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Samshield Shadowmatt Helmet Review

Product Review: Samshield Shadowmatt Helmet

Samshield Shadowmatt HelmetProduct Details

Samshield Shadowmatt Helmet
Retail Price: $410
What I Paid: $328
Purchased: April 2014

The Review

After a fall I decided I needed to replace my trusty IRH ATH SSV helmet, and I went for broke and purchased two: one for schooling and one for showing. I used IRH’s replacement policy to snap up another IRH ATH SSV, but I knew I wanted something a bit nicer for the show ring. I went to a local tack store and tried on ALL THE HELMETS. Charles Owen’s just sat on top of my head, and fit absolutely horribly; My trainer detests the GPA Speed Air vents for amateur hunters so… that didn’t leave me very many options. I was skeptical about the Samshield brand at first, since at the time it was still relatively new to the scene, but it had all the features I was looking for: plastic or leather (not velvet), subtle air vents and a removable/washable liner. As soon as I put it on, I was in love; this helmet fit me perfectly. Read More

$900 FB Pony Blog Hop

$900 FB Pony Blog Hop Blog Sale

If there was a TV show called “Tack Hoarders” I would be a reality TV star for sure. In fact, I probably would have been the subject of the pilot episode. But alas, my claim to fame isn’t happening anytime soon, and my husband is at the end of his ropes. I’ve been banned from the tack store until further notice because our second bedroom that was supposed to be his office really more closely resembles a tack room right now. Thus Amanda’s $900 Facebook Pony Blog Sale Blog Hop came at the perfect moment for me!

Like I said, I have a ton of stuff. So much that it’s not even all located at my house, but spread out across my in-laws basement and my parents garage as well. So you’ll have to excuse the lack of pictures in this initial post. BUT never fear! If you’re interested in an item and would like more information, including pictures, just let me know and I’d be happy to procure them for you! And don’t be shy about making offers; I really, really need this stuff gone!

Comment below for more information, including pictures!

Custom Items

Two exclusive offerings from Betty’s Customs (aka my mom). I’ve personally used these designed and they’ve help up perfectly with daily use!

  • Stirrup Cover (Available in gray, cream, navy, black, chocolate or purple) – $15
  • Crochet Ear Bonnet (Black base with white, silver, grey, red, hot pink, turquoise, hunter green, navy or yellow trim) – $25

English Tack

  • 17.5″ Albion Kontrol Close Contact Saddle (XWide tree) $1750
  • Standing Martingale (Cob) $15
  • Havana English Bridle (Cob, No Reins) $15
  • Havana Plain Raised English Bridle *NWT $20
  • Webbed Cotton English Reins $5
  • Webbed Cotton English Reins with training rings $5
  • Brown Cloth English Girth (Size 44) $10
  • Fleece Show Pad with EZ View $25
  • Quilted Fitted Show Pad $10
  • Centaur Fleece Shaped Pad *NWT $40
  • Fillis Irons with Comfort Grip Pads $10
  • 5″ Fast Twist Full Cheek $5

English Clothing

  • Elite Wool Show Coat in Navy Plaid (size 14) $100
  • Small Brown English Full Chaps $20
  • Black Half Chaps (medium) $15
  • Perris Black Half Chaps (Large) $15
  • Velvet Hunt Cap (Size 7) $25
  • Prince of Wales Spurs $15
  • Brown Paddock Boots (Size 6) $20

Western Tack

  • 15″ Buffalo Trail Saddle $125
  • Medium Brown Western Bridle (with Split Reins) $10
  • Black with Silver Double Ear Western Show Bridle (with matching reins) $40
  • Black with Silver Western Breastcollar $20
  • (2) 5″ Tom Thumb Bits $5
  • 5″ Mullen Barrel Bit $15
  • 5″ Low Port Correction Bit $5
  • 5″ Low Port with Fixed Shanks $5
  • Light Oil with Silver Show Halter and Lead Shank $30
  • Medium Oil Show Halter with Red Diamond Cut-Outs and Lead $20
  • Black Western Saddle Case *NWT $25
  • Neoprene Cinch $25
  • SMB II Front Boots in Maroon (Size Medium) $30
Buffalo Saddlery Western Saddle
Buffalo Saddlery Western Saddle

Western Clothing

Justin Lacers in Black (Size 7 1/2) $30
Justin Lacers in Black (Size 8) $30
Cream Justin Showmanship Boots (Size 8) $20

Equestrian At Hart Blog Hop

EAH Blog Hop: Equestrian Wardrobe

First off, thanks to Hilary (Equestrian at Hart) for starting up a new blog hop just when I needed some new content! For all of my talk about fashion and accessories, ultimately I am frugal and efficient when it comes to my everyday riding attire. Maybe if I had a trust fund I’d be in Tailored Sportsmans every ride, but I prefer to save my expensive clothing for shows. Which means for hacking and lessons I’m usually in just a t-shirt and breeches… I didn’t even wear tall boots every ride until the last few years. But just for the fun of it, let’s go through my wardrobe, and I’ll show you what this fashionista wears day in and day out to the barn:

I have two helmets: a Samshield Shadow Mat and an IRH ATH SSV, which I alternate between. I usually wear my Samshield to hack in during the summer because it’s so much cooler, but I always wear my IRH to jump in. The logic is that my IRH is cheaper and easier to replace in the event of a fall, and my Samshield is supposed to be my show helmet… but it’s too nice and too comfortable to sit on a shelf to be worn only once a month.

Helmets - IRH ATH SSV and Samshield Shadow Mat

For shirts, I usually wear either a golf polo or just t-shirt. I try to “dress up” for lessons in a polo, and the fabric used for golf shirts in particular is great in the heat. Otherwise, I wear slightly older, but still passable t-shirts, tucked in to breeches. I have a few different pairs of breeches, one pair which is reserved exclusively for shows, as well as four pairs or so of schooling breeches: two SmartPak Pipers and two Ariat Heritage Low Rise. I wear the same belt: a plain brown belt I got eons ago from Talbots when I worked there. Boot socks is probably where I splurge the most for my riding outfits. I love colored zocks! I like to have all the patterns in all the colors… because when you show hunters you have to rebel in the details! I probably have 15 pairs of boot socks with animal print, floral patterns, various shades of plaid, etc. It’s really hard for me to walk out of a tack store without a new pair of zocks.

Finally I always wear tall boots when I ride, because I don’t like to feel different in the show ring. I found changing from half chaps to tall boots at shows made me feel uncomfortable, so I decided to ride in what I show in. I recently got a new pair of tall boots (Ariat Challenge), but I’m hoping to repair my old ones (Ariat Heritage) soon so I can have practice tall boots and show tall boots.

Boot Socks Zocks

Aruba Beach with Pina Colada Kindle

Honeymoon in Aruba

Sam and I just returned from our honeymoon in Aruba [bet you didn’t even know I was gone!]. We had an amazing time, I would encourage anyone who loves the beach to visit Aruba. It was my first time ever travelling internationally [I guess I’m a bit sheltered], but it was definitely worth it! The island itself is located just North of Venezuela in the Caribbean ocean, with the interior featuring desert terrain with cacti and a more tropical landscape with palm trees and sand on the outskirts. The beaches were picturesque: soft, white sand and clear, brilliant blue ocean; it was mesmerizing to look at and definitely a view I will miss to say the least.

We stayed at a very nice adults-only resort on Eagle Beach, which is the quiet side of the island. We landed around 2 pm and were greeted upon arrival at the resort with a glass of champagne. After that, I knew we were going to have a fabulous time! All of the staff were really friendly, and we made a few friends along the way. The doorman, Frank, said “Welcome home!” every time we arrived back from an outing, Tome our concierge is a total foodie and made us fantastic reservations at his favorite local restaurants, Angelo our waiter on the beach was so funny and knew our drink order by heart after the second day and Karen at the sand bar loved looking at pictures of Miles. Even though being hospitable is their job, the staff at Bucuti really went above and beyond.

Aruba View from Hotel Room
View from our beach-front hotel room

We spent most of our days lounging on the beach drinking piña coladas. I read a whole bunch of books including The Eighty Dollar Champion, the Bittersweet Farm series, Four: A Divergent Collection and a few romance novels. Sam mostly played on his new iPad Mini I bought as a “Congrats the Bar Exam is Over” present. Somehow, we both managed to escape without any serious sunburns which I’m totally wearing as a badge of honor because I am notorious for not wearing sunscreen.

Every night we ate at wonderful restaurants and gorged on seafood and wine. Our resort featured a five-star restaurant on site, so we ate there several times. But we also visited a seafood grill, as well as a nearby place where we ate dinner in bed [IN BED!] and drank half-price wine. The food was literally to die for, and I’m going to have to get used to my Meijer salmon and Barefoot wine again, such first world problems I have!

Aruba Cabana Dinner
Sunset dinner in a private beach cabana at Elements restaurant

We did manage to do a few excursions while we were in Aruba, even though our main goal was to just relax and soak in the sun. One afternoon we went snorkeling and saw some very pretty coral and schools of brightly colored fish, as well as a ship wreck. My favorite trip was of course horseback riding on the beach! It’s always been on my bucket list and seeing as Ohio doesn’t have many beaches [at least, not pretty ones], I was ecstatic to have this opportunity. We went to a small local farm with a group of about seven. All of the horses were impeccably cared for [which I was obviously very happy about], with shiney coats and perfectly shod hooves. There was even a one-month old colt in the front paddock [the farm’s first home-bred, I later found out].

Aruba Paso Fino Foal
One month old Paso Fino colt at Rancho Loco

We enjoyed a two and half hour trail ride through Dos Playa park, roding up a few large hills that were made up almost entirely of shale, down to the sandy beach and back again. The horses were Paso Finos, and while they obviously knew exactly where they were going, these were not dead-head trail ponies. In fact, they did their characteristic ambling/running walk gait for most of the trip. Having never ridden a gaited horse before, it was very strange at first, but once I figured out the motion, it was very comfortable. Sam, who hasn’t ridden much at all in his entire life, really enjoyed the trail ride and expressed interest in learning to ride and possibly getting a trail horse for himself. I was tickled pink!

Sam Horseback Riding in Aruba
Sam horseback riding in Aruba at Dos Playa

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I was sad to fly home. Of course, I missed my boys [Miles and Rocky] terribly, so I wasn’t too sad. We’re already making plans to go back!


Friday Five Equestrian Earrings

Friday Five: Equestrian Earrings

I’m almost out of equestrian jewelry ideas, so make sure to relish these last few Friday five posts! I don’t usually wear earrings except for special occasions, but they do really help spruce up a work outfit and I think hunter girls in pearls are like peanut butter and jelly. It’s tough to find equestrian earrings that aren’t… strange. For some reason it seems every designer wants to put a horse’s head on my earlobe, but I just don’t find that particularly attractive [maybe that’s just me though]. Every other type of design is so outrageously expensive I almost choked on my coffee more than once doing research for this post. Seriously, I don’t have $200 to spend a pair of earrings, although I’m sure Georgina Bloomberg does; too bad I’m not her.

#1 Gold Stitched Equestrian Earrings

$30.99 from

Ralph Lauren has a pretty awesome lineup of equestrian-inspired clothing and jewelry, but usually it’s just out of my price range. So I was super stoked at my awesome internet sleuthing skills when I came across these darling gold small stitch earrings by the famous designer. I’m not sure anyone else will ever really notice that these are equestrian earrings, per say, but honestly that’s why I like them so much.

#2 Snaffle Bit Dangle Equestrian Earrings

$35.99 from

Don’t let the creepy website URL turn you away from these cute and inexpensive equestrian earrings. I get so tired of seeing everyone at the barn where studs, that I just had to have these high on my list. I know they’re maybe not the safest piece of jewelry to wear, but if we’re being honest we probably shouldn’t wear any jewelry to the barn at all… and where’s the fun in that?! Anyways, I think these earrings are classy and timeless… so what are you waiting for?!

#3 Lucky Clover Horseshoe Earrings

$24.95 from

A little bit more fun than your typical horseshoe earrings, these have clovers for extra luck. I think these would be really fun for an equestrian outing like a clinic, horse show or even a night out with your barnmates [post-lesson margaritas are thing, right?].

#4 Stirrup Equestrian Earrings

$12.99 from

Have I mentioned that I really like Kelly Herd’s jewelry designs? Usually her stuff is pretty pricey, but these are both really, really pretty and totally affordable! In fact, they’re the cheapest option on today’s list. So do yourself a favor and splurge on a special treat for yourself.

#5 Silver Horse Equestrian Earrings

$69.90 from

I know I said a lot of equestrian earrings are kind of hokey, and these are dangerously close to that. But for some reason, the Taurus earring just caught my eye… it’s kind of cute in an artsy way and I just had to put them on my list. I promise not to be offended when you squash my design sense on these ones though 🙂

Friday Five Equestrian Earrings