The Hunter Clip

I prefer a full body clip over other styles, but I put Eli’s needs first. And he needs those legs to be fuzzy. And he needs a back patch for the saddle.

I don’t think he needs a hairy face, necessarily, but clipping over his face dent does freak me out a little so he gets to keep his face hair this winter.

Eli is very amenable to clipping. He is okay with me clipping his legs and I have in the past. But he also bangs his legs up in turnout. My hope is that if I leave the thick hair, it’ll offer some protection from smaller scrapes and dings.

I realize that a traditional hunter clip would mean clipping a smaller, contured patch for the saddle and clipping all of his head. My back dictated skipping the extra time on a step stool.

Eli looks okay to me! And he is now much less itchy. Body clipping is practically a necessity here in Texas. It maybe be almost November, but it’s getting up to 90° every afternoon this week. Could you imagine living outside in a fur coat in 90°? No thanks! Eli also dries so much faster now, too, if he needs a rinse after a ride. In this climate, I really can’t think of why you wouldn’t clip!

Tack Locker Refresh

Most of this is now not in my locker.

My tack locker at the barn isn’t a large space, but it is definitely enough for a saddle, some strap goods, a few sets of boots … I crammed quite a bit more than that in there over the years. A lot of it was collecting dust and getting very little use. So I took out everything that needed cleaning, and sorted through that to see what actually needed to stay in my locker.

The snicky-snake commuting from feed room to the locker bay! There’s some kind of tiny space under the lockers — the snake is going there and not in someone’s actual locker. I haven’t seen any mice lately (other than a dead one in the arena, ew) so Ms. Serpentes gets the right-of-way. I am certain this is not a venomous one.

A few things got to stay in my locker, like the roller ball spurs and Eli’s spare halter. The rest came to my house to live in a bin or on a shelf. This still leaves quite a bit of stuff in my locker — three bridles, many bits (because you never know), a few girths, saddle and saddle pads (duh), spare clippers, many pairs of boots …

Myler full cheek = nap time? Or is it exasperation? This bridle gets to stay in my locker because I actually use it occasionally! I really like how Eli goes in it, but it’s a bit too much bit for everyday use.

I’m constantly weeding my closet, too. So guess what’s next? Yep, you guessed it: a few things for sale…

60″ SmartPak poly fleece quarter sheet, like new, $40.
Sheepskin Eskadron fetlock boots, GUC, $30. I … don’t need three pairs of these.
Le Fash shirt, medium, showed in once, $35

So in addition to a little spring cleaning in pleasant fall weather, Eli got clipped! More on that on Thursday.

He managed to get real fuzzy real fast and then this is Texas though and wow did he need less hair in this pre-fall heat. As you can see above, he is fuzzy and in an outside set of crossties — these are new to the barn. It’s a set up for the farriers to work in, but I am slightly apprehensive about how Eli is going to handle that — it is right next to the turn outs, and if horses are out there playing around, he is NOT going to stand still for anyone. The round pen is nearby, too, and again … well. Anyway, I took him out there myself before he’s due for shoes again, and I will probably take him out there a few more times. His farrier is not his trainer and has no duty to introduce Eli to a new situation like that, so I am trying to get Eli accustomed to the space first. When the weather’s nice, it seems like an otherwise nice set of crossties! The barn owner is continually making improvements like this to the barn and property and I really appreciate her dedication.

Rocks Eat Horses

Progress continues on improvements the barn owner has underway at the barn. Some landscaping boulders have been placed along the driveway. Eli first noticed these on Thursday and he was exceptionally cautious about approaching them. I held off introducing him to the rocks because some workers were still messing around with equipment nearby – which Eli didn’t care about – and I didn’t need a spooky horse to spin into or fly backwards into a front end loader or whatever. Large hissing machinery = no reaction. Giant rock = many snorts and pounding heartbeat. I don’t get it but whatever, Eli!

Fortunately, the introduction drama was shortlived on Friday. Eli did indeed snort more, cautiously approached on tiptoes with lots of ducking, half-spins, and steps backward. Then I had the above genius idea of standing on one … see, Eli? Mommy killed the rock. The rock is dead and can’t eat you. We grazed along and smelled all the dead rocks and everything ended peacefully.

In less rock-y news, Eli is doing brilliantly. He’s flatting well and getting stronger. He is also packing it on, so I’d say the Purina Outlast is doing its job. My hope is to start riding him in a few group lessons a month as my schedule allows. We both need it! A little more structure can’t hurt. I am still not inclined to jump him much, but he happily and quietly canters crossrails right now. He might miss jumping a wee bit?

And last bit for right now – I have a NWT AA Motionlite for sale. Black, size small. I love these coats but I would rather have a green or navy one. (And obviously I’m wearing the Aviation Blue in this blog’s header). $200 shipped in continental US but maybe you could talk me into a blogger discount.

I realize blogging on a Saturday is kind of awkward, and blogging from my phone is even more awkward! But that’s what works for me right now.

Go-Go Juice

It had been … some time … since Eli had last had his stifles injected. Because I have FINALLY been able to ride him regularly over the summer, I did notice that his hind end was not really as active or powerful as usual. No question it’s his stifles. But with the suspensory treatment and rehab, and then the thin soles, therapeutic shoeing, and medicating, and then treating ulcers … injections kept getting bumped down (somewhat inadvertently on my part – I easily could have done his injections sooner!). He got injected a few weeks ago, and there is a noticeable difference in his hind end. Yay for modern veterinary medicine and the go-go juice!

For a while now, I had been sitting on a horse that felt like he was lacking in some energy. That has changed. To the point where I’m like, oh, crap, can I ride this dragon? Ha. Of course I can, I know. He felt SO GOOD last night, and was very focused on top of that. It makes for a fun combination in Eli. I have more confidence now that I can ask a little more of him. Not a lot more – he is 17 – but he feels like a horse that could jump around again.

I tried feeding Eli a treat from the saddle. He was confused because I never do that. He kept walking the opposite direction that I was leaning over so I might have, maybe, could have almost fallen off out of my own stupidity. We’ll keep treats for the ground handling. When he finally got it, his face was like, wait, a treat, why you do this now? This not normal. Luckily, his long neck saved me.

In other news, I had to have both of my DeNiro boot snaps, the top ones, replaced with in a few weeks of each other on my Salentos. Another pair of my DeNiros needs a full zipper replacement on one of the boots. So add that to the pair I have had for years that need full zipper replacement on both of the boots. The fit is excellent, the leather wears extremely well and seems very durable, but gah, DeNiro. Your hardware. It kind of sucks! Still my favorite boots by far, but I may need to branch out and try a different brand with better hardware. My Ego7s have better hardware! Not sure I want to spring for Tuccis just now, though. I have been DROOLING over the Celeris boots. And for full custom, their base prices seem very reasonable …

What else? Oh, it is still hot here, but we have had a break from the 100+ temperatures and even got some rain this week. So there’s grass. And humidity, which I don’t like, but we really needed the rain and could use a little more for sure.

Well, it is the end of the fiscal year at my job, so I don’t have too much else to say on the pony. I rely on Eli a little too much for emotional gratification, but he always manages to come through, whether it’s by him just being his grumpy ass self or giving me a great ride like last night. Fingers crossed he keeps eating the Outlast! He seems to love it almost as much as the German Horse Muffins, and that is saying a lot.

Omeprazole for Everyone!

Omeprazole: I’ve taken it myself. Eli just finished up a course of it. And now Conrad gets some for a few days.

Yep, this little man, who was quite himself on Tuesday — had a good walk, ate his meals, snuggled in his blankets — was just not right on Wednesday. This not-rightness went on all day and I finally decided he need to go to the emergency vet as he was refusing any and all food and treats. He had some other symptoms, too, and generally looked like he had a bad tummy ache.

Fortunately, the ER vet called with his blood work around 9:30pm on Wednesday night and said everything looked good other than that he was very dehydrated. He got IV fluids and antibiotics (because he had signs of some GI inflammation) and small bites of food and drank well overnight. Conrad felt much better Thursday morning. I got to pick him up and he was sent home with the antibiotics and omeprazole. He was also vvveeerrrrrryyy tired. The ER vet experience was interesting but very organized and seemed to work well. While it was upsetting that I couldn’t go in with Conrad due to COVID-19 restrictions, the vet and office were very helpful and communicative and everything was done through phone calls and emails. I’d use this ER vet clinic again if I had to! For anyone in the Austin area, it’s the Central Texas Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital in Round Rock. There is also a south location. There is a third location in northwest Austin, but that location is temporarily closed.

Conrad fussed a bit until he got comfortable on his sofa in my “home office” …

I’m going to split up his meals into three a day instead of two as the vet recommended this. And he can keep having his boiled white meat chicken toppings, so he’ll be happy about that! He has been eating and drinking well since he has been at home, too, so dear dachshund gods, please do not let my dog forget to drink water anymore!

In Eli news, in addition to the Incrediwear Circulation Wraps, Eli gets to wear wet Incrediwear Hoof Socks after a ride. His front feet need AAAALLLLLLLL of the help they can get. Don’t worry, his farrier is wonderful and I stand ready with Sole Pack paddies at all times, but I figure a little cooling down, especially in the coronet band region, can’t hurt, either!

The hoof socks are really interesting — they are super stretchy so not difficult to get on. You just gotta be careful about snagging them on nails but I have avoided that so far. They can be worn basically all the time when dry. I don’t think Eli needs that kind of use, but I do love using them after a ride.

I hose off Eli, put these on, and hose them off. He stands in front of fans to dry, so after all of that his fetlocks and hooves are nice and cool. The hoof socks seems almost foolproof to use, so if therapeutic polo wraps aren’t your thing, these would be a good alternative.

Debating with myself whether I can get him to wear a pair on his hind legs with no drama …

Eli is a very lucky pony because he’s got some Incrediwear standing wraps to try now, too. I see some goofy rooster walking in his future. I am even tempted to try the standing bandages on his front legs in hopes of a little extra padding to keep his right hoof/shoe from rubbing his right elbow when he lays down. I think it is just TOO HOT here for any kind of overnight wrap, but maybe in a few weeks the weather oven will no longer be on broil.

And one last thing — a few have commented on Conrad’s fuzzy blankets and I wanted you to know they are inexpensive and easy to get and come in a variety of colors. Strangely enough if you search “game of thrones blanket” they come up.

These blankets are fleecy on the inside and furry on the outside. They wash well, they don’t pill up, and they don’t shed in the wash or on furniture. Conrad might have three… the Rose Dust color is tempting me …

Playing Catch Up Again

Blogging on a Saturday … What have Eli and I been up to lately? He finished off his Gastrogard some time ago but seems to be doing quite well, other than it being hotter than the surface of the sun in Texas at this time of year. I had been riding him every other day and the most exciting thing we have done in the past few weeks is cantering some poles. Eli was well overdue for stifle injections, so he just got those this past Wednesday. This coincides with daily highs of 106F so I am not sad about no riding for three days. My plan is to get back on him on Sunday (tomorrow) and probably do very little. I am still struggling with the humidity in the mornings and it may be still 100F at 8pm on Sunday so … yeah, it is hot here.

I did try Eli out on a longe line for the first time since before he injured his RH suspensory ligament. He remembered almost everything and we had only one incident of him losing his mind (at — no surprise — the canter). But he came back quickly and listened for the rest of the brief session. I have no plans to incorporate ground work frequently, but maybe every once in a while would be good for Eli’s questionable listening skills on the ground. At least he is attentive under saddle.

One of the things that has plagued Eli the ENTIRE time I have known him, about 8 years, is elbow dandruff on his right elbow. And just his right elbow. I have tried a variety of things over the years, for a few weeks at a time, and nothing really helps. I’ve tried washing with betadine, Vetrolin, Banixx; I’ve tried MTG, Neosporin, Gold Bond, Zephyr’s Skin Rescue Salve, Krudzapper (never again as it made Eli’s skin VERY angry), Corona, and I am taking the Desitin route right now. I am sure I have tried a few other things, too, and am just not remembering it all. Desitin actually seems to do the most good, but this is some damned persistent flakiness. While Eli’s vet was out to do his stifles, I asked about it. Eli’s vet suggested that it could be from the way he lays down, like his shoe might be irritating his elbow. This, of course, makes complete sense and I am glad I asked about it because I don’t think I would have thought of it at all. As far as capped elbows or shoe boils go, Eli’s is mild. Now, what to do about it? I hesitate to go straight to a shoe boil boot because I think that could cause pastern irritation. I could either try wrapping Eli’s right front with cotton padding and vet wrap, or I could try standing bandages. I’ll probably try both eventually. I am not sure how sustainable going through vet wrap & cotton on a nightly basis would be, and I can’t make it out to he barn to wrap Eli during the day, but overnight standing bandages might be okay?

It was SO hot yesterday that all I did with Eli was rinse him off. 106F at 6:30pm. UGHHHHH. He stays pretty comfortable in his stall at this time of day and he has a high powered fan. His stall gets a good breeze. But wow. The air felt kind of like when you are baking something in the oven and you open the oven door and the hot air hits you in the face. THAT hot. Where everything is hot, feels hot, and looks hot.

Could it possibly be October yet? Or even just back to highs in the mid-90s?

Thank You, Dover Saddlery!

I forgot to mention yesterday, Eli’s RF lameness from a while back resolved with two days of soaking and wrapping with Epsom salt paste. He never blew an abscess, so I think he may have just stepped on himself in the trailer or something like that on the way back from the vet clinic. He is ok now!

Lots of horses live 24/7 in bell boots, and Eli falls into that category. He usually keeps shoes on (unless they are bar shoes ugh don’t remind me) but he does have a tendency to grab his heels A LOT in turn out. So hooray for mitigating with bell boots. Because he wears them full time, they need to be durable but also “soft” enough to not give him rubs. The pull on Italian jumper bell boots meet these requirements. Does it pain me to spend $40 on bell boots that may only last a few months? Not as much as a lame horse from a grabbed heel. Amazingly, I got about 10 months out of Eli’s last pair until he finally pulled one off in a rippy sort of way. I usually have a spare, but not this time.

Okay. I needed Italian jumper bell boots ASAP. But oh, we are in a pandemic and some stuff isn’t open and other stuff is only open for limited hours and really only Dover in town would maybe have these but let’s see what the internet and overnight shipping have to offer so I don’t have to go somewhere unnecessarily.

While I did check a few other online tack stores, Dover is offering OVERNIGHT shipping for $14.95 on orders over $75 (and $19.95 for orders under $75). Find a tack store online that offers that for less, I dare/challenge you. Oh, and it has to be one that carries the Italian jumper bell boots in size III in black. In stock. Now bonus points to Dover for carrying them at $34.95. Not the lowest price I could find online, but the second lowest (and tied with Beval). The lowest was from a tack shop that did not offer such inexpensive overnight shipping (it was more like $75 haha no). I had to buy a few other grooming supplies for Eli anyway, so getting the Dover order up to $75 did not take much. (Maybe I should have ordered second pair of bell boots, actually …) Dover has instituted these shipping rates primarily, it seems, as a result of the pandemic — so THANK YOU, DOVER for recognizing how complicated it can be to get necessary horse stuff right now and offering reduced shipping rates.

As promised, Eli got his new Italian jumper bell boots the next day (an addition to some potions and cookies).

I have not always been a fan of Dover in the past, but recently they have really stepped up their customer service game with some new policies and they have moderated a lot of their prices on popular items that horse people buy ALL THE TIME. (I am almost positive a few years ago I paid $37.95 in store at Dover for these same bell boots.) No, obviously, they are not the only game in town. But for this order, and the overnight shipping rate — I am happy to be a satisfied Dover Saddlery customer. That overnight shipping saved my horse’s heels!

 

 

Incrediwear Circulation Exercise Bandages Review

I still have not figured out why it feels like I have less time instead of more time while this working-from-home lifestyle continues. I have neglected blogland as a result.

The pony and the puppy still get a lot of my free time, though, and those are the priority components of my lifestyle, so I can’t say I am too bothered by not blogging. I try to keep up on Instagram, at least. Eli has had his Gastrogard and seems to love the Purina Outlast and he has been doing well under saddle. As you can see in the above picture, he is wearing some grey polo wraps that are the Incrediwear Circulation Exercise Bandages (the mouthful of a name comes from the Incrediwear Equine website ).

I wound up buying these partly because the big top-lid freezer at the barn ate it, so I brought my ice boots home. I was looking for alternatives to hauling ice boots in ice in an ice chest to the barn every day in case I felt like Eli needed icing that day. Although, the freezer in the barn refrigerator still works, so my ice boots may end up in there. But too late for my wallet, the search for icing alternatives was on, and I had seen these Incrediwear products a few times on Instagram and was curious about them.

The Incrediwear bandages can be used for exercise similarly to polo wraps, but then can also be hosed down after exercise for an icing effect (yes, it says this on the website, these are the actual instructions). Can I just tell you right now how unbelievably weird and difficult and cognitively dissonant it was to leave these things on and hose them down while rinsing off Eli after a ride? Wet polo wraps? My brain was breaking a little. However, it is important to remember two things: these wraps were designed specifically for this, and these wraps are not regular polo wraps. The material handles water differently than regular polo wrap material. So there is (I keep reminding myself) no danger of bowing a tendon, or causing some other injury like chafing or something, if these wraps are used as directed and applied properly. There is a TON of information on the Incrediwear Equine website, and if you are at all interested in these, I encourage you to read it and judge for yourself what you think and how you feel about the science behind them. (But don’t forget to recognize generally that science is true whether you believe in it or not.)

I have been using the Incrediwear wraps for about a month now, and have left them on to get wet for “icing” on Eli maybe 3 or 4 times. First, I’ll talk about using them during exercise, and then I will go over using them while wet for icing.

For exercise, color me impressed. These simply do not compare to other wraps I have tried, including regular polo wraps, Eskadron combo bandages, and Back on Track polo wraps (still love you, BoT). Be warned, however, that these things are hard to get used to at first as far as being able to wrap competently with them. The material is stretchy and I had a hard time with how snugly I should wrap them. I didn’t do it tight enough the first few times and one of those times the wraps almost slid off. So maybe pull them a little tighter than you are comfortable with? Or not? I don’t know how tight y’all wrap, sooo … anyway, I am pretty confident in my wrapping skills and these things took me a few times to really get them on in a way that felt right to me. I am STILL (after a month of use) occasionally wrapping, hating, and redoing the wrap while tacking up Eli. The fabric can bunch and fold on top of itself while wrapping around the fetlock so get comfortable redoing wraps until you figure these out. Like I said, I still redo them sometimes before I am satisfied they are on Eli’s legs safely. If you aren’t confident in your wrapping skills, these may not be for you or you may want to ask someone who can wrap well to help you.

It’s not a German muffin so he isn’t too excited

Okay, so once they are on, Eli-of-the-rooster-walk tolerates them well. I know this because he walks normally in them (I mean, thanks for the big clue, buddy), even when I have wrapped his hind legs. (Yes. I know. My horse spooks at wearing hind leg wraps sometimes. He has unique sensory processing abilities. Just let it go.) Once I figured out how snugly to wrap them, they do not shift around while we ride. Eli has been feeling good under saddle lately, so I don’t have much to add related to use during our ride.

But after the ride? First, I have observed that his legs don’t get very hot and sweaty under these wraps. He sweats some, of course, because it’s like 94 degrees here until 8 o’clock at night and too humid in the mornings for me to tolerate. The wraps seem to wick moisture to a certain extent. But more importantly I can directly observe that these seem to regulate surface temperature extremely well. Like I am shocked at how not-hot his legs feel after a ride when I pull these off. It makes me want another pair so I can just wrap all four legs. Caveat: Eli and I don’t work too hard when we work. It’s a light ride of about 20-25 minutes with maybe a canter pole or two and a cross rail or two but that’s where we’re at right now. I certainly would not hesitate to jump in these, though. And it really is in the 90s when I am able to ride. It’s interesting. The wraps themselves feel super warm on the outside after a ride, but Eli’s legs feel normal. Based on personal experience, this would not be a result after using BoT polos or regular polos. So that ion transfer thing does seem to do its job.

And then there’s leaving them on after a ride and hosing them down for that icing effect. I have done this 3 or 4 times and left them on for just about 15 minutes or so, although the claim is they can be left on for 45 minutes while wet. Does this actually ice the legs? Not exactly. These wraps reportedly do not cause vasoconstriction, the way true icing would and the benefit of that is that blood flow is not slowed. And we all know how important blood flow is in the horse’s lower extremities. The wraps do seem to draw heat away from the leg even more quickly when wet than when dry. I am wondering whether this could be a good substitute for icing in all cases? What about after harder or longer work? And again, upon removing the wraps, the wraps themselves feel very warm but Eli’s legs feel very cool. Not really cold like icing with actual ice, but completely cooled down and a bit beyond that. I have some skepticism, but the product does seem to work very much like the product information claims. And they make stuff for people that works the same way (and I am tempted by the elbow sleeve …). Eli’s hind legs look and feel great, though. Very tight after using the wraps, holding up that tightness day after day now with continued use. He does experience some fill/windpuffiness/minor stocking up in his hind legs if he ends up stuck in his stall for a day due to weather but by all appearances these Incrediwear wraps have helped him enough for me to keep using them. And buy the hoof socks (review forthcoming, only used them once so far), and want a second pair of the wraps.

The price seems exorbitant for polo wraps. But consider they have multiple uses. I purchased these via FarmVet and used a 10% off coupon code, which helped a little. However, FarmVet seems to be out of stock and is not taking back orders. These can, however, be ordered directly from the Incrediwear Equine website. I have noticed that these and the hoof socks seem to sell out quickly. I bought the hoof socks right when they had been restocked in early July and they are also sold out on FarmVet, but appear to be available on the Incrediwear website.

Once I have used the hoof socks more, I will review them, too. But tomorrow, look for a kind of ode to bell boots:

Oh, OF COURSE you take the right one out, Eli. Anyway. Final word on the Incrediwear circulation wraps? 10/10 would buy again.

Got Scoped

looking comfortable here

Eli had a very mild bout of colic a few months ago, right at the afternoon feeding time, which resolved with Banamine and a little hand-walking. Of course with any colic, things can go south fast so I was relieved that it was alleviated quickly. But then it happened AGAIN this past Sunday, same exact situation. I called the on-call vet and after talking over the situation, getting Eli scoped was the best next step. So Eli went up to stay at the clinic Monday night and got scoped Tuesday morning. He has ulcers. I feel like a bad horse mom. The ulcers may or may not be the cause of the feeding time colics, but I am hoping that’s it, because ulcers are treatable and manageable. Not that I want my horse to have ulcers at all, but if that is the cause then we are addressing it.

gooey gold

Eli got sent home with Gastrogard, misoprostol, and Eli’s vet also suggested Purina Outlast and his regular turnout and exercise routine. Luckily, Eli hoovered the Outlast, so he will get that on top of every meal and he’ll also get some as a snack before exercise.

where snack at?

so yes he does actually eat most of the time

But then, Eli being Eli, he had other plans about that exercise. I pulled him out of his stall Wednesday evening and noticed nothing amiss. I offered him the Outlast, which he ate happily. I tacked him up and walked him around for quite a while, not feeling anything weird in his walk. And then I asked for a trot, which he picked up with no protest or difficulty BUT he was super lame on the right front. I got off to see if it was a rock or something like that and it wasn’t. I got back on and kept walking because the vet indicated moving around is a good thing while Eli is being treated for ulcers, and his walk still felt fine in the arena footing.

oops

But after I got him untacked and rinsed off, he was clearly lame on the RF at the walk after stepping out of the wash rack. His farrier happened to be at the barn, so I asked him to look at it. Based on the sudden presentation of the lameness and a few other things, the farrier thinks it may be an abscess, and that seemed about right to me. Honestly Eli had been more lame with a heel bruise, so maybe it’s just a bruise — we know he likes to get those. I wrapped his hoof in Epsom salt paste and he will still be turned out, because again, moving around is better than not moving around.

If the lameness gets worse, the farrier will pull the shoe today. I am going to soak Eli’s hoof in Epsom salt and rewrap. If the situation doesn’t improve in a few days, I guess Eli will get to see his vet again? Ugh. I hope it is just bruising or an abscess that blows soon.

yep, there is an appetite there

Anyways … I am keeping the bag of Outlast at my house and got some reusable deli containers and plan to pack up a week’s worth at a time for the barn staff for easy administration. Hopefully the deli containers don’t get tossed but if they do I’ll just switch over to plastic baggies. I’d rather go the reusable route, if it’s feasible, though.

Anique Signature Sunshirt Review

Okay, y’all. I have tried a variety of sunshirts: EIS, Ariat, Kastel, Tailored Sportsman … I LOVE the look of the Anique shirts, but honestly their price made me balk. I had seen them for around $120 in some tack shops, but I won’t even spend that on a show shirt so I hoped at some point the Anique shirts might go on sale somewhere.

Luckily, Riding Warehouse had just such a sale, and had the white and northern sky Anique colors on sale for around $75. I picked up a medium.

 

Once I got the shirt, the first thing I noticed was the excellent construction and attention to detail. From the pictures online, I was a little concerned the collar would not work for me, but it is actually tall enough to protect the back of my neck from the sun. Now would be a good time to mention — these shirts are made HERE in the USA. That could account for the retail price. I feel much better about buying a shirt that is made here than one that is made somewhere else, like China (*cough* Ariat *cough*). And not that this next thing is the most important factor, but I really like the zipper. It has a bit of weight to it, making it feel pretty durable.

The next thing I love about the Anique shirts? The sleeves are long enough for my long arms. The sleeves are longer than every other brand sunshirt that I have tried. My entire wrist is covered. No wrist sticking out between sleeve and glove to get sunburned when I’m riding.

But let’s go back to the details and construction.

The Anique shirts do not have the mesh sleeve panels like Kastel or EIS or Tailored Sportsman. However, there are panels of a tighter weave mesh-like material along the sleeves and sides. I don’t think UV anything could get through it. And while we are comparing to the other well-known brands, the Anique material is 100% nylon but it is thicker and seems to hold its shape better than the other nylon/icefil shirts. Thicker is not always better in Texas, though–more on that in a sec. It is, however, by far the softest sunshirt I have ever worn.

At this point, I was convinced that I liked this shirt a lot, and then Riding Warehouse had a sale on top of a sale, and had two larges left in the Northern Sky color for around $56. So OBVIOUSLY I bought a large. This is the one pictured here. Don’t worry, the sleeves on the medium are just as long. I like to wear the medium with breeches and a belt because it tucks in well, and I like the large for wearing with my Botori riding pants untucked. I also REALLY put the Anique shirt to the cool comfort all day test and wore it while paddocking at a local show (the first of the year finally!) ALL DAY. In HEAT. Real heat. 95F and humid heat by the end of the day. The fact that the material is thicker than other sunshirts did not seem to make me any hotter than I would have been otherwise. I didn’t even feel real sweaty or anything.

After that experience, I am ALL IN on Anique sunshirts. The quality, the tailoring, the actual usefulness in heat … this is a four-season shirt in Texas, as far as I am concerned. While Riding Warehouse is sold out, you can find these shirts directly through the Anique website or if you are feeling super generous and want to kick a little affiliate money my way, you can get Anique shirts, currently from $80-$99 on Amazon. (That Peacock Blue is $80 and I am sorely tempted. Oh, AND these are eligible for an Amazon Smile donation.). Anique is the third-party seller, and Amazon does the fulfillment, so it’s not some random foreign third-party seller selling knock-offs. And if the shirt doesn’t work for you, Amazon’s return process is easy.

THE PEPPERMINT, THOUGH. I need it. I might just have to suck it up and pay the $99. And honestly, these shirts do seem to be well-worth it!