Wednesday, March 2, 2016

stuff i've had for a while part 2: schooling apparel

Ok, since I'm having trouble coming up with anything insightful and compelling to write about our most recent lesson (we jumped jumps and it was super fun!!!), let's have another looksie at things I've had for a while but never bothered to write about before.

Today's post is more about schooling attire. Tho in my world, as a professed non-clothes horse (a la the SprinklerBandit), my favorite pieces to wear around the barn and for lessons / schooling ride often end up going to competitions with me too. So I guess there's a little over lap....

Anyways. Onward.

Schooling Apparel

Kerrits Full Seat Power Stretch Tights (also have in knee patch)

These pants are my go-to for winter. They are lined with fleece, super comfy and warm, and still have enough room to layer my favorite leggings forever, Mopas, underneath. Ooh, plus a side pocket that fits my ginormous mini-tablet phone.

Downside? They are a tad bulky and would never be accused of being 'flattering.' Matters not the least tho - when I need to be warm, these suckers work. And that's good enough for me!

Worth noting, tho - I found my full seats on sale and would buy again at that price. Not sure if I would pay full price tho.


Under Armour Sunblock 50 Long sleeve from SmartPak 

On the other side of the temperature spectrum is the Under Armour Sunblock long sleeve from SmartPak. This shirt is... pretty fucking terrible in hot weather. Not only is it NOT cooling, but it also shows sweat like a mother fucker. Which is... odd... for an athletic shirt made by an athletic gear company. 

I do not recommend this shirt, at all. It's not even particularly flattering. Honestly I'm not sure how it didn't end up getting returned... but you may recognize it from being worn as an under layer in cold weather (below) - thus showing exactly how abysmally it does it's job of 'cooling.'

Under Armour sun shirt; Pipers; Gap vest

SmartPak Competition Pinny Holder

Staying aboard the SmartPak train for a little while, let's move on to the pinny holder. Obvi this probably belonged in my write up on show gear... but whatevs. I forgot, so here it is now. 

Long story short - this is a pretty basic piece of equipment that lives in the trailer and is essential for shows that don't provide their own pinnies. It's easy to adjust and snaps on, tho there's quite a long 'tail' that I usually end up wrapping up or tucking in somehow. 

I would recommend this again for the price. One word of advice, tho, for any type of plastic pinny holder - take your printed paper number OUT before stashing the pinny holder away for the next time, or else you'll end up with some of the black ink transferring permanently to the plastic. 


Down Vest by Gap

This one is kinda an oddity on the list, as it's most certainly discontinued. In fact, I bought the thing sometime around 2003.... And yet this vest just keeps going. It's the vest that won't die. And it comes out of the wash looking fresh and new (aside from one small hole) every time. 

It's super warm, zips all the way up to my chin, and the pockets are deep and also zip - perfect for lots of storage. I pretty much live in this vest all through fall, winter and spring... so yea. Apparently Gap vests have some serious longevity!

SmartPak Pinny Holder; Mondoni Kingston boots
SmartPak Pipers

These pants are somewhat hilariously polarizing, it seems. Some folks hate them with the fire of a thousand suns, and yet others are equally zealous in their undying passion for the pants. Me? Count me in the 'love' category. Yup, I pretty much adore these pants and just got my fourth pair (light grey charcoal; 20% off discount codes ftw!). 

The reality is that the pants just aren't going to work for every body type. Seems to me like they work better for riders with a little shape. All the same, I still always cinch 'em up with a belt. 

One thing that I would point out, tho: having recently gotten a new pair, I was reminded that it really is NOT love at first zip. These pants really don't feel great to me, personally, for the first couple wears. They feel stiff and don't sit where I want them. But then, quite suddenly, they 'break in' and magically transform into pretty much my favorite riding pants EVAR. And so far, all mine are lasting well despite constant wear (even for chores!).

My recommendation would be - if you're on the fence about Pipers, or love the colors but are maybe hesitant to go for it, then wait around for another 20% off sale and just order a pair. And wear them around a couple times - really give them a shot. Because you may feel differently on the 3rd or 4th wear than you do on the 1st... maybe. haha. 

newest Pipers!! light gray and charcoal <3

Mondoni Kingston Boots

Oh how I love these boots! I hemmed and hawed about buying these for pretty much forever after first reading about them on The $900FB Pony. But I finally bit the bullet (as a birthday treat to myself, and also during a 20% off sale at Divosa) and have never regretted it. 

They are super comfortable - I will happily wear them all day long at shows or around the barn (tho I avoid doing chores in them). They've been soaked through and through in the rain (and with sweat, if we're being honest), they've trudged through mud, and through coarse drying sand. But they just keep on going too. 

The boots are light weight and have a soft shock-absorbing sole. The elastic laces sometimes pop out of their holes, and the zipper won't stay up if you don't snap the leather tab at the top. And some of the dye looks a little worn around the zipper on the calf. That's easily remedied with a little shoe polish tho. 

Generally tho - I just love zipping these puppies up for any ride. They're comfortable, eye-catching, and have so far stood up to whatever I drag them through. For the price point, these are an excellent pair of schooling boots. Or if you're me, you wear them to shows too ;)

these Mondoni Kingston boots have taken some abuse haha

Shoulders Back Gadget

I wore this thing pretty religiously when I first got it, and felt like it helped to remind me to sit up a little taller/straighter - whether I was at my desk or actively riding. It's not a magic bullet, tho. I could easily still slouch while wearing it. 

Then summer rolled around and I didn't want to wear it directly on my skin with tank tops (other reviewers said it rubbed badly) so I put it away for the season. And.... it never came back out again haha. Pretty much never wore the thing again. So... idk. Wouldn't recommend this. 


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Any questions that I didn't address about any of these particular products? Or perhaps your experiences or opinions differ? Please share! 

Also I'll probably have another post or two in this category at some point, maybe delving further into the general odds and ends I've collected over the years haha... lmk if there's anything in particular that you've seen in pics on this blog that you'd like to hear more about! 

37 comments:

  1. These are fun! I always like seeing what other people use. I'm always sadden that I just don't like the pipers. My thunder thighs drag them down (even with a belt) and I feel perched on the saddle for some reason. I really want to like them because they are cute and regularly on sale.

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    1. aww boo! that's my impression when i first put on a new pair, but then after a few wears they break in perfectly

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  2. SmartPak Pipers for life, yo.

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  3. I've been wanting to try Pipers for a long time. As someone who has curves, I have a lot of trouble finding riding pants that fit in all the right places! I've been trolling the internet for one of their awesome sales! Not sure if you guys have one near you, but the GAP outlet often has vests for like $19.99! I almost bought a bunch of them this winter! ps. I go to the Maryland Saddlery in Hockessin!!!

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    1. ah gotcha, i've never been to hockessin but have heard great things! re: piper discounts, i re-subscribed to the smartpak email list when i decided i wanted the gray pair, bc they send out 20% off discount codes very often. it was maybe a week or two between when i subscribed and another code went out. then boom, pipers were mine. and then unsubscribed again haha

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  4. I agree with the shoulders-back contraption. So easy to slouch in it still and it actually interferes with me while riding so I only ever use it at work. It helps a bit, but not $50 worth ><;

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    1. yea pretty much. it's cool in theory, but nothing can replace actual discipline and muscle building... le sigh!

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  5. Yup. Pipers for curvy girls=win. I have zero trouble with the crotch sag issue in the full seats too.

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    1. yea me either. i could pretty much live in these things - they're more comfortable than most pairs of pants i own haha

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  6. I will vouch for GAP vests. Grew up in a GAP family, and I love the vests and the button downs (the lightweight ones) for riding. They really don't quit. Breeches with deep pockets are my muse.

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    1. gap vests ftw. and also deep pockets. in both breeches and vests lol

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  7. My favorite thing about the pipers is how stretchy the waistband is. And now that you mention it, I think I did find that I liked them more and more each time I wore them.

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    1. yea i was decidedly 'meh' about my first pair and figured i was among the 'non-lovers' group... up until a couple months later i realized i grabbed for the pipers way more often than i grabbed for anything else.

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  8. I love pipers, I have a small collection now... too bad smartpak failed on the sunshirt though. I'd been thinking about getting them before, but definitely not now!

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    1. honestly, the sunshirt is not good as a sunshirt. do not buy for that purpose. HOWEVER. i actually really like the shirts as just plain shirts - i love the color and the fit, and wear them often for occasions when i want to feel nicely dressed. so for that purpose (and maybe during a 20% off sale), they're a win

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    2. I also wear the SP sunshirts as regular shirts! They're a great layering piece, and are the perfect weight for those chilly but not freezing spring/fall days, especially under a vest. I have 4 of them, and I wear them all year round.

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  9. Ugh yeah I am so unsure about the pipers, my pair are okay, I like the price point the best... but ehhhhh

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    1. i love the price point and colors. fit is good for me. alas fit does not appear to be universal...

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  10. If you're looking to move the Shoulders back to a new home I might have my arm twisted as I'm a terrible slouch and have been wanting to try one for ages!

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    1. innnnneresting!!!! send me an email at fraidycat.eventing at gmail.com and we will figure something out ;)

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  11. I wished the Pipers worked for me! The price point and colors are fantastic! But they just aren't shaped right. Also have tooootally wrecked a pinny holder by keeping the number in it too long... yeah. And Kerrits makes the best winter pants!

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    1. i love the kerrits, bulky or not haha. and i'm glad someone told me about the pinny holder thing otherwise i would have surely wrecked mine by now too. it's not particularly expensive, but an annoying thing to have to buy twice!

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  12. I actually really like the Pipers for another reason altogether. They are offered in extended sizes. So even though I'm (eh-hem) not a traditionally sized/shaped rider, I can still pretend I totally look like the girl that happens to be wearing the same blue with teal trim in a size 26, even when mine are considerably... bigger. Yes, they feel a bit like wearing an ace bandage at first, but they do break in. And a belt cures all ills. Would love a third pair, but can't really justify since I only ride once a week.

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    1. i definitely appreciate that the brand is accessible to more riders than some other apparel companies! and who knows, maybe a third pair would make a nice bday present for you or something ?

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  13. I'm curious about the Pipers. What is sizing like? Do they run small or true to size? and what's the rise like?

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    1. for me, the sizing runs true. the most common complaint is that they gap in the waist, which i find to be true but also find is easily resolved with a belt. the rise is what they refer to as 'natural' - falling right below the belly button.

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    2. Very interesting. I feel like I should give them a try. I don't think they ship to Canada yet though.

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    3. hm yea idk about shipping to canada... it might actually be worth an email to customer service tho. either that or you're just gonna have to go back on vacation and have them shipped to your hotel or something lol.

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    4. HAHA!! That's actually what I was thinking. I'm not sure they'd be considered a good deal anymore though...

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    5. lolz but isn't it all about perspective anyway?!? ;P

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  14. COunt me in the HAIL PIPER club. I too, did not really like them at first and was disappointed but then hit the magical break in point and now I don't want to wear anything else. I have five pairs. FIVE. I am dreading summer when Pipers will be like living in a sauna....

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    1. actually i wear my pipers all year round, even in the most disgusting humidity and heat. they aren't as suffocating as you might imagine given the material, at least in my own experience. plus they pass the all-mighty sweat test by not actually showing how disgustingly sweaty i might actually get haha

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    2. Hmmmm, I've gotten warm in them in fall (when I first tried them) so I'm nervous about summer. We shall see

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  15. I still am on the fence about Pipers after having them for over a year

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    1. hrm that's unfortunate :( i don't think you're alone either... seems like they just aren't the right fit/material/whatever for some folks

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