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We Are Flying Solo

August 8, 2010

Surviving Summer

Lifeshighway & I enjoyed a thoroughly great ride this morning; Solo has turned into a fat blob during his vacation, trying to see if he can set a new record for inhaling Bermuda grass faster than it can grow under crazy daily rain.  Much to his dismay, now that we are back in training for the fall season, this means fat-burning workouts are in order.  Which generally means lots of walking & trotting on any trail I can get us to.

Much to my dismay, turns out that giving Solo a holiday combined with a relatively light fieldwork summer at the office means that MY legs don't feel so hot after several hours of trotting through the woods.  Ow.  I hate it when your body forcibly informs you that you are not 23 any more.

It's still hot out too, although 90 degrees feels downright pleasant after suffocating in a wet, dank cloud of 107.  But it can still present a challenge to, say, moving.

You basically have two options:
(a) You can take the true Southern route of just moving very slowly & drinking lots of things out of tall glasses clinking with ice or...
(b) You get technical.  And by technical, I mean buy every product ever invented that dissipates heat & moisture & catches the faintest hint of breezes.  Leave the cotton locked in the closet.

So today I want to share with you a few of my favourite things that keep summer riding bearable.   (Disclaimer: I pick up most things either on sale or on eBay, I very rarely pay full retail price for anything.)

Riding Sport tights - matchy blue!

I have four different pairs of "wicking" summerweights:
  1. TuffRiders Aerocool
  2. Irideons
  3. Tropical Riders 
  4. Riding Sport Performance Tights (*snif* 2015 search reveals these may no longer exist?) 
 All are pull-ons, except for the TuffRiders, which have a front zipper & snap.

Ironically, the most effective & most comfortable are the cheapest: the Riding Sports!   I picked them up on sale for around $30 & I LOVE them.  Yes, they do have a coloured stripe on your butt, but they outperform the other three too well for it to matter. 

The TuffRiders are the least cool.  They are comfortable & very durable, but do not offer any cooling bonus over "normal" breeches.   Happily I only paid $6 on eBay, so it doesn't break my heart. 

All four run pretty true to size except for the Tropical Riders (Endurocools), which are crazy long (and I have a 34" inseam) such that I have to fold up the elastic hem on the legs & fold down the waistband!  These last ones also have the greatest "you look like a human sausage stuffed in a fabric casing" effect, something the other three were much kinder about.


My key here: DO NOT BUY ONES MADE FOR RIDING.  Not that they might not work, I am sure they do, but if anyone thinks I'm paying $60 for a short-sleeved shirt, they must have better drugs than I do!  I buy running shirts on sale at Campmor & Sierra Trading Post for $7-12.

Saddle Pads

In the past, I have been very happy with my Roma Ecole pad with WickEasy lining. They're easy to find at pretty much all the major horse retailers. This summer has been so awful though, that I wanted to try to find something that was lighter.

A light bulb flickered while watching a barnmate pull out a baby pad.  Now I will readily admit to being a past baby pad hater, due to silly marketing offering them "to keep saddle pads clean."  Well, the general purpose of a saddle pad is to keep the saddle clean!  A pad to protect a pad??  Is my pad pad going to want a pad next??

Guess what -- now I own some baby pads, although NOT for protecting my saddle pads.  I picked up a couple Roma baby pads (a whopping $10/pair on sale) that are super light weight & cover less of my horse's sides.  They stayed put, despite no girth or billet straps, & washed up beautifully in the washing machine.

I eyed the CoolMax version, but refused to pay the steeper price.  Note that your basic baby pad is a flat rectangle; I fold the front edge ~1-1.5" back over the withers & it sits nicely.

So keep your eyes open for end of summer closeouts & inventory clearance sales this winter!  And stay cool, stay hydrated, & keep a close eye on your horse so we all make it to fall in one piece, albeit  with lightly toasted brain cells.


  1. Nothing like riding with a junior miss and have her complain about her age.

  2. Sounds wonderful! Unfortunately, I'm with Solo. Although I haven't eaten any bermuda grass lately, I've had ENTIRELY too many nachos tonight! Sigh!

  3. You must recognize my ancientness! And....what was I saying?? I don't know, I can only think about nachos for some reason....mmmm, nachoooosss...

  4. Hhhmmm, I've never heard about using baby pads to protect your saddle pad (?). I've always just used 'em as an actual saddle pad; and the great thing is you can usually pick up a three-pack of all one color for super cheap.

    And, yes, unfortunately getting old means slowly morphing into a weak, jiggly marshmallow! I am now riding a few times a week and I always feel like I am about to drop dead. Guess I'll have to join Solo in the Battle of The Bulge (and maybe I'll have to give up my Drumstick ice cream cones, but that just might make me cry).

  5. Oh, Frizz, not the Drumsticks! Nothing is worth no more ice cream!!!

  6. Other great breeches: I have a pair of super lightweight Kerrits tights that a friend picked up on sale for $25. They're GREAT for summertime... nice and cool. They are like hay magnets, though. Pretty messy to feed in.

  7. Oo, SB, I have some winter fleecy Kerrits that are super comfy. I am sad though because I just got them this winter and the stitching is already coming out. :*-(