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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.

Hunter Fashion, Part I

Despite the fact that winter continues to rage here in Fly Over Country (and foil my plans to ride my horse!) all I can think about is spring and summer… and you guessed it, horse shows! So since I’m still stuck inside, I’m giving in to my addiction by stalking photos of HITS and WEF online, which has led to an unhealthy amount of online shopping. But unfortunately I’m semi-broke (thank you brand-new Prestige saddle) and I’m cheap, so really I’m just window shopping online.

Last year I spent an exorbitant amount of time window shopping for expensive, fancy amateur hunter horses because I didn’t have one of my own. But I love Miles and I’m really looking forward to showing him this summer, thus my daily visits to HunterJumperExchange.com have drastically reduced. Instead, I’m shopping for myself… specifically for show outfits. Here’s my current get-up:

  1. On Course Ashby Ladies Hunt Coat in Navy – $71.95 (I paid $25)
  2. Ariat Heritage Tall Boots – $265.95 (I paid $165)
  3. Essex Classic Solid Color Diagonal Twill Show Shirt in Yellow – $63.50 (I paid $25)
  4. RJ Classics Essential Ladies Wrap Collar Show Shirt in White w/ Pink – $58 (I paid 37.95)
  5. Ariat Heritage Knee Patch Side Zip in Tan – $90.20
  6. Ariat Heritage Knee Patch Side Zip in Khaki – $86.95
  7. IRH ATH SSV Helmet – $235.55 (I paid $145.30)
  8. Tory Stitched Spur Belt – $36
  9. Heritage Premier Show Gloves – $26.55

TOTAL COST: $934.65 (I paid $637.95)

For the most part, I really like my show outfit. I enjoy having two shirts and two breeches because I always go to two-day shows and variety is the spice of life. The two things I would most like to upgrade are my tall boots (I want Spanish style tops with a swagger tab SO BAD) and my helmet (I wear the same one for schooling so it’s getting a bit… grungy).

But only upgrading two pieces of your wardrobe is no fun, especially when you’re window shopping. So here’s what I came up with for a completely upgraded look:

  1. RJ Classics Soft Shell Hunt Coat in Navy – $218
  2. Ariat Heritage Contour Tall Boots – $265.95
  3. Essex Classics Wrap Collar Ladies Show Shirt in Yellow – $61.25
  4. Essex Classics Coolmax Performance Collection Ladies Show Shirt in Lavendar – $54.08
  5. Leather Nameplate Bracelet in Brass – $23.70
  6. Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunter Low-Rise in Tan – $179.95
  7. Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunter Low-Rise in Green Beige – $179.95
  8. IRH Elite Xtreme Helmet – $237.45
  9. Ariat Regal Reversible Belt – $49.95
  10. Roeckl Chester Glove – $49.95

TOTAL COST: $1,320.23

What I like about this outfit is that it basically just upgrades my current outfit. I love wrap collar show shirts, so I’d love to upgrade my yellow one, and add another color. Same with the breeches — I’d love to move my Ariats to just schooling breeches and show in Tailored Sportsmans. Also, a new show coat that isn’t 100% wool sounds wonderfully… cool.

And really, the cost difference between the two isn’t that much, only $385 retail. Plus, there’s a few things I already have or could do without. I already have a bracelet for Visa, so that knocks off $25. And I don’t mind my belt or gloves, so I could forego those as well (minus another $100). Finally, while the lavendar shirt should be nice, I’m not sure how much I would wear it (to take off another $60).

Of course I couldn’t stop myself here. I decided that just like looking at really, really expensive horses, shopping for outrageously expensive outfits would be fun too. So if I won the lottery, or had a wealthy benefactor or even a trust fund, here’s what I would buy:

  1. Grand Prix Quinn Show Coat – $449
  2. 1/2 Karat Diamond Round Cut Earrings – $479.99
  3. Infinity Pendant Necklace with Double Strand Chain – $19.95
  4. Michael Kors Women’s Stainless Steel, Quartz and Pearl Watch – $137.50
  5. Tailored Sportsman Premier Convertible Collar Show Shirt in Daisy Dukes – $109.99
  6. Tailored Sportsman Premier Convertible Collar Show Shirt in Aquatic – $109.99
  7. Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunter Low-Rise in Tan – $179.95
  8. Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunter Low-Rise in Green Beige – $179.95
  9. GPA Speed Air Evolution Helmet – $589.99
  10. Leather Nameplate Bracelet in Brass – $23.70
  11. Tailored Sportsman Quilted “C” Belt in Black – $107.95
  12. Roeckl Chester Glove – $49.95
  13. Parlanti Passion Miami Tall Boots – $635.52

TOTAL COST: $3073.43

Yeah, I really went all out. Of course, I could save a boatload with cheaper earrings… but still the outfit is just plain extravagant. Definitely not a bad way to spend $3k if it felt like pocket change! Alas, that will never be me. But it was fun pretending!

If you could splurge on one item for your show outfit, what would it be? 

Must Have Winter Wear

We had our first snow here in fly over country last night, which means it’s officially winter… and I am ready for Spring already! I hate winter — all the snow and ice make commuting even less fun than usual, not only because half the populous forgets how to drive in inclement weather every year (seriously people, we live in the North – get with the program!), but you also have to add extra time to clean off and warm up your car every single time you go somewhere. Moral of the story is that winter is a major suckfest.
But for adult ammy equestrians around the world, winter is a good time to get back to basics (like improving that lower leg I conveniently put off during show season) and attempt to stay fit, because let’s face it: the older you get the harder it is to get BACK in shape. And, if you’re anything like me, if I took every winter off I’d never have a prayer of ever being competitive. So I suck it up and head out to the barn in the bitter cold… which to me includes any temperature below 40 degrees.
So how do I manage it? I mean, I know plenty of people don’t consider 35 degrees to be fucking frigid, but I do. And where I live, that’s a positively toasty temperature for January. But luckily, I have secret weapons: my must-have winter wear! These four items will help keep you warm from head to toe while in the barn and riding and are absolutely essential if you plan to brave the cold and go riding:
Roeckl Chester Gloves

#4 Winter Gloves

My Recommended Brand: SSG Winter Lined Rancher ($36.95) & Roeckl Winter Chester Gloves ($58.95)
This one is pretty obvious, but the key is having two pairs: one for barn work and one for riding. Also, when and where you change your gloves is essential. I store my barn gloves in my car and put them on before I open the door, that way they are nice and warm and keep my hands toasty right from get-go. While mine are admittedly bulky, I don’t need a lot of dexterity to groom my horse or fill water buckets. Really, any brand will do, but the SSG Winter Lined Ranchers are pretty awesome.
When I’m almost ready to ride, I go into the heated tack room and put on my riding gloves. Usually I do this before I put on the bridle because I need nimble fingers to put it on (yes, I am challenged). My preferred brand are Roeckl Winter Chester Gloves because they are insulated enough to keep my fingers from falling off, but still give me enough dexterity to half halt.

#3 Grabber Toe Warmers

My Recommended Brand: Grabber Toe Warmers with Adhesive ($3.99)
I don’t have the funds to buy a second pair of tall boots just for the winter months: mine have to last me year-round, from 90 degrees to 15 degrees. While I’m lucky that I can fit an extra layer of pants on, thick socks are a no-go. I get a pair of thin, regular ankle socks plus my boot socks and that’s it. And everyone knows that once you’re toes are frozen, life sucks and so does riding. So these toe warmers are essential: they have adhesive on the bottom so that you can put them near the toe of your boot and they won’t move around while you ride. Plus the heat lasts a solid hour for me, which is just enough time for a lesson
Rambo Quarter Sheet

#2 Quarter Sheets

My Recommended Brand: Dura-Tech Polarfleece ($34.99)
When it is so cold you can barely stand to ride (but you have to because you haven’t ridden all week due to a blizzard and subarctic temperatures), slapping on a quarter sheet makes the experience bearable. I am particularly fond of the ones that go over my legs… because it’s like wearing a blanket while I ride, and who doesn’t like blankets? While they can be a bit cumbersome, they do keep you a helluva lot warmer when you need it most!
I also loved my under the saddle quarter sheet for my older horse who got so stiff in the winter. For a lighter hack, focusing more on walk and trot work, the sheet helped his back and hind-end warm up more quickly and stay that way. Plus the polar fleece fabric has some wicking properties that helped keep him drier, which minimizes the dreaded cool down time.
under armour coldgear

#1 Under Armor ColdGear Compression

My Recommended Brand: Under Armor ColdGear Compression Shirt ($49.99) and Pants ($49.99)
To stay warm, you have to layer effectively, and that starts with the base layer. I love Under Armor ColdGear: it keeps you warm while simultaneously wicking away sweat to keep you dry. The compression line is my favorite because it helps keep all my jiggles more firmly in place, plus it doesn’t add bulk — which, when you’re attempting to go over a fence, is absolutely essential! As an added bonus, I have had my pair of shirt and pants for 10 years… and they still look brand new! I throw those suckers in the washer and the dryer and they are no worse for wear.
I promise that this shirt and pants combo will be the best $100 you’ll ever spend… well, maybe not, but I would probably hibernate and Miles would get 90% of the winter off if it weren’t for these gems.