Winter Eli and Work Pants

When I have been able to ride Eli, he has been tense and reactive. Although to be honest, it’s mostly from not being able to ride him very much due to, you guessed it, weather and work. This is typical Winter Eli.

Yesterday evening, Winter Eli was in full force. The drizzle wasn’t helping. Started off very fresh but okay. I even said “rideable.” Spoke too soon. Another horse came up the hill into the arena. Which he spooked at. He kept spooking. When I asked for a canter again, I am not sure how to describe the reaction I got, other than hopping and flailing. It wasn’t a canter, either way. Then, from a halt, he did a rear-y, leap-y move. I gave up. He had to still work, but I couldn’t even be a human longe line this time. At least not safely, I don’t think.

I went back down to the barn to get a longe line from my tack trunk, knowing full well Eli is not the best horse to put on a longe line, but he clearly need to let off some of this radioactive steam. As we were walking back up the hill to the arena, he spooked again, almost jumping on top of me. What spooked him? A horse landing off of a jump. He’s not always very bright.

not slow-witted, just … prone to panic attacks?

But by some miracle, Eli seems to have absorbed our brief and sporadic ground work in the round pen and was actually listening to my voice, instead of taking off on the line whilst kicking out and squealing. Huge trot, but he was not ignoring me. I was happily shocked. Then I asked for canter — there were many bucks and bursts of energy, but he did come back down to a walk after that. We did some walking and trotting on the line the other direction, and he was extremely polite about it.

Poor guy just had too much extra energy, and no small amount of stiffness, especially in his lumbar region. I got back on and finished with a mostly civilized right lead canter. Eli felt much less tense.

Even though it was, on its face, not the best ride we’ve had, I felt so proud of Eli last night. I thought for sure he’d take off and flatten out so fast that he’d slip and fall, as he has done at least twice before on the longe line. But he was listening to me. Bucking, yes, but he needed to. He wasn’t just panicking. I gave him an apple and many treats after that. He liked the Stud Muffins so much I bought the 90oz bag and have since subscribed to it on Amazon. Is it weird to be proud of a horse not freaking out on a longe line? Yes. I have used that as a tool with many other horses without incident. It’s nice to know maybe Eli can be counted in that group now.

We’ll be much happier in warmer weather, though.

As a completely non sequitur aside, I think I may have found the most comfortable work pants ever. Any of you with desk jobs, I am telling you, it’s like I am wearing pajama pants but they look like work pants. And they have pockets!

Being an Amazon addict, that is where I found them.

The Bamans yoga work pants, under $25, still look professional, and POCKETS. I could sleep in these. For reference, I wear a women’s US size 6 in pants, and based on the brand’s size chart, I got the large for a good fit — not too tight but still fitted. They are very stretchy, so there is definitely room to go down a size, but then I thought they’d look too much like yoga pants to wear to work. They hit right at my ankle bone, and I am 5’6″. I am going to need a grey pair next, I think.

 

Best In Blue Equestrian Hickstead Belt Review

When given the opportunity to try the Best In Blue Equestrian Hickstead belt, I jumped on it because here was a very popular style of belt at a very affordable price point. I was especially curious about the quality.

Once I got the belt in hand, I wore it almost immediately — at least, as soon as I was able to get out to the barn. The holidays and weather are still working against me a little, but I have worn the belt a handful of times now. One odd benefit of this belt that I didn’t even think about: it’s just stretchy enough to accommodate a few extra holiday cookies. Or maybe a lot of extra holiday carbs. Either way.

Can’t get more classic that a navy belt with tan breeches

Seriously, this belt has a lot of features, the primary one being great adjustability. This belt is really going to fit most riders. It adjusts just like a belly surcingle on a horse blanket, and clasps the same way. The clasp immediately identifies this belt as uniquely equestrian, plus it’s so easy to hook and unhook.

Clasp detail

And there is no extra length of belt, so the look is extremely trim and minimalist. The belt is also wide enough to look great on breeches with the wider belt loops. Because it’s stretchy, the belt moves with you — it doesn’t give me that binding feeling that some leather belts and their buckles can.

Tone on tone & stretch to fit in action!

For the price, this belt is an excellent value, and it is a very popular style for right now, with the equestrian hardware. Similarly-styled belts can be 3 times as much or more! But why pay that? The Hickstead belt is offered in a variety of colors and patterns, too.

Navy on navy

I chose navy because I knew it would look good with a lot of riding outfits, but I really like the tribal pattern one, too. Y’all know how I am about color in my life.

Basically, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want one of these belts right away!

Riding Tops I’m Obsessed with that Won’t Break the Bank

There is one top — and it’s not strictly for equestrians — that is very affordable and on Amazon and I LOVE it.

The fit can be tricky because it seems to run small, especially in the arms BUT the shirt is long and the arms are long and I am all torso with orangutan arms so it’s perfect. I am a size 4/6 dress and I wear the large in this shirt. It’s not skin-tight and I could probably wear the medium, too. It feels like an all-season weight, which means perfect for not-summer in Texas. And it’s under $25!

Another one that I don’t have yet but DO WANT — the Equine Couture Erna top that must be super popular.

I am really into mesh everything lately.  Yeah …. arms all of mesh. White appears to be the only color left on the website, but I hope these shirts get restocked, because honestly I need one of each color. But how perfect is the white for showing? That’s not exactly a question. I am actually just saying it’s perfect. That means it’s a show shirt that’s less than $60. That perhaps a family member could buy me for Christmas. Or something.

And last, winter in Texas still has a lot of tee-shirt weather. Enter One Horse Threads. EVERY season, new designs come out and I inevitably need at least one of them. Like this one:

I like the positive message. Although … I guess if you suck at picking distances it’s less positive. But I’m on board with it. This tee is so soft, and I love the fit! And the 70s vibe. The tee is under $30 and would most likely be very welcome under any equestrienne’s Christmas tree. I know I love mine!

What are some great riding outfits y’all have put together that don’t empty your wallet?

Tailored Sportsman IceFil Zip Top Review

but do I have enough sun protection?

Somehow, I have yet to review a sun shirt on the pages of this blog. I wear them frequently because I live in Texas. I have gravitated toward both EIS and Kastel, and think they are both excellent options.

stiff collar!

And then I bought a Tailored Sportsman sun shirt. (I know some people have serious reservations about the brand because of the owner’s reputation.) And now they are my favorite. They are priced very competitively at $65 each. The sleeves are long enough for my ridiculously long arms.

They come in pretty colors, and new colors are introduced each season. They don’t have any prominent branding on them. They are SOFT. They are cut slim, and are long enough to stay tucked in. They have collars that stay standing up, even without the zipper halfway or all the way zipped. They are durable, and the ones I have have never snagged or caught on anything. They wash easily and dry quickly. They don’t pill, and the mesh of the sleeves doesn’t pill, snag, or start pulling apart. And I didn’t just buy one a week ago — I have been wearing them all year.

I might just use this picture for tomorrow, too

That’s my review. I can’t find a thing wrong with them, physically. I mean, it’d be cool if they were $25 instead of $65, but that’s unlikely in riding attire. The Tailored Sportsman IceFil zip top is my sun shirt of choice.

Choosing a Lesson Outfit

Let me just stop any of you who don’t care about clothes right here: don’t bother reading this post.

Okay, now that we’ve weeded out the party-poopers, let’s all of us fashion hounds talk about choosing what to wear for a lesson. When I feel well-dressed, it really influences how much confidence I have, in no matter what I am doing. Again, if you can’t relate to that, you may not get much out of this post.

I really like to dress at least somewhat professionally for a lesson — not quite show attire obviously, but just as I would select a totally traditional, no-nonsense outfit for riding in a clinic, I like to be dressed tidily for a lesson, but with my own twist — yep, you guessed it, it’s that tiny, crazy, 87-year-old-lady inside my head telling me what to wear, balanced with my own modest sense of decorum. I’ll let y’all sort out for yourselves which pieces were picked by the metaphorical 87-year-old.

Riding clothes have to be comfortable and practical, of course. Affordable is another good attribute, so you won’t find me wearing $400 shirts to ride in. Durability is especially important for the tall boots, and protective goes without saying for the helmet. Working within those parameters, I give you a typical outfit that I’d wear to ride, such as the one I wore during schooling over fences on last Friday.

First, I wore a Tailored Sportsman IceFil zip top. I won’t say too much about it here, because I plan to post a full review later this week. Can’t go wrong with black, as long as it’s not a million degrees outside (the weather was quite nice).

I paired this with Equine Couture Beatta Breeches in Safari, a beigey tan color that goes with everything. Sometimes I wear boring pants. I actually really like these breeches, but can’t remember when or where I picked up this pair, but breeches.com has them. I have had these for about two years and they seem to hold up over time very well. I have found that with Equine Couture, I typically go up a size for the breeches to fit — I wear a 28 in Trophy Hunters, and these Beatta breeches are a size 30. They are also very easy care, and can be tossed in the dryer on low, even.

Next, I wore my new Trauma Void helmet — again, not going to say much here, as I plan to post a review of the helmet this week, too. One word preview: Love.

Tall boots are one of the things to spend on and not skimp. That doesn’t mean you can’t look for a good deal, as I found these DeNiro boots new-in-box on eBay for less than retail. Provided the company keeps on keeping on, I plan to stay a DeNiro boots customer for life. They are comfortable and have worn incredibly well so far. I can, and have, wear these all day without any discomfort.

Now for the wacky accessories. The first one is a belt I got during a sale at Luxe Eq. It’s a little metallic, in black, red, and gold. If you haven’t splurged on a Duftler spur belt yet, you are missing out. The leather is so supple, which I was not expecting given the metallic coloring, and the craftsmanship is excellent. I cannot possibly justify buying another one, though. Yet. Maybe. I also wore an Equivisor, which given the Texas sunlight, is eminently practical. The one I am wearing, I got on sale for like $17 or something ridiculous like that. Would I recommend black? Yes. Is the one I wear black? No. But it protects my face from the sun and leopard print totally acts like a neutral and goes with everything. I kind of want a jute one, actually.

The Asmar Crocodile Belt Purse: Unexpected Benefit

Most equestrians like to keep their phones on them while riding, and there are a lot of ways to do that, some more desirable that others. I pretty much stuffed my phone in my breeches’ pocket, a super not secure place for it. Sitting trot? Bye, phone. Half the time I’d stop and stick my phone on a jump standard so it wouldn’t bounce right out of my pocket and get stepped on.

But there are other ways … for one, my Botori pants have mesh thigh pockets and I am a little disappointed that every single pair of my breeches doesn’t have this feature, because how easy can it get? There are also mobile device carriers you can strap to your arm or leg, but my enthusiasm for those is nonexistent.

I have had it narrowed down to belt purse for a while … but how to pick which one? I knew I didn’t want fabric, and solid colors only. The belt loops had to be wide enough for my widest belts, and otherwise just my phone had to fit. This left me at a crossroads: Black Knight Accessories or Asmar?

 

I am already very familiar with Asmar and the brand’s high quality. Black Knight Accessories is all over Instagram, and one day the company offered its belt purses for $60 instead of $75 … perhaps now was the time to buy? Except I could not get the site to load. Uh. No.

The Asmar belt purses are considerably more expensive, but I also prefer their styling to anything else I’ve considered. There are definitely some evenings when I want my phone on me for sure while riding, such as when I am the only person up in the arena and it’s cold and dark and there are coyotes howling … see how I can convince myself this is a safety issue? It really is though. So I ordered the Asmar Crocodile belt purse in cognac.

One belt purse later I encountered a significant drawback — my phone only fits in the Asmar one if its Otterbox is not on it. Naked phone … mildly terrifying at a barn. BUT, I figure, it’s in a case that is secured to me so I don’t mind too much. (I have a Samsung Galaxy 8, maybe? Not sure on the generation.)

But I discovered this one other amazing thing that surprised me. This little belt purse liberates me from my phone. I didn’t even realize how often I absentmindedly checked my phone for no apparent reason, even at the barn. While I am less likely to constantly scroll through fodder on my phone while I am interacting with my horse, I still did do it some. For whatever reason, with my phone tucked away and securely clasped into the Asmar clutch, I didn’t look at it even once. I knew I had it if I needed it, but I guess since it was out of sight, it was also out of mind. So even if you don’t want to spend a fortune on a belt purse, consider getting any brand of one anyway, just to experience this wild phenomenon!

Okay, that was awkward to admit, so moving on … I really do love this thing. I wore it first with my GHM rust breeches, my brown boots, a blue tee, and my Trauma Void with — yes — a leopard print Equivisor. All kinds of 70s and old lady kitsch going on there. But I am hooked. If I am at the barn wearing a belt, I’ll be wearing this Asmar belt purse, too, with my phone out of mind.

Bold Reds

I am talking shades of wine today; varietals of the sartorial kind. If you haven’t picked up on deep, rich, cabernet-colored reds for fall equestrian styles, you must not have the internet and you most certainly aren’t reading this. All of my favorite brands have wine-inspired shades going on in their fall palettes. It may not be the only hot color for cooler temperatures, but it is definitely my favorite!

Um …. you’ve seen this, right? Asmar Equestrian has pulled together a special edition All Weather Rider in a bold tempranillo hue WITH ELBOW PATCHES! Need I say more?

The color goes beyond rain gear into show attire. Shades of red are getting pretty popular for show jackets and close as they may be to the traditional pinque, they are running more toward deeper wine shades or warmer rusty tones. Like this Equine Couture Danvers show coat — but it comes in navy and black, too! Can’t beat the price, either, coming in under $100.

Considering my oft-impulsive spending on breeches, I couldn’t miss these Romfh Sarafina breeches with silicone knee grips. This might be my dream breech!

And last, I have this belt. I love this belt. It’s in my daily rotation of riding attire. The Duftler quality is outstanding, too! Well worth the expense for a piece that can be worn for years with so many options. I picked it up during a Luxe Eq sale, and I have zero regrets.

While I wouldn’t pull together a monochromatic claret-colored riding outfit, using a pop of such a bold color paired with neutrals will get you through the autumn breezes in fine form.

Knee Status & Buy Some Breeches

Eli’s left knee looked pretty good last night. The swelling had almost completely subsided. Even better, he felt 100% under saddle. Leading up to last night, I had primarily been walking under saddle, as getting Eli moving around seemed to help with dispelling the swelling in his left knee. I’d ask for a trot, and it just didn’t feel all that great, that is until last night. We even cantered a little! It’s funny — I must have subconsciously avoided the spot where we faceplanted at the canter while cantering last night — I realized it once we went back to a walk. I guess I might have a little lite-ptsd? Anyway, I am cautiously optimistic Eli’s knee is better, but I think I will hold off on jumping him until after he sees the chiropractor. I plan to continue icing his knee after rides for at least a few more days.

In more exciting news, the custom color patch Botori Taylor pants came, and I LOVE the knee patch color! If you haven’t bought a pair of these riding pants yet, you are missing out! I think Botori can do custom patch color on large orders–can’t hurt to check with them if your barn wants to go in together on a barn color order!

If any of you are in the market for a pair of Trophy Hunters, size 28R in French blue with the tan patches, let me know — I have a pair in great condition and I’ll be willing to part with them for less than my asking price for blog readers.

I also have to mention, Eli has been on Thia-Cal, the daily liquid vitamin B1 supplement, for a week. All week, since Eli hasn’t been doing much, I expected him to be edgy and sassy about being ridden, and thought he would at the very least toss his head around in upward transitions. Except he hasn’t. He’s been quite relaxed and attentive. Is it the Thia-Cal? Maybe? I can’t say for sure. I am sure its effectiveness will truly be tested at some point this winter. It is much easier to administer than the oral paste, that much is certain. Now I don’t have to guess when to give Eli the Quia-Cal, because he gets the same ingredients daily with his lunch.

One last thing, Breeches.com is having free shipping on all orders from the US today. The company is also participating in International Helmet Awareness Day, too!

 

Can’t Stop Scrolling

Admittedly, I am an Instagram addict. I find all kinds of worthwhile things via Instagram. Some of what’s caught my eye this week …

 

An all navy Palo Alto long sleeve top? Um. Yes. This post even makes me want to wear white breeches just for fun. Weird.

I avidly follow Scott Brash. He even posts endearingly cute barn videos of his horses playing with muck rakes and such. But I have a conundrum … I like Scott Brash but I dislike clowns and he just used the clown emoji so now I’m conflicted.

I haven’t googled the hashtag and I have no idea why this picture exists but I think my life is markedly better for it. And I know I have said this before, but Leonardo DiCaprio is literally trying to save the world. His foundation’s Instagram is pretty badass, too.

It’s weird to me, how much I enjoy Elon Musk’s Instagram posts. He comes off as a regular guy who is just really into his job. His job being the future.

Holy beaded belt.

And last, if you haven’t ordered from breeches.com yet, you get 15% off your first order with coupon code SAS15P!