Friday, October 21, 2022

Gear Post 2022

Inspired by Emma's post, I'm cataloging the gear Ben and I are currently using. It's still a work in progress, especially saddle, but I'm hopeful we're on the right track. 

Starting with my feet because I'm actually pretty proud of myself on this one. I ride in paddock boots and half chaps. Ever since giving up the shorts and full suede chaps in middle school and high school, I've been a paddock boots and half chaps kinda person. And I've actually never strayed from Ariat half chaps - each pair has lasted me 6+ years, so why change it up? I do try to occasionally lesson in my tall boots and usually cross country school in them just because the feel is slightly different and I don't love getting to a show and feeling uncomfortable because of the boot switch. 

I did briefly try Dublin paddock boots, but I'm back to Ariats there as well. The Dublins I tried were... I think $50? And within the first month were sloughing the non-leather coating around the flex point of the foot at the base of the toe box. In their defense, I am not easy on paddock boots and (formerly) hosed horses and walked through tons of wet grass in them. And I didn't expect $50 boots to last THAT long, but a month? Out of irritation I ended up wearing them for about 2 years. Once they lost the outer coating around the flex point, they kinda stopped degrading there and the zipper and such kept working. Recently though, I got pretty sick of wet feet so replaced them with the $150+ Ariats along with a pair of... 
Xtra Tuffs! 

With the new Ariats

My friend suggested these - they're meant to be boat shoes, so they're waterproof and have good traction. If you're willing to get a funky color (Ms. GY calls them my mint julep shoes) you can find deals on them, these were $80. They do run BIG, I'm usually an 8.5-9, but ended up exchanging my 9 for an 8. But they're sturdy, comfy, and water proof. I've done a lot of walking in them and haven't gotten a blister so far. And for the first time I'm actually being good about switching into these out of my paddock boots right after riding so I'm hopefully prolonging the life of my paddock boots. <-- That's the part that I'm proud of, not the riding in half chaps LOL 

Continuing on the foot part, Ben goes in a short roller ball spur unless we're just hacking out. He is pretty twitchy about the dressage whip, so a spur to reinforce the leg aid works much better. 

For tall boots, I have a pair of Ariat Heritage Contour Field Boots. I neither love nor hate them. The leather behind the laces has broken down after a relatively small number of rides, but it isn't visible so I'm not too fussed about it. I haven't tried on more expensive or more customized boots; there is a whole world out there I haven't experienced, but I have no reason to open that (expensive) door. 

Ft current tall boots, spurs, saddle + pad, breastplate, breeches, and helmet

Breeches... meh not a lot to say here. Like the boots I don't have strong opinions about breeches, which makes me a pretty poor reviewer of them. Somehow I've acquired a large number of hand me down tights, so I wear mostly those in the summer. I have various Smart Pak full seats bought on sale for lessons or schooling shows. For shows the Smart Pak show breeches seem to clean up pretty nicely and go right back to being white without any special treatment after use, so I have two white knee patch pairs. Plus, I have never bought Smart Pak brand anything at full price... I browse my size breeches every time they have a sale and will snag a pair if there's something appealing. 

Helmet is a One K Defender MIPS. I LOVED my goofy One K with the built in flip down sunglass shield, but they don't make those anymore and I had to retire that one since based on the amount of arena material in it, it hit the ground in some way when Leila and I somersaulted. The MIPS doesn't fit quite as well - slightly more oval than my head is, so I do need to make an Ocala tack shop trip to try on some other MIPS helmets. 

Show shirt and jacket are a work in progress as well. I purchased an AA MotionLite in the spring, but then we didn't make it to the May show due to the World's Longest Abscess. So I haven't tried it out yet, but I am excited about the prospect of being a bit less sweaty! 

I have worn Heritage Performance Gloves for as long as I can remember. They're reasonably priced and last me years. I think the last pair I bought was in... 2015-6? Mine recently became more hole than glove though, so I bought a new pair and actually went with non-black (I am boring). For shows I have a pair of black Roeckl Roeck grip gloves. 

Jade! It is a bit more green than this was photographing 

Moving on to Ben... 

He doesn't typically wear boots, kiddo is really very careful about where his feet are going. Out cross country, he rocks the same pair of Majyk Equipe cross country boots that Yoshi wore. 

The most handsome <3 

Saddle wise... well that's where it is a work in progress. He is too narrow for literally every saddle of JT's and the GY's. I have a Forestier Boekelo that a rep assessed last week. The panel change we did in the spring does not seem to be working and he's now got some atrophy of his trapezius muscle that makes me cringe every time I look at it. We have a plan though, saddle is gone and is having several different changes made (making the tree more narrow, cut out for scapula, narrower channel) and then we will check it. If those things look good AND make his back happy, we'll do the same things to the dressage saddle, a Forestier Aachen. 

I have loved the saddle since the moment I sat in it, so no changes needed for me. Hopefully we can make Ben love it too though. 

Until the saddles are fixed, we're using a shimmed Mattes pad from the GY's. I am so spoiled between them and JT, all are so generous with trying things, borrowing things, etc etc so that I don't have to buy things just to test them out or use them temporarily. 

He's not picky on the girth, so for dressage and jumping he goes in a synthetic, padded Collegiate. I did notice while JT was on him this weekend that the billet ends DO NOT want to stay tucked in to this, so perhaps I'll play with some of my other girths. 

He wears a PSofSweden breastplate for jumping. It is very, very pretty. Other than hating cleaning it, which I think is standard to any breastplat, I love it. Like all things PSofSweden, it is not incredibly adjustable and he probably could have gone with a cob, not a horse size, but it works at the horse size, it is just adjusted pretty high on all the holes and has to go around the girth with the leather loop, not clip onto the girth. 

For dressage at home, he wears the bridle that I dyed back in April. It has worn really well. I don't use it for shows anymore so the flash is never on it. His dressage show bridle is the Premier Equine one mentioned in that post. 

He actually wouldn't open his eyes, was seriously committed to napping while I was taking the picture

For jumping he has a PSofSweden Athens bridle. Stadium, he is going in the Nunn Finer Oval Link Shaped Mouthpiece Cartwheel bit that we put him in at the beginning of August. Cross country is TBD at this point! 
Starting to wonder if the eyes closed after bridling isn't some other response, I'll have to pay more attention


  1. I have stuck to half chaps and paddock boots for decades now - I can't find a pair of non-custom tall boots that I like and are more economical than half chaps. We're about to change Dalton's bit... again. Let me know how the cartwheel works for y'all.

    1. I really like it on him for stadium! It gives me a tiny bit of lift that I need. It wasn't enough bit for cross country when he gets to spooking and barreling down, but works really well for stadium.

    2. D is currently in a rubber pelham and I tried him this week in a gag with a twist (we had a happy mouth gag before). Thanks for the update on the cartwheel!

    3. I wish I were more help in terms of comparisons, but I am incredibly inexperienced with bits. I rode my gelding for 15 years in a kk loose ring. Yoshi in the novo contact for everything. And Ben now in what my trainer thinks will work. Fortunately she has a massive collection so I can borrow before I buy.

      I hope D likes the latest gag!

  2. oooh i love those breastplates.... for some reason it's just not a bridge i've crossed with chuck.... also re: tall boots, there's an entire world of inexpensive trendy fun "long" boots (hint: you can filter by COLOR) over in europe where they aren't so constricted by hunter jumper landia. i usually start with Divoza then find a couple brands i like (have bought QHP, HKM, Mondani previously) and google search for them specifically to find retailers. can get some seriously cute and decent fitting tall boots for $200 shipped (assuming your measurements are basically stock)

    1. JT won't jump without a breastplate, so it is a world I was partially dragged into lol. But with all the saddle fit issues it has definitely been helpful to prevent slippage in a not well fitting saddle.

      Why would you tell me that about the boots?? LOL! I have admired your brown ones...