As I transition to endurance, I’m realizing that some of my favorite brands and products simply don’t make sense anymore (DeNiro tall boots, I’m looking at you). What are your tried and true favorite products, tack, clothing?
I love Kerrits flowrise tights, but sadly, no pockets (phone on me is a must have, and I’m tired of the phone leg holster)! The Kerrits Icefil are second choice (though strangely like 5 inches longer?!). Tried the Iridion Synergy (good as well) and Performa Ride tights (love).
I ride in trail running shoes (Merrell, New Balance, Saucony) with caged stirrups, and any type of athletic shirt. I do like a long-sleeve shirt (as an overshirt, I prefer short sleeves underneath) for hot days, but usually just find a lightweight cotton works, though I do have some sun shirts as well.
I think my favorite clothing/tack: full sheepskin saddle cover for my endurance/dressage saddle. I thought it would be hot in summer (and it is 100 degrees here often) but it is great all year. So comfy! Oh, and I do like my helmet visor (I have the DaBrim) though it might look a bit silly, it really shades your face and keeps you cooler.
I think you’ll find anything goes, and while I like to look neat (some days!) I don’t care about matching much (though I do tend to wear orange shirts to match my orange and black biothane tack!)
Ariat terrain boots. They come in lace up or taller pull ons sort of like cowboy boots but with the terrain sole. Wrangler Aura jeans. Haven’t been able to find those lately so might have to switch to Cash or Q-Baby. They don’t have flat fell seams on the inseam so there’s no huge bump in the crotch. Sun shits. I got mine on sale at Tractor Supply. I don’t do endurance so my trail riding tack might not be what you need. It’s nothing special, just Western tack.
Agree Ariat All Terrain Boots --awesome! Wore the first pair 5 years and rode 250 miles across MI in them --second pair had a sole separate after three years --contacted the company, explained, sent pix and they sent me a brand new pair! Fox hunting in the winter in MI --love my Mountain Horse Rimfrost --feel like clown feet in a cast --but wow do they keep feet warm! Do not like low rise breeches --I have slim hips --low rise tend to slide off when I work around the barn --not a good look on an old lady! Around the farm I ride in Duluth no-yank-tank tops —out in “public” I have a Noble Horse (I think) sun shirt and “ice” tights that might be from carrots --that’s for summer riding --in the winter I wear traditional fox hunting attire --best breeches are from England called Shires . . .high waist so my vest meets them --no oreo cookie look.
love my helmet visor although it did come off once when I didn’t duck low enough while cantering under a branch. I also love the Smart Pak tights with the thigh pocket. so easy to reach phone and treats!
When out riding alone, I feel more comfortable with an air vest. Helite, with the many shell options, is a fantastic product.
I use RoadID when I ride especially alone. It has a cool feature that if I don’t move for 4 minutes it sets off an alarm on the phone. If I don’t clear it in 1 minute it sends a text to my husband to let him know I am not moving. Since it has a GPS locator it shows where I am. therefore if I am down and unable to access my phone he can find me. If I have just lost my phone on the trail then I can find the phone. I think it is a neat safety feature. I need to make sure that I have the volume up to make sure it alerts me. I also need to remember to shut it off once I get back to the trailer as untacking, sponging etc… you don’t move enough for GPS to register movement.
I only use a vest when XC schooling jumps or first time or two out paperchasing or trail riding with a green horse. But I do a little low level eventing so the air vests are only allowed over a solid vest. I have not invested in a air vest and probably won’t. There are not many studies on how effective they are and there is at least one study that may show they can be detrimental and that is in combination with a solid vest. I should wear my XC vest more than I do.
I have not heard of the Helite vest.
I have done longer trail rides in Ariat paddock boots with half chaps-both full leather or mesh. I have done them in my Ovation Olympia tall boots. I have really found the Olympia’s to be durable, comfortable to walk in and ride in and still provide protection for my calves. I have occasionally used a sheepskin seat saver to protect my butt bones. I ride strictly English.
At best I do longer trail rides, intro LD and paperchases certainly not anything approaching endurance.
I love my Performa Ride tights and Kerrits Ice Fil Shirts for summer. And I’ve long since given up on riding boots, even my Ariats. I prefer my Merrell hiking boots (cage stirrups always for me now) and Thornhill half chaps (unless it’s hot out, then no half chaps). I quite often ride in yoga capris in the summer now too- just put fleece on my stirrup leathers.
That’s one of the beautiful parts of endurance- it’s not a fashion show. Wear whatever you want, as long as it’s safe and comfy, you’re good to go. I seriously know a few people who ride and compete in shorts!
For tack- for the most part (other than saddles) I’ve totally ditched leather for biothane (Zilco is my fav). Girths depend on what the horse likes. Be prepared for a bit of sticker shock when it comes to saddle pads for distance- I prefer natural materials over synthetic for pads
Fleece on the stirrup leathers. That is genius.
Where I live the big issue is rain. I went riding with an endurance training acquaintance and she loaned me for the day a kind of neoprene riding skirt that covered your legs to over the knee and the saddle. Kind of like a kayak skirt! It was warm and waterproof but also let in air so you didn’t sweat up a storm.
I am not an endurance rider or anything close to it but I like trails!
I found some HR Farms tights on Amazon and gave them a shot based on price despite having never heard of the brand, and they’re now my new favorites. They’re a similar feel to the Flowrise tights, but they have silicone patches and a perfectly placed phone pocket. I can’t speak much to the longevity as I’ve only had the first pair for about 6 months, but so far they seem to be holding up well. They’re unbeatable for less than $40.
A second shout out for DaBrim. It does work really well. Even though my helmet doesn’t have a fixed peak (x-country helmet), DaBrim is very secure. Even for really windy days and galloping. If you’re riding at a hunter/jumper barn you might need to develop a thick skin. I got a lot of ribbing over it. When it’s on, you forget you’re wearing it.
Not tack or clothing, but Equilab is my current app of choice for logging miles. And I use the free version of All Trails.
Mohair girth. Montana Cincha’s “Endurance” girth is set up with dressage style long billets, which work great with my Black Country (another favorite) trail saddle.
Second, third, and fourth Ariat Terrain boots, Icefil anything, etc. (But on Icefil, Kerrits used to make fancy ones with a print that matched that year’s print shirt. They don’t seem to do that anymore, and the regular IceFil tights are way too long and not as well-made.)
Also love RoadID for tracking.
You won’t pry my Skito saddle pads out of my cold, dead, hands. Love them! Also, triple thick Toklat Woolback pads. I really hated the Equipedic pads although some people love them. The inserts are made of some weird almost memory foam-like material. They hold sweat, are hard to clean, and STINK. YMMV.
Love the Taylored Tack bridles. And they are made to order and beautifully crafted. I started in a Zilco Marathon, which I initially liked, and still do, but my horse seems to find it “itchy” and I cannot for the life of me figure out what he is itching. All the padding is intact and I cannot find anything that is irritating, so it’s probably just him! Agree with Tabula that you absolutely want biothane tack. You will never go back to leather for distance riding.
Currently riding in a Bob Marshall saddle, but I also had some pretty good success with Tekna. Started in an old Stubben that fit the horse.
Stowaway makes nice saddlebags in a variety of configurations that are great for endurance because I feel like you can really strap them down.
I’m not much help in the attire department. I usually ride in some tack swap purchased tights or breeches. I have a lot of Kerrits. Whatever is comfortable and stretchy. I currently have 23 pairs of Ariat boots in every style imaginable. (I have a boot problem) But, I usually ride in either Terrains or Cobalts with suede half-chaps.
For boots, Ariat lace up paddock boots or terrains if I think I will have to walk a lot.
I wear jeans (levis).
For underwear, see my blog: https://jessicaeblack.org/ideal-underwear-for-horseback-riding/
have another blog on bras too and one on avoiding chafing…
For long rides cheapo running tights with POCKETS from Aldi (!) No patches but they wear like iron and when you snag em on a bull brier it’s not a tragedy.
Da Brim or similar. Tipperary Sportage helmet. Horn/pommel and Rear and cantle bags (TrailMax) from outfitters supply. I get as much orange or neon green on horse and .myself as possible especially in hunting season which is approx a third of the year where I live and ride.
Tacky too, wool felt, or a classic army blanket for pads.
Latest trail saddle is a high horse cordura from horsesaddleshop. Have a nice Henry Miller too but it’s getting a bit heavy for me to boost up on the horse as I am old and decrepit.
Ariat terrains but I’m still grieving for my crappy Chinese Bliundstones from Sierra trading company that I wore for about 10 years. .
I prefer nylon or biothane for headstalls and reins but do use some leather.
Icelandic stirrups for English leathers, stirrup turners for Western.
Sheepskin seat and leathers covers.
Cheap-O Yoga Pants from Amazon, two phone pockets, take a thorn to the leg and still didn’t tear. Wear with half chaps in heavy brush. Long sleeve sun shirts for AZ. Wet those down and now you are cool. Hydration pack, LOVE. Ariat terrains too. I also have a full wool sheepskin cover for my saddles. One the seat is a little too big and this makes it comfortable and cool/warm depending on season.