Thursday, September 3, 2015

Horse-People Products I Love

fav t shirt
First and foremost, I am a tack ho. It is so very "me" to turn my horse out like he's about to walk into an FEI arena, then pop on in dirty breeches and a stained shirt.

Because priorities.

While I think a 3k French saddle is "reasonable" (not that I have one), the idea of spending $100+ on a pair of pants to wear in the dirt (PANTS. F****** PANTS, Y'ALL) absolutely blows my mind. The most I have EVER spent on riding pants is $120 and the norm is half that.

And then boots. Helmets. Socks. Belts. HAIRNETS??? I draw a line. No hair nets unless it's a recognized show, yo.

Anyways. Here is a list of people products that work for me that aren't blow-your-mind-expensive.

yeah i'm calling  show appropriate
1) Smartpak Piper Breeches

Retail price: $80 (with free shipping)
Smart buy: $65 during 20% off sales

Look, they're not for everyone. They fit my body type great, they have fun colors, and for a one horse ammy who does very limited barn chores, they are freaking fantastic at 20% off. They technically aren't "show" breeches inasmuch as the colors are all wrong, but I have totally shown in the wheat and taupe varieties.

you didn't even notice the boots
2) Blundstone boots

Retail Price: $160 plus shipping
Smart buy: $40 shipped on eBay (on the regular)

I am a confirmed boot murderer. I have tried pretty much every available paddock boot on the market and they all die in six months. As clarification, I am not one of those smart people who is like "I put my boots on to ride and do everything else in clogs/muck boots". No. If I go there, my boots go there. And then they die.

Someone recommended blundies to me, and OMG. I bought my first pair on eBay for $25 shipped with a note they needed to be resoled. I wore those things for TWO SOLID YEARS before the leather finally cracked through (due to me never maintaining them) and I finally threw them out.

Basically, my eBay just watches listings for these in the right size and I maybe buy a pair a year (out of many options. I just don't need a 15 boot-pair backlog). They aren't pretty, but they go fine with half chaps and they're almost as tough as I am. LOVE.

there it is
3) Ovation Helmets

Retail Price: $50
Smart buy: once I got 20% off at a going out of business sale

Look, I love me some Charles Owen and I adore how the OneK helmets look, but HOLY HELL they are expensive. Factor in that helmets are essentially a single-use product, and yeah. I am not a good enough rider to gamble $300+ that I won't fall off for a couple years. If you are, more power to you.

So while I have a Charles Owen to show in, it is not my daily driver. I wear the crap out of my brown ovation schooler. Sure, it's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it is ASTM/SEI certified. It's also vented. It's easy to let my friends ride in. And best of all, if I bust it, I'm out $50, not a car payment. #winning

technically wearing belt. refuse to tuck shirts in.
4) C4 Belts

Retail price: $30
Smart buy: They have sales. Watch social media.

This is the closest I get to trendy, and I admit, it's not very close. Regardless. I have one of these belts (thanks Alyssa!!) and I LOVE it. It comes as a long piece of plastic and a buckle. You just cut the plastic to the length you want, attach the buckle, and voila! belt.

Oh, and non-technical me was able to do it on the first try with no instructions, so it's pretty damn easy. I had to use a diagram to learn how to wear a fabric belt last year, in case you're curious. ;-)

So yes. While my horse tends to sport the latest equine fashions, I'm the budget queen of human attire. I am rather jealous of all your pretty riding shirts. Guess I'll be watching the clearance racks this fall...


  1. This is where our tack ho hearts differ. Except C4 belts, I do love those, as evidenced by my healthy collection.

  2. Recommendations for budget-friendly half chaps? My boots are holding up famously, my chaps, however, are literally coming apart at the seams and there is a sizable hole in the left one...

    1. Honestly? Suck it up and get tredsteps. I had dublins, which last exactly as long as you would think, and ariats, which literally unzipped and/or disintegrated while I was riding. I paid full price for my tredsteps almost 4 years ago. I've had them repaired a couple times (costs ~$10), and they still look great.

    2. I love the Grand Prix Elite chaps I have now, but they are sad, and $90+ is "a lot"... To EBay I go!

    3. Alyssa got some on ETT for like $40. So jealous.

    4. I second the Tredsteps... buy them from Dover so you can return/exchange them any time you need to!

    5. I splurged and bought the Tredsteps and was not happy with them at all. In under 6 months, when I was riding 1x per week, the bottom snap ripped through the leather. Not what I expected for $150 half chaps :(

    6. You do have to baby the snaps a little--if you just pull them off, the leather will rip. That's what I had replaced on mine (one of the $10 repairs). The whole half chap design, regardless of brand, is a bit suspect. I'd rather deal with sensitive snaps than just have the whole thing fall apart mid-ride (ARIAT).

  3. I'm not a tack ho but love my horse to look great! Me? Meh...

  4. After reading your last recommendation of the SmartPak Piper breeches, which I had been stalking and talking myself out of (mostly due to the price), I invested. I love them. I love them so much that I recently bought a 2nd pair just because I wanted them! They fit well, they make me feel great (seriously, are they sucking everything in?!), and they even make me feel pretty secure in the saddle (knee patch only, mind you). AND, they don't wear out as quickly as the cheap-o breeches I was spending $20 on before.

  5. My friend who is all spiffy and works at WEF and smanciness SWEARS by Blundstone boots. Those are her favorites!

  6. This is a great list. I too have a slowly growing collection of Pipers that I've bought on sale. They fit me really well and the full seats have good sticking abilities. Also - I bought my new CO at Horseloverz during a sale and with a coupon and it was right around $200. Pretty proud of that one.

  7. ahhh so genius about finding blundstones on ebay! my current pair (second pair ever over about ~15 years) is definitely dead (and totally not water proof anymore, boo) and i've been dreading buying new again. this changes everything!

  8. I love the Ovation Schoolers, too!

    I go back and forth on my full seat Pipers, although I'm not wearing at the moment because they got a big rip in the inner thigh where the suede is sewn in.

  9. It is the riding and the sexy horse that counts! I never thought your attire was not cool. So BAM.

  10. You are essentially me in a nutshell. Yes, I have a $2500 french saddle and I wear $15 breeches I bought off ebay. Rocking it.

    I wish Pipers fit me, but sadly they do not. They're too tight in the thigh or too loose in the waist. But I like the Dover version - the Riding Sport Competitor II.

  11. I do love my C4 belt :) I get compliments everytime I wear it and we now carry them in the store. They are great fun belt for a great price. I want all the colors now.

  12. My uniform is pipers, polo from Walmart (cute colors, slim flattering fit, $7!!!), tresdstep tall boots and a CO (bought 20% off of national helmet day).

  13. I love my full seat Pipers! I have my eye on their plaid ones now...

  14. Totally agree on the breeches, but I am even cheaper. I don't think I have ever paid more than $40 for a pair of breeches.

  15. My Blundstones lasted 10 years with DAILY wear. Damn good boots.

  16. Pipers - yep (4 pairs); Ovation helmet with bling for schooling - yep; Ovation show helmet, yep; lots of cheapo shirts from Target, yep; BUT I did splurge on three sunshirts this summer, and I do school in a pair of Ariat Volants (BUT I change into muck boots before and after riding). I am with you on the bargains for humans. I do TONS of barn chores and ride twice a day; I am hard on my clothes.


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