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When it was 50 Degrees and Sunny

On Saturday we got a (small) taste of spring with 50 degree temperatures and sun all afternoon. Naturally I celebrated this monumental occasion by going out to the barn and riding my horse. I hadn’t ridden since our lesson on Monday, so I didn’t have any expectations going into the ride, except gentlemanly behavior (which is never an option, always an obligation).

We started off by ourselves in the large back indoor, and I was able to begin our warm-up nice and slow with lots of circles and changes in direction to keep Miles’s mind engaged. And he felt fantastic! We worked on giving and going in a frame and canter transitions before we were joined in the arena by a small child doing a lesson on the lunge line and another boarder getting a lameness exam.

For a while I was able to stay out of the way and Miles felt so good we actually practiced lengthening and shortening the trot (for the first time ever). Again, he was stellar!! Not ready for the dressage court by any means, but still, tres exciting. Miles was just really tracking up over his back and into my hands; overall some of the best work I’ve gotten from him in a really long time. It was just one of those rides where I never wanted to stop or get off.

You can see one of the wild children in the black coat right in front of that green jump.

But unfortunately our hack was cut short when some small children decided to run around the arena and “canter” ground poles and then “jump” the jumps… in amongst the three riders, including the small child on the lunge. Of course Miles barely flicked an ear in their direction, but when one of them didn’t quite make it over the jump and started wailing AFTER she had already gotten back up and ran halfway across the arena again, I decided it was time to leave.

Luckily for Miles our shorter hack meant he got to spend some time outside eating grass. Yeah, pretty exciting stuff in the life of a Miles.

nom, nom, nom

Hunter Fashion, Part III

Since ya’ll seem to enjoy window shopping and fantasizing about spring so much, I decided to do a third and final installment of the Hunter Fashion Series (in case you missed part I and part II). Today it’s all about spring and summer schooling outfits! Equestrian style doesn’t have to be totally unrealistic like the photo on the left; you can be fashionable and comfortable at the same time. I can even promise that my picks are also guaranteed to be functional! After all, if you’re working the barn or riding your horse, you’re probably not as worried about how you look as you are about being able to move your body and not die of heat exhaustion.

Tops

  1. $ Under Armour UA Tech V-Neck @ $17.99-$24.99 ea.
    Lightweight, moisture wicking and permanent odor protection? Can I have one in every color please?! 
  2. $$ Ariat Kaden, Nora, Tenino & Team Polos @ $44.95 ea.
    I may or may not be slightly obsessed with Ariat… which is probably why I want one of each of these classic polos. 
  3. $$$ SmartPak SunShield Polo @ $56.95 ea.
    For those stupid hot, humid days I’d love one of these! That baby blue polo is seriously calling my name…
  4. $$$$ Joules Cowdray, Harkaway & Newlyn Sweaters @ $77.99-$99.99
    When I have evening lessons in the spring, sometimes it’s still a bit chilly and a light sweater is perfect and comfy. Plus these patterns and colors just make me happy.

Breeches

  1. $ TuffRider Ribb Knee Patch Low Rise Breeches @ $42.99 ea.
    I have a pair of these and they are remarkably resilient. Fit is just so-so, but I’ve found as long as I wear a belt, it works just fine for schooling. Plus they come in an assortment of colors.  
  2. $$ SmartPak Piper Knee Patch Breeches @ $75.95 ea.
    Fun colors made by one of my favorite equestrian retailers these breeches have gotten good reviews from riders of all sizes, so I’m dying to try them out!
  3. $$$ Ariat Heritage Knee Patch Low Rise Breeches @ $88.35 ea.
    I absolutely adore these breeches. I’ve worn two pairs five days a week for a year and they still look awesome. I just wish they came in more colors. 
  4. $$$$ The Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunter @ $179.99 ea.
    Lets face it, if I could live my life in these breeches, I would. They come out with new colors every spring and I covet them so bad. 

Boots

  1. $ SmartPak Solstice Waterproof Leather Boot @ $189.95
    Work, ride and then go to dinner all in these stylish and practical boots from SmartPak. Sounds like an amazing deal for such a versatile boot! 
  2. $$ Ariat Heritage III Zip Paddock BootAriat Concord Half Chaps @ $214.40
    My paddock boots work overtime, so I always am on the hunt for a sturdy pair. I love the Ariat brand and fine their products to be durable and (relatively) cheap. 
  3. $$$ Ariat Heritage Contour Field Boot @ $265.95
    I prefer to ride in tall boots all the time, and I adore my current Ariats. Of course, I’d love to upgrade to these beauties! 
  4. $$$$ Tredstep da Vinci Field Boot @ $489.95
    I really would love to try these “no break in” required boots. Plus they’re gorgeous! 
What’s your favorite schooling outfit? 

Hunter Fashion, Part II

I grew up surrounded by the Quarter Horse industry, and the fashion in that part of the world is all about bling and flash. I’ve tamed my style considerably since that time, but part of me can’t help but want to shake up the hunter ring every once in a while and wear something out of the box.

Of course, my budget doesn’t really allow for “once in a while” pieces, so once again I’m only window shopping. But it’s still fun!!

Helmets

The standard hunter helmet is all black and either velvet or smooth plastic. But if you’re looking for a little pizzazz, helmets come in various materials and colors now… while still remaining conservative enough for the hunter ring. Here are my favorite options:

  1. Charles Owen AYR8 Leather Look Helmet – $398.95
    Although plain from a distance, I am itching to get my hands on the leather look material! 
  2. Black/Titanium GPA Speed Air Evolution Riding Helmet – $574.77
    Still very acceptable, but the silver adds a touch of “sparkle” 
  3. Navy Charles Owen AYR8 Helmet – $332.45
    Paired with a navy or grey jacket, this helmet changes up your look just enough to stand out from the crowd. 
  4. Brown Samshield Premium Helmet – $580.00
    Want to really make an impact? This brown helmet will really set you apart, especially with a grey or green coat. 
  5. Grey IRH Elite Xtreme Helmet – $237.45
    I’m on the fence about this color, but if you’re looking to make a bold statement, this helmet will certainly do it! 

Show Coats

Most hunters show in a dark navy jacket, traditionally wool, although nowadays there are all sorts of technical fabrics that many people prefer. Of course just like helmets there are some color options that you can still get away with, as well as some small non-traditional details that are still conservative enough for the hunter judge. Check out these options:
  1. Black R.J. Classics Washable Soft Shell Show Coat – $199.99
    Although traditionally reserved for the jumper ring, hunters are branching out into solid black as well. 
  2. Brown R.J. Classics Essential Show Coat – $165.99
    Just like with helmets, brown is becoming more and more popular, and personally I love the difference! 
  3. Grey Grand Prix TechLite Classic Sport – $399
    Grey has been around for a while, but it’s still a favorite of mine and it’s not worn enough to become common yet. 
  4. Green Elite Show Jacket – $67.49
    Green is coming back, and I especially love the contrast on lighter horses light greys and chestnuts. 
  5. Grand Prix Original TechLite Rylie – $359
    While still a very conservtive Navy, the four silver buttons add just enough sparkle. 
  6. Custom Grand Prix Original Euro Sport Show Coat – $625.99
    This coat goes all out with four silver buttons, as well as an ultrasuede trim collar for extra flash in the details.

Accessories

Accessories is really where hunters have some leeway to let their inner princess shine. It might not be particularly traditional, but a few touches of sparkle here and there never hurt anyone, in my humble opinion. While I will advise my fellow hunter riders to use these accessories sparingly (and preferably not all at the same time) I will also confess to loving them myself. Yeah, yeah, you can kick me out of the hunter princess circle now.
  1. Silver Buckle Leather Spur Straps – $19.99
    Small and still classy, these spur straps have just a bit of extra shine to them. 
  2. Bling Spurs – $24.95
    I love the clear crystals on these because they add just enough sparkle to satisfy my inner princess. 
  3. One K Defender Bling Suede Helmet – $369.99
    I’m not 100% sold on this helmet, but I do love the touch of rhinestones — not too much in my opinion!  
  4. Good Habit Bling Crops – $75
    The solid black crop with the black crystals is my favorite… sensing a theme of just a bit of sparkle yet?
  5. Equine Couture Bling Leather Belt – $44.99
    The belt is one of the only places a hunter rider can really be outside of the box, because it’s hardly ever seen. So go wild! 
  6. Stainless Steel Stirrup Irons with Crystal Detailing – $48.48
    Just enough sparkle to catch the light as you’re riding by! 
  7. Clear Crystal Pony Bling Bands – $18
    I wouldn’t do every braid, but every other, or even just three in the middle or at the top would be so cute.