From Endurance to Dressage
Not long ago, my friend Jen tagged me in a Facebook post. Bless her and curse her both. The last thing I need is to be pointed at fun, fashionable and affordable riding wear. If you haven't yet heard of Esprit Equestrian Wear, you can find them on Facebook, obviously, and on their website.
I know money is tight right now; I keep blogging about it, so it must be so. Even so, this company is calling my name, loudly and repeatedly. I finally caved. Not in a big way mind you, so I think I am good, but my trigger finger is getting very restless. So what did I buy? A pair of their many, many cute breeches? Nope. I practiced self-control and went for one of their stretchy belts. You might remember that I have a HUGE thing for C4 belts, and frankly, any belt will pique my interest. I can't help it. Belts, breeches, and socks are just my thing.
I prefer the snaffle bit belts, they come in some fun colors, but the surcingle belts were on sale. Out the door with the added shipping, I paid $24.48; they normally sell for $24. The sale price essentially covered the shipping cost. They're still on sale if you're interested.
Since Esprit Equestrian Wear was new to me, I wasn't really willing to risk buying something pricier like breeches. After this experience though, I am doing everything I can to resist. First of all, the package arrived fast - win. Secondly, it was shipped in a turquoise blue bag covered in pink flamingos - another win. The belt came nestled in a little black satin bag with the Esprit logo stamped in sparkly gold - right?! And as if all that weren't enough, they tossed in some of Speedy's favorite mint candies. I am ALL IN.
They have a huge selection of breeches - all pretty much the same style, but they have oodles of interesting colors. Their three styles are the Classic, PRO, and Winter (which I'll never buy). These are actually riding tights, but tights with attitude. The company describes them as a breech-legging - the comfort of a legging with the durability and function of a breech. They are speaking my language.
The Classic has a mid-rise, faux front and rear pockets, and two large cell phone pockets on the thigh. The PRO has most of the same features except that it comes in a low rise and regular front pockets without the cell phone pockets on the thigh. They also have the Tuxedo and Lace finishes in the Classic as well as a version with no faux pockets (Ash with pink sparkles and black with gold sparkles).
I am so eager to buy a pair of these. The price is well within my comfort range, and the cute factor is way up there. My only reservation is how snugly they seem to encase the body. I do not think these will leave much to the imagination. On the other hand, many reviewers like the sculpting and compression design, so maybe one's bulges get flattened a bit? They do show a couple of images with a fuller figured gal sporting the breeches along with one of their base layer shirts, and she looks pretty nicely put together.
When I do order a pair, I've got my eye on the black Classic tights pictured above or the PRO navy blue which have the low rise which I am not too sure about. How low is low? You know what I mean? Plus, the PRO version doesn't have the cell phone pockets on the thigh which I love. So ... anyone have any experience with this company? Are these tights as nice as they look? Please convince me ... to buy or not to buy. I am not sure which.
Just kidding. I WANT them!
I am a careful shopper which means I am not often disappointed in my purchases. That doesn't mean I love everything right out of the box though. These breeches, the Wellesley Cargo Full-Seat, I LOVED as soon as I slipped them on. Granted, I only paid $58.44 so my expectations weren't really that high, even so, I will definitely buy these again. The Wellesley line belongs to Dover Saddlery, so you won't find them anywhere else.
If breeches don't fit well, it doesn't matter how cheap they are. So while I am always on the hunt for budget-friendly tack and clothing, fit comes before price. A few of the reviewers on Dover's site mentioned that these breeches run a bit large, and I would agree. I wear a 32 - damn you, COVID!, but even though I knew they might run big, I bought my regular size because I hate breeches that fit snugly. I definitely have room to spare in these, so keep that in mind if you decide to grab yourself a pair. Order down if you want them snug.
Hands down, these cargo breeches win all of the marbles for comfort. I like a structured breech because they look better, but in my heart of hearts, tights are so much more comfortable. The Wellesley Cargo Full-Seats are less rigid than traditional breeches, but they offer more support than tights do. The fabric is lighter than most breeches which means I'll be able to wear these all summer long. During the worst of our heat, I can't wear my regular breeches as they are simply too heavy. These are super stretchy with a full seat that is just sticky enough. Also a plus are both the front pockets and the cargo pockets on the thighs; my phone fits!
While I would like to say that style comes before price, it's not true. I buy all of my breeches on sale, in last year's colors, or when the retailer is looking to offload excess inventory. These go for $125.95 when they're not on sale, but if you shop at Dover at all, you'll know that you never need to pay full price for anything. Wait long enough and you'll hit a BOGO sale, especially on Dover products. Would these be worth it at $125? I wouldn't pay it, but then, I only buy breeches on sale. I would easily pay more than I did though.
Since I only buy bargain breeches, I don't always get to indulge my inner fashionista. Since I tend toward conservative styles anyway, it's not a great loss. But still, I am a girl, and fun is fun. While not loud and splashy, these cargo breeches are definitely different than the typical black, gray, and navy breeches that I tend toward. I'd say their cute factor is up above the 70% mark. If nothing else, they're a little more street friendly than many of my breeches, so I plan to wear them to work. There's nothing better than not having to change once I am at the barn.
Overall, I definitely give these breeches four out of four stars.
Dover gets me nearly every time. Do you get those daily emails from Dover telling you about all of the wonderful crap that you don't need but suddenly feel you can't live without? All. The. Time.
My strategy for escaping the lure of buying things that I want (but don't need) is to first, open the email. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but hitting delete causes me to fret and worry that I missed a deal I can't live without which would make me dig the email out of the trash later in the day where I would then study the email even closer. Reading the email closely is a guarantee that I'll find something to buy.
Instead, opening the email while I am busy allows me to swipe up as fast as I can while convincing myself that all of the products listed are for the hunter/jumper folks which means I won't see anything that I want (but don't need). Usually, that strategy protects both my checking account and credit card. Over the weekend, my swiping finger must have been in slo-mo because I happened to see this:
Anyone that knows me even a little knows that I love socks and breeches. And for those who follow along pretty regularly, you'll remember that a few months back I was jonesing for a pair of denim breeches, but I just didn't have the cash to scratch that itch. Adulting is hard. Anyhoodle, I saw this email from Dover over the weekend, and my eye locked onto those Wellesleys. I've bought four pair of the Wellesley Silicone Full-Seats, and I LOVE them. I don't know that the Wellesley Cargos have the same fit, but for under $60, I couldn't say no.
And to prove that the Universe was okay with my moment of weakness, Dover let me save another 10% off the already crazy low price because I am a USEF member. Shipping was free of course, but after tax, my total for a pair of almost-denim-breeches came to a very budget-friendly $58.44; they usually run $129.95. I know that retail therapy is not recommended for a cash-strapped adult ammie trying to scrape together enough cash for a show season, but if I do some careful grocery shopping over the next few weeks, I can probably shave a few bucks off my weekly bill, and viola! - breeches are paid for.
Trust me; open the email!
A week or so ago I wrote about my helmet's torn and dirty chin strap covering. It had worn out, and I ordered a cheap replacement. Holy smokes, did that turn out to be an awesome find.
In general, the cheaper the fix, the less satisfied I am with the solution. In this case however, I am excited about having spent six bucks. After doing a super quick search on Amazon, I landed on these replacement straps covers. If your chin strap covering has fallen off and it bothers you to have the excess strap smacking you in the chin, go order these right now. You won't be disappointed.
I think the new strap cover is even better than the original one which was fake leather and pretty stiff until it broke in. These new strap covers are smooth and soft, and the velcro seems pretty sticky, at least so far.
I won't even care if it doesn't last that long. With any luck, the helmet will wear out before I need to use the other three that came in the set. They were $1.25 each; for three dollars more, you can get a set of eight. I spend more than that on my weekly box of tea.
Who knew $6 could bring you so much happiness?
I've shared my weight rollercoaster here for years. I lose weight and then gain it back. I have stacks of breeches ranging from size 28 - 32. Guess which ones I am wearing now? Breeches are cheap(ish) to buy, tall boots are not. At times, my show boots get too tight, and I am forced to show in my schooling boots. I haven't had my show boots on since Halloween, but those still seem to fit. My schooling boots, not so much.
It's not that I can't get them on, but they're pretty tight. These are the same boots that had a zipper blowout in the summer which I had replaced. Did the cobbler need to take them in slightly to replace the zipper? I don't know but they are HARD to zip up around my calf. I've been struggling with them for months knowing that Christmas and my birthday were coming. I generally get some cash and gift cards so my plan was to wait to replace my boots until after the start of the new year.
I've been buying the same boots for the past five or six years, maybe more. For schooling, I ride in the TuffRider Ladies Belmont Dress Boots. I don't know how many pairs I've owned. This is either the fourth or fifth pair. I love them because they are comfortable and wearable right out of the box. There is no break-in period. The leather is buttery soft, and the footbed feels like a pair of tennis shoes although I do add a Dr. Scholl's gel insert to get a perfect fit.
I am really hard on my schooling boots. I brush the dirt off after each ride, and I occasionally rub some leather conditioning stuff over them, but they take a beating. I wear them seven days a week, and while I try not to use them while using the hose, they occasionally get wet. We don't have any pavement at the ranch, so these boots see a lot of dirt surfaces. I generally get at least 18 months out of them, maybe as many as two years. I bought the last pair in July of 2020.
Without any sales or discounts, the boots run $251.42 from the Riding Warehouse, but I can always find a 15% off discount code. (Hit me up if you need one.) Last week I ordered a new pair and they cost $231.34 with a 15% discount. At that price, I can afford to replace them as needed. While I am dying to ditch the old pair, I am going to keep squeezing into them as long as I can. I'd really like a fatal injury to happen before I toss them. Another zipper blowout, a lost heel, or even a hole in the leather would make me feel better about abandoning them.
We'll see how long I can leave them in the box. Any bets?
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Shows Schedule
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
2022 Completed …
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: