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:
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?