Spring has found its way to Texas. It may not last long before the heat of summer arrives, but I will take this while I can!
Tree pollens of all kinds are through the roof. I won’t miss that part of Spring.
I am pretty sure that if you have found your way to this blog, you most likely are at least vaguely familiar with the Roeckl brand of riding gloves. I have a few pairs (gotta keep one pair nice for shows!) of the Roeck-Grip model and I love them. I welcomed the opportunity to try a different model of the Roeckl equestrian line. I have been wearing the Roeckl Madrid gloves while riding all last week and over the weekend, and like my other pairs, they brilliantly exceed my expectations.
We all know how hard riding is on our riding gloves. Gloves are a daily staple of my riding wardrobe, so they see a lot of use. I have been riding for over a year now with laced reins, which I think can sometimes be a little tougher on gloves than rubber reins (unless they have stops). Years before I switched to Roeckls, I went through gloves fairly quickly, seeing how many brands and materials just didn’t stand up to daily wear. The seams would pop, or the gloves would wear through between the ring and pinkie fingers, or — and this was the worst pair — they would develop a gross smell that couldn’t be washed out (TMI, but I don’t recommend the Heritage Premier Show gloves). Yes, this is Texas, I sweat when I ride sometimes. The gloves have to hold up to that, too!
And then I switched to Roeckl gloves. I am never going back to another brand. They are exceptionally well-made, and I haven’t ever popped a seam on them, and it takes a few years of wear before mine get shredded, rather than just a few months of wear other gloves got before falling apart. The Madrid gloves are no exception. You can scrutinize the seams and stitching and find no faults. The Madrid gloves have a few different types of material incorporated, and they all come together very well, without any wonky, uneven, or loose stitching. Parts of the gloves that typically see the most wear are strategically reinforced, too.
But are they pretty? Um … see for yourself. These may not be to everyone’s tastes, but personally I love how these look. Black and gold is never not appropriate. (Okay, okay, I really need the all-black ones for the hunter ring.) This is a subjective category — I picked a style I knew I would like. Once I got them in my hands, I could see I made the right choice. I especially like the tone on tone details of these gloves, the use of mixed materials and subtle patterns, and with that pop of gold at the closure. They come in a lot of different color options, so if black and gold isn’t your thing, maybe you’d wear navy and silver.
The Roeckl fit seems very consistent across different models. I wear a ladies 7.5 and these Madrid gloves offer a very close fit without being uncomfortably tight. The fit is pretty much the same as the Roeck-grip gloves, and I know at least a few of you readers have a pair or two of those, so you wouldn’t have to wonder about size when ordering these.
This is the really important part of the review–do these gloves live up to the Roeckl brand reputation? So far, yes. The impeccable fit goes a long way to ensure a very close contact feel on the reins. While it is not quite like not wearing gloves because your hands are somewhat protected, the feel is almost there. I am not compromising my feel on those lines of communication to the horse’s mouth when I wear these gloves. Bonus feature: touchscreen compatible. I tested that out and could easily take pictures without taking my gloves off. I didn’t try to type anything on my phone’s soft keys, but I am a lousy typist without gloves as it is.
There is a second functional aspect of the Madrid gloves that is almost a necessity in Texas, or any warm climate–breathability. The glove backs are mesh — not gapy or see-through, really, but a very close-knit, lightweight mesh. It was 80-something during my lesson on Saturday, and my hands didn’t get hot or even sweat very much. If you are looking for a well-made and stylish summer glove, this would be it. They are even machine-washable. I haven’t tested that out on this pair, but my other pairs wash up fine and dry pretty quickly when I set them out to air dry.
These Madrid gloves are so sporty, both in how they look and how they feel with the reins in my hands. I am glad I have this pair to use throughout this summer. I can recommend these to anyone wanting a lightweight or mesh summer glove.
Eli and I were due for a fun lesson where everything mostly clicked. We got to jump some short courses and practice some questions I haven’t had to answer in a long time. (Or more like: give *hunter* answers to questions I wanted to answer with my jumper brain.)
Friday evening, I wound up cutting our ride short because the light was getting too low. There are arena lights, but they are getting rewired and only one was working. That wouldn’t really help Eli’s apprehensiveness at dusk so I dismounted. I wondered which Eli I would have on Saturday.
Early Saturday morning, Eli got a massage therapy session and some Quia-cal, then turnout. He was out when I got to the barn, just kind of snuffling the ground. I went up to the arena to watch lessons. My trainer *called* me a while later … I thought, oh crap, Eli injured himself! Nope, just started panicking in turnout and got himself all hot and blowing. I went down to the barn to cool him out — which took walking, a rinse, and drying in front of a fan — and let him chill out in his stall for a few minutes while I pulled my tack out.
At this point, I figured he might even be too tired for our lesson. He actually felt quite lovely under saddle and we did quite a few transitions as we warmed up: Eli seemed very focused and relaxed.
Once we started jumping, we just had a really fun lesson, practicing pieces of a course before stringing it all together in a couple different ways. I made A TON of mistakes. Eli saved my ass more than once. But overall, once we got to the complete courses themselves, none of the mistakes were major and Eli seemed so happy to be jumping around. He felt so rideable I think he must have been having fun with me … maybe while rolling his eyes a bit the few times I used his neck as a pillow in the air. (I really wish I had media for y’all!)
The red jumps were two consecutive easy 4s, the blue is the 2-stride, the pink bending line is an easy 6, and the white a Swedish.
I do still need to work on a couple things:
1. Use my right leg. Like. At all.
2. Do not slice the first fence of a bending line in the hunter ring. (Ha. Duh.)
Eli got another shampoo bath and I slathered poultice on all four of his legs. He has been on the HALO for about a month and a half now, and I’ve used the Quia-cal 3 times … would y’all be interested in more in-depth reviews? I am not sure we have enough experience with either just yet but I have been thinking about getting my thoughts so far on them down on paper.
Some storms came through Saturday evening, so riding on Sunday was out, but Eli got his mane shortened and a nice long walk/graze in the fields. And storms came through AGAIN Sunday evening, but I am hoping I can ride in the field after work before the sun goes down.
First off, riding in daylight — and even better, at sunset! — has been pretty sweet this week. I haven’t done a whole lot with Eli other than just w/t/c and popped over some x-rails. He can get a bit twitchy in low light, so I have just been letting him get used to the change. He’s been simple!
He also got shoes yesterday and felt great under saddle. I made it out to the barn while the farrier was still there so I was able to chat with him about the progress of Eli’s RF and then just in general about his conformational challenges in his hind end (his hind shoes wear a bit oddly). The farrier also used copper-coated nails this time around and we talked a little about the benefits of those, too. Eli is on a good path right now, so we’re sticking with it.
I also had a pretty good mail day earlier this week. The French link is for later — I think it might be a better bit for showing than the HS Dynamic RS. I will probably try it Sunday if the weather holds up. I wore these Roeckl Madrid gloves last night and, much like every other pair of Roeckls, I LOVE THEM. I’ll be posting a full review next week.
Yay it’s finally FRIDAY!
If y’all don’t realize by now that I LOVE CLOTHES, I might consider you illiterate. And as the seasons change, so do the styles. While I am obsessed with the Gucci FW 2018 collection, it’s not practical for riding (I am not being totally ironic here — I really am obsessed with it and I think the collection and its inspiration are pure, badass art).
But there are some ready-to-wear picks for this spring that I’ve had my eyes on — not all are necessarily “new” for spring but I wouldn’t mind if any of these wound up in my riding wardrobe between now and June.
I do not wear riding tights. I haven’t seen very many that I would be willing to wear, either, until I picked up on Botori via Instagram and the look left me wanting a pair. Tights with actual knee patches and a phone pocket? Yes! I can definitely see myself wearing these.
Okay, but back to breeches … I have, over the years, struggled with how the calves of breeches fit me. Either they are too short or too baggy. I have been on the hunt for a pair of tan breeches that fit my waist, AND my calf, aren’t too thick, and don’t raid my wallet. I may take a chance on these Equine Couture Beatta breeches. Review forthcoming? Perhaps …
But we can’t go topless on a horse. At least, I can’t. More like I won’t, really. I have been impressed lately with how RJ Classics has really stepped up their style game. Couple that with my love of pattern, and I am lusting after the Lane shirt. This pattern is definitely my favorite and so tasteful.
So this next one … if you are even remotely active on social media and you have an ex-racehorse, you are probably obsessed with this shirt that Mango Bay Design posted yesterday. If you want my world view on a t-shirt, this would be it.
Now that we are almost completely dressed, on to the accessories! Belt purses are a thing, have you noticed? This is one of those items that I have been on the fence about for a long time because I am not sure I really need one, but it would be nice to have my phone with me even while riding yet not shoved into a breeches pocket where it can (and does) bounce out and fly into the arena footing. I haven’t ever really seen one that calls to me until I saw this one from Asmar. I might be a convert.
We can’t ride without helmets. I love my GPA First Lady. I love sparkly things. What do you think comes next?
Last … is it possible to get excited about socks? For me, yes. Usually about socks with a cute pattern or print on them. Those are not the socks I am talking about today. Again, I ran across these on Instagram and these seem like the most well-thought-out socks ever designed for riders. The Achilles pad is especially appealing to me. Sometimes I am in tall boots for hours at a stretch, and my Achilles is the first thing to get ouchy from that. I think these socks could fix that issue.
What do y’all have your eyes on for adding to your riding attire collection?
While equestrians are celebrating an extra hour of light in the evenings (I, too, am celebrating that part), most everyone else is experiencing some form of exhaustion from sleep disruption and losing that hour in the mornings. As am I. And my dog. Conrad just CANNOT yet.
I eventually got him out of bed for a brief turn around the cul-de-sac and some breakfast. I am sure he went right back to bed after I left for work.
I had a plan going into Sunday for what I would be doing with Eli after a less than enjoyable lesson on Saturday. I reviewed this plan with a trainer/Eli’s massage therapist. Something like:
1. Eli gets a massage
2. Eli gets some Quia-Cal paste and turnout
3. Eli gets to wear a figure-8 with a Beval bit configured for very mild gag/leverage action
4. Eli gets to work in the big arena on a loopy rein but every time he pokes his nose too far up and out (in a head-flip scenario) he would hit the gag action. Trot through some poles. How he will react to poll pressure, who is to say until I find out?
5. Eli gets a good curry and extra treats and hoof pampering.
(Talk amongst yourselves about whether or not I should use this bit.)
However, after I got off work and headed out to the barn a little after lunch, circumstances were such that the plan had to change:
1. Eli gets a massage. The barn skylights were getting power washed and there was an earth mover reworking the arena entrance. While Eli could have a massage, where would his therapist be able to do it in a quiet, calm environment? He’d need another massage the next day, anyway!
2. Eli gets some Quia-Cal paste and turnout √
3. Eli gets to wear a figure-8 with a Beval bit configured for very mild gag/leverage action √
4. Eli gets to work in the big arena fields on a loopy rein but every time he pokes his nose too far up and out (in a head-flip scenario) he would hit the gag action. Trot through some poles. Walk around a while. How he will react to poll pressure, who is to say until I find out?
5. Eli gets a good curry and extra treats and hoof pampering.
Okay, we adapted. Eli got a little angry about the gag action, but shortly submitted to it, too. I didn’t pull, and he learned that head-flipping is annoying. We actually had a nice quiet hack and walk out on a long rein in the fields. And by the time we got back to the barn, the power washing was over for the day! (Horses were moved from their stalls when their skylights were being power washed.) The earth mover was still at work but Eli didn’t seem to mind it unless he was right next to it — it worked behind his stall for a few minutes so I nixed the idea of putting him back in his stall until the earth mover had passed.
The therapist and I agreed that a massage on Tuesday (today) would be more beneficial than trying to do that with the work that was going on. And I think he might like a little more Quia-Cal paste today.
I am sure anyone reading this can relate to the difference between how plans look in your head to how they play out in reality — how have you had to change plans to adapt to unexpected circumstances?
Extra points to Eli for not minding how windy it was on Sunday, too! He doesn’t ever seem to mind wind at all. But drizzle .. or a dog … forget it.