"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

E@H Blog Hop: Equestrian Wardrobe

Hillary over at Equestrian at Hart has taken the blog hop baton! Thank you Hillary for continuing the fun that L. Williams started! 

This blog hop is an especially fun one. Hillary wants to know what we ride in and why? Show our Equestrian Fashion choices and tell us why you wear them!

Once upon a time, I rode in the Jumpers and had All the Right Things. This was back in circa 1996 to 2007, with a couple of years off in-between. FYI: back then we weren't as fancy as most of you ladies in the hunter jumper world are now. :) But I did the tall boots for shows AND schooling and the polos tucked in and the Ariat breeches. Stylin' enough for that era, especially when I had to work off my lessons and my family went to extra lengths so that I could participate in an expensive sport.

Riding Bailey at a recognized jumper show (thus the jacket) at my home barn of El Centro Ecuestre de Puerto Rico. This was in Santurce, PR in 1997. Bailey was an asshole of a pony with a lovely jump...if you could get him over the fence. Hence my expression in the photo. He is the single horse from which I have fallen off the most in my entire life.
I was wearing a hand-me-down coat, hand-me-down white breeches with real leather knee patches - they were something that would have been outrageously expensive, like Pikeurs (these were the perks of being a waif that weighed less than 110 lbs at the time...I could wear all the clothes that everyone else outgrew!), my own semi-custom boots (I can't remember the brand), gloves were full leather somethings and the helmet was an IRH certified helmet, but God knows which model. IRH has fit my head shape pretty well regardless of decade...
Riding Grasshopper at one of the Pinellas County Hunters Association shows in the 2'9" Jumpers.
This was in 2006 while still living in Tampa, FL.
I was wearing a Romfh long-sleeved polo, Ariat Pro Circuit low rise breeches, Treadstone field boots, and my IRH ATH helmet. By this point I was working at the tack shop so I was getting a hefty discount on riding equipment in general, and I was working off my lessons at the barn I rode at.
And then I dressaged a bit and I wasn't so stylin': 

Helmet always!
Taken much more recently in 2011.
No, no, just kidding. :) Though that photo above was taken on the horse that I hoped to compete exclusively in dressage. He is the infamous Rhythm. You can read about him in the tab above, A History of Horses

At the time I was really getting into dressage, I had some knee patch Equine Couture breeches that I loved (I could not afford nice full seats) because they were just so pretty, and I also had two pairs of Ariat Heritage knee patch side zips that I got from Dover for $40 each on sale right before they discontinued the side zips. When it comes to higher end breeches, Ariats in general have worked better for my Puerto Rican badonkadonk and small waist than Tailored Sportsmans. 
That's more like it.
One of my favorite photos from my time with Rhythm. Ignore the disengaged hind end; he had a neurological issue.
I'm wearing my IRH ATH, my Ariat Heritage side zips, Ovation half chaps that I discuss below, and Devon Pro paddock boots. Shirt is a basic cotton sleeveless. I didn't have access to a covered arena in Florida so I always wore tank tops instead of polo shirts when schooling & lessoning to avoid the accompanying farmer's tan of short sleeved shirts in general.
With Lily's training, my time in the saddle started to go over an hour in length and so my clothes took on a more comfort-oriented twist. I had my Ariat Devon Pro paddock boots that I wore until they fell apart on my feet (I got them for $80 brand spanking new. Tack shop employee perks. They lasted 7 years), along with Ovation Sport suede half chaps that I have replaced for the 3rd time because I love them so much. For $40 I don't mind replacing them every 2 years. Clothes-wise, I had some Irideon Issentials tights and a pair of Cadence breeches (scored on eBay or at the tack shop with my rockin' employee discount) that I used in Florida summers when temps were 98 degrees with 80% humidity. 

My Irideons. The gray pants are the Cadence, the black ones are the Issentials.
"Winter", "spring" and "fall" in Florida, I wore jeans. ALL scored from Plato's closet. (Plato's Closet is a glorified thrift shop store chain that sells only brand-name consignment clothing. It is AWESOME.) I won't pay full price for jeans, especially those intended for riding. My faves are my Refuge skinnies and my Mossimo jeggings. They both fit like breeches and I've never gotten a single rub from them. Yup, I've done endurance training in both. I've also sported some Guess and Lucky Brand bootcuts that I paid less than $20 each for on eBay. 

Recluse jeans are the lighter colored ones, Mossimos are the darker ones.
Guess Daredevil bootcuts and Lucky Brand bootcuts

Wearing dem Guess jeans.
Lucky Brand jeans. My Devon Pros were still alive then.
I'm not exaggerating about eBay.

And now I endurance. (Yes, that's a verb.) I still wear my Irideons, but now I have discovered Kerrits tights after Liz pressured convinced me to buy a pair of them at the tack swap at the AERC Conference in Atlanta. They were used, Flowrise, black, in my size, for $25. 

I got them. And I loff them! THANK YOU LIZ!!! No more riding in jeans for me! (Except in 50 degree weather.) They are super soft, don't bunch up anywhere and don't dig in anywhere. I recommend them. I did 50 miles in them without a single rub!

At the Old Dominion 50 mile ride.
I was wearing the consignment Kerrits in this photo.
They prompted me to buy another pair when Riding Warehouse put theirs on sale. When I put them on I realized why they were on sale but hey, they match ALL MY BLUES!! (Yes, a mandatory part of endurance is the obnoxious matchy-matching. MUST MATCH ALL THE THINGS!)

I think it's the teal houndstooth.
I never replaced my Devon Pros, even though they were the best paddock boots I've ever had: I could walk in them all day long, I could polish them up and go out in them (I even wore them for interviews!), and I liked how my feet felt in the stirrups wearing them. But at over $200 for a new pair of them, I couldn't justify them. Charles offered new riding boots this past Christmas but I was riding in snow boots thanks to our raging polar vortexes. I needed other stuff more. When the weather warmed up, I just started riding in my old Timberland hiking boots. They had heels and ankle protection and were comfortable for putzing around the barn. My stirrups were 5" wide so I had no problems with the boots fitting in the stirrups.

I've had the Timberlands for 12 years, the Asics for 4.
And then I scored a pair of EZ Ride caged stirrups on eBay...which meant I could ride in SNEAKERS!! *gasp* So I started to ride in my old beat-up retired Asics. Riding in sneakers is SO much more comfortable than in paddock boots. It's awesome having the cooler mesh of the sneakers when riding for 2+ hours in 90 degree weather with 60% humidity. I also may have temporarily ditched the half chaps. Because, you know, all the sheepskin on the saddle cover. 

Ignore the heel...
Riding in the Asics. Was wearing my Issentials and the Brooks shirt that I describe below.
My tops vary with the seasons obviously but I have staples for each. For warm weather, I have 2 Irideon DriSilk shirts that I absolutely adore and wear for riding, working out, under my scrubs, and sleeping. They have lasted me NINE YEARS and I got them at half price. For the amount of time they have lasted me given the infinite number of times I have worn them during that time, I happily would have paid full price $50 for each of them. I was SO BUMMED when I went to buy more this summer and realized that Irideon had discontinued the entire line!

These shirts. The fabric really really does feel like silk. Super light and so soft that it feels like I'm wearing a layer of air. They don't stick to you when you sweat; they simply lift the moisture off of your skin and make it evaporate. And they wash well. I just throw them in the washer and dryer with my regular clothes.

Romfh shirts in technical fabric. Scored on sale at the tack shop I worked at. These get worn at the barn a lot too.
I have a handful of technical tops I've collected from REI and Dicks Sporting Goods sales that I love for the summer: 

The green top is Prana and the other two are REI, all from REI's seasonal sales.
Guys, I seriously LOVE Prana. I just don't like their price tag. I could buy two tops of any other brand for the price of one Prana top on sale. But they really are worth it. I've worn that light green top through some pretty untamed woods and that fabric did not snag.

Wearing the Prana top in this photo (with Liz's borrowed Camelback over it) on trail in WV.
All of these were on sale at Dick's Sporting Goods for under $30: the blue and green is Brooks, the bright blue is Under Armour HeatGear, and the pale teal and orange is Nike.
I really love wearing technical athletic gear for riding because:
1. It's made for sports. For sweating and for keeping you cool. I really hate cotton for any athletic endeavors no matter what time of the year. I simply do NOT wear cotton anymore for riding nor for working out. Cotton gets wet and clammy and sticks to you, making you hotter when you are outdoors in humid environments or making you colder when it's chilly outside.
2. Athletic gear tends to be majorly comfortable when you're in motion. It's what it's made for.
3. Lots of brands out there that are flattering on the female shape.
4. It can double both for riding and for working out.

And then there are my Target buys, also technical shirts but none cost more than $15. My sports bras are also mostly from Target. I really like their Champion line of sports clothing:

Yup, when I find something I like, I get it in all the colors.
The material of these is thicker than on most of my other athletic tops, but it is very functional. I tend to wear these when temps are in the 60's.
These are a recent discovery, also thanks to Liz, and I'm really loving them right now:

Tops from Mountain Hardwear's Wicked Lite line clothing. Also snagged for a steal.

Wearing the orange Mountain Hardware top under my safety vest at Ride Between the Rivers two weeks ago.
Photo by Becky Pearman.
It was in the high 70's but that shirt kept me cool and comfortable under that vest for almost 20 miles. Sweat evaporated instantly when I removed my vest.
If it seems like everything is color-coordinated in one way or another, it's because it is. And yes, it matches my tack. (And my saddle pads...this is not a new compulsion.) Hi, my name is Nicole and I have a Color Problem. ;) 

I wear that safety vest in the picture above most of the time on the trails if weather is in the 70's or below. Any hotter and I'm just afraid I'll heatstroke so I go without. I love that vest. It is stiff going on but molds to your body with your body heat. I often forget I'm wearing it, seriously. It is the Lami-Cell Adult Body Protector certified both ASTM/SEI and BETA 2000 Level 2. I bought it for $108 on Valley Vet. That's the regular price and you simply cannot beat it for a certified vest.

My helmet nowadays is a Tipperary Sportage 8500 in white. I love that the white reflects sunlight and it doesn't feel like my head is baking. Also love the vents on the helmet. I wear my IRH in the winter because it has less vents.

I'm not going to go into what I wear for winter for this blog hop as I've talked about it on the blog ad nauseaum. If you really want to know what this Latina wears in our cold Mid-Atlantic winters (because it sounds like this upcoming winter is going to be another polar vortex drill) you can go here. :) 


  1. Attire changes so much by discipline, economy, and current life philosophy honestly. Some days I think it's very important for me to have the best of everything, and some days I think "who cares if i'm enjoying my horse!"

    1. Exactly! I stopped caring so much about having high end riding clothes when I stopped showing. While riding in the constant heat and humidity of South FL I decided that it was just so much easier to be comfortable. It also helped that my barn was basically made up of trail riders, so no one really cared what you were wearing anyway!

  2. What SMTT said! One of the reasons why I'm not interested in changing disciplines is the investment I already made in my own! lol

    1. Hahaha the nice thing about switching to endurance is that pretty much anything goes! Most of my clothes I already had or would have bought anyway for schooling. It was the extra tack that got expensive (saddle bags, wool saddle pad, wool girth, etc, etc.)

  3. I love athletic apparel for riding in - makes so much more sense in the heat of summer in the midwest!

  4. I don't know if I want to admit how many pairs of riding tights I have...but tights and athletic-gear-oriented/tech-material shirt all day long!!! Sometimes I can do super-thin, tissue-weight cotton t-shirts here, but only when it's not humid. Moving to endurance wasn't much of a switch for me...the place I rode at when I was showing was super-casual and laid-back, so it was breeches and t-shirts even back then.

    1. Ditto here. I wore the Nice Stuff while in PR and Tampa because I was riding at fancy h/j barns, but once I moved to South FL and was riding 5 days a week in intense heat and humidity, I started going more for the more technical (and comfortable) gear!

  5. One of my favorite things about endurance is the matchy outfits put together by scrounging around in your closet, bargain bins, and outdoor stores :)

    1. Totally agree! :D It's always fun to see ride photos to see what others wore for the event. At RBTR there was a guy that wore shorts and sneakers for the 50 (!), and another person rode in military cargo pants. I love this sport!

  6. It's amazing how things change with the discipline:) I haven't ridden in jeans for probably over a decade now. But it used to be I would have been horrified to ride in anything else! Thanks for sharing all your stuff:)

    1. Yes, the changes in clothing depending on discipline can be quite dramatic, especially if you're showing.
      You're welcome! :)