It started with my old Airowear XC vest – it used to give me bruises on the inside of my upper arms. I figured it was the downside to boobs + XC vest and lived with it until I upgraded to my Champion. Magically, that problem was solved overnight. Life was good.
Spoiler alert: life never stays that good, not in 2020.
Then it was the breeches. First, the beautiful Carma Italia’s that are my absolute, favorite summer breeches. The fabric. The fit. The color. The grip. The… seam across the shin that has never bothered me before? Yuuup. Then the brand new Ariat Pro Tri Factors – OMG finally a breech with a tech-y European fabric I can afford! But wait. Seams.
Despite this never being an issue before in 27 years of my life, apparently if there is a seam on my shin under my boots now, I will get a nasty, awful, painful (bloody, ew) rub. No matter where my socks go or what boots I use.
What. The. Hell.
Thank GOD most of my fancy ass Animos are just fine to keep riding in, but it means I’m down to five pairs of breeches and one pair of whites. This should be enough, but I also despise doing laundry. It also means I’ve sold a really large number of beloved breeches recently and just resigned myself to riding in my workout leggings all summer.
The realization is I am the human equivalent of the Thoroughbred you know who gets rubs, scratches, scrapes and hair falling out if you so much as look at them wrong. Is there some kind of incentive program for me?
I liked reading Amanda’s winter riding essentials post so much, I thought I’d start a little blog hop with it or something and add my opinions, largely to have something to reflect back on in future winters.
If you recall, I was terrified of winter all fall. This is an update that says, “I’m surviving!” Really, I am. Riding as much as I’d like? Maybe not. But surviving nonetheless.
I really like these as base layers – I got mine on sale from Uniqlo for like $9 (if you watch their sales, they go on sale). They’re really thin and lightweight, but really silky feeling. I like them more than the comparable UnderAmour or other athletic branded tops. Originally, I bought them for summer riding, but they work well as a first layer year round.
I’ve had these for a few years (fourish?) and I actually hate how they look normally, but I’ve found they make a great base layer for riding. They’re fleece on the inside and then are a slick, shiny fabric on the exterior, which makes putting on regular breeches over them much easier. They seem to fit under all but my tightest-skinny-day breeches (and might even fit under those if I would stop eating mac & cheese and ice cream oops). I like that rather than going out and buying winter breeches, I can just wear these under all my regular breeches. So basically saving money, right?
Copycatted Jen here, because that’s what I do when it comes to cold weather recommendations. She was totally right per usual too. I love this – it’s not scratchy or itchy at all, but quite soft. It’s lightweight and not too thick, but is really warm and does a great job as a base technical layer. I typically wear one of the Uniqlo tops underneath this, mostly to help not have to wash as often and keep it a little cleaner. This weekend it was in the 40s and I was more than warm enough in just this. I’m a US 12 and I ordered an XL in this because I don’t love really close fitting tops and it fits perfectly – enough to wear a t-shirt underneath, but not baggy.
Also a Jen recommendation, I picked this up back in October. It’s not quite as great of a baselayer as the SmartWool, but I do like it as an alternative. It was perfect this weekend for temperatures in the 40s and rain. The inside of it is a great gridwork texture that is really soft and cozy – I actually wear this around the house a lot! The sleeves are too long on me, but that’s typical of anything with long sleeves. I have the brown color above and I find it and the side seams quite flattering. It also seems to stay clean well despite horse slobber and mud. I also picked up this in an XL as well.
Mountain Horse Nordic Light High Rider
I picked these up used on Facebook, but Mountain Horse winter tall boots are readily available all over. These have been an awesome purchase – they’re lined in fleecy warm soft lining, the leather is hardy and they have nice grippy inside panels. The foot is clunkier than I like, I actually had to drop my stirrups two holes for these, but when I’m trekking through the ice and snow in the field to fetch my horse who refuses to leave his round bale, I don’t mind at all. The zippers are sturdy and they have nice zipper tab snaps at the top. I’m a 7 regular or full calf in Ariat boots and I have these in a 38 regular – they fit with room to spare.
Technically this is 800 fill, but I don’t think it’s nearly as warm as a 700 fill Marmot jacket I have. However, it’s super lightweight, easy to move in and washes well. I also really like Patagonia as a brand for apparel in general and think they have great quality. While this wasn’t warm enough over layers for the day it was 9 degrees, it’s been perfect for days in the 20s and above. This fits TTS in my typical Patagonia size large.
Back on Track Quarter Sheet
I picked this up on Black Friday for a great deal. I would have potentially rather had the all nylon one, but I haven’t had any issues with the fleece. It’s a little big on Doc, but I sized up for a few reasons – 1) he’s a leased horse, I wanted one that would be more likely to fit my next pony 2) everything online said they ran small and 3) there were limited sizes available for the price I got it for (like $80). I added some additional velcro in the front to snug it up and it hasn’t been an issue yet. I like BOT stuff and I do think Doc likes this sheet. He seemed to warm up well in it and we had fewer ‘don’t-wanna-tantrums’ than when I haven’t put it on, but that could also be attributed to 900 other things (most mare-like gelding EVER srsly).
I don’t have winter specific gloves, which hasn’t been a huge issue except for the day it was literally NINE DEGREES and I was frozen solid and let’s be real nothing was gonna help that day. I usually ride in regular athletic socks with the MH boots, although I also have some wool socks that have been awesome. My other saving graces have been big scarves I can wrap around my face and hide in and a cheap thin headband thing that covers my ears from Target that fits under my helmet.
I’m currently finishing out the remainder of my 24 hour strep throat quarantine from my living room couch, where the extent of my human contact has been listening to my neighbor’s Christmas party downstairs. One, which I am invited to, but you know, strep throat isn’t really a great hostess gift. Or so they tell me.
Instead, I decided, what better time to throw a hodgepodge of reviews and things I currently like at you? Strep throat is not on the list, FYI. 0/10, do not recommend.
The consequence of a Cyber Monday Amazon Prime ‘One Click Buy’, this weird little rock has become my favorite new obsession. Horse people = dog people, more or less and I am no exception. The downside to adorable Bluefin Tuna Dog (his formal name), is that he sheds like nothing I have ever seen before. Like the entire barn in April. Like my blonde hair when it sees a black cashmere sweater. Like a drunk fraternity boy losing his clothes en route to a pool at 1am.
His hair (the dog, not the fraternity boy), embeds itself in my furniture and makes itself at home. Forever. Or so I thought. Until I discovered the Fur-Zoff. You basically just… brush? with this thing and the hair all pulls out and balls up and you basically have a brand new looking couch. For $10.
Paper Pony Co. Pretty Pony Notepad
I love notepads and stationery, so when I saw this one from Paper Pony Co. it was a no brainer to add this to my office supplies. I wasn’t disappointed either. Not only did it come packaged adorably with this nice note, she even included a cute postcard and stickers.
The notepad itself is high quality and on nice, thick paper. It’s only 50 sheets, but it’s 4″x6″ and has 10 lines with extra room around the margins.
Now reeealllly not related to horses. But if you’re like me, you have to go to work to pay for the horses. And between the months of December – March, that means tights come into play. Let the record show: I hate tights. HATE. I find them itchy, annoying, they roll or fall down, they snag… the WORST. But I discovered Heist Tights recently and um, all of my feelings changed. These are the best tights ever. They’re soft. They don’t roll (I swear!), they don’t fall down. They’re downright comfortable.
They come packaged adorably from the UK and their customer service is super happy to help make sure you have the right size. I’m not posting photos of myself wearing tights ’cause uh, no, but take my word here. I’m a 30 in breeches (44 Italian), about a 10 US in regular pants and their 12-14 fits me perfectly. I have the 50 and 80 denier in a low rise (think midrise breeches) and love both pairs. These are for sure a work winter staple.
I’m still waiting on a few Black Friday purchases and will happily review when they’re here.
We got our first snow this morning and I’m happily enjoying watching it out the window, baking bread and not going anywhere. It’s super pretty so I’m trying to bottle up this feeling when it’s still snowing in like, April or something and I want to cry/move/die.
I’ve already halfway thrown in the towel on effort, as reflected by my Wednesday ride this past week where I decided I was too cold (it was like 35 and omg am I becoming a midwesterner because I literally was like, oh that’s not even that cold, HELP WHO AM I) to put on a saddle. So bareback it was. Everyone else at the barn had the same idea, leading me to make the joke we were like the No Saddle Club.
I think I’m a lot funnier than I am, by the way.
All that to say, we got our best trot we’ve probably ever had for the longest amount of time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not getting my saddle back anytime soon at this rate.
Since we’re now into November, I’m knee deep in Chrome tabs trying to get my Christmas shopping done (uh and birthdays because every member of my family is born within four weeks of each other between Thanksgiving and Christmas, COOL GUYS). Those gifts aren’t much fun to talk about unfortunately – “Dad, what do you want for Christmas?” “I don’t know… socks?”but luckily, I tend to get distracted. By tab shopping (the online equivalent of window shopping) for myself.
Some things I’d love to see underneath the tree…
Obviously I love this. It’s navy, classy, but blingy at the same time. This will come home with me sooner or later. Not a matter of if, but when.
Don’t ask me what color combo I want, because the answer is… all of them. And those rose gold buckles? Be still my heart.
And in ‘things that won’t happen’, we have this pair of Animo whites. WITH SPARKLES. But like, classy butt sparkles. These say, “I’m here to show, but I also like to drink champagne.” Which, I mean… my life. They also come in schooling dark colors, which could totally find their way to me too.
Moar. I have an addiction. Look at those colors though… Heart eye emoji x 100.
So either of those above would totally work, considering they’re my colors. But really, all of them. Don’t let me play on the online customizer, I go into a saddle pad trace and don’t come out for hours. Apparently some stores include them in Black Friday sales (anyone care to confirm if they can order custom color ones?) so these may not even need to wait for Christmas.
Not horsey exactly, but horse people are dog people. Fin has a horribly annoying habit of destroying dog beds. He leaves everything else alone, so I don’t complain too much, but I’m also really sick of picking up dog-bed-fluff constantly. I saw these at one of the veterinary conventions this summer and was intrigued. Fin loves a bed he can hide in with sides, so I think this one is pretty perfect. While not cheap, they’re not too bad when you consider the cost of replacing beds…
I really like my Royal Riders, especially since changing to the rubber pads, but they’re hard to get back if I drop (…lose) a stirrup. Regular irons make my knees scream and jointed irons turn my lower leg into a swingset, so I think these might be a good option from reading other’s reviews.
Love that it’s waterproof, windproof and gross-barn-proof (my backpack got shavings dumped all over it this weekend, it was GREAT). I love BOT products and I think this would be great for helping Doc and I both deal with winter (neither of us are fans) and loosening up.
There’s a few other things that aren’t so much Christmas wishlist items as they are on the ‘to be purchased when I can afford them’ list. Those are a new pair of Roeckl gloves, some additional winter base layers, a pair of insoles for my brown tall boots and new hairnets.
Please help fund the ‘Holly needs to take more lessons so she stops falling off‘ fund. Happy to ship in the US, possibly Canada, shipping at buyer’s expense. Happy to make a deal if you want both pairs or even if you just want to make a deal. Easiest to contact via various forms of social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) or comments here.
NWT Ovation Aqua X Breeches in Aegean Blue, 30R
Tried on twice and realized I’m apparently the one person alive who just doesn’t love them. Color is more accurate in stock photo. $95
Aztec Diamond Equestrian Breeches in Royal Blue, size 12
Just bought these and they fit a little small. I’m a 30R in TS, 44 in Animo and I think these would fit a 28 better. They fit me, they’re just a little tighter than I’mcomfortable with and I like ice cream too much. Color accurate in size tag photo. Back pocket has a small area where it’s not attached, but you can’t tell, would be an easy fix if you cared to. $100
I’m pretty particular about helmet fit, as I feel one should be in general. More so when I remember mine protects about $350,000 in tuition payments (silently cries and stares at framed degrees on wall, whispering that it was all worth it). I wouldn’t say I’m hard to fit, just firmly on the ’round head’ end of the spectrum. Charles Owen, you are just too oval.
I have a OneK and a Samshield Shadowmatte that I wear pretty interchangeably. I always say I’m going to school in the OneK and show in the Samshield, andddd then I end up wearing the Samshield. Honestly, I like them pretty equally and can’t tell once they’re on my head, but I definitely prefer the cleaner look of the Samshield.
I am allergic to my helmet.
Not like ‘haha, I’m allergic to cheap wine’ or ‘my horse is allergic to wood’, but straight up real life allergic. As in, the harness is causing a rash along my entire chin and sides of face. I know a lot of athletes who have dealt with helmets causing breakouts, but this isn’t even that – it’s a gross allergic reaction rash. (I’ll spare you photos.) I’m not going to lie – I’m a sweaty headed person. 9 degrees, 90 degrees, my head will sweat in my helmet. I will never be someone who can leave the barn and be in public minus a baseball cap. So my helmets obviously have to deal with this – and it’s one of the reasons I love the OneK/Samshield’s removable liners. Toss it in the cold/delicate cycle, baking soda + vinegar, hang it out to dry. I do it at least one a week. But… the harness is not washable. For those unfamiliar with the harnesses on these, the inside of them that touches you is a soft suede like material, while the outside is more of a smooth faux leather texture.
I’ve been able to (somewhat) keep this at bay by wiping down the harness with Clorox wipes after every ride and it’s helping – but not curing. Washing the entire harness in baby shampoo did help – but only for a ride or two. I may not have much of a life, but I am not washing my helmet harness by hand after every ride. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
So… help? Ideas? Advice? Not speaking to me anymore because I have weird allergic reactions?
Contrary to what the title of this may lead you to believe, I am not a Game of Thrones watcher (is that a word?). I’m just a displaced Southerner freaking out of her ever loving mind about the fact that it is going to get cold even though it’s currently 92 degrees.
I mean, yeah the first four weeks of college football season are supposed to be about trying not to get sunburned too badly in the stadium because it’s still 97 degrees and you’ve been drinking since 8am for an 8pm kickoff. Wait, maybe that was just me. But that was in Alabama, not Indiana.
Needless to say, my wardrobe is not really prepared. This is where you come in.
I need ALL THE OPINIONS. Winter riding breeches, boots, gloves, scarves, how do you keep your ears warm, best quarter sheets, best excuses to give your trainer when it’s too cold to ride, favorite jackets, all of the things. I’m on a mission to stay warm warmish and I’m going shopping.