind you.

We did a bit of lateral work, some haunches-in and shoulder-in on a circle. A bit of leg yielding at the walk and trot- to varying degrees of success. We finished with some canter work. I did two really crappy trot-canter transitions where he was really unbalanced because I was leaning and collapsing through my core (I’m really good at this) so he cantered for half a lap and then just fell into the trot- no bueno. As soon as I focused on keeping my chest open and sitting tall, things improved dramatically and I got two really good transitions in both directions.

All in all, a great lesson and a beautiful night to ride a horse. Argy and I were also subtly holiday themed (secret guilty pleasure) since I wore a light blue polo and festive socks and to compliment my outfit, Argy wore a white saddle pad and boots with bright red straps.

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Polar Problems

The polar vortex is ruining my mood and canceling all of my riding for the foreseeable future. I thought maybe instead of whining (which I have done plenty of lately) I would offer some apparel solutions for dealing with the cold. Having been born and raised in Almost Canada, I’ve grown up dealing with the elements and have developed numerous ways of staying warm during a variety of athletic pursuits. Here are a few items that have worked for me and made cold weather riding more enjoyable.

I own one pair of Kerrits Sit Tight and Warm Knee Patch Breeches. These things were awesome in Almost Canada because although my lessons were mostly in an indoor arena, it was still quite cold since my lessons were late at night. The knee patches were a little weird at first because the material is kinda squeaky but a few washes later it wasn’t very noticeable. These breeches are definitely warm but a little thick so I usually have to wear paddock boots and half chaps since my giant calves, once coated in fleece, no longer fit in my tall field boots. The funny thing about these breeches is, I can’t say they’ve seen a lot of action since I moved to the Quasi South. If it gets cold enough to warrant wearing them, my lesson gets cancelled. Luckily, they double as a super pair of sweatpants for hanging out around the house.

Kerrits Sit Tight and Warm Breeches

Kerrits Sit Tight and Warm Breeches

 

This year for Christmas my mother stuffed a pair of wool insoles in my stocking. I popped those bad boys in my pair of Mountain Horse Richmond Field Boots and my toes enjoyed a warm and cushy winter ride last week! These were thin enough to fit over the original and now fairly worn out pair of insoles that come in the boots but not make the footbed restrictive.

Pedag Wool Insoles

Pedag Wool Insoles

Mountain Horse Richmond Field Boots

Mountain Horse Richmond Field Boots

 

I have a couple pairs of the SSG Work N Horse Lined Gloves that I really like for winter riding. I use an unlined version of these same gloves the rest of the year. They may not be quite warm enough for outdoor riding in winter but they work just fine for arena work when it is cold and they are not too bulky.

SSG Work N Horse Lined Gloves

SSG Work N Horse Lined Gloves

At one point during my riding career in Almost Canada I had the privilege of riding at lovely dressage barn with a heated indoor arena. Now that just seems like a crazy dream I had once…

Stay warm out there!!

swl

Sharing my Lack of Style

I have never been especially gifted in the personal style department. For the daughter of a fashion design major my wardrobe choices often make my mother cringe. I am mostly frightened of patterns and color; I tend to wear far too much black or brown; and my body has been absolutely no help considering many of the styles/colors I would like to wear, wouldn’t be the most flattering to my shape. I am a classic dresser and I prefer styles that are timeless rather than trendy. If I had to pick a preferred style type I do tend to edge towards “preppy”. I love anything equestrian related: browns, warm leathers, hunter green. I love old european patterns: houndstooth, tartan, tattersall. I love nautical stuff: braided cotton, navy, white, red, stripes. Basically, I love to dress out of my budget! I mention all of this because I want you to know that what I am about to say is just a harmless, albiet misguided attempt at starting a fashion trend.

While online shopping for riding apparel I came across the stock tie section and pouted because I have no real reason to buy one. I don’t show and even if I did they wouldn’t really require it at my level. But I like the idea of them so I sat there thinking what if I wore a stock tie with a suit. Yep. really.

I know it comes from utilitarian origins. Stock ties are a mandatory part of the hunt uniform and could be used, in a pinch, as a bandage if a person or a horse were injured in the field. Well, as luck would have it, they also look formal and polished. Since many people wear silk scarves with formal attire I don’t see how this would be any different- just an uncommon presentation!

 

Polished and professional-looking, if you ask me.

 

I see no reason why this wouldn't look great under a business suit

There are so many options that I adore. I want to buy one of each of these stock ties from Horse Country and I don’t care a lick that they are all listed under men’s attire: Pretty Stock Ties

I’ve never, ever seen anyone walking around with a stock tie who wasn’t at a horse show and I am just the tiniest bit curious what the fashion fall-out would be if I were to start wearing these puppies to work or on a job interview. So if you see someone walking around your next business conference in a suit and hand tied stock tie complete with gold stock pin, feel free to point and laugh, but you just might be surprised how well I rock the look…and isn’t that half the battle in fashion anyway?

 swl