Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Splurging (aka Show Season Prep)

It might have something to do with the fact that by the time Windsor and I set foot in a show ring it will have been a full year since prair and I last showed...  Or maybe it's just that the (not so long) gray days tend to encourage evenings of wine and perusing tack websites... but as I started thinking about packing for California, I realized that our show ring set up has a lot of changes (and additions) for 2016.

And that, my dears - warrants a post.

If you'll recall, when we first went to Thermal in 2014, I factored in a fair amount of $$$ for splurging on tack updates and things like coats and breeches to fit an expanding preggo belly... So the fact that I'm feeling the itch to update some equipment before we show is a tad predictable.

As I started the list of what's been recently updated (aside from the horse), and what's still on my dream-list - I stumbled back across this post where I discussed my wish list of gear for Prair... which upon review - was a pretty solid list.

So here's a rundown on what Windsor and I will be rocking this season.  Some of these items were bought last year with the intent of using on Prair (tear)...  some of them were Christmas gifts... annnnd some are more recent purchases with day dreams of sunny California dancing in my head.

I'll start with the Blog Post from June 2014... since, well...  established lists are a good place to start.

1) New, extra-Huntery Helmet


Initially I was eyeballing the Charles Owen Hampton which I think of as the go-to traditional helmet choice.  But what I ended up with was the Charles Owen Wellington Classic, which is similar but subtly different.

It's velvety and it has a BOW, which are both things I spent years of my youth hating, but somehow I find extremely charming now. 

I'm not 100% certain that CO's are the most flattering style for my face (they always seem to sit really high?) but whatevs. 

Even better? It was an x-mas gift. 

(I have learned over the years that my parents will always buy a new helmet for me if I ask... always.)   So that's super neat.

I like the "closed nape" at the back of the helmet.  Helps my hair stay put

2). New Boots

Check Check!!
Sexy New Boot on Right
I adore my new boots.  (are they still "new" at this point?)

I ordered the Konigs in late 2014, and I have not one negative thing to say about them.  Love love. 

I know that Kongis aren't a hugely popular brand on "the circuit," but I think they are a great value (in the custom world) and I really like the styling.  I have never liked the sock-like appearance of Parlantis... so from both a style and cost perspective, these were a great buy for me.

If the Tack-Ho voices are strong I secretly dream about ordering a second pair to keep pristine for shows.... but that's something that is likely to stay on the wish list for a while.

3) New Coat


I actually ordered a new show coat during the last show in April 2015.  I thought I'd be rocking it all summer.... but well.... it's still in the closet with its (god damn) tags on.  Best laid plans and all... (more tears). 

It is a Grand Prix Tech Lite in their hunter green color, with some tone-one-tone satin piping.  Nothing crazy on the collar, no bedazzling, but a reply pretty deep emerald color.  I haven't shown in it yet - so I can't give a full review, but for all of the times I've randomly put it on in my closet - it's awesome.
It's not quite this bright - and I have a 4 button style
My only (slight) regret is that I've lost some weight from when I had it made, so it doesn't have the super sharp custom look that I wish it did.. but maybe I'll invest in some tailoring at some point.

4) New Show Pad

This I have not pulled the trigger on.  For one thing - Windsor doesn't have any crazy padding needs or a weird back, so it's way less critical of an item than it was for Prair. 

But if I'm being honest with myself it's because Ogilvy has taken forrrrreeeeeevvvver to revamp their Hunter Pad line, and now that it's out, the only way to order is to email them or call, and since I always (always) email instead of calling I am at the mercy of whatever poor intern has to email all us crazies back.  And since I haven't heard from them, I haven't pulled the trigger.

I emailed you!!! (jerks)
I think SmartPak might actually be carrying these now, but I'm trying to not to look too hard.. since... y'know... $$$.

So that wraps up the old wish list... and three out of four ain't that bad.... but it's not the end of the list of what's new for 2016...

The biggest addition (aside from Windsor) is obviously the new saddle on order - which is still..... coming.  In theory it should arrive the week before the horses ship to CA, so my fingers are crossed.  If it doesn't make it, or it isn't perfect I'll be ok since I have access to my Trainer's saddles and that's what we've been practicing in. 

Windsor also got an Antares Martingale (for Xmas) which I need to dye a tad darker.  I'm waiting on my deglazer before I attempt that particular little project, but fingers crossed it goes better than pretty much any other artistic painting/dying endeavor I've ever pursued. 

And now we are up to the point of the post where we catch up to our most recent purchases...

1) (because I'm starting the numbers over again for 2016 purchases) Show Shirts!

My obsession with Callidae continues.  The love it real and the products are incredible. 

I went and got myself a new, crisp, white show shirt.  Again, since they lack any retail outlets nearby, they were incredible and happily shipped me multiple sizes so I could see what I wanted for myself. 

The seaming is unique, the fabric is lovely, and the details are stunning.

Perhaps my favorite feature is their response to a traditional collar - the ribbons. 

A series of interchangeable, lovely grosgrain ribbons that button over the collar for a subtle (or not so stubble, depending on your choice) stripe of distinction and closure.  It's hard to pick which accents are best, and I ended up with a veritable collection so I can finish my show ring look depending on what coat I'm wearing and how sassy I'm feeling at that moment. 

As much as I hated keeping track of old, button-on chockers - I am willing to return to the struggle for something that looks this chic. 

Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of wrap collars and magnetic closures... but there's something about the Callidae shirt that just oozes tradition with style.  Love it.

If this thing wears well in CA I will be putting a second shirt on my updated wish list STAT. 

2) Tack Trunk

It feels a bit like I'm sneaking out past curfew (in that Dad would be so disappointed), but I caved and purchased a Trunk that matches the barn.  I (tactfully) inquired as to whether or not any of the graduated juniors wanted to sell their trunks and ended up being steered toward an available trunk from a previous client who showed with it exactly twice.  Twice!

I snagged it for about 50% retail and even convinced The Boy into making it an anniversary present (the traditional gift for 4 years is obviously the gift of organization)... so one new brass name plate later and VOILA.  Fancy.

I felt like a nerd snapping a pic, so I got a bad one on the sly..

3) Totally Unnecessary Boot Bag

As much as I love matching the Team Colors with a new trunk, I am somewhat horrified at how much smaller (normal) trunks are than my custom Dad-Built job.  I LOVE that the lid of my special trunk holds my boots, my helmet, Windsor's boots and my bridle.  All that shit gets packed and the bottom is still EMPTY. 

Anyway, the beautiful, but puny lid will not hold my boots... or my helmet.. or anything, so I started browsing for boot bags because I will likely be hauling those to/from shows every day now. (first world problem... I know).

My beautiful boot bag from Oughton Limited (a gift from M2), is too short for the new boots, which makes me sad (they still fit my old ones thank god).  So I had to hunt for absurdly tall boot bags to fit my rather tall boots. 

What I found is that there are a ton of functional bags out there, but most of them are hideously ugly. 

I stumbled upon the Noble Outfitters Signature Bag after two glasses of wine and when I saw the engraveable name plate (ENGRAVE ALL THE THINGS), it sealed the deal.
Of course the next day (confronted by my shipping confirmation from SmartPak..), I was wondering if it's oversized, over structured design would be helpful, or cumbersome, but now that I've seen it in person, there's no way I'm sending it back. 

The color is a tad richer in real life (and less... Carhartt-y), and the finishes look well-done, not artificial at all. 

As for utility, I find it exceptionally easy to take the boots in/out which is not always the case with boot bags.  It's structured enough that it doesn't flop over when you pushing a boot in, but not so stiff that it won't squish nicely into a trunk (or, overhead bin, or whatever).  The divider between boots is padded, so it also stands on its own, and doesn't get caught on boots as they go in (something I've had happen when the divider is only a piece of nylon...)

In terms of extra pockets, there is a zip pocket on the outside (currently holding the brass name plate waiting to be engraved) and two interior pockets that are really deep, but seem pretty functional for socks/polishing stuff, clean rags, etc).  I'll reserve total judgement until it gets thrown in the trenches for a while, but my first impression is a great one. 

Also nice? on the item tag was an offer for free matching "travel bags" (I think they are basically cosmetic bags..) if you fill out customer info and send it in with your receipt.  I just dropped mine in the mail today and will look forward to more matching whenever those arrive.  But it was nice unexpected perk after investing in such an unecessasry bag...

4) Signature Spurs Crop

The last item on the list (of recent purchases) is a custom crop from Signature Spurs.  If you're wondering if this purchase happened at the same time I was wooed by a name plate on a boot bag - you would be correct. 

I typically school Windsor with a crop over fences.  Not because he's offered to stop, but because a nice little tap-tap on  the shoulder is sometimes the nudge I need for him to move up, push off evenly, or wake up. 

To be candid, I haven't shown with a crop (at all) since the days when I would stash one in my boot on XC with Star the Wonder Pony.  She was whip-shy something FIERCE, and always way over pace on XC in general, so carrying one like a normal person was out of the question. 

But a crop was necessary to get her in the water... so in the boot it went.

Since that particular tactic dates back to the early 90's- my collection of jump bats is.... non existent.  I like the idea of having a nice, clean bat that I use at shows, but I also know that crops are the #1 thing that get lost/stolen/misplaced in the barn, so I started googling custom whip options. 

I remembered that Personally Preppy had options for both endcap monograms as well as stamping the popper, but I am the only person on the world who consistently has a subpar customer service experience with them, so I really wanted to look elsewhere.

I finally stumbled onto Signature Spurs, who let's you pick the color, length, and grip of your crop as well as throwing a classy chrome monogram on the end cap. (they also have other crazier options for eventing/dressage/racing whips, but Hunter = boring..).  I went for black, 17" and leather.  It's more than I've ever spent on a crop so I seriously hope I don't lose it mid-anxiety attack on course...

The crop arrived in a lovely little velvet bag, that isn't totally necessary, but does up the "nice" factor if you were to give one of these as a gift for the horse girl who has (almost) everything.

pretty little storage bag
Dover also offers the Signature Spur custom crop, but they list 6-8 weeks to delivery, whereas direct from SS was a 3 day turnaround to shipping.. I think I had the thing in hand within a week of ordering.

Pretty impressive for a made to measure item (even if I did order the most boring version possible..)

And that, dear readers, brings us to the end of the splurge update.  75% acquisition rate on the wish list from 2 years ago, plus four new fun items in anticipation of a new horse and a new show season. 

Lots of fun things, but as the last six years have shown me - as fun as it is, the outfits and tack don't do much good if you don't have the right (and sound) horse with you in the ring.


  1. Um, love the crop. Don't need one at all, but I love yours.

    I also recently ordered a hunter green softshell as my big "welcome back to hunterland" splurge. It's on backorder, but I'm ANXIOUSLY awaiting because hunter green is life!

    On your hunter pad, you might want to check out the EcoGold version. I've been really happy with mine. The no slip is FANTASTIC, shape fits my saddle perfectly and they recently made a very discrete halfpad version that works with their fitted pad if you need the extra padding. I'm not an Ogilvy fan (I know some are), but have been happy with EcoGold.

  2. I feel like the Winston line would you suit you a lot, especially being that their stuff comes in Tall sizes. It seems like your style.

    Everything is a totally justifiable purchase, in my opinion. Can't wait to see the green coat on gray Windsor!

  4. I want a whip like that SO BAD but can't justify the cost, when I have 3 others that are perfectly suitable and fine for hunters :(

  5. So I have the GP show coat in navy - just recently purchased and I love it.

    I also splurged on the Ogilvy Memory Foam shaped pad and I can't wait for it to arrive. It should be here in the next week. I had to email a few times but I finally got a response - I'm guessing their email is crazy town.

    I also have a noble outfitters boot bag but mine is black and I got the matching wardrobe bag. Yours definitely looks fancier than mine.

    As I get back into hunter land I am in denial about having to buy a wood trunk. I need one that is small enough that I can wrangle it myself if need be and I refuse to spend a fortune... Still searching haha.

    Great finds!

  6. The Callidae show shirts alone are enough to make me want to jump the DQ ship I've sailed out on and join the Hunters. I'd so wear those around town and not give a rip! Will be stunning with your new coat and on that handsome gray of yours.

  7. nice to know about that boot bag. i feel like we have *most* of our show gear knocked out at this point, but i'd eventually like to up our organization game (esp with regard to garment bags, boot bags, trunks, etc)

  8. Gorgeous splurges as always ♡♡♡♡

  9. I love all the fun stuff! I need a crop now omg

  10. Your tack ho posts are my favorite!!

  11. Um....

    Are you planning to swing by Mary's when you are in this part of the state? Could be fun, and if you make the drive that extra hour, I could show you the good burgers/tacos/fish tacos/FOOD/WINE. Even if you don't want to be tempted by Mary's. :0)


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