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.

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!

Another Great $20 Shirt

Eli doesn’t care what I wear

You may have noticed that I really like mesh. I like a motif on this blog and on my instagram. I also like long sleeve shirts that protect me from the sun but are made of stretchy, athletic material that encourages evaporation. So this means I like the Tailored Sportsman sunshirts, Asmar shirts, and some of Kastel’s shirts (although not so much lately). But what do these shirts all have in common? At $65, the Tailored Sportsman shirts are the least expensive out of those. My plastic says “ouch.” I could use a less expensive alternative, couldn’t you?

Enter Amazon late-night shopping on my phone. Talk about a habit I need to break … but every once in a while something good comes of it. And hey, right now? Amazon is open for business. At least today, ha. While browsing through athletic tops for women that don’t break the bank, are made well, and fit normally, Amazon suggested an Aurique shirt (an Amazon brand) with a fishnet-type mesh at the upper chest and forearms. And it has thumb holes! And the arms are long enough for me to actually use the thumb holes!

i loff thumb holes

The top is surprisingly well-made for the price I paid — it was one of those “Today’s Deals” deals and I paid around $14, but they seem to go for about $22 when not on sale. The lower hem is sturdy and looks good not tucked in, but isn’t too thick to tuck in, either. So I can wear this top with breeches or Botoris. The fabric is an athletic mid-weight — probably best for spring and fall in Texas. I think it might be too heavy for summers here, but might be okay for summers up north.

It comes in black … and no other colors. I’d love it if it came in other colors, like a fir green or a pale pink. Maybe dove grey and deep indigo, too? K, thanks, Amazon.

 

 

Breeches for Sale

Closet clean out! Free shipping in continental US, PayPal (or Venmo if I know you). Everything is in excellent, gently used condition. Selling …

Botori Kate riding pants, size S. I LOVE Botoris but I take a medium in the Kate style as the material is not as stretchy as the Taylor style. The Kate Small seems roughly equivalent to US dress size 4. Worn once. SOLD.

Romfh Gabriella breeches in White Sand, size 28. LOW RISE. Some boot marks at inner knees. SOLD.

Romfh Gabriella breeches in Sage, size 28. LOW RISE. Love this color! SOLD.

Dover Moto breeches, size 28. Moto detailing on outer thighs. I wish I had bought these in size 30. My loss! Worn twice. $35.

Dover Empire knee patch breeches, size 30. Midrise, snug but stretchy waist. $25.

$5 off if buying multiple pairs.

These are all listed on facebook, too.

Black Friday Sale – 50% OFF at Breeches.com

So EVERYTHING at Breeches.com is 50% off today … just sayin’. This site has some of my favorite breeches: The Beatta breeches and the Calabasas denim breeches, which I reviewed. But you can get more than just breeches — they have Belvoir, dog beds, halters, horse clothes, and show clothes, too. Breeches.com also carries Tack Butter, which I haven’t tried yet but I might have to pick some up in this sale!

Stocking Stuffers

Not every equestrian-themed stocking stuffer has to be strictly for equestrians, right? If you’re ready to do some shopping (even if only to avoid interacting with family), either pre- or post-turkey, these tiny little treasures fit in equestrian stockings of all sizes:

 

Do I need to explain why the Lip Smacker Lippy Pal is on this list?

So for a slightly more luxurious lip option (and my favorite lip treatment ever) the Fresh Sugar Honey Tinted Lip Treatment has SPF, which makes it a requirement for an equestrian, considering all the time we are out in the sun.

One of my favorite things of 2019 (other than Baby Yoda, obviously) is the Coola Rosilliance goop. Another SPF necessity! This stuff is so smooth and leaves a bit of a dewy look, but doesn’t melt off or dry out. I have the weirdest, most sensitive skin that reacts to seemingly benign things, and I was so glad to figure out that this stuff is compatible with my skin and worth every penny!

Tall boot socks are basically all I wear. They work for the barn and for work, and for barn work. And you can get a 3-pack of Sox Trot boot socks for under $30. And you can never have too many.

Sometimes an equestrian does expect an exclusively horse-related gift in their stocking, so let me suggest the Ultimate Hoof Pick Jr. If you don’t have one yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. This is one of the sturdiest tools in my groom box.

Another tiny treasure is for the horse girls that insist on “hunter hair.” Rider’s Hair Nets, especially the heavyweight ones, keep all of my hair up in my helmet. No flyaways, and no hair sticking to the back of my neck and creeping me out. I can’t live without these things. Well, maybe I could but I don’t want to.

So you know my little Polaroid Cube? And you’ve seen the videos I get with it, night or day? I paid considerably more than the current price Amazon lists right now. You can’t pass this up! It has come in so handy for me. It’s super easy to use and takes pretty good HD video.

So while back, I discovered simple boot trees in the form of plastic sheets that you and roll up and stuff in your boots, and they conform to the shape of the boots. These are less expensive than actual boot trees and don’t deflate like the popular inflatable boot trees. Amazon has a pack of Household Essentials Boot Shaper Form Inserts for a good value. I kind of need these for all of my boots, not just my tall riding boots.

Last, can you exist in the horse world without coffee? I just tried some hazelnut flavor. It’s delicious.

Anything you are asking for that you hope to see in your holiday stocking?

 

Mesh Obsession on a Budget

Show shirts have come a long way in a few decades. Even day-to-day riding tops have stepped up, too. And one of the features of some of these shirts is mesh. Anyone wearing a “sunshirt” is wearing mesh, even if only the underside of the sleeves. And then high-end equestrian brands (looking at Cavalleria Toscana and Designs by Dalia especially) have taken mesh to whole new sheer heights. Their shirts are gorgeous and even some are almost awkwardly over-the-top, which is my favorite kind of shirt. But … I ain’t got $200 to spend on one shirt.

I found a $10-$15 option, though. I rode in the black one last night. The top is actually super lightweight and kind of a sporty material. I kind of wish I had a few of these earlier in the summer. And if the mesh snags on something it’s not like I just ruined a $200 shirt. As far as the sizing goes, the shirt is very stretchy. I’m like a 6-ish right now and I ordered a medium. And the mesh means a little extra vitamin D for me before the time change turns all rides into night rides.

DeNiro Salento Field Boot Review

It’s no secret that I love DeNiro boots. I wasn’t even boot shopping, I swear, but I stumbled upon a vendor on eBay that had a number of new-in-box stock DeNiros for WAY under retail. I paid $300 for these, and they go for around $850. How do I pass that up? These are *mostly* my size …. taller than usual, and a wider calf than I normally take, but in the process of breaking them in I haven’t had one blister. The leather is supple without the near-sock-like feel of Parlantis. I have no concerns about whether I’ll wear holes in the calves of these boots after one season–that ain’t happening.

Yes, they do hit in the middle of my knee cap. Ask me if that bothers me: it doesn’t. They have actually dropped enough already that I can zip them up all the way and snap the closure tabs. Since the calf is a regular calf instead of a slim calf, I may be wearing these a lot this winter because there will be room to layer a bit under them.

There is also an elastic gusset the whole length of the boot so there is some wiggle room on calf sizing if you may be thinking of ordering. I have loved every pair of DeNiros that I have owned, and these are no exception! I will definitely be riding in these a lot, and maybe by next year showing in them a bit? We’ll see how Eli is doing, of course. He’s the one determining our show schedule or lack of one. He is doing well for now, at least, and that’s the most important thing to me.

Winter Wish List

It’s trying to rain today, which puts me in a mood for fall-like weather even though that’s not what we are getting it Texas right now! It’s more like tropical weather. But I can’t help but look at riding clothes that remind me of cooler temperatures. Maybe by November we won’t have any more 100-degree days?

Admittedly, I have been warming up to Horze Equestrian and a pair of high-waisted breeches caught my eye, in large part because they come in black.

Yeah, I would totally wear these Tara Breeches. Does it matter that they are full seat and I am HJ all the way? Nope. One of my favorite pairs of breeches that I have right now are full seat. Extra insurance if Eli spooks at something. Anyway, Horze also came out with a pair of PU riding tights and I’ll be honest, they confuse me.

The Hanna riding tights are looking extremely impractical to me, even for winter in Texas. Leather-look pants might be good for a night out, though … I do love the color! But as to wearing these in the saddle? To be determined.

Okay, back to a favorite of mine. I have the grey denim Calabasas breeches from Equine Couture and I am just going to say I want the navy denim, too.

These breeches are so comfortable and I can ride in them even in the heat without getting too hot. They are thin and stretchy and I wear them like once a week at this point. But they are not so thin that they wouldn’t be versatile enough for mild Texas winters. And they are on a bit of a sale, right now, too.

Another favorite of mine is the Asmar logo tee and the colors Asmar has come up with for this fall are gorgeous. I love the plum especially!

The material is incredibly soft and works really well in — again — the Texas heat, but there’s no reason not to wear this tee under a vest for chillier weather. Like, you know, 71F. That’s cold enough for an extra layer here. Can you tell I have only ever lived in Texas?

This next one is killing me. I already have an All Weather Rider jacket, and it is worth its weight in gold. So I can’t justify a second one because it’s not like we get a lot of rain here and it’s not like I am even willing to ride in the rain.

Of course it comes in plum now. Seriously, I wear mine a lot in the winter and not just to the barn. It is a great jacket!

Riding in the winter can be such a drag, and looking at clothes definitely cheers me up about it. Maybe if we actually get rain today I might actually play the “add to cart” game later this evening. And it will be those Calabasas breeches. Those I know I will wear!

 

Casual Friday Ramble

Walking with purpose is actually a pretty good workout. That’s not what Eli & I did yesterday, and probably won’t be today, either.

 

It’s more like we wandered aimlessly, but in an arena. I had been hand walking him the last few days, waiting for him to get a new set of shoes. The shoes weren’t sprung, but they were a bit loose and his toes were ridiculously long, so riding didn’t seem appropriate considering we are in recovery mode.

I do use boots on Eli, even though we are only walking. They are basically extra insurance in case anything dramatic happens and I fall off and he takes off. Not that they would help much, but he likes to bang his legs up so a little extra protection makes me feel better. And of course he wears boots or wraps in regular work because he is crooked and interferes. And he lives in his bell boots.

I have a few new shirts, and one I wore last night. It is an It’s a Haggerty’s, a brand I had not yet tried. Based on other reviews, I sized up, and I love it. The material is very comfortable. The sleeves are long enough. The shirt is long enough. And It’s a Haggerty’s sun shirts don’t just stop at solids and color blocking. The sleeves of this shirt are like a blue rose & leopard/cheetah print. I am kind of obsessed. Even better, the shirt pairs amazingly well with the Kate Botoris. I could sleep in this outfit, it’s so comfortable!

Eli also has a “new” bit, and I can’t remember if I mentioned it before? I got it shortly before he got injured, so it has mostly seen a lot of walking. But Eli does seem very, very comfortable in it. It’s a custom Myler that I picked up used. If I were to order him a new custom Myler, it would basically be this one. Except way more expensive. Yay for the resale market!

 

It’s a 5″ dee, double-jointed with a copper roller and a contoured sweet iron mouthpiece with copper inlays. It may be a tad on the thin side, but I am a firm believer in fitting a horse’s mouth based on the horse’s actual mouth. It means the finer-boned, smaller-mouthed TBs with narrow palettes might find fat bits – that people think of as soft – as totally annoying and uncomfortable. So don’t let preconceived notions about bitting fool you into thinking certain bits are “soft” while others are “harsh.” Try different bits, and whichever one your horse takes up well and doesn’t fuss in, is the right bit. I had a fat KK Ultra loose ring that Eli HATED. You’d of thought it was bike chain for how he acted. A thinner mouthpiece made all the difference. The double-jointed bits seem to work well for sensitive horses that have narrow palettes or might be offended by the nutcracker action of a single-jointed bit. Add in a contoured mouthpiece that rests in a neutral position on the horse’s mouth bars and you’re set. Bitting is easy!! Haha just kidding. I spend a ton of brain power just thinking about bits and how they might or might not work on a particular horse. It’s one of my favorite training topics.

I am so glad it’s Friday! Work has not slowed down AT ALL and I am hanging on by a thread here. I can’t wait to get out to the barn tonight and play with Eli and then enjoy a glass of champagne while sitting with Conrad in a comfortable chair.