EAHBH: Confessions of a Pleb

So I was going to write this technical photo-heavy post about Magic’s free jumping, but then today just kinda happened. I got thrown head over heels on a hack during a bit of overexcitement in a canter, and my horse (not one of the Horde, a client horse) took off like a shot, leaving me behind like:

I know, I know, all the cat memes. But they’re so cute!

Luckily the farrier was on his way down the road and saw the riderless horse go past, so most sensibly drove the way she’d come and found a grumpy horse trainer making her way home on foot. The horse also had the good sense to run straight home to her paddock and not get hit by any cars, so it ended well, but left me tired and in too daft a mood for serious posting.

What I really felt like was writing a blog hop, and Hillary is now my hero for taking over the blog hop duties from L. So without further ado, my response to the first Equestrian at Hart Blog Hop.

I want to know about what you ride in and why? Show us your Equestrian Fashion choices and tell us why you wear them!

I am a horrible pleb when it comes to riding clothes. During my novice years, when a saddle was considered fancy frippery, I barely stooped to a bridle and riding helmet, and occasionally still do so (provided the horse is fat enough).

Later on, I started to figure out why professionals wear riding stuff (except obviously the Horse Mutterer): it’s there for a reason. I added riding boots to my gear since they didn’t slide around on the stirrups as much as gumboots did, and when I finally consented to use a saddle for multiple horses every day, I added half chaps as well. Shorts are all fine and well for Western saddles, but even jeans don’t give you enough protection from the stirrup leathers’ pinching and rubbing your legs against the saddle flap in English.


This winter was the first time I started to wear gloves for riding, not because the reins were hurting my hands much (I generally ride with leather reins), but to protect my knuckles from the dry air. They get truly horrible after a day at the stables and somehow the gloves trap moisture in my skin.

So now, my daily riding get-up, from the bottom up.

Feet. Boots depend on where I am, since I wear out a pair of boots in six months or so. At home, I wear non-riding Bronx boots, which are cheaper than riding boots but still have a heel. At work and shows, I ride in Trident paddock boots, which are a lot nicer, look prettier and match my gaiters (always a win).

Lower legs. While I would love to have proper long boots, I can’t justify spending that amount of money on something that wears out so quickly. Chaps are just hopeless (they’re lucky if they last 8 weeks), so I wear gaiters, of which I don’t know the brand (my bad). They need the zips replaced now and then, but they look good, feel great and don’t wear out. Mine are too short, though. Everything that was long enough in the shop was hopelessly too fat, so I went with thin enough, but too short. It’s a little annoying but does the job just fine.

Short but skinny enough
Short but skinny enough

Legs. This is where my inner peasant shows itself. I wear jodhpurs/breeches only for special occasions and spend the rest of my life in el cheapo jeans that are slightly too big. (Everything is, when you’re me). I do have a good reason for wearing jeans, though: they have pockets. I would die without pockets. Also, they’re cheap, easy to find, and last really well, and if they don’t fit you just put another hole in your belt. I am on the hunt for jodhs for work, though, because jeans really do look terribly scruffy. Just as soon as I find jodhs with pockets. Another disadvantage of jeans: When you’re 5′ 4″ and trying to get onto a 16.2hh stallion without a mounting block, ominous creaking sounds are emitted from the stitching around the groin area. It is at this point that I swallow my pride and ask for a leg-up.

Waist. I love my belt. It’s handmade and leather, and wide enough that it fills up your belt loops completely. In fact, I just love leather, period.

Show smartness
What passes for smartness at training shows

Torso. At home, I’m rocking the baggy T-shirt look. At work and shows, I am in love with my work uniform. The Ruach owner has impeccable taste and the cut of this collared shirt is amazing. One of the (few) disadvantages of being built like a toothpick and active enough to have an athletic figure is that nothing fits, ever, so that athletic figure is restricted to looking like a clothes hanger with everything just kind of draped around you.

Without being in the least immodest, my uniform is ever-so-slightly flattering. Plus, it’s super durable, never too hot, and has an awesome coat of arms/logo on it. Win.

Not baggy! That's new...
Not baggy! That’s new…

Hands. Gloves are worse than chaps. I used to just grab the cheapest pair of gloves I could find at the feed shop, but they lasted 6 weeks, tops. Now I have a pair of Horsetech leather gloves, which are fantastic. The leather is a little hot, but it’s worth it for the tight fit around the wrist and extra padding and protection around the thumb, forefinger, pinky and ring finger. (Middle fingers apparently have no use in horse riding. Well, it is sometimes quite tempting to flip them, but I try not to and you don’t need padding for that anyway).

Head. I fall too often to have an expensive helmet. I just buy cheap ones so that I can afford to replace them more often. This is about the fifth fall on my current one (I’ve been meaning to get a new one for the past four falls) so the hat hunt starts in earnest this weekend.

Until then, I’m just going to really, really hope that I stay on.

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