TGIF my friends. Spend it wisely!
I am a dressage rider, but my alter ego, the one that foots the bill, is an elementary school teacher. We're celebrating Kindness Week at school which means that each day we dressed up as something to promote kindness. We wore neon or bright colors to "Shine for Kindness," super hero shirts to "Power up for Kindness," and western clothing to "Giddy-Up for Kindness."
In my world, "giddy-up" means breeches and tall boots. I dressed English instead. When given the opportunity to wear riding clothes to work instead of needing to do a Superman quick change in the tack room, you can bet I was all over it!
As a side note, I wore my new Ovation breeches for the entire day, and I mean the entire day! As in 5:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. - a full twelve hours. They were as comfortable as any pair of yoga or sweatpants. I've worn my breeches to work a couple of other times, and no one seemed to think much of it. I am thinking this might become a semi-regular attire choice.
TGIF my friends. Spend it wisely!
I finally had to bid a sad farewell to my beloved Volants last week. You can see why.
I'll admit that I am probably a little tough on my tall boots. I wear them seven days a week in a dusty environment. While I don't usually clean paddocks or stalls while wearing them, I do other messy barn chores.
For the first year or so that I owned them, I was careful about brushing them off each day when I took them off. After a while though, I quit doing that, but I did condition them every once in while.
For the price (around $500), I expected them to last at least a little bit longer than two years and nine months. I bought them in February of 2014; they didn't last long. Last Christmas, I bought a pair of Tuffrider Baroque tall boots from the Riding Warehouse because I knew my Volants were falling apart.
I've worn the Tuffriders a few times, but this weekend they got called up officially. Each time I put them on, I am reminded of how unbelievably comfortable they are. They're better than my muck boots. The Riding Warehouse has them listed at $161.95, but if you buy them today with the 25% discount, they're only $122! I am thinking of ordering a new back up pair (size 8, regular width).
My Ariat Maestros are still my go to show boots, but I am having a problem with a sticky zipper. Does anyone know of a good lubricating product that I can use? Please share a link, and I will be forever grateful.
I truly enjoy my C4 belts ... all four of them. I started with an orange strap and white buckle. I then moved on to a navy plaid with a navy buckle, a tan plaid with a black buckle, and then my favorite - the California flag with a chrome buckle.
The Sugar Skulls though really grabbed my attention. It's not listed on C4's site yet, but once it is, this belt is joining my collection. I like the black buckle, but I'll play around with their buckle/strap switching gizmo first to see if something else pops out.
After Sugar Skulls is in my hot little hands, the Underwater Dogs might find themselves added to my collection. The bugged-eye guy on the bottom just cracks me up!
I haven't always worn tall socks. They've kind of grown on me recently though. Since I started accessorizing - breeches with belts, breeches that match my dressage pad, breeches with a coordinating top ... I started taking an interest in socks.
Long ago, I learned the trick of buying socks in bulk so that when one gets a hole in the toe (mine never get holes in the heels), I toss the worn out sock and stash the one that is perfectly good. Eventually, another sock gets a hole in it, so it gets tossed out while its mate pairs up with the previously stashed sock. In this way, my socks last a lot longer.
The thing with tall socks is that they don't really come in multi-packs of white which is fine because the fun in wearing tall socks is that they come in all kinds of patterns and colors. Even so, I've learned to buy my tall socks in sets of two. If I buy the exact same sock in several colors, they feel exactly the same no matter which two colors I am wearing. I should note that as a general rule, I do wear matching socks until forced to pair them for longevity.
Both of these pairs of socks have been "rematched." My husband teases me when I wear the orange/purple pair, but I just laugh and I tell him I used to have another pair just like them. The gray pair don't get a reaction. Both of these pair are on their "last legs," but since they came from the same collection, that orange one should pair okay with the gray one.
I bought two pair of these Noble Outfitters just so they'd have mates when the toes wear out. These have proven to be pretty hardy though, and I feel like the calf might quit before the toes will. I have another pair in purple. I hope I don't have to wear one of those with the cheetah print.
I bought these two pair of Under Armour socks from SmartPak before we went on vacation. When one gets a hole in the toe, it will get stashed in the back of my drawer as it waits to be reunited with the other blue one. I wouldn't buy them again though as they aren't stretchy enough for my liking.
Am I the only one with a strategy for making my socks last? How many pair do you have? I have two pair of Ovation Zocks (solid colors) on the way, but I know I need more, but how many more? What's your current tall sock count?
I am such a sucker for those email blasts from SmartPak. I get one nearly every day. They're the ones that give you steep discounts off particular products. I think they've figured out which ones I go for and which ones I ignore because lately, I've used every single one.
Today's One Day Only sale is on SmartPak's own Eqology line of clothing. The pieces in the collection are moisture wicking and breathable. I've had my eye on the color blocked shirt for a while, but I wasn't too excited about paying $50 for a t-shirt. I can get the same thing at Kohl's for half the price which I actually just did.
When this offer showed up in my morning email, I decided to take another look at the shirts. While I do plenty of riding in work-out gear, tops designed for riders are always a little better as the cut tends to be longer - something runners don't need. When I calculated the price of the Space Dyed Shirt, it came out to $28. After throwing some fly spray and two pair of socks into my cart, the order qualified for fast and free shipping. I hit submit order.
I've found that SmartPak will usually extend these one day only sales a few extra days, but just in case they really mean it this time, get yours early! I bought it in blue/green. Which one did you get?
This past December, I bought a pair of Tuffrider Baroque Dress Boots from the Riding Warehouse. They were intended to be my new schooling boots, but since winter's mud had finally arrived and my Volants were holding up, I saved them for lessons and clinics. Even though they were pretty cheap, they were far more comfortable than any of my other tall boots. I liked them immediately and was happy with the purchase.
And then Izzy stepped on the back of my heel at a Christian Schacht clinic a few weeks ago. He didn't hurt me, but he did rip off the bottom of my shoe. I was just walking in for my lesson when it happened, so I wasn't able to change into my other books, but I was able to ride without any issues.
It took me a little more than a week to call the Riding Warehouse. I was hoping that the boots were under warranty or that they could give me directions for how to send them in to Tuffrider for repair. The customer service rep that I spoke with urged me to send in some photos of the boots, which I did that same afternoon.
The next morning, I received an email from the Riding Warehouse letting me know that Tuffrider had authorized them to send me a brand new pair which were being expressly shipped and would arrive the next day. All they asked was that I place the defective pair in the box and return them with the shipping label enclosed.
I was shocked! Riding Warehouse has always had excellent customer service, but this seemed above and beyond. While the Tuffrider brand is one that I'm familiar with, I think I'll keep my eye on them for future purchases. If they're going to back up their products this well, I am all in.
The next day, my replacements boots arrived. I took them out, put them in my boot bag, and boxed up the defective pair. I am hoping the first pair was simply defective and not representative of the quality of the boots in general. Either way, I am making sure Izzy is a bit more respectful of my space.
I have a lesson with Chemaine tomorrow. I think I'll break them in with her.
Do you have a great customer service story to share?
I am not wealthy, but I am lucky enough to have a little disposable cash each month to spend how I want. Lately, I am into riding clothes like I can't believe. I never used to care what I rode in. It was usually a raggedy pair of pull on tights and a t-shirt won at an endurance ride.
Any more, I find myself pulling out carefully selected breeches that will coordinate with my riding shirt du jour. My socks often match as does my pony tail holder. I always wear a vibrant belt (lately from C4 - I now have four of them), something I would have scoffed at just a year ago.
Looking good in the saddle seems to give more credence to the work that I am doing. While I always ride for fun, I am serious about the work that I am doing, and I want my appearance to be an outward confirmation of my dedication.
Never mind that I am usually completely alone at the barn. So if I look good while I ride, there is no one but the muck cart and manure fork to appreciate my efforts as I dutifully clean my stalls. I don't wear those stylish breeches and trendy sun shirts to impress anyone. I wear them because they make me feel good.
So when I got home the other day and this was sitting on my doorstep, I had all kinds of happy feelings.
Riding Warehouse had some kind of special sale going on, I don't remember what it was, but I think it had something to do with tax season. They were offering 15% off everything store-wide. I couldn't resist.
I am currently in love with the Ovation DX Celebrity Slim Secret Full Seat Breeches. I love how they fit, and they look really nice. I have already blogged about the gray pair which I liked so much so that I was persuaded to order the white ones for showing. When Riding Warehouse finally added the Monaco Blue to their line up, I caved. I couldn't help it; I bought them in blue.
While the breeches were back ordered and safely out of mind, a friend sent me a link to a Kastel shop on Ebay. Given how low the prices were, I am assuming they were either discontinued or last year's colors. I didn't care. At $30 out-the-door (which included free shipping), I felt like it would be wrong to not order one. And in my defense, I kept myself to one only as I already have four other sun shirts from last summer.
With my C4 belts in either tan or navy plaid, this is a really striking look. Add in my chocolate or navy dressage pad with my navy DSB boots, and I am one well turned out dressage rider.
Of course, If I had the DSB boots in brown ...
I already reviewed these breeches earlier this year, but I've since bought them in white and wanted to do a follow up review. Short story - LOVE THEM!
They were more comfortable than a broke in pair of jeans. As I mentioned last month, I do think they run a bit small, so I ordered up a size. They don't sag, creep up, or bind in any way.
The full seat is gray, which is super smart since our saddles are black, and it moved right along with me. In fact, I forgot that I was wearing full seats. Some full seats can be too thick and stiff. These are not.
From the Riding Warehouse's website:
Flattering and affordable, the Ovation Euroweave DX Celebrity Fullseat Breeches are made from stretchy, woven fabric enhanced with Dry-Lex™ technology to ensure maximum comfort for long hours in the saddle.
I ordered both of mine, the pewter and the white, from the Riding Warehouse. They also now come in Monaco blue. They're listed at $98.95, but as luck would have it, Riding Warehouse is having a 15% off sale that ends today.
I am so tempted ...
The bigger question is: How can you?!?!?!
I like my two C4 belts. They're funky and whimsical, yet still practical. Two is simply not enough. When I squealed in delight upon seeing the Facebook post, my husband cocked an eyebrow and asked me rhetorically if I didn't have enough belts already. No was my simple response. Just like I don't have enough pairs of breeches or sun shirts either.
So which belts did I order? The two that I've talked about of course!
If you want one, or make that TWO, you'd better hurry. The sale ends tomorrow at midnight. If you get one, let me know which combos you picked. If you can't swing it this time, which combo would you pick? I love seeing the combinations that I wouldn't think of myself.
I bought the Ovation DX Celebrity Slim Secret Full Seat Breeches a couple of months ago, but I haven't had the opportunity to tell you what I think about them until now. First of all, that is a horrible name: Celebrity? And the Slim Secret thing is ... where? I think they could have stuck with the simpler "DX Full Seat" and been good.
Riding Warehouse, whose prices are hard to beat, carry them for $98.95 plus free shipping which is a good price for full seats. And if you're a regular shopper at the Riding Warehouse, you probably know how to get a discount, which I did, so I actually paid 15% less than the listed price. $85 felt like a steal - they are worth the price.
These are nice, but I wish Ovation had gone with just a touch more piping or contrast stitching or something else to help these breeches stand out a bit. The pocket detailing is a good start, but that's the extent of the fashionable detailing.
I think SmartPak has hit on a great thing with their Piper breeches, especially for the price. I love the contrast stitching and pocket trim, but even though I own four pair of them, I HATE the fit. That crotch sag just irritates me to no end. I've sworn not to buy another pair. There have to be other breeches out there that are just as cute that also fit.
While these aren't nearly as cute as the Pipers they fit a whole lot better. While they don't sag, thank goodness, there are a few things that I don't like. First of all, I think they run small. I ended up returning the first pair and ordered up a size and switched to longs. I am only 5'3", so when I need a long, that tells me something is off about the sizing.
The difference between the 30 and the 32 felt more like I had gone up two sizes. It probably has to do with the slimming panel thing. In the 30s, I literally couldn't bend my legs or even squat. In the 32s, I had room to spare.
The other thing that I don't love is where they sit at the waist. I tend to wear low rise breeches because that's how they come anymore, so these feel a bit awkward as they sit just above my hips instead of below. Standing, it's fine, but when I ride, I feel like they're holding up the "girls."
These puppies are well made. I like sturdy fabrics, and these fit the bill. They're probably too thick to wear in Central California's broiling summers, but they will definitely work for at least nine months of the year. I am also impressed with the sock leg. It stays in place, but it's not tight or flimsy and feels very well constructed.
If there is a secret tummy-flattening panel, I couldn't see it or feel it, so don't let that discourage you. The first time I wore them, my best friend did think they were very flattering, so maybe Ovation has a secret template for improving fit.
Over All: ☆☆☆☆
Despite wishing they were a bit more stylish and that they sat just slightly lower, I like them well enough that I've ordered them in white. They're back-ordered so I can't tell you how the white compares to the gray - sometimes white breeches run even smaller or are too thin, but if I Riding Warehouse would carry them in another color, I would definitely order a third pair.