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Best and Worst Tack/Clothing Purchases

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    Best and Worst Tack/Clothing Purchases

    A fun little game here—what "must-have" H/J items (tack, clothing, for schooling, show, anything, etc.) have you found worth it and which are overrated?

    I'll start: my latest "worth it" is a Thinline pad. I was skeptical, but borrowed a friends' and was shocked how well my saddle stayed in place and the level of shock absorption it provided, compared to the old-school Beval half-pad I use. My other great purchase this year was my Samshield Shadow Mat—the most comfortable helmet I've ever worn!

    As far as overrated, I've long been a die-hard Pikeur and Tailored Sportsman breeches girl, but lately, I've been wearing some less expensive breeches—SmartPak Bradleys, Ariat Heritage, and just got the TuffRider soft-shell winter breeches. Still love TS and Pikeur, but don't think the price differential is worth it.

    What about you? Any great discoveries this year?

    I really like the FITS Laura knee patch breeches. I was a little iffy about paying $$$ when you're not even getting the monkey butt patches that are what make FITS special-- but I was wrong. The fit and features on the Laura make them well worth the price.

    Most overrated was the Stubben EZ control bit. Unless they meant "easy for the horse to control the rider," that's a misnamed item.
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


      Best: EIS shirts or oligvy pads. Love both.
      Worst: happy mouth French link loose ring. Hate hate hate this bit.


        Cut heal, your trailer ties are awesome. They release the horse when 80 pounds of pressure is reached and I love them. Gives me piece of mind when driving down the road.

        Thinline after much skepticism, I have jumped on your train and I have to say it has probably been one of my best purchases to date. It makes a HUGE difference.

        Smartpak, I love my stable blankets in SmartBlue. They get stained like none other but ALWAYS wash up clean. They're simply awesome.

        Another item I've owned for a while now (a long while, ~15 years) but had to give a shout out to is my Braly Woodworking tack trunk. This thing is a true piece of art while being one of the most sturdy pieces of equipment I own. That thing has gone with haulers more miles than I care to think and been sent on its side, had NUMEROUS spills and it's still going strong and looking absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

        Ariat, I LOVE your Pro Circuit Breeches. They are fantastic! They breathe really well and fit even better. They are lovely to look at and wear and always wash up well.

        Equine Couture, I love your Valencia suede jacket. It is very nice looking, functional and warm all in one.

        Bates/Wintec, I love your CAIR girths. My horses do too. My OTTB who can be slightly girthy is never so when using them, they're great (although the elastic could be a little more stretchy).

        Toklat, I LOVE your silverleaf collection of bridles, they're very nice for the price and the fancy stitching is a lovely alternative to the normal fancy stitching.

        As for the not so impressed things:

        Smartpak, I am a little disappointed in your Bradley breeches. They don't seem to fit a variety of body types very well at all, not to mention, the sizing is way off. The inside gets scratchy and uncomfortable after only one or two washings. (Now I know they have a happiness guarantee but I am not about to send them back after I have worn them extensively.)

        Weatherbeeta, I am sincerely disappointed in your Genero turnout sheet. I realize it's not your most expensive model but seriously, if it has NEVER been washed, the waterproofing shouldn't wear out.

        Equine Couture, NOT AT ALL impressed with your boot socks. They appear to only fit someone with Barbie calves. They barely make it up past your ankle and have next to no stretch.
        "Be the change you want to see in the world."
        ~Mahatma Gandhi


          Best: Horze Active breeches and smooth leather half chaps, Roma saddle pads and tendon boots, Tropical Rider tights, Redback boots, Ariat softshell jacket, Five Star Tack Chelsea bridle.

          Worst: I will never buy another pair of Ariat or Blundstone boots again. I know I'm hard on my boots but I expect them to last more than three weeks.

          Smartpak, I love you dearly but your new breeches wreaked havoc on my self esteem when I tried them on. It's not fun having to size up, but especially not 3 sizes and have them still be too tight
          I love my Econo-Nag!


            Hahaha! SmartPak needs to take a lesson from Ralph Lauren. label it a 4 when really its an 8 :-) Nobody will EVAH complain when they have to send a pair of breeches back because they are TOO BIG ;-D
            Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival,Scholarships and College Fair
            November 11-13, 2016


              Just this past year, I tried the FITS Beka breeches. My sister got them first and raved about them, but I was concerned about the price tag. Finally shelled out the money and LOVE them! I have since purchased a couple of other pairs and will continue to replace old breeches with the FITS breeches.

              Love Keratex hoof hardener, well worth the cost and it works!

              I hate to say it, but I have been disappointed with every "Riding Sport" by Dover, purchase that I have made. They have some really cute designs and styles, and that's how I get sucked into making the purchase, but I have been disappointed so many times. I generally find that quality and durability to be quite low on the items.

              I agree about the Equine Couture boots socks. They are simply not stretchy enough for a wider calf. I like the Zocks or even Target's knee socks. They fit great over my FITS breeches!


                Best: Horze Rain Rug. For $65, I could not have gotten a better deal for the quality and fit.

                Schneiders Mosquito Mesh Fly sheet. My horse wore the sh*t of out it this summer and when I cleaned it and packed it away, there wasn't a snag or a tear to be seen.

                Just Bridles extra long curbs reins. Again, amazing quality and CS for an amazing price...$40!!

                Wahl Show Pro Plus Clippers. Awesome little clippers! ♥♥♥

                Worst: Dover Honeycomb Chill Chaser. Neck is sooo big, it was falling of his chest -and he's a BIG boy - but the surcingles are waay too short. And the wicking factor is non existent.

                Cashel Fly mask. Too hot and fell apart at the seams halfway through the summer. Not worth it for the price.
                Barn rat for life


                  Originally posted by ex-racer owner View Post
                  I agree about the Equine Couture boots socks. They are simply not stretchy enough for a wider calf. I like the Zocks or even Target's knee socks. They fit great over my FITS breeches!
                  I LOVE these. They last a pretty long time and when they get holes, I have no qualms about throwing them away because they're only $2.50! I also love Target and Old Navy's polo shirts because they're so stretchy.

                  I also love my GPA helmet, and on the other side of the price spectrum, the Ovation schooler is AWESOME. So so so light and fits perfectly.

                  I have two cheap Devon-Aire coats that have lasted a long time and are attractive.

                  Love Ariat breeches and the Coolmax Ovation breeches.

                  Tack: T-Boots, Dover's sheepskin half pad, Ovation bridle

                  I'm also a loyal Hoof Heal user. It was recommended by my old farrier and my horse has never had thrush since I've used it.

                  Andis AGC Two Speed (the little maroon clippers)...Oh my, these are wonderful and LIGHT. Probably wouldn't clip a yak, but works great on my TB, full body and trims.

                  I've been disappointed by any fly sheet I've tried so I just accepted the fact that my horse will be bleached in the summer. I also agree about Riding Sport, every pair of breeches I've bought were uncomfortable and split at the crotch.


                    I have wasted more money than I care to admit on Fleeceworks pads. They wash up horribly (I wash my fleece pads a lot because of how I use them), and all get thrown away or given to cats within a couple of months.

                    Mattes and ECP (especially ECP!)...LOVE. ECP are just as nice as the Mattes, but at a MUCH nicer price.


                      Seems like either people love or hate Ariats. I have been in Ariat lace-ups for about 13 years now, and love them! They always fit right, are comfortable, and last like crazy. For a while, I was getting a pair every Christmas, but finally had to call a halt to it - I had too many pairs saved up because they were lasting more than a year!


                        Original Poster

                        Originally posted by JumpQH View Post
                        Seems like either people love or hate Ariats. I have been in Ariat lace-ups for about 13 years now, and love them! They always fit right, are comfortable, and last like crazy. For a while, I was getting a pair every Christmas, but finally had to call a halt to it - I had too many pairs saved up because they were lasting more than a year!
                        I've had the same pair of Ariat Heritage paddock boots for six years now—it's funny how everyones' mileage varies!


                          Originally posted by Tha Ridge View Post
                          I've had the same pair of Ariat Heritage paddock boots for six years now—it's funny how everyones' mileage varies!
                          Old Ariats are fine. Newer ones, within the past few years, suck! I just put to bed a pair of Ariats I'd had for 10 years. I was finally convinced into getting a new pair when it was pointed out to me that there was more duct tape than boot.

                          Speaking of boots: Treadstone, these field boots are great, especially considering they were $200.

                          But my favorite pair of riding apparel this year is a $20 pair of stretch skinny jeans from Kohls... super soft so they don't scratch the tack, warmer than breeches, and easy to put under said field boots while I was waiting for my new paddocks after retiring the aforementioned old ones!
                          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden


                            Best- my GPA Titium helmet, looks great and is so comfy. Ariat Pro cicuit breeches for sure. My Mattes half pad, still going strong almost 10 years. Big D tail bags with the lace closure- they stay put and are tough and waterproof.
                            On the Fence- Ogilvy pad. It is just okay. Did not rock my world like it seems to have for a lot of folks.
                            Worst- cheap breeches off Ebay, the make is Equicomfort and the stitching started to go the first wearing and they are all pilly. Yuck.
                            As well as a stupid idea was one of those drapy jewelled chain brow bands. My TB wore his once, and shook his head so hard I though his ears would fly off.


                              Best buys

                              I was really impressed with my schooling helmet purchase. I anguished about what to buy since I couldn't try before ordering but couldn't have been happier with my Lami-Cell Low Profile Schooling helmet in black. Looks more like a GPA or One K while wearing it, lightweight, great fit, removable liner, super well vented, and my local tack store ordered it for $79.99. I had been concered about the dial-fit but it is not noticable and actually contributes to the helmet's comfort. Definitely recommended! I would even take this into the show ring if for any reason I didn't have my brand name show helmet handy.

                              Under Armour Cold Gear Toro Snowboarding socks. Well, they're not made specifically for riding, but they should be! I am also a fan of the Target socks for fall riding but when it is COLD these are worth every penny! Got these as a gift last Xmas and my feet haven't been toastier!

                              Worst purchases:
                              Ariat Performer breeches. Can't believe I met an Ariat product I don't like! But here they are. Supposed to be washable buy boy do they get wrinkled. The cut and fit of the product is very nice but they fabric is heavy and not very "technical." For $120 I expected a little better!


                                The love/hate feeling about Ariat boots may also relate to whether they're tall/paddock or zip/lace. I have had terrible durability issues with Ariat zippers on tall boots. I've had significantly better luck on lace-only tall boots and paddock boots.
                                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                                  My MO for buying breeches is to try them on in the store, then go online to find the colors I want. I am a bigger size (34L) so there is very little selection usually. I got tired of wasting money on breeches that were NQR and never wearing them.

                                  So a few years ago, I ordered some Platinum breeches, full seats that were knock offs of the Pikeurs with the side pockets. The gray ones fit great, but the beige pair was too tight. I was bummed because although I rode dressage at the time, I had hunter color palette envy. Sold the beige pair to a friend.

                                  Years later, I am feeling flush, try on a pair Pikeurs to figure out if they will fit, and take the plunge, again with a dark grey pair and a beige pair. The beige pair is too small!!! I suffered through riding in them a few times, then sold them on eBay.

                                  On the other hand, after switching disciplines, and reading a thread on favorite cheapie schooling breeches, I bought two pairs of Ovation side zips, knock offs of the TS breeches. The beige ones fit! I loff them!
                                  BLACK LIVES MATTER


                                    Best Buy of the year was TOTD Ariat Pro Circuit Slim Fit for $75. Wish I had bought five or six! Can't find them any cheaper on line than $131. Ovations are a close second, both nice lower priced copies of the TS trophy mid rise. Maybe better because I like the sock calf of the Ariats and Ovations better than the velcro of the TSs. Size 28R in TS and Ariat slim fit. Size 26L in Ovation.

                                    The other Best Buy (maybe of all my tack purchases ever) was a Tad Coffin saddle. Where had it been all my life!!!!
                                    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


                                      Best: Ariat bromont boots - look nice and warm/not bulky for single digit winter weather.

                                      Worst: Smartpak Bradly breeches were insanely/embarassingly bad fitting.


                                        Best, recently:

                                        A custom, 3 color nylon grooming halter in barn colors. Beautiful materlals, workmanship and price. From Kustom Kritter Fitters-- a dinky, website-less little company I found at Quarter Horse Congress. I'll post pics or contact info if you guys are into it.

                                        I have been a big fan of custom color grooming halters for a long time. I previously had one with only 2 of the 3 colors. I used it up. This one will be a treasured and stylish addition to the horse's trousseau.

                                        Best a while back: A J. P. Giacomini CC saddle bought from someone who didn't know what they had at a ratty big tack sale. I had wanted one of these since high school.

                                        Best way, way back: Schneider's $35 blanket liner. It had holes for leg straps. That thing did a lot of work for 35 bucks.
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat