White Breeches Showdown

With our first recognized trial just around the corner, I realized I should probably get my butt in gear and find a new pair of white full seat breeches. I know you can ride in beige for all phases at the BN but I like the look of the white. And, I have to take advantage of riding in white now while Gus is still gray! It won’t be long until I’m battling with the dingy look.

So, I ordered four pairs of white full seats. The first, the Kerrits Cross-Over Full Seats, looked so bad on me that I immediately sent them back without taking pictures. I was disappointed because I’ve seen lots of peopleR wearing these and I’ve always thought they looked so nice. Plus the price was great.

That left me with three more options, two from Romfh and one from Ovation.

Ovation DX Celebrity Slim Secret Full Seats

I ordered these specifically because I love my Ovation Aqua X breeches so much. I had hoped that they would fit the same and have a lot of the same features. Well, I could check the box off on both of those counts. The fit was great and they had my sock bottoms (something that I found lacking in the Romfhs).

However, the material felt more like cotton than the moisture wicking fabric I liked. For winter shows, or anywhere that doesn’t have the intense humidity that Georgia does, I would be fine with this. But I’ve had a pair of full seats in this type of material before and trying to pull them off between phases in my trailer? No thank you.  Plus, they were the thinnest of the batch and I didn’t like how it looked like I was wearing shorts. No go.

Romfh Women’s Isabella White Full Seats

These breeches were an immediate nope the minute I put them on. The fit just wasn’t good on me. If I had liked them otherwise I may have tried a size smaller since they just seemed too big all the way around, but I didn’t. Negative point one, no sock bottoms. They aren’t Velcro but they aren’t really sock bottoms either. Negative point two, the weird weird belt loops. You can see me in my pictures that it looks like there is space for a tiny belt above my belt. I do not like this look.

I do like how light weight the material is and I imagine it would be very comfortable in the Georgia heat. And, to give more props, they were not very see thru. A big plus! In the end though, these were not the full seats for me either.

Romfh Sarafina Full Seat Breeches

The Sarafina breeches had everything I liked about the Isabella and had fixed just about everything I didn’t like. Still no sock bottom… get on that Romfh! But the crazy extra belt loops were gone and the fit was so much better. That fabric seems a little thicker but still very light weight. I knew right away that these were the ones.

Unfortunately, these were the most expensive of the batch. Such is life. I have champagne taste on a beer budge.

Review: Ovation Aqua-X Breeches

When I read Amanda’s glowing review of the Ovation Aqua-X knee patch breeches, I randomly decided to purchase a pair. I really didn’t have a need to, I have plenty of schooling quality breeches even if they aren’t very good breeches and I would like to get rid of them (wait, that’s a reason, right?). So I found a Riding Warehouse coupon and placed my order for a pair of full seats and knee patch.

They came the Thursday before the Poplar schooling show and, since they were so cute on and pretty comfy, I decided to wear them on that Friday. I wore them ALL DAY. No joke. I woke up and was on my way out to the barn around 8:00 am. I hooked up my trailer. I packed up hay and tack and shavings. I loaded Gus. I drove three hours to Poplar. I set up my stall. I set up my camping space. And all the while I felt like I was wearing the most comfortable broken in jeans. But better. And I absolutely loved being able to go from walking around to riding to working without worrying about what I was wearing.

This was also a good indicator of just how well they will hold up which so far is so good. I haven’t had any issues with stitching and they look like brand new after coming out of the wash.

The Ovation Aqua –X have all the little features that I require in my breeches these days like wide belt loops, euroseat, and sock bottoms (death to Velcro!) and I love the nylon/lycra blend material. While I haven’t had a chance to wear these in the middle of a brutal Atlanta summer, so far they do seem to keep me cooler than anything else I’ve used.

The knee patch breeches have the silicone knee patches and I wasn’t sure how I felt about them at first. They are very shiny and I was worried that they would get scratched or ruined easily. They have not and I’ve come around to liking them. The full seats have your standard synthetic seat.

Long story short, I am in love with these breeches. On more than one occasion I have come home from the barn and just lounged away the rest of the evening in them. I want a pair in every single color and I want Ovation to make more colors. I would be thrilled if they came out with a white/gray option in the full seats (or knee patch!)… Ovation… if you see this… hint hint!

You can find these breeches at Riding Warehouse for $116.95 for both the full seats and the knee patches. If  you end up trying them, let me know what  you think! 

My 5 Favorite Things: the Dog Grooming Edition

Giving my large hairy and only-loves-water-if-it’s-a-natural-body-of-water-or-a-swimming-pool-but-no-bath-tub dogs is the bane of my existence. Between the de-shedding, being covered in water, and their “I hate you” expressions, I just don’t do it as often as I should. In fact, lately I’ve just given up and have been sending them to the groomer. But, when I do venture into this, I have found a few helpful products:

  1. Vetrolin Bath Ultra-Hydrating Conditioning Shampoo0022218This is my favorite shampoo. I use it for the horses and I use it for the dogs. Does a great job cleaning and leaves them smelling great. It also doesn’t agitate Guinness’ skin and he is so so sensitive.
  2. EZ Wash Wand
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    This one is something that makes my life easier rather than something the dog really likes but bath time is so much easier with the EZWash Wand! The one shown is the dog size (which I didn’t know they made until doing this post) but I have the larger horse size. Lets me get all over the body with minor wrangling of dog and I barely get wet while using it (unlike a normal hose).I also found while writing this that they have a shampoo container that can be added. I ordered that to give it a try.
  3. HandsOn Gloves
    6y5a5369These are both of my dogs favorite grooming accessory ever. I get them out of the bag and they go crazy! They like the massage that they get. I like that they pull out all the extra hair. But really, what I love about these is how easy they make bath time. I pour the shampoo right on my hand and then attack the wet dog. They help me get right down to the skin  so that I truly get a clean dog. And the dogs don’t mind baths quite as much when they’re getting a massage.
  4. SleekEz
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    I originally bought this for Gus. He’s always sweaty and grows a way thicker coat than he should in the summer (to the point that I actually shaved him in the summer) so I thought maybe this would help. It didn’t. So I brought it home to try on the dogs. We have used so many different shedding brushes with Guinness and he hates them all. But this one, he didn’t! He not only tolerated it, he actually seemed to like it. The SleekEz pulled out the undercoat but didn’t seem to pull on his skin. It also left his coat looking shiny and healthy. The brush didn’t do as well with Harley but she also doesn’t have that big undercoat like Guinness does.
  5. Synthetic Chamois
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    They technically make these for drying off your car but I was given the tip to use them for the dogs at a Dock Diving competition. It was instant love. They soak up the water, you wring them out, and they’re easy to store and carry around without having to deal with wet towels. I currently am using The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois but I expect any high rated brand would do the trick.

Book Review: Ambition

Ambition by Natalie Keller Reinert

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Synopsis

“Jules Thornton didn’t come to Ocala to make friends. She came to make a name for herself. Young, determined, and tough as nails, she’s been swapping stable-work for saddle-time since she was a little kid – and it hasn’t always been a fun ride. Forever the struggling rider in a sport for the wealthy, all Jules has on her side is talent and ambition. She’s certain all she needs to succeed are good horses, but will the eventing world agree?

On her own at last, Jules is positive she’s poised to become eventing’s newest star, but soon finds she’s making more enemies than friends in the close-knit equestrian community. Little mistakes cost big — her students are losing faith in her; her owners are starting to pull their horses. And then there’s the small matter of Peter Morrison, the handsome, on-the-rise event rider who keeps showing up when she least expects him.

Jules is convinced that all she needs is good horses — not friends, not romance, not anyone’s nose in her business. But it’s just the beginning of the long, hot, Ocala summer, and as Jules tumbles through the highs and lows of a life with horses, she might find she’ll need help after all to weather the coming storm.”

– from Amazon.com

Review

In a lot of ways, this book is the eventing version of The Dressage Chronicles. The author has first hand experience with the upper levels if eventing and that shines through the pages. It’s very nice to not be thrown out of the story due to a minor detail that just doesn’t ring true. 

That all being said, it took me a bit to get into the story as the main character, Jules, is definitely prickly. Her ambition is all consuming and sometime makes it look like Jules cares more about winning than the horses. 

This is not the case though and, while Jules doesn’t get any softer, her heart eventually wins the readers over. More than that, she’s scrappy and bold and I know I wish I was like that occasionally! 

Also like The Dressage Chronicles the story brings the readers into a world that a lot of people don’t see and that few authors like to discuss which is just how hard the professional Equestrian life is when you aren’t born with money. While Jules mostly lands on her feet, things are not easy between natural disasters,  typical horse shenanigans, and difficult clients. 

Then there’s the attractive Pete, a fellow trainer and competitor who is doing his best to win Jules’ heart…

Final Thoughts

While it took me a few chapters to get into the story, by the end I was eagerly turning the pages wanting to know what happened next. In fact, I’ve already downloaded and started reading the second book, Pride. It’s really nice reading an book about eventing written by someone who actually events and has worked with upper level riders. Currently, the book is free on Kindle Unlimited or you can buy it on Kindle for $1.99 and for that, it is so worth it.

Review: Lund Figure 8 Bridle

Figure 8 Bridle by Lund Saddlery

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After hearing some talk around the interwebz about this new brand, Lund Saddlery and how nice the stuff was, I had to give them a try. I was looking for a new bridle anyway so it seemed like a good opportunity. So I reached out to the company to see if I could buy something before they officially launched. I am so lucky they said yes!

When the bridle arrived, I was simply blown away. I have never had the luxury of spending a lot of money on bridles so I won’t be comparing this to an Edgewood or Antares, but it was definitely more than I was hoping for. The most expensive bridle I own, is the Micklem Competition Bridle and, while I am not as turned off by the leather as some, I will admit that it’s a pricey bridle for what you get. I don’t remember what I paid for my Lund’s bridle but it wasn’t as much as the Micklem and the leather was really nice. Right out of the box is supple and soft and has only gotten more so with use and cleaning.

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I also loved the big padded monocrown. The other bridle I ride Gus in is a cheap Dover snaffle bridle and I can tell he prefers this one. I prefer this one too because of the fancy stitching and the nice stainless steel. You’ve got to admit, it classes the whole thing up.

I have been using this bridle for several months now as my main hacking and jumping bridle so it has gotten a fair bit of use. And, while I am not the best at keeping up with tack cleaning, it has held up beautifully. Even the sheepskin padding hasn’t worn away like a lot of the cheaper stuff does.

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Gus is sort of between sizes for bridles. He is on the shortest holes for anything horse sized and the longest holes for anything cobb sized. I decided to go for a cobb size in Lund and am glad as it does seem a little big. I have Gus on just about all the smallest holes and my trainer still things I should add a hole to the middle strap (I’ve been too lazy to remember to bring my punch out to the barn). It seems to do pretty well where it’s at.

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Final Thoughts

Without a doubt this is my favorite purchase of 2016. The craftsmanship is wonderful, it looks beautiful on Gus, and it holds up to my abuse all for a fraction of what it probably should cost. While the fit is maybe a little bit large for a true cobb, if you’re between sizes like Gus and a lot of other thoroughbreds, this bridle should do the trick.

I highly recommend you give Lund’s bridles a shot because I think you get a lot of bang for your buck.