Botori Riding Pants Review

I don’t wear riding tights or leggings — I never have, even as a kid. It’s always been jeans or breeches. (French saddles pretty much got everyone out of jeans and into breeches.)

Maybe that’s still true since these are called “pants“?

My friend convinced me I needed these pants! P.S. How cute is her pony???

I picked up on the Botori equestrian brand via Instagram, like many people. I liked the styling of these pants but wasn’t sure I’d really need a winter-weight pair and that was what came out first. But then Botori released new designs for summer. I couldn’t get them out of my mind. A friend said she had ordered a pair and I told her to tell me if she liked them or not. The next time I saw her, she was wearing them and I KNEW I needed a pair.

These are the most comfortable pair of pants I own. I have a pair of Patagonia yoga pants that I love, and up until now had been my most comfortable pair of pants, but not any more. I wore these pants in the heat and humidity all day on Sunday and every time a slight breeze picked up, it felt like these pants were made of the icefil material of sun shirts.

They even have mesh cuffs at the bottom … genius

They are also extremely comfortable to ride in. I wondered how it would feel in the saddle, but I didn’t feel any less secure. The pants’ wide waistband kept them in place during my ride in them. It was easy to keep my smartphone on me during my ride in one of the mesh thigh pockets.

Barn kitty approved

Really, I am just so impressed with these pants! I could sleep in them, they are so soft and cool and comfortable. When I first opened the package with them (which shipped within an hour of me placing my order — how is that for customer service!) I held them up and was like … whoa … these are tiny.

Botoris double as excellent dog walking pants

Are these the right size? They were, and they have so much stretch in them. They fit beautifully once I pulled them on and I knew I had ordered and received the right size.

Work outside all day in complete comfort

I definitely need another pair. Maybe two more pairs … these will see a ton of use this summer!

GHM Add Back Breeches Review

I got a few pairs of the GHM Add Back breeches for my birthday back in May, and I am loving them for summer riding.

I love the wine color. Possibly because I love wine …

Style:
First, the styling of these breeches is in keeping with current trends in breeches design — things we’ve come to expect now such as smooth sock bottoms, a wide waist, and sticky silicone knee patches. An added detail about the Add Backs that really caught my eye is the suede piping at the slant pockets. It’s a nice, luxurious touch that makes these breeches a good candidate for showing as well as schooling. They have the ever-popular and flattering Euro seat style, but even better? The color options. Safari is the show-appropriate color, but I also have the graphite and wine and the colors are very rich, with a slight sheen giving a jewel-toned effect. The wide waist means I can pair them with my beloved Duftler spur belts.

You can see a peek of the suede detail and pocket embroidery here.

Fit:
The fit of the GHM Add Back breeches seems to run slim. For me, that’s a good thing. The waist is snug enough that I don’t have a problem with the breeches sinking lower and lower as I wear a pair throughout the day. Additionally, I have slim calves, and sometimes it’s a struggle to find breeches that aren’t baggy in the calf–these breeches are not baggy around my calf at all. These breeches also have a longer inseam that most of my other breeches, and almost cover my ankle bone. This all being said, the material is pretty stretchy. I measured the inseam on one of my pairs, and it runs 27″ long. For reference, I wear a 28 and the size chart runs pretty true-to-size — the size chart indicates the inseam is 26 1/2″ so that’s pretty close.

Safari color pictured.

Function:
A really popular feature right now on breeches is a silicone knee patch or seat. When riding, the silicone offers a more secure, grippy feeling in the saddle. These breeches have that extra grip for sure! That’s just one functional feature on these breeches out of many. The material is also very thin and lightweight without being see-through. It’s a great material for summer — I was able to wear a pair all day at a show in the heat (got up to like 102F at the show!) and the material kept me cool (relatively speaking), dry, and comfortable. You might think thin material would be flimsy or too stretchy and would lose it’s shape, but these breeches held their shape very well in such hot and humid conditions. They wash up well and like many other breeches, I line dry these. A dryer is not a good thing for athletic material or silicone.

2″ wide belt accommodated

I am so pleasantly surprised by just how much I love these breeches — finding a pair of breeches for under $100 that look great and actually perform well when I’ve thrown heat and horses and dust and water at them has been difficult, but these breeches live up to all of that and more, offering an affordable option without sacrificing athletic details that are must-haves on modern breeches.

You can find this style and others from the George H Morris Collection at Breeches.com. And during Breeches.com Father’s Day sale, use code FDS18 now through 6/17 for 15% off your order, or get 15% off your first order any time with code SAS15P.

Weenie Wednesday: Aussie Pet Mobile Grooming

Conrad had an appointment last Wednesday with Aussie Pet Mobile North Austin for a bath and nail trim. I decided to try this, to see if it would be less stressful for Conrad than either me trying to trim his nails or taking him to Petsmart for a nail trim (both of which are also stressful for me).

He was a bit miffed but look at that cute little green bandanna!

We met his groomer outside in the driveway, and walked up to the mobile grooming van, which looked very clean and was air conditioned. Conrad was not enthusiastic about getting in the van, but he was all done with his appointment within thirty minutes. He came back to the house smelling so nice and with a little green bandanna on, which was completely adorable but he decided he did not want to wear it all day. His nails looked incredible, much better than they have in a long time. I booked another appointment for July. His groomer was so nice and she did such a great job, I am glad that I could book with her again.

Shiny coat, short nails, mildly disgruntled dachshund

For dogs that hate car travel or chaotic environments, this is an excellent option. It is, of course, more expensive than just having a nail trim at Petsmart or even an appointment with a brick-and-mortar groomer. Conrad weighs 17lbs and the cost was $80. But I get to pick the time, and Conrad is only inconvenienced for about a half hour. I also tipped the groomer on top of the fee because I appreciated the level of service that Conrad received. (I don’t know what dog groomers make when working for a franchise, but my guess is that tips are most welcome). I definitely prefer this to a brick-and-mortar groomer because typically I’d just have to leave Conrad there and pick him up later and he’d be stuck in a cage or kennel, possibly for hours. I have a hard enough time doing that for Conrad’s dental appointments.

Conrad’s nails still looking good after a week

Another great thing about Aussie is they don’t use kennels or cages, and they hand dry without heat. I told Conrad’s groomer that she could even skip the hand drying and just towel dry if Conrad seemed miffed at a hand-held dryer.

Yes. I know. My dog is spoiled.

Weenie Wednesday: Pampeano Dog Collar Review

Conrad got a new collar! Country and Stable has a great selection of dog collars (and matching belts, too), so I picked out the Pampeano Tornado Collar for him, in size XS.

The collar runs true to size, and fits Conrad perfectly. The leather is supple and the woven design looks so good on him — the dark blue really pops against his coat color.

 

The collar has a regular buckle closure plus a ring to hang name tags or proof of rabies vaccination, or to hook a leash to. Conrad being his tiny perfect self wears a harness so I don’t clip his leash to his collar, but on larger well-trained dogs it would be perfect for that.

 

I just love how this collar looks on him. It’s a great way to show a little of Conrad’s style without being overstated. I think I might need to pick up the matching belt for myself! (It IS my birthday, so … )

Le Mieux Teknique Fetlock Stud Boots Review

I mentioned last week that I have been looking for solutions for Eli’s hind interference. Other than the pastern wraps that are on the way, I think I may have found a good one! I looked at Country and Stable’s selection of tendon and fetlock boots — they have an excellent selection of well-known, popular brands — and started really getting curious about the open front hind fetlock boots. I decided to try the Le Mieux Teknique boots because they met a lot of my criteria for the kind of fetlock boots I am looking for.

 

 

First of all, I wanted something with stud closures. No more Velcro, I am so irritated with trying to keep that clean and also sticky/grabby enough to keep working properly.

The Le Mieux boots meet that criteria right away, obviously. Honestly, beyond that, I have to say I was not familiar enough with the Le Mieux brand and I thought they basically did saddle pads and polos. I had no idea they made horse boots so I was curious about the boots’ features. The boots have a soft, squishy gel liner, but also a mesh layer to release heat through vents built into the boots.

 

Le Mieux also incorporates reinforced strike plates on the sides and back of the boot for extra protection, perfect for a horse that interferes.

 

Of course, the most important aspect of these boots is whether they fit my horse. I had reservations at first, because Eli fell on the line between size medium and size large — I went with large because I was concerned he would find the mediums too tight and uncomfortable. He does still rooster walk in these for a few steps after I put them on, but under saddle I can tell the boots don’t change anything about his way of going. The elastic straps have a good bit of stretch in them, so I think the larges would fit a range of larger horses, including big-boned warmbloods. One last thing I had to make sure of is whether the boots collect the arena footing inside while riding. I hate that, and it’s been the main reason I’ve been looking for different boots for Eli. While his sheepskin Eskadrons may be comfortable to him and offer good protection, they collect footing like they’re trying to build a sandcastle.

brass studs from patentlybay on Vimeo.

Some dust collecting inside the boots is going to be inevitable, but I am very pleased that there are no chunks of arena footing piling up in his boots, which also tells me they are a good, snug fit.

Overall, I am impressed by the quality and function of these Le Mieux fetlock boots. I think they are a good option for any jumping horses, offering protection while leaving the fronts open to remind the horse he doesn’t want to catch any rails. I can recommend these boots for sure! And now I am interested in other Le Mieux stuff, too, based on such quality and thoughtfulness behind the design.

Country and Stable carries a large selection of Le Mieux products, and based the the quality of these fetlock boots, I would definitely consider picking up other Le Mieux products from Country and Stable.

Extrapolation: Using Equilab

I have been trying out the Equilab app, mainly because it’s free, so why not? It is also fairly easy to use, although data from my first attempt at using it should probably just be deleted because I did not enter in rider and horse weight accurately — it was set on kilograms and I was entering in pounds. So for the first ride I guess the app must have thought I was a sumo wrestler on an elephant.

The app also asks for equipment weight, which I totally just guessed at. You can enter in different horses and facilities, too. And you can set units of measurements for other things, like mpm and distance — do you want to use miles or kilometers? I left it as mpm because that’s how jumper class speeds are indicated and I’m used to it.

Last night, I decided it would be beneficial to have video of a ride tracked in the Equilab app, to see how well the app tracks what’s going on. I didn’t ride for long and didn’t track the part of the ride we spent walking around in the fields that are currently covered in wildflowers. But the app seems fairly accurate as far as whether and for how long we were walking, trotting, or cantering.

The app also tracks turns, how much of the ride is spent at each hand, and energy consumption. Energy consumption for the rider is in calories, and energy consumption for the horse is in megajoules — this makes sense to me since horses are fed by weight, not calorically. This is probably also the most suspicious data point to me, because it really can only be an estimate.

The app also discusses the nature of the energy consumption estimates and whether a feed program should be based on the data gathered by Equilab — just sort of a cautionary paragraph on it, i.e., don’t do that without professional input. The app tracks all this data over time, so if I use this regularly, I could have a pretty good sense of our work patterns and possibly the energy consumption, too.

Which by the way — this is your data, but it is also Equilab’s data. Equilab knows where you are and stores all of this data on you and your horses and rides for you.  If you aren’t comfortable with an app tracking your whereabouts, don’t use this. (Or really don’t use the internets haha)

GPS is powerful these days, huh? No, I did not actually leave the ring at the canter, but it’s not all that far off. The app most definitely captured how much time I spend working off the rail as opposed to on it.

As far as comparing the video to the app data, it seemed mostly accurate. I have no idea how the app tracks stride length, but it does!

I guess Eli’s canter stride is almost 9′? That could very well be possible when we are just flatting casually, but it seems a few feet short to me. I don’t know from which points of the stride they are measuring, either.

And Eli’s trot step is 7′?

I guess?

So the data is imperfect, but for the most part a lot of it is very useful and close enough to accurate for me. If nothing else, you can see if you are working equally on both hands. Right away, this app makes me think I need to canter more. At the same time, I don’t think I would use this app for every single ride, but I can see using it once or twice a week just to check in on the data points I care about.

We would rather just walk around in the field, though. I am interested to see how the data plays out when Eli and I school over fences.

 

Roeckl Madrid Gloves Review

I am pretty sure that if you have found your way to this blog, you most likely are at least vaguely familiar with the Roeckl brand of riding gloves. I have a few pairs (gotta keep one pair nice for shows!) of the Roeck-Grip model and I love them. I welcomed the opportunity to try a different model of the Roeckl equestrian line. I have been wearing the Roeckl Madrid gloves while riding all last week and over the weekend, and like my other pairs, they brilliantly exceed my expectations.

Quality
We all know how hard riding is on our riding gloves. Gloves are a daily staple of my riding wardrobe, so they see a lot of use. I have been riding for over a year now with laced reins, which I think can sometimes be a little tougher on gloves than rubber reins (unless they have stops). Years before I switched to Roeckls, I went through gloves fairly quickly, seeing how many brands and materials just didn’t stand up to daily wear. The seams would pop, or the gloves would wear through between the ring and pinkie fingers, or — and this was the worst pair — they would develop a gross smell that couldn’t be washed out (TMI, but I don’t recommend the Heritage Premier Show gloves). Yes, this is Texas, I sweat when I ride sometimes. The gloves have to hold up to that, too!

And then I switched to Roeckl gloves. I am never going back to another brand. They are exceptionally well-made, and I haven’t ever popped a seam on them, and it takes a few years of wear before mine get shredded, rather than just a few months of wear other gloves got before falling apart. The Madrid gloves are no exception. You can scrutinize the seams and stitching and find no faults. The Madrid gloves have a few different types of material incorporated, and they all come together very well, without any wonky, uneven, or loose stitching. Parts of the gloves that typically see the most wear are strategically reinforced, too.

Gold piping on patent? Don’t mind if I do.

Style
But are they pretty? Um … see for yourself. These may not be to everyone’s tastes, but personally I love how these look. Black and gold is never not appropriate. (Okay, okay, I really need the all-black ones for the hunter ring.) This is a subjective category — I picked a style I knew I would like. Once I got them in my hands, I could see I made the right choice. I especially like the tone on tone details of these gloves, the use of mixed materials and subtle patterns, and with that pop of gold at the closure. They come in a lot of different color options, so if black and gold isn’t your thing, maybe you’d wear navy and silver.

Fit
The Roeckl fit seems very consistent across different models. I wear a ladies 7.5 and these Madrid gloves offer a very close fit without being uncomfortably tight. The fit is pretty much the same as the Roeck-grip gloves, and I know at least a few of you readers have a pair or two of those, so you wouldn’t have to wonder about size when ordering these.

Function
This is the really important part of the review–do these gloves live up to the Roeckl brand reputation? So far, yes. The impeccable fit goes a long way to ensure a very close contact feel on the reins. While it is not quite like not wearing gloves because your hands are somewhat protected, the feel is almost there. I am not compromising my feel on those lines of communication to the horse’s mouth when I wear these gloves. Bonus feature: touchscreen compatible. I tested that out and could easily take pictures without taking my gloves off. I didn’t try to type anything on my phone’s soft keys, but I am a lousy typist without gloves as it is.

There is a second functional aspect of the Madrid gloves that is almost a necessity in Texas, or any warm climate–breathability. The glove backs are mesh — not gapy or see-through, really, but a very close-knit, lightweight mesh. It was 80-something during my lesson on Saturday, and my hands didn’t get hot or even sweat very much. If you are looking for a well-made and stylish summer glove, this would be it. They are even machine-washable. I haven’t tested that out on this pair, but my other pairs wash up fine and dry pretty quickly when I set them out to air dry.

These Madrid gloves are so sporty, both in how they look and how they feel with the reins in my hands. I am glad I have this pair to use throughout this summer. I can recommend these to anyone wanting a lightweight or mesh summer glove.