Tuesday, February 23, 2016

stuff i've had for a while part 1: show apparel

Apparently I'm on a bit of a review kick lately. Generally product reviews aren't really my jam, bc I tend to move on quickly from things I'm ambivalent about, and things I *do* like, I just kinda assume that everyone else sees the same value in them so no need to restate the obvious.

But, maybe that's not actually the case. And lately I've found myself feeling pretty satisfied with the small (relatively speaking) collection of horsey products I've amassed in the past few years since I began leasing Isabel.

As a general rule, I try to be a fairly economical shopper - preferring to spend my limited dollars on lessons and shows rather than gear. I frequently buy used (especially tack) or on sale. It works for me. Your mileage may vary.

So here's a collection of review snippets specifically on apparel I've purchased over the past couple years, in no particular order:


Show Gear

One K Defender Suede Helmet

Guys. I LOVE this helmet. It's my first honest-to-god nice helmet, and I opted to pay the extra for the suede finish bc, dammit, I get a lot of wear out of my helmets and wanted something that I felt really good in. And I feel GOOD in this helmet. Tho the suede requires a little more maintenance than smooth finishes.

My early days were spent in those white plastic vented things, then IRHs, then I ordered a CO in college (a rare splurge) and was horrified by the fit - that is NOT the right shape for my head at ALL, NO. So back to IRHs for the next few years. Until this One K beauty was bankrolled by a very generous gift from my grandfather.

I like the look of this helmet, it's well ventilated, and has a washable liner. The nicely finished harness travels across the back of the helmet, creating a convenient ledge for hiding the base of my ponytail. Meaning the helmet is a better safer fit for not needing to accommodate that extra bulk (but I can still pull off my preferred hunter hair... old habits die hard y'all).

any excuse to use this picture works for me!
pictured: One K helmet, Tredstep boots, Tredstep breeches, Horseware jacket, Equilogic stock tie, and Roeckl gloves

Tredstep DaVinci Tall Boots

Bought these on sale from Tack of the Day in a full size calf, since I'm between sizes. The calf is... fuller than I'd like, but then again nothing quite beats the feeling of effortlessly zipping up tall boots. I've heard tell of others finding the fit a little odd through the calf so I definitely recommend trying them on first, should you have the opportunity. But for what I paid, I'm quite satisfied.

These boots required minimal break-in, and I'm pleased with how they fit through the ankle (they have SUPER soft leather panels through the ankle that were immediately supple) and around the knee, where there's a small elastic gusset.

I also like the leather quality - it stands up to my abuse (they double as schooling and show boots) but also still looks sharp after a couple years. Also, that spanish top and square toe. I like.


Symphony No. 2 Azzura Full Seat Breech by Tredstep

I got these breeches as motivation to reach at least the recognized levels. Again, your mileage may vary, but I felt kinda sheepish wearing white once when I was still competing at 2', and decided I wouldn't be allowed to do so again until I reached BN. Kinda... apropos nothing haha, but that was my thought process.

ANYWHO. These are, erm, a more snug fit than my knee patch Tredstep breeches. And white. Haha. But I like them all the same. They have a microsuede full seat, with additional silicone patches. Super grippy. Also not see-through, another bonus. Wide belt loops and cute detailing make for an attractive pair of pants.

The sock bottoms are quite comfortable, as is the cut through the knees. I like where the medium rise waistband sits, but the fabric is not as stretchy as I like. The fabric is flattering, especially for the long quiet leg asked for in dressage, but I ultimately prefer a darker breech and more flexible fabric for jumping.

the Tredstep breeches that one time i wore them to jump, and my SSG Lycrochet Gloves

Horseware Competition Jacket in Navy

Guys. You all know this jacket. I'm pretty sure more of you commented on the jacket than on beautiful Isabel in our last show recap (don't worry, I didn't tell her, or she would be VERY DISAPPOINTED in you all - she expects fawning adoration from her followers, nothing less!).

Another snag from Tack of the Day - alas, not in the size I had hemmed and hawed about after having the jacket saved in my SmartPak shopping cart for many months. I ordered it anyway just in case, and my worries were confirmed when it fit snugger than I personally prefer, gapping at the buttons.

It was good enough for show day pictures, but I ultimately sold this jacket and sized up when it went on sale through Riding Warehouse. The next size up is perhaps now less fitted than I like, but the jacket is so comfortable (and goddamn pretty, if we're being honest) that it's worth a trip to the tailor to get it just right.


Equi-Logic Ruffled Gray Satin Stock Tie and Blue Crystal Flower Stock Tie Pin (sold separately)

This is a pretty straightforward stock tie get up - it's pre-tied and attaches with velcro. But ya know what? I really am very happy with it. It's not the highest quality material, but still manages to escape the cheap plastic-y look that can come with some inexpensive satins. And it really is gray, not silver - my primary concern in looking at pictures online.

Strapping this sucker on makes me feel that extra degree of fancy (and it routinely garners compliments) - but it's not suffocating and wears well without wrinkling or showing dirt / sweat.

And I got the pin because it was blue and shiny. 'Nuff said there, and no regrets!

SmartPak sunshirt, One K skull cap

One K Skull Cap

I needed a skull cap for a very specific reason: my helmet cam produces the best footage when the mount is adhered directly to the helmet. This obviously works best with a smooth finish, and particularly with a skull cap bc you can hide the mount with the helmet cover when the camera isn't in use.

The shape of this helmet, and the sizing for that matter, varies slightly from the Defender I wrote about above. The helmet is rounder, not as streamlined in the silhouette as the Defender. That seems to be a theme with skull caps vs more traditional brimmed helmets. So definitely check the labels or try on before purchasing (One K uses a Small Medium Large sizing system).


SmartPak SunShield Long sleeve Shirt

Got two shirts (one white, one blue) during a 20% off sale and am... underwhelmed by them as sun shirts. They are not particularly cooling, especially in humidity. When it's very warm out, I'm not wearing these shirts while hanging around the barn all day.

However, I find that they ARE cooling while you're actively moving at a rapid speed with the horse. Like, say, when you're running cross country haha. Plus the cut is flattering, and the quarter zip means that the shirt can either fit nicely under my stock tie for dressage, or open up for more ventilation during stadium and xc.

So the white shirt is my go-to for competitions, and the blue gets used more in higher profile lessons / clinics or more informal shows.


***

Phew, ok, that's enough for now. I'll have more later - particularly regarding schooling attire and horse gear / other miscellany. Also if you've ever seen any items in pictures on this blog that you're curious about - feel free to ask about it!!

Also - just out of curiosity, where do you see yourself on the "Save vs Splurge" scale? Does it depend on the item? Like, are there some things that you'll always whip out that cash money for, whereas other things are easier to resist?

60 comments:

  1. I'm going to have to try a One K helmet. CO doesn't fit me AT ALL, either, but I've had good luck with IRH. I need to try some on and stalk Tack of the Day.

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    1. oooh you should! i had to unsubscribe from tack of the day (if the above list is any clue, i had, erm, a *problem* lol) but they used to have one k helmets allll the time, esp that super pretty navy version!

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  2. We have the same boots and helmet (well mine is the matte finish). My only complaint is that the boots have not dropped in the 7 months I have had them and I still can't zip them up all the way. Did yours drop?

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    1. mine did drop, and a little sooner than that too, tho i wear them quite frequently. did you get the tall size? i'm wondering if their tall sizes are as wonky as their full sizes?

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    2. I have a 41 medium tall and they fit like a glove except I can't zip them the last 1". The Dover lady swore that they would drop and the regulars would be too short. I've ridden in clinics with them and no one has commented...but it's less than ideal. Mine have been ridden 5+ days a week minus the month my ankle was sprained

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    3. hrm, that's frustrating. dover has an awesome return policy tho - perhaps take them in and try on the regulars?

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    4. The regulars are a smidge too short (I'm freakishly tall) and if they drop at all it will look funny. I'll probably just keep wearing them and never ride with George Morris ;)

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    5. yea..... i figured (esp given i'm much more on the short side of the spectrum and the regulars are perf for me...). still tho, so annoying!

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  3. Your dressage outfit is so, SO pretty... I bet you feel like a million bucks wearing that! I definitely tend towards 'saver' like you, but for items like tall boots, tack that has to last me a good long time (saddles, bridles), and helmets, I will pay out the cash monies to get the thing that fits absolutely perfectly and that I absolutely LOVE. When it comes to those items, I think it's important to buy the best quality you can afford because they aren't easily replaceable, and I want them to last for years and years.

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    1. ha yea i pretty much love getting dressed for dressage! i know a lot of people who ascribe to the 'best quality you can afford' mantra as well, and it seems to work. for me tho, i've never had reason to buy very nice tack (never owned a horse) and actually the davincis were my first ever new pair of boots. the two pairs i had prior were both used - one consignment, and one pair custom for my first trainer that i bought from her for a song. actually - i still have that second pair and they still have a lot of life yet, but need to get stretched if they're ever gonna fit my calves again haha

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    2. Agreed here. I'll pay more for something that I know will get years and years of use.

      I'm currently sulking about my show coat because it doesn't really fit my body, but nothing really fits my body so... that is unfortunate. I just have to work harder to find one that does, I guess.

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  4. I want a new skull cap... mine doesn't quite fit me right. I should look into that at some point - need to try on a One K. As far as the Save vs Splurge scale, you probably know where I stand. ;) If there's one thing I've learned about myself, it's that I'm really bad at settling for "ok". Almost every time I've tried to buy cheap and learn to love it, it hasn't worked out long term. Now I just try to save up and figure out ways to buy the nice thing that I really want and will last me a long time. Like... I just spent $150 on custom gloves. But they'll be beautiful, they'll fit me perfectly, and they'll (hopefully) last many many many years. I don't mind paying for quality if it's something I really like, since I truly believe it's usually cheaper in the long run. I will admit though, it was a lot easier to love cheap things before I worked at a high end shop and learned exactly what NICE stuff is like. Ruined for life.

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    1. you should def try the one k - i've been very happy with my helmets. and i hear ya on settling for "ok" vs something better... i guess for me it's about priorities. i have a hard time justifying $150 gloves when i don't even own a horse. i would much prefer that money go to lessons at present, since that part of my budget will practically evaporate the day i buy a horse of my own...

      still tho, maybe one day i'll have the really nice stuff too haha

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  5. I tend to go cheap on things that I wear through fast (gloves, mud boots, winter shirts). But I've found it's worth it to spend more on breeches, sun shirts and show coats. Boots are more of a "does it fit?" situation, and I tend towards the middle of the road on these. I can only afford one pair for schooling and show, so they need to be nice enough to last for both, but not so nice that I'll cry tromping through a little mud now and then.

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    1. yea i definitely don't want anything that i'm gonna cry about if it has to take a little abuse lol - that's just a reality of my life!

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  6. I splurge on tack - bridles, girths, saddles, etc. I scrimp on everything else pretty much. I refuse to spend full price on any clothing items, though I will put out money for helmets and boots (but still, only if on sale). Also saddle pad prices now-a-days are absurd. I always buy used or crazy cheap.

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    1. i think you and i have similar philosophies about clothing haha. and saddle pads for that matter! our local tack shop routinely has gorgeous "used" (but not really) saddle pads in the consignment section for mere dollars

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  7. Your outfits are amazing!
    I buy too much stuff on sale. Then I end up with stuff I don't need. I'm just trying to cut back on spending in general now.

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    1. ugh yea i totally relate - i had to unsubscribe from every single email just to remove at least some of the temptation haha

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  8. Oooh, now you're making me want to get my Horseware jacket tailored. I am in between sizes on it too and it fits well enough in the larger size but I would like it to be more fitted around my body. I'm in the market for a new helmet so I'll have to look into a One K as I've heard nothing but good things about them!

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    1. oooh do try them - it was love at first wear for me haha. and i'll def let you know how the tailoring experience with the horseware jacket goes!

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  9. I love looking at onek helmets, but can't handle the price tag. Glad you love yours. :-)

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    1. yea... the defender is without a doubt the most expensive helmet i own, and i probably wouldn't have even considered it without my grandfather's gift... seriously no regrets tho! and the skull cap was on steep discount ($125) from TotD

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  10. I've been thinking about trying a One-K helmet. I've been in CO forever, because I have a head shape that they work with, and I have no tack shop that sells anything else, really. But even with the vented one with the washable liner, I'm going through a helmet a year. I sweat so bad that I have to keep three helmets at a time, and I swear I could keep lysol in business. It ruins everything. At almost $400/helmet, that's not good. So I was going to try one the next time they go on sale.

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    1. ok so don't think this is super weird... but my dressage trainer just let me in on a little secret about handling sweat + helmets. she has eczema and, esp given riding a zillion horses every day, simply cannot deal with that much moisture on her forehead all the time. so.... she sticks ultra thin panty liners inside the helmet. and changes them out every ride. and it totally works. she buys them in bulk for super cheap, and her helmets stay nice and fresh.

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    2. I've heard about that, but I've never thought it would work, because there is so much! I mean, it truly is disgusting. May have to use a maxi, lol.

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    3. haha ya never know til you try! my trainer swears by it tho, so maybe you'll be surprised?

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    4. I did that, too! Totally odd but really works!

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  11. I have a Defender and I really like the way it looks, too! I measured my head according to their size chart and went with a large, but I think I probably should have gone with an XL so I can stuff my hair into it comfortably.

    I don't know if I can go back to paying full price for tack/apparel; I can never quit my job (or can only quit after buying everything I need)!!

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    1. it's interesting - their different helmets have different size charts - i'm a large in the defender but probably should have gone medium in the skull cap... and yes. you can never quite your job. ever. haha

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  12. Right now I'm stuck between wanting to spend all my money because I don't have to pay board anymore, and trying to save up for my next horse option...but either way Tack of the Day is a dangerous, dangerous place! I love my tredsteps that I got on their sale, and think they were a great deal for how well they've handled my abuse.

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    1. oh man, that's totally a relatable feeling... i try not to go anywhere NEAR TotD these days if i can avoid it hahaha

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  13. Good to know about the smartpak cooling shirts, I definitely want more cooling shirts and I think its fab that everyone in the blogosphere has experience with one brand or another!

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    1. i like the fit a lot and especially LOVE the blue color, but i tend to only wear them in milder temperatures (and have even worn one as an outer layer this winter so... yea haha)

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  14. About that jacket... I heard a quote on TV one day... Can't remember where, but it stuck with me. "Never wear anything off the rack." In other words, get it tailored!

    Now, I used to do costuming for theater, so I'm pretty comfortable ripping my jacket apart, tailoring, and putting it back together. I GUARANTEE you will LOVE the results of tailoring for a perfect fit!!
    And, it's still cheaper than a custom coat! Best of both worlds, right?

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    1. ha that's pretty much exactly my hopes!! and luckily i've been pretty happy with my neighborhood tailor in the past, so perhaps they will make quick work of this jacket too?

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    2. yeesssss... you know you want to..... ;)

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    3. yesssss i do i really really do!!! must make this a reality!

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  15. I love those Horseware coats. They look so classy!

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    1. i'm really quite happy with mine!!!

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  16. I didn't start splurging on stuff until I started reading other people's goddamn blogs.

    Now I own a blingy browband and I covet $250 stirrups. And I want an ogilvy pad. Although I am QUEEN of finding good knockoffs and deals. I got one of the horseware jackets (except its a blingy grey version) normally $160, for $50. I. Love. Dealhunting.

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    1. hahahahaha i def relate to buying more since reading blogs... i never knew i even needed all these things!! but yes. Deal Hunting FTW!!!!

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  17. It's only in the last few years that I've started buying riding stuff. Mostly because I had no money before, but partly because now I'm addicted to getting new stuff. I've been debating altering my jacket to fit me better. But I do like being able to keep my vest on under the jacket if I want to.

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    1. yea i never collected too many things before either, beyond what could fit in the trunk of my car since i've never really been allowed space at a barn as a non-owner and non-leaser. even when i was staff for years... which kinda irritated me actually (like c'mon, plz just let me leave my damn saddle here!). but now that i have space?!? get allll ze things!

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  18. My last pair of boots were Tredstep and they lasted 7 years! I mucked out in the things!! If I hadn't been gifted a new pair of Mountain Horse's, I'd have definitely gone back to that brand! Also a Horseware fan!

    On the save/splurge scale I am a massive splurger. I usually lay buy items so they don't *feel* as expensive, but I just find the cheaper items don't last long the way I treat them (oops).

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    1. good to know your tredsteps lasted so long!! and i know what you mean about being a little too rough for some of the cheaper stuff haha

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  19. I will usually purchase higher end used tack (rather than cheaper new) especially if it is touching the horse (Does that count as a splurge or save? :)

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    1. hm, i guess 'splurge or save' is hard to apply in that scenario haha - but i tend to think it's a bit more economical to go higher-end used instead of new cheap when it comes to tack - that you can get more bang for your buck, so to say

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  20. You guys just always look so classy and pulled together for your shows!

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    1. aw thanks! hasn't always been the case but the picture is slowly coming more together haha

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  21. I use to have the 12 o'clock whinny alarm on my computer in college :) Now that I have a Mac I can't get it and I'm ever so grateful! Though I still check it pretty regularly I have a list in my head of items I really do need or strongly want (strongly being the key work- no random oh it's pretty buys!) and it has to be more than a few dollars off (sometimes they are sneaky and it's a tiny tiny barely anything discount! Sneaky TOTD!) I will also put items in my cart and if I think about it all day and can justify it I'll buy it later that night or next morning before 12. This has really helped cut down on the purchases from TOTD and my wallet is happy (ier haha)

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    1. that's definitely a good practice - tho i wish i had your willpower to follow through with it haha! i had a 'list' for a while, and TotD was super useful in checking items off it.... but right now? kinda crazy (and maybe blasphemous to say), but i don't feel like i need or really want anything right now (except a saddle...) so. i just unsubscribe lol

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  22. Reading about your fancy show tack makes me feel so grungy and uncouth haha Endurance riders just use whatever works though I am becoming a stickler for getting things that match our colors!

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    1. Ha I hardly consider my tack fancy (except for our dressage bridle - that's def the nicest piece!), and also am all about using what works. Matching colors tho - totally the most important part!! ;)

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  23. I typically try to buy stuff on sale/at a discount as horse gear be pricey yo!

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    1. omg so pricey haha, it's practically criminal!

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  24. I will buy more on sale but sometimes I can't control myself

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