Equestrian apparel for all shapes and sizes

apparel

I think every equestrian struggles with finding riding apparel that fits well and is flattering. I’m tall person with short arms, a large bust, a long waist, and stubby legs. I used to feel like it was nearly impossible to find clothing that looks and feels good, but I’ve discovered through work that nothing is impossible when it comes to equestrian clothing.


 

For The Slender Rider

If you’re a very slim person in need of breeches, you’ll find what you’re looking for at most major brands. Ariat, Horze, Tailored Sportsman, USG, Montar, and Pikeur all start at US size 22. Several brands start at US 24, including RJ ClassicsELTKentuckyOvation, Kerrits, Irideon, Equine Couture, TuffRider, and Romfh. European brands can tend to run a little big once you’ve converted sizes; this is especially true of Horze breeches.

Protip: Need to convert breeches from European sizes to US sizes, but can’t find the chart? Just subtract 12 from the European size to get the US size.

If you’re looking for show coats, you can find coats starting at size 2 from Tailored Sportsman, FITS, Asmar Equestrian, Grand Prix, and RJ Classics. Kerrits, Ovation, and Romfh start at size 4, while Ariat starts at size 8.

Tall boots can be had in slim calf from most manufacturers: Ariat, DeNiro, Tredstep, Mountain Horse, Cavallo, Petrie, and Konig all offer slim calf boots.

For The Short Rider
Short people, RJ Classics should be your go-to for show coats and breeches! They make a ridiculous number of products in a short length. Almost every one of their coats is available in short, as are their new breeches. Ovation and Romfh offer a short length on most of their size 24, 26, and 28 breeches. Tailored Sportsman makes a short length, though it can be difficult to find.

While Pikeur coats aren’t available in short sizes, per se, many of their coats do run a little short. Grand Prix coats seem to fit shorter riders well, and Tailored Sportsman has several styles available in a short length.

Tall boots for short people can be problematic (and painful). Ariat, Mountain Horse, TuffRider, Ovation, and Tredstep offer short heights, but they’re usually only available in certain styles, foot sizes, and calf sizes. Heel lifts can help a slightly-too-tall boot fit more comfortably.

For The Plus Size Rider
Don’t despair if you aren’t wearing an easy-to-find size 28 breech! RJ Classics makes breeches up to size 36, as do Tailored Sportsman and Ariat. On Course and TuffRider aren’t quite as high end, but carry an affordable selection of larger sizes. On Course goes up to 36 (look for the ‘Shapely’ line), while TuffRider makes a generously cut 34. If you need schooling tights or breeches, Kerrits has a wide selection of styles that go up to 2X! I know some people feel uncomfortable in their tights; I’d recommend their Utility breech or Crossover breech, both of which is made from a thicker fabric that’s just as comfortable and stretchy. Irideon has many styles of tights that go up to 3X. Their breeches go to size 34. Most of Horze’s breeches are available in a size 34, too! Kentucky and Pikeur both make size 36 breeches, but they’re often a special order that can take several weeks to come in.

RJ Classics is your best bet for good-looking hunt coats. They have traditional wool and softshell coats up to size 24 (which fits a 46-47″ bust). Their hunter shadbelly and dressage coat are also available in sizes up to 24; their sizing is kind of weird, so I’d definitely measure yourself and consult the size chart before buying. Other brands that carry coats for bigger busted riders include Kerrits (their new Competitors Koat is available in a 2X for a 46-48″ bust), Irideon (their Kismet coat is available in a 22), Equine Couture (up to 2x), and Ovation (they offer coats in sizes up to 28).

Tall boots aren’t as limited as they used to be when you have large calves. Ariat’s Challenge Contour and Heritage Contour field boots offer an extra-wide size that accommodates a 17.5″ calf. Ovation offers their Flex Plus field boot in wide (16″-18″) and extra wide (18″-20″) in both short and regular heights. Tredstep’s Donatello boot is available in plus (16″-17″) and wide (18″-19″) calf sizes in short, regular, and tall heights. TuffRider offers an affordable tall boot in both field and dress boot styles (Ladies Plus Rider boot) in regular (17″-18″) and extra wide (18″-20″).

For The Tall Rider
Tall riders can have some trouble finding breeches that are long enough in the rise, but Pikeur, Kentucky, Romfh, USG, Ariat, Tailored Sportsman, and RJ Classics offer a “long” length that isn’t just extra fabric tacked on to the bottom of the leg.

Show shirts are nearly impossible to find in a “tall” or “long size”, so if you have a long torso, your best bet is to choose a slightly higher-waisted breech and hope your shirt stays tucked in. I find the European brands like Horze, Pikeur, and Schockmohle run a little longer than American brands.

Jackets are readily available in “long” sizes from Cavallo, Pikeur, RJ Classics, Romfh, and Ariat.

Tall boots for the tall rider are relatively easy to find: Mountain Horse, Ariat, Konig, Ovation, and Tredstep all offer a tall height in most of their foot and calf sizes.


Of course, custom options from a variety of brands are available if something off the shelf won’t do. But if you look hard enough, you can usually find something from somewhere that won’t set you back quite as much as a custom anything!

What brands do you find fit you and your body the best?

Two-Pointober time

twopointober

I was glad to hear L. & Hillary had extended the deadline for Two-Pointober times! I hopped on Gina this morning to record my time- I’ll be using her for the challenge for a couple of reasons. It’s much easier to manage a timer on her; I can put my reins in one hand and fiddle with my phone with the other and she’ll cruise along at a pleasant canter. (Moe completely lacks the ability to cruise along at anything slower than a mad gallop.) Gina also needs some conditioning work to be prepared for hunt season (as do I)!

ginahead
Scraggly mane needs to be trimmed, ugh

It was nice and cool this morning, so hacking in the hay meadow we went! After some walking and trotting, I let Gina canter. We made a circuit of both the upper and lower fields before Gina started to feel a little tired and I started to reconsider my plan to do both two-point work and jogging on the same day.

timer

I ended up at 4:06, which seems about right. Here’s my plan to improve my time:

  • Resume pilates workouts 3x/week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
  • Add additional jogging day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday/Sunday)
  • Practice two-point twice a week (Tuesday, Sunday)

Who else has a Two-Pointober plan?

Gallery Farm CT recap

All things considered, yesterday was a totally excellent day. I got up when my alarm went off at 3:45 AM, was out the door by 4:15 AM, and pulled out of the barn at 5:30 AM. I’m happy to report that whatever qualms Moe had with the trailer have been settled; he followed me in without hesitation, carefully stepping up the ramp and poking his head out of the escape door while I opened windows and checked the other doors.

Traffic was extremely light and we pulled into Gallery Farm right on time, at 8:15 AM. My dressage time was 9:18 AM; I was the third rider of the day. There was plenty of time to walk Moe around, get him some water, and try to make him look a little more presentable. (His tail was in snarls and he was coated in dust- I was appalled at how gross he looked, because on Saturday afternoon he was clean enough that I didn’t think I needed to bathe him!)

moetrailer2

Dressage warm-up was in a pretty level grass field directly behind the trailer parking. I spent most of the warm-up walking. I did a little trot and canter; Moe felt a little sluggish and was above the bit, but he settled down to business once he walked into the covered dressage ring for our ride. He gave some serious side-eye to the judge’s table and a loose banner flapping in the corner, but he put in what I felt like was a decent test. There were no problems at the show that haven’t manifested at home, and I was really happy with Moe’s free walk. He dropped his head, stretched out his neck, and walked at what I thought was a reasonable pace.

We ended up with a 38, which is a half point better than our test at Feather Creek. I was very surprised the judge gave us a 5 on the free walk- she noted that Moe wasn’t reaching enough or stepping under himself as much as she’d like to see. We received an 8 on our halt, which made me laugh, because while Moe was straight and square, he flung his head mightily on the trot-halt transition. We were tied for 3rd (of 4) after dressage- the leader was 10 points ahead of us, the second place rider only 1.5 points ahead.

Johnny and I walked the course after making sure Moe was content to stay at the trailer with hay and water. Gallery Farm’s cross country course is not spacious. They do an excellent job of utilizing the space they have, though, by making the route weave around in what are essentially endless serpentines. There were a variety of jumps- logs, brush boxes, benches, coops, houses, and a down bank that looked awfully large for Novice. I wasn’t worried about anything except jump 14: a big, wide, dark green house. I can’t say exactly why it looked so suspect to me, but it was kind of freaking me out.

coursemap
I lost the real course map, so here is a recreation!

I took a nap after we walked the course and woke up with plenty of time to tack up Moe. I typically don’t spend a lot of time warming him up for cross country or show jumping, because he gets hotter and hotter the more you jump. We walked for about 10 minutes in the warm-up area, I trotted him over a crossrail and a vertical, and spent the next 5 minutes trying to calm him down. When the first horse cantered out of the start box, Moe froze and watched it make its way over the first few jumps. Then he shook his head and chewed his bit and marched around with an amount of pep in his step that would have been welcome in dressage.

He trotted quietly out of the start box, but once he noticed the big log that was our first jump, the game was afoot. (I’m certain he knew the game while he was tied at the trailer and could see people walking the course.) He leaped over the log, made the sharp turn to the brush box, and galloped merrily to the third jump, a bench.

Over the bench.
Over the bench.

He landed accelerating, snorting and shaking his head at my half-halts, and made short work of the fourth jump, white-painted ascending telephone poles. At the point, the course took a hard left through a gate to access the back half; Moe nearly missed the turn. Once he made it, he was off and running to the next jump, another bench. I somehow remembered to stick to plan of hugging the fenceline to get a good approach to the sixth jump, a trakehener that was hidden by a couple of trees. Moe couldn’t care less about trees or trakeheners and took it galloping. Seven was the big drop- he paused mid-stride about 10 feet away, then went as if it were Head of the Lake at Rolex. I landed in a heap on his neck, turned him around to jump 8, an easy set of railroad ties, and proceeded to jump 10, a coop.

After 10, I turned him toward jump 11, a row of tires. And then I noticed a little log house under a tree that I hadn’t jumped. I circled Moe, who slowed down because he was certain I had lost my mental faculties. And then I looked directly at a jump judge and said, “Well, shit.”

I haven’t forgotten a jump on a course since my very first recognized show, where I breezed past the second to last jump on a Beginner Novice course and cried when my parents told me I was disqualified, because I hadn’t realized what I’d done. I figured I might as well proceed onward, and sent Moe on to the tires, made a tight left turn to a hogsback, and galloped up to a wide flower stand decorated with mums. Moe jumped it out of stride, and I pointed him toward the big green house. At this point, I felt like I could get him to jump anything, so I put my leg on, clucked at him, and rode hell out of jump 14.

Moe interpreted my aggressive riding to mean I wanted more speed, so he found another gear and thundered up a small hill to jump 15, a set of telephone poles. We cleared the last jump, a pheasant feeder, and I convinced Moe to trot before he burst into the warm-up area and terrorized the starter division riders.

Johnny met me and I slid off my snorting, sweaty, wild-eyed creature and passed him the reins. I told him I missed a jump and was disqualified. He was quiet, then said, “It looked like you had a good time, though- right?”

He is right. I did have a good time. I had a great time. Moe felt phenomenal. He was eager to go, annoyed at my requests to slow down, and he attacked the jumps. After yesterday, I feel confident again. I didn’t realize what a blow Gina has dealt me. She isn’t a dependable jumper, and my nervousness about her carried over to Moe. But as long as you give him a decent ride without a lot of surprises, he’s happy to go over anything.

Moe enjoys sharing ALL the snacks.
Moe enjoys sharing ALL the snacks.

He cooled out easily, took a few swigs of water, and hopped back on the trailer for the long drive home. Once home, I turned him out with his buddy Roscoe, who chased him around their paddock for a minute. Moe cantered around, bucking and snorting, long after Roscoe stopped paying attention to him. I like to think Moe is proud of himself, as well he should be.

Friday Five

ff

I received my ride times for Sunday: dressage is at 9:18 AM, which means I’ll need get up around 4:00 AM. Ah, life in Oklahoma, where everything is two hours away from where I live! I’m trying to not be grumpy about it. At least there’s a show to go to at all! Right?

Anyway, here’s what’s on my radar this week.

ONE Cultivating Discipline When Motivation Runs Out

I love this post from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Can You Stay For Dinner. Maintaining motivation is hard, especially when you aren’t seeing results as quickly as you’d hoped. There are times I become incredibly frustrated with riding; I feel like I’m not improving or like my horses aren’t improving. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve become frustrated at myself for not losing weight after weeks of diligent exercise and healthy eating. Or how I sometimes totally lose motivation to do anything but sit on the sofa and read. Discipline is what keeps us going, and this post is a gentle reminder to stay disciplined even when you aren’t motivated.

TWO Runner’s World profile of “fat runner” Mirna Valerio

“Valerio [is] a 39-year-old, 5-foot-7, 250-pound African-American dressed in a ball cap, fitness top, knee-length running tights, and training shoes.” I found this article absolutely fascinating and extremely inspiring. Here is a woman who runs an average of 25 miles a week and competes in marathons and trail ultramarathons. And she is obese. What an awesome example of someone who’s doing something good for her body because she loves herself. Of her body, Mirna is quoted as saying “Sometimes I get disappointed or angry with it, but like any long-term, committed relationship, it usually comes right back to love and respect.” What a wonderful attitude.

THREE Kerrits Convertible Turnout Winter Riding Jacket

I am obsessed with this jacket and were it not for my self-imposed spending moratorium, I would go downstairs and snatch one up right now. The flint check pattern is subtle and stylish, and the lines of this coat are beautiful on everyone. It doesn’t look like it belongs at a barn! (But I’d wear it there anyway.)

FOUR Dy’on Difference dressage bridle

Work recently ordered some of these for the dressage trailer and I can’t decide how I feel about them. Anatomic bridles are all the rage, but this thing…What is that crownpiece (headpiece?)? Is that crossed throatlatch comfortable? Who designed this thing?? Luckily, I’ll never have to found out- at $499.95, it’s way out of my price range!

FIVE Two Pointober!

twopointober

Get your two point on this month, y’all! L. Williams of Viva Carlos and Hillary of Equestrian at Hart are hosting- sign up, track yourself, and possibly win a prize! I sign up every year, forget to track myself, and spend most of October in shame. Not this year, though! I have an notebook and everything. I’ll post my times here on the blog when I record them (which will be after this weekend’s show) and I’d encourage all of you to do the same!

Jump school on Moe

I made it to the barn with plenty of time to set up a few jumps. I set up a line of barrels on their sides as a warmup jump, a vertical at 3′ and a Swedish oxer at 3′-ish.

jumps

I love Swedish oxers for few reasons: you can jump them from either direction (essential when you only have a handful of jumps), they ride really well, and they look impressive as hell. They’re a great confidence builder. Since they ride so well, most horses and riders don’t have trouble with them; because they look huge, you feel like you’ve really accomplished something after jumping one.

This weekend’s show is only dressage and cross country, but I figured getting Moe over something was better than nothing.

moebreakfast

I don’t know why I was concerned. He ate breakfast placidly, then walked to the arena with a lot of pep in his step. He warmed up well- super forward without being too pushy about it, listening well, eager to work. And then we jumped. And it was exactly like it has been for the last twelve years. He locked onto each jump, sprang over, and accelerated upon landing.

I tried to set my phone up to take a video of the Swedish oxer, but it came out pretty terrible. The phone was tilted just too high, so the sunlight make everything super dark. The phone was pointed at about half the jump, and the quality was awful. (I hate this phone so much.) But I pulled this blurry still, which looks much artsier on a tiny phone screen than it does on a computer. You’re welcome.

moejump

I bought a copper loose ring slow twist snaffle at work yesterday for $15; Moe isn’t super keen on loose rings, but he was not doing well jumping in his dressage bit (an eggbutt French link). The slow twist gave me just enough brakes to feel like I can manage his pace and avoid time penalties on Sunday. I guess we’ll see!