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We Are Flying Solo

Showing posts with label clothes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clothes. Show all posts

December 6, 2011

In Which I Discover I Have Jinxed Myself

My blankets are fabulous, I said.  My blanket never tear, I said.  Waaahhhhhh....

Yes, Solo saw fit to once again stomp my dreams to dust (ok, I might be a little dramatic). Twice, in fact. This was his attack:

Encore wears blanket. Solo bites Encore. Blanket loses.

The carnage.
That is Solo's blanket, the trusty 5-year vetran of Carolina winters.  Torn asunder by vengeful teeth.  I guess Solo did not like the fact that Encore was wearing his clothes.  Fortunately, I have exquisite seamstress skills.  In fact, I think I should probably quit my job now and become a plastic surgeon.

The repair.
Stop laughing.

It gets worse.  Solo, apparently still seething with rage, also exacted his punishment on Encore's new blanket a day later, so I had to mangle fix that with my peerless needlework.  The seam is sealed with my tears of sorrow for the disfigurement of blanket loveliness.  

They are generally so peacefull out there.  Everyone has been blanketed up with nary a problem.  What, did someone start a fiery debate about politics out there?  Thanks so much, guys. 

December 1, 2011

Help Team Flying Solo And I Guarantee You Will Win Your Next Show

*All guarantees not necessarily guaranteed.
Oh yes, it's your chance to get your hands on some sweet Flying Solo karma. 

Do you need a new show coat?  How about some inexpensive schooling equipment to save wear on your nice gear or some horsey clothes?  Peruse at your leisure and drop me an email about anything you are interested in; make an offer.

I have done my best to accurately represent, photograph, and measure all items.  Everything is kept clean, nonsmoking, I have cleaned and conditioned all the leather, blah blah. 

Caldene english show coat -- Black.  100% wool.  Made in England.  I had the seams let out (I have big shoulders & monkey arms, so it could fit a 6 or a thin 8.  On hanger, measures 15" shoulder to shoulder, 28" top of collar to tail on back, 24" shoulder seam to end of sleeve. 

Single vent in back with two black accent buttons behind.  Three button front with seal grey lining.  Lovely & I am sorry to part with it.  This will have you set for dressage, hunters, eventing, schooling shows, and will last forever.  Drycleaned & ready to go.  Excellent condition.  Retail ~$200.  $75.

Beautiful tailored details on back

Gatsby figure-8 noseband -- dark brown, plain leather.  Brand new.  Horse size.  Retail $30.  $15.  SOLD!! 

Hunting breastplate -- dark brown, plain raised leather.  Lovely condition, nice leather.  Horse size.  Retail $100.  $40.  

Dover jumper girth -- dark brown with lighter brown inset.  42", measures 46" from tip of buckle to tip of buckle.  Stainless steel roller buckles, they don't make them like this anymore!  Retail $80.  $25. SOLD!! 

Zilco crupper -- beta biothane, very nice and new.  For your mountain getaways!  Brown with black, very soft, padding and brass toned hardware.  Horse size, very adjustable.  Retail $57.  $30.   SOLD!!


Big D dress sheets -- THERE ARE TWO OF THESE.  Blue/hunter/burgundy plaid with burgundy trim, very nice, hardly used.  One is a 74", one is a 78".  Leather-reinforced fittings with nice hardware.  Closed front.  Surcingle and leg straps on both.  The 78" does have a 1" tear near the butt dart, easy to stitch.  Retail $75.  $30 for the 74" and $20 for the 78".


Herm Sprenger loose ring snaffle -- German silver loose ring snaffle from the experts at HS with over 135 years of experience.  Anatomically designed for your horse's mouth.  5.5 inches, ~13 mm diameter mouth at end outside rings (thickest part).  Retail $86.  $50

The Gory Details

Shipping and handling: flat $8.00 in the US.  If you are in Canada or elsewhere, I'll have to figure that out.  All items will ship as soon as I can upon receipt of payment.

Payment: Check, money order or Paypal, email me for informationI will also take reasonable offers or do package deals.

Solo says thank you for looking!  

June 22, 2011

This Is How We (Don't) Roll: Majykal Cooling Products

I've often eyed those fancy CoolMedics vests online -- they claim to keep your core temperature down through evaporative cooling.  But at almost $200 a pop, I wasn't going to "just try it out."  However, our BO just bought one and I soaked it up and put it on yesterday evening.  I mounted Solo and awaiting my cooling miracle.

We only rode briefly and if you know anything about Carolina summers, you know they are filled with the air you can chew. Did the clouds part and angels sing as I was miraculously cooled? Ummmmm, no. I basically felt like I was riding wearing a heavy, wet towel. Ick. I suppose you might have better luck if your summer includes low humidity and constant breezes, but since that doesn't happen here, I'm going to keep my $200, thank you very much.

I am going to try their (much cheaper) neck scarf to see if it works any better -- cool water on the neck always feels good and doesn't block air from getting to your body.  But as far as the torso goes, I'm sticking to my wicking shirts; they WORK and even better, they are often less than $10.  That's what I'm talking about!

March 12, 2011

This Is How We Roll: Safety Vests

This week has been spent rebuilding Solo's muscle and fitness.  Which means transitions, lateral work, hill work, and longeing.  Which means he is b.o.r.e.d.  As he comes out of the barn, he says "Please god, don't take me to the sandbox again.  PLEASE GOD!"  Today, a long wander through the woods on a warm sunny day is in order!

We are back to the vet next Thursday to check blood levels, etc and hopefully progress will continue.

This morning though, I wanted to talk about safety vests. A must-have item for any aspiring eventer and generally falling into the "big ticket item" category at prices from $100 to $500. Fortunately, unlike helmets, you can fall on them repeatedly without having to replace. Whew.

But the air vests are $800, you insist. Yes, yes they are. And they also require a conventional vest underneath. And they also have failed to provide me with sufficient data that they are anything more than yet another product riding on a tide of very successful marketing. I know there are people out there who claim, "It saved me!" but I claim, no, your conventional vest underneath and your helmet saved you. It's simple physics: an air vest CANNOT PROTECT YOU FROM A 1200 POUND HORSE CRUSHING YOU. Not going to happen; for that you need a rigid structure, like the Woof Exo's magnesium cage, which I have recently heard will soon no longer be available? An airbag will also not protect your neck from any of the torsional injuries which are usually associated with a fall from a horse; once again, you would need a rigid, fixed structure for that. In fact, it will not doing anything more than offer a bit of cushion from bumps and blows. Which is exactly what the conventional vest you are already wearing does. So, to this particular scientist, I cry redundancy.  However, if data (anecdotes do not equal data) does become available, I am open to hearing about it!

That said, if folks have the money and simply want to wear it (or you are a BNR and you get a free one, but then I doubt you are reading this smurf blog, ROFL!), knock yourself out. I do believe that it does offer an extra layer of bump protection, but that is not something I personally have that much money to throw at. But please don't make any wild and crazy claims unless you have good data to back it up.

Ok, moving on....

My criteria for my own vest: BETA 3 approved -- yes, I know this is not required. However, it tells me that some level of testing has been done on the product I am trusting my internal organs to! And it may be required in the future, at which point I do not want to have to re-shop. The vest must also be comfortable, not restrict range of motion, and be easy to put on/take off.

The first vest I owned was a secondhand eBay find.  It was comfortable and did the job for schooling, but I needed a little better fit as we moved on to competition.  Mum once again generously stepped up and offered to donate one for my birthday (parents like safe kids, LOL!).  So I ended up contacting the good folks at VTO saddlery and submitting a set of measurements for a Rodney Powell Elite vest.

I LOVE THIS VEST. And I have, uh, "field-tested" this vest. In all ways. Yeah, even that way. Hey, no, not that way! Get your mind out of the gutter!  You can laugh at my stupid picture face instead.

It fits like a glove. When you put it on, within two minutes, the foam conforms to your body and you no longer even notice you are wearing bloody body armour. My range of motion is completely unimpaired. After two Carolina summers, I can tell you it is no hotter than any other vests I have tried on, which is pretty impressive considering this is heavy-duty armour!  I also did get the shoulder pads -- I'm not sure I buy their claim that it will prevent collar bone breakage, but they certainly will absorb some impact to the shoulder in a fall on an otherwise unprotected area.  I can't say I wear them every time, but for big courses, I strap them on!

I highly, highly recommend this vest and the VTO folks to anyone in the market. Each vest is custom built to fit you based on a series of measurements you send in. They also have a model specifically designed for those of you with large female metronomes in the chest region. ;-) Can't tell you much more about that, sorry, I am happily not a member of that group! But Rodney Powell has made a great, great product that will serve you well in your eventing adventures, so I would encourage checking it out post haste!

February 18, 2011

This Is How We Roll: Helmets

It's warm outside! And Solo slowly begins to feel better, with a little less sag to his belly and a little more sparkle in his eye. Although he no longer trusts my sneaky hands: every time I approach his stall, if he cannot see two empty hands, he backs up warily, quite sure that I am about to either (a) stab a giant needle in his man-boobs or (b) squirt something nasty in his mouth.

Today, though, I thought I'd throw about a couple of helmet reviews as folks are getting ready for spring seasons (jealous!!!!) and checking to see how gear fared over the nasty winter.

Helmets are getting a lot of attention lately, but you know I've always been a helmet nazi. Thanks, mum, for instilling good safety habits! Remember, not only do you need a helmet (well, at least if I like you. If you are annoying and mean to your horse, meh, I don't care if you fall on your head), you need a helmet that (1) fits you correctly and (2) is in good condition.

That 10-year-old Troxel that you've fallen on six times and the dog chewed on? Yeah, sorry, it's got to go. Helmets should be replaced roughly every five-ish years OR after you fall on them. Whichever comes first.

I know it hurts to spend the money if you've just bought the thing and it only has one good clunk. But helmets work by absorbing shock in compressing foam. Once you have compressed the foam lining, it doesn't spring back. The helmet will no longer be able to absorb that shock and it will instead by directly transferred to your skull. Not cool. Ask lifeshighway how important that is.  So really not worth it, suck it up and replace it! For more info, check out the riders4helmets website.

On to what's in my tack room: two actually, and I have glowing love for both.

The very popular Tipperary Sportage. I've had two (the first one met the ground). Lightweight, very comfortable, and I really like the generous head coverage. Plenty of vents for those Carolina summers, which is of utmost importance. And best of all, at $60, AFFORDABLE. Because here's the truth: a $40 approved helmet works just as well (and in some cases, better) than a $350 (or $700 or $900) approved helmet. Don't let the damn marketers convince you that pricier is better. They have all passed the same tests so the science is the same.

I also like to have something a bit dressy and more "traditional" for dressage and for recognized horse trials. I had a very VERY old black velvet Troxel, but it has long outlived its time and it doesn't fit very well anymore, so it came time to replace it. I REFUSE to buy Charles Owen (because they are trendy and yes, I am THAT stubborn that if something is a hot trend, I won't touch it), so I turned to IRH. Mum very generously agreed to sponsor it for my birthday this year (thanks again, mum!) so I am now the thrilled owner of the IRH XR9 (why can't they give them normal names, what's with all the stupid numbers and crap?). It fits perfectly, is very light, uber-comfy, and as a bonus, looks nice on your melon. At around $130, it's not the cheapest one out there, but definitely one of the most affordable helmets that will dress you up for a recognized show.

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.

July 9, 2010

Time To Strap One On!

My helmet advocacy is not exactly a secret. So it should come as no surprise when I post for you this little reminder:


This event has been sponsored by and is much more than just a shout out in the name of safety!

Perhaps the most impressive part is the nationwide helmet sale; a list of participating retailers (over 125 of them!) can be found here (organized by state and a VERY impressive list). You can also follow on Facebook. I just got an email today from Dover Saddlery stating that they will be offering 15% off on all helmet brands listed below for the entire day tomorrow, so no excuses!

Participating manufacturers include Troxel, Charles Owen, Aegis, GPA, Ovation, Tipperary, IRH, and Antares Sellier France.

There will also be an on-the-ground event at the Kentucky Horse Park tomorrow, you can read more about it on the website.

A helmet campaign t-shirt autographed by leading equestrians will also be placed up for auction in the Courtney King-Dye Medical Fund/Equestrian Aid Foundation eBay store tomorrow.

So if you need to replace an older helmet or you are currently riding bareheaded, do everyone who cares about you a favour and wander over to your equestrian retailer of choice and snag a great deal!

May 23, 2010

Need A Coat As Show Season Heats Up?

I am going to take a moment for shameless advertisement. Ok, maybe there's a little shame. Well, no, actually that's a lie, there isn't. I have just listed a show coat for sale on eBay and on the off chance anyone is looking for a lovely, lightweight coat, well, here you go! I purchased it at a local humane society benefit and it's just a bit too big for me.

eBay Listing

This is a Wellington Collection jacket, you can find them in Dover for $140. And bonus: you can throw it in the washing machine! Completely brand new, with tags, from my very own smoke free home. It really does look nice in person and the lining is just beautiful, this cheapie camera does not do it justice. Bidding starts at $0.99 and I have no reserve on it, so name your price!

February 18, 2010

These Boots Ain't Made For Walking

But are they any good for riding?

Years of tromping around barns has put me through years of going through paddock boots. I am always on a search for a perfect pair that match affordability ($150 for paddock boots, puh-LEASE!) and durability. Because you are SO lucky, I will share my findings of this incredibly scientific (we will just ignore sample size issues, ahem) experiment.

I wear paddock boots constantly for just walking around the farm and riding, which sometimes entails 4 hour trail rides, and usually includes 4-5 rides in the arena per week, so I use them hard. I put them on when I leave the house and they stay on. So I might be tromping through mud and poo, ice, rain, or heat. And I don't sit down and polish them every day. Survival of the fittest around me. And in case you don't notice a trend, I hate tying lace ups...

FAIL or WIN? I'll go from cheapest (yay!) to priciest (boo!) --

Gatsby: elastic-side paddock boots ($25) from Horseloverz -- those things are great! They are still fully intact, no cracking, comfortable. The only thing that happened was the lining tore, but I just threw a pair of drugstore insoles in and they work great. Wore them for about a year and a half. I still keep them in the back of my truck as spares. WIN!

Saxon: the Equileather zip paddock boots ($40). Got them last summer. Within two months, they blew out at the ball of the foot and then completely separated from the soles on both shoes. They were comfy and great to ride in but only last maybe 4 months total! FAIL!

Dublin: zip fronts ($~74). Using these now. Been wearing for about 8 months or so now. It's been a hard winter on boots with all the mud. But they were REALLY comfortable from the minute I put them on and the sole definitely had more support than the cheaper two -- not that I care about that, but I did notice a difference. They are wearing well so far, but I can see some weakening stitching around the ball of one foot, keeping an eye on that. I'd like them to at least last a year... I also just picked up a pair of elastic sided ones on sale for $40, but keeping them new in the closet till these die. JURY STILL OUT (but if that stitching blows, I'm giving the zip ups a FAIL).

Mountain Horse: Ice Rider lace ups (~$80). Just got them for this winter. Definitely worth it -- they are super warm. I've only worn them maybe 10 times so far, but seem sturdily made. Take some breaking in -- they hurt my heels pretty bad the first 4 or 5 times, but then were fine after that. JURY STILL OUT. (but it looks promising)

Ariat: lace ups (free cause they were given to me, retail between $150-200). Narrow foot and uncomfortable, always chewed up my heel (these were older style). Leather across toe cracked wide open where it flexed. Always leaked and generally fell apart. Hated them. FAIL! (But I do like Ariat clothes)

Blundstone: elastic side 500 series (bought in Australia for about US$45, but in US retail around ~$150). Tough to break in, but once I did, SUPER comfortable. I bought two pairs at once. First pair I wore for maybe three years, they were awesome, soles finally wore through. Second pair had the soles dry rot off within a few months. :-( I don't know why the difference. They are sitting in my closet still waiting for a repair if it's possible. One FAIL, one WIN!