EGO 7 Orion Field Boot Review Update

Back in October/November-ish, I ordered EGO 7 Orion Field Boots from Germany. This means I spent $340 USD for boots that retail at $499 here (many tack shops have them in stock now).

And you know what? I’d buy these boots again at $499 in a heartbeat. 10 months in to wearing these boots fairly frequently, they have worn beautifully.

So I’ll break this down for you piece by piece based on my tall boot comparison chart.

FIT

The EGO 7 fit is S L I M. If your measurements are toward the larger end of a range in the size chart, I suggest sizing up. I fell about in the middle of the range for my calf size and the fit is very, very snug. I am thinking I might need a second pair for winter riding with a larger calf size if I want boots that will fit over thicker breeches and socks. They fit me well over thinner breeches and socks. The tall height worked out perfectly for me, as did the foot size 39. The break in time was about a week, and not once did I get a blister anywhere.

FUNCTION

The Orions have so many useful, purposeful features. Most importantly, they work well for riding. But no detail was left unattended in the design of these boots. There is a lot to cover here!

The hardware is high quality and durable–EGO 7s have the same zippers as Tucci boots so you know you can count on them to last a while.

The inner calf panel interested me, although I wasn’t quite sure what to think about it initially. Turns out, it’s about as grippy as regular (good) leather but it doesn’t abrade my saddle’s flaps. And considering I just got a new-to-me Devoucoux, I am glad the panels are there.

The stretch panel has a slight sheen to it, but it is so subtle that I don’t find it noticeably distracting. The stretch panel also seems extremely durable and not super stretchy. Like you know how the elastic gussets in paddock boots get all wavy and useless after a lot of wear? This will not be happening to the EGO 7 stretch panel–it’s a different type of material that has some stretch, just enough for a little bit more of a custom-looking fit.

The spur rests look like none I have ever seen and give the option of three or four different places to wear your spur. Eli appreciates I can wear my spur quite low with these boots without it slipping down too far.

As far as features that ensure a good fit, the elastic zipper guards, padded heel guards, and thin insoles all add to the comfort of these boots. Honestly, I am surprised more boot makers don’t have the elastic zipper guards–it makes them so much easier to snap over the zipper pull keepers at the top of tall boots.

Last, these boots have the right type of grippy outsoles for staying put on the stirrup iron treads. The soles in general are on the harder side, which I now know is a necessity for me after my experience with Parlanti soles. I don’t really want a sneaker feel for my tall boots.

STYLE

I think in my previous look at these boots back in November, I may have said I probably wouldn’t show in them … well, I did show in them. Polished up, these are perfect for all 3 rings. There is also a dress boot version for all y’all DQs. The toe cap, slim ankles, slightly tapered, rounded toe, softly-contoured Spanish top, and unique spur rests give these boots a stylish but contemporary look that works for showing or schooling.

COST

These boots are without a doubt worth the $499 that most people in America would be paying for them — I know most people prefer to try on boots before buying them rather than ordering from overseas and hoping for the best. But if you are willing to risk it, the Euro hasn’t bounced back all the way yet, so you may save a bit if you choose to order from Germany like I did. Even at $499, I think they are a budget-friendly tall boot and a well-fitted option when stacked up against more expensive custom brands.

Without reservations, I highly recommend these boots. They are already holding up much, much better than many other tall boots that I have tried. Added bonus–they should be out in brown soon!

 

Tall Boot Comparison

Now that I am in a bit of a tall boot bind and down to one pair again, a pair I would prefer to keep nice for shows, I started thinking about my experience with a number of boot brands over the years.

The most telling aspect? Two of the three pairs of boots I have purchased more recently, from reputable brands, sucked. That’s just sad, but at least I know to rule them out during my search for a second pair. I also know now what brands I can count on, too.

Looks to me like I should stick with EGO 7s and DeNiros. Tucci does EGO 7s, so I can no doubt count on Tuccis, too.

Ariats
Pros: Gorgeous color, wide footbed
Cons: Ugly zipper, fell apart after one year, never could zip them up all the way

DeNiros
Pros: Excellent leather quality, durability, square toe, water resistant
Cons: After 4 years, they need full zipper replacement and have dropped a little too much. Not bad! The leather is still in great condition.

Effinghams
Pros: I didn’t buy them (“free” is always a nice benefit), durable (still in my closet)
Cons: They don’t seem to exist anymore

EGO 7s
Pros: Styling, price, quality, elastic zipper guards, heel guards, elastic panel that is not too stretchy, comfortable footbed, grippy soles
Cons: Haven’t found any yet. I’d buy these again at US retail at this point.

Parlantis
Pros: Comfortable right away, elastic zipper guard, squishy footbed
Cons: Looked 5 years old after 2 months, calf stretched too much, color wore off, and squishy footbed–while they were comfortable, they some how managed to create pressure on the balls of my feet while in the irons, which caused my feet to go numb rather quickly. I just need hard soles, I guess.

Vogels
Pros: Made to measure, simple and elegant for the time, durable (still in my closet)
Cons: Bitch to break in, no zippers or gussets (which is my fault, not Vogel’s), can’t wear them now because calf no longer fits (also my fault, lol)

After comparing all of these brands, quality and durability are worth the price, and in the long run would save me money. I don’t want tall boots that only last a year.  I plan on getting the zippers replaced on the DeNiros soon. They’d definitely suffice as a schooling pair!

Two Horse Tack 2-Color Riding Reins Review

I jumped at the chance to try more Two Horse Tack — Conrad still loves showing off his bling collar and now that I know beta biothane is actually way more leather-like than I figured, I thought trying out some reins would be worthwhile.

One option: roller buckles

Okay. So. There were a lot of options. SO MANY OPTIONS. I will just spell out what I did, but if you click through the link you can scroll down for quite a while selecting options to customize your order. I chose 5/8″ 10′ 2-color English reins in brown with green, with roller buckles and super grip material. Basically, reins I can school with or use in the jumper ring. (But if you want red split reins with I don’t even know what all you can get, go for it because you can. Or bling reins, those are also a thing and I am not sure how I managed to not get those.)

I put them on my jumper bridle, which Eli hadn’t worn in a while. He was a little miffed about the noseband.

I am first and most impressed by the super grip material.

These reins have just a bit more weight to them than laced reins, but feel very similar to the more traditionally-styled reins you see in the jumper ring a lot. What impressed me about the super grip material? It never gets slippery. Really. The first two times I used these reins, it was misting and/or sprinkling and the reins got wet (with the rest of my tack). I figured they’d slip through my hands since I didn’t even have gloves on but nope! It’s also hot right now, even at 7pm when I usually ride during the week (like still 95F), and no amount of sweat that Eli and I could produce made the reins slippery. The super grip is as grippy if not more so than any pair of rubber reins I’ve used. It will be very interesting to see over time whether they get melty like some rubber reins–something tells me this may not be a problem with the beta biothane at least.

The color was just a fun thing I decided to do, but you can get the reins with only one color instead of two. The hardware on these reins also seems very sturdy–mine have the roller buckles and they are easy to use, built to last. Time will tell how rust-resistant they are, but since they are stainless steel I imagine they won’t rust.

Too hot. Must shuffle.

The 10′ reins are plenty long, long enough for Eli to do whatever it is he is doing in the above picture … protesting the noseband is my guess, nothing to do with the reins. He usually carries his poll a bit higher … oh well. I think 9′ reins would also be an appropriate length for the English disciplines, especially in the jumper ring I think that might be a better option for most people. And you can totally get 9′ reins instead of 10′ reins. Because options.

Looking for an incentive to order? The reins or anything else on the Two Horse Tack website … sign up for the newsletter! Sign up now and you get a $10 coupon which I think would go a long way on any product from Two Horse Tack.

Summer Riding Attire: 2017 Edition

Riding in the summer in Texas … not gonna lie, I sometimes skip riding in August altogether. Otherwise, Texans are the experts in hot-weather riding. Most often during the summer, I ride in the Kastel Denmark or EIS sun shirts and have found the Romfh Sarafina breeches to be THE BEST for summer riding in Texas. However, options abound and there are a few things I’ve got my eye on for withstanding the more mellow heat of the evenings (because everything melts in the middle of the day here).

Fior da Liso makes some of the nicest shirts available, anywhere. The ones I have (that I bought on super duper ebay overseas sale–these shirts are too expensive to pay retail), I wear to work. And some of the prints on the S/S 2017 collection are too cute for words, like the Paula shirt.

But what to wear to show for the summer? I won’t be showing this summer because I would die of heat exhaustion, but the Horseware Sara long-sleeve show shirt has a nice lace detail in the back that might provide a little extra air circulation.

Admittedly, I have no idea what kind of sports bra to wear with it! A nude one, I guess? Does anybody have this shirt?

Now, you can never have too many tee-shirts that say stuff on them. I found a few from EQUO that sum up my feelings exactly. Both are cover-ups that you can wear over a show shirt, and they can be taken off while wearing a helmet because of the extra-wide neck line. I love targeted design considerations like that.

There is nothing more accurate.

And while we are browsing the EQUO website, may I point out their schooling breeches? These look like yoga pants, but with sticky knees … unfortunately the price tag puts them well out of my comfort zone for buying just for schooling. I will merely admire them from afar.

But we all know by now how much I love the Romfh Sarafina breeches — thanks again to Carey! So when the Gabriella breeches came out, I knew I’d need them. Yes, need.

I got them in White Sand, so I can show in them, too, just in case, ya know?

They are low-rise, and have sticky knees, both pluses in my book. Can’t wait to see these in more colors!

So, as you can see in the above picture, I like cute socks. While browsing “funky socks” online, and narrowing it a bit to equestrian vendors, I ran across Inkstable socks. Corgi Inkstable socks, to be clear.

Um. I know some people that might need these. Any chance there will be a dachshund version?

Just one more accessory to go, people, and a bonus item that I really normally would never write about …

The accessory? A belt.

Ruespari belts look like the summer must-have equestrian belt from where I’m standing. They seem a bit pricey for being elastic, but that’s not unheard of in the equestrian world. The equestrian-style closures are really cute, though, so I couldn’t overlook these. I would happily accept one as a gift. *hint* (Actually, no, don’t spend like that. Very irresponsible. Said the horse owner.)

Okay. If you have made it this far, I have one last item to recommend for summer riding, and that item is underwear. Not something I feel very strongly about, except for this particular pair …

These Ex-Officio Sport Mesh briefs are pretty much my go-to for riding when it’s hot and humid out. Zero chafing. Quick-drying. Lightweight, and comfortable. More than I would normally pay for one pair of underwear, but I don’t regret having a couple pairs tucked away in a drawer for when I need them. These are worth the investment.

I shamelessly took pictures from vendors for this post. Happy shopping, right?!

 

 

Fleeceworks Therawool™ Show Hunter Saddle Pad Review

Let’s just say that I have not owned a suitable saddle pad for the hunter ring since, like, 1999. The 2017 options are staggering and widely range in price and quality. But I had to start somewhere …

I looked at the Ogilvy show hunter pads with memory foam, but for ~$280 they were a bit more than I wanted to spend on experimenting in the hunter ring. So I started looking at other options.

I knew I wanted some kind of sheepskin or wool for the properties–it’s kind of like nature’s memory foam and sheepskin is anti-bacterial because of the lanolin. I started looking at Fleeceworks products and found a good price at Riding Warehouse for the Therawool™ Show Hunter.

In our first try in the hunter ring, I used the saddle pad with no inserts or shims and I was very satisfied with its performance. Eli seemed quite comfortable and didn’t develop any back soreness. But, I did notice the saddle sat a bit low in front, more than I am really comfortable with, so I got the Ecofelt inserts .

Once I had the inserts, they looked a bit big and I thought I might have to cut them down a bit. I decided to try shoving them into the shim pockets before trimming to estimate how much I’d have to alter them, and as it turns out, they fit in very snugly and perfectly–no room for shifting around but not too big, either.

For our next attempt at hunters, I used the saddle pad with shims in place, and I was even more pleased with the performance of the pad than before, and Eli had no objections. I felt like with the Ecofelt, the saddle was more balanced on Eli, with pressure more evenly distributed along the panels.

Size Large fits my 17″ Bruno Delgrange PJ.

One of the nice features about the Therawool™ is that it is machine washable. After the first show, I did wash it in the machine and hung it up to dry, and brushed out the Therawool™ with the wire brush that came with the saddle pad. It definitely shed a bit that first wash, but that’s what lint rollers are for. After the second show, the saddle pad was hardly even dirty, so instead of washing it I just hung it up to air out a bit and after it had dried completely I brushed the Therawool™ again with the wire brush, and the loft recovers quite well.

This is an extremely nice, well-made saddle pad and for less that $150 I think it’s a great deal.

Cashel Quiet Ride Fly Mask Review

While it seems so far away now, Eli did have some sinus procedures that left a hole in his face the size of a half dollar. He could go back to work before the hole healed completely. I had a high level of apprehension about this and wanted some degree of protection for his face while he worked under saddle. He wore a regular fly mask 24/7 for a while, but I wanted something less obtrusive for riding. I found the Cashel Quiet Ride Fly Mask and Eli wears it now for many of our rides, just as he did when he went back to work after the sinus procedures.

Although the intended purpose of this fly mask is obviously to deter pesky flying insects, I have found Eli seems especially to prefer wearing it on super sunny, super windy, or drizzly days (or nights), too. I jokingly call it his sensory deprivation fly mask, but really this is just one more essential piece of equipment for Eli to help him stay focused. We also tried the Cashel Nose Net, but he strongly objected to that. He occasionally may have head-shaking tendencies, but I don’t think he’s truly a head-shaker to where the behavior interferes with daily activities — he just objects to extremely bright light and I can relate. If I can do something to ease the discomfort sunlight, wind, or drizzle can cause Eli when I need him paying attention to me, I will do that thing. That thing is this fly mask.

I can most definitely recommend this fly mask for riding — it helps deter pests and for Eli it has some added benefits. He has two because I always want a clean one ready to use. Conveniently enough, Riding Warehouse carries them for a great price.

 

Weenie Wednesday: Two Horse Tack Bling Collar and Leash Review

Lest you think I have been depriving Conrad of proper attention, toys, and adornments, I would like to tell you about his latest look. He rocks orange like no other.

Two Horse Tack sent Conrad a dog collar and leash made from Beta Biothane and some extra shiny adornments added, i.e., bling. I picked orange for Conrad because it seems to be his favorite color. Before the collar and leash arrived, I admit I was somewhat skeptical about what the material would be like. I have zero experience with synthetic tack; Conrad’s other collars have been nylon or leather.

As soon as I unwrapped the collar and leash, I thought there had been a mistake. They were soft, flexible, and felt like leather in my hands. I was completely surprised by how much the Beta Biothane seemed like leather! I tried the collar on Conrad immediately and he got a few extra cookies for modeling.

Okay, so I know we all describe fancy French bridle leather as buttery soft, so is it a little weird that that’s what I thought of when I picked up the leash? Conrad and I test-drove the collar and leash on our Saturday walk, and I am really pleased with not only the quality of the material and sparkliness of the stones, but the hardware also seems very durable.

And all you have to do to clean it is a little soap and water! There’s no way for it to get grimey like nylon does. Not that Conrad is into getting dirty, but maybe your dogs are a little more adventurous or mud-loving.

Two Horse Tack is also, don’t forget, a tack shop, and offers all kinds of custom things in Beta Biothane, beyond their selection of dog collars and leashes. And for any of you wishing to check out Two Horse Tack, I have a 10% off coupon code for you all.

You can also sign up for the Two Horse Tack newsletter if you haven’t already for more special offers and updates.

Maybe Eli needs a green side-pull …