Neue Schule bit review

Ah yes, the age old struggle of Henry and bitting. It’s been difficult from the very beginning, back in the days when he completely ducked behind all contact and I ended up taking the bit of the equation completely for 6 months. Since I added the bit back in, we’ve gone through several. Some were just because he’s matured and developed over the years, and his ability to handle and go into contact has improved. We’ve gone from a copper loose ring to a nathe to an eggbutt french link to a baucher to Myler to a happy mouth to a KK – different mouthpieces, different metals, different rings, and different thicknesses. Some he hated, some he liked well enough… I’ve never found one where I really loved how he felt in it. I really felt like that was the horse, though, not the bit.

Pretty standard for pre-Neue Schule Henry: chomping, not really straight, moving a bit flat and blocked in his neck and back

The Neue Schule bits have been on the scene for a while now, and I’ve heard really good things about them. There’s no getting around it: they’re expensive. Especially for someone like me, who has a horse that is very high drama and dislikes most things. His history with bitting tells me that he either tolerates it, or he wants me to stick it where the sun don’t shine and take it with me to hell. That’s Henry. He was also going “fine enough” in his KK that he’s been wearing for a few years now. I mean, sure, sometimes he still liked to drop the contact and come behind the bit, or bounce up off it, but I had no problem accepting that those were symptoms of training issues or my own riding. He’s never been a big fan of real contact and connection, and dressage isn’t my strong suit.

And then I had a day where I really was feeling meh about how he was going in the KK, and started wondering if it might be time to move on again. Maybe a different metal, or a thinner KK? Back to the Nathe? I wasn’t sure. By sheer luck, I also noticed that Riding Warehouse had started carrying some of the Neue Schule bits. There are a lot of things I can resist, but an experiment with an item that I’ve heard so many good things about isn’t one of them.

Image result for i wonder gif
Maybe I’m dating myself, but I will never see him as anything but Dawson. Also let’s all agree that Pacey was way better.

The first question was: which one?

Neue Schule has so many options, the indecision was crippling. I posted in a dressage group asking for opinions, and eventually found my way to a rep. She helped me narrow it down to two, and then I completely opted out of making hard decisions and made my trainer pick. Yes I’m that kind of person.

We (she) settled on the Tranz Angled Lozenge Eggbutt, which was described by Neue Schule as “offers stability within the mouth, making it a good choice for horses with inconsistent contact, short, tense necked horses, and horses that need directional control.“. Inconsistent contact and tense necked horse… that definitely sounded familiar. Their website goes on to say “When a contact is taken, the Tranz Angled Lozenge rolls down onto the centre of the tongue, the ‘sweet spot’, enhancing feel and responsiveness thus a higher level of communication through the rein is achieved. The arms are slightly curved and of an oval profile. This oval design takes up less room between the tongue and upper palate, whilst offering a similar weight bearing surface from the pony’s perspective as thicker, circular mouthpieces.“. I know that Henry has a larger than average tongue and lower than average palate, so again… this sounded pretty spot on for him.

In all of my reading I found that Neue Schule really spent a long time researching and developing these bits. There is a lot of engineering here, and a lot of attention to minute detail, all the way from the exact shape of the bit, to the exact angle of the lozenge, to the exact makeup of the metal. Seeing all the science and engineering that went into them kind of made the price point make more sense. This isn’t your crappy run of the mill $25 loose ring. They spent a lot of time and money developing these.

Seriously, take a few minutes to look through all of the information on their website. It’s fun.

“The unique Salox Gold metal possesses the highest thermal conductivity of any metal used in horse bits, this means that the bit will warm to mouth temperature quickly and become ‘neutral’ to the horse meaning that they are less likely to inwardly fixate on the presence of the bit and communication will not be compromised.”

Admittedly though, at the end of the day all the science in the world can be as impressive as it wants, but what really matters is – what does the horse think?

I will start by saying that Henry hates change. He always has. Any new piece of equipment tends to get a reaction somewhere between angry and irritated. He is the Princess and the Pea to an extreme. Knowing this about him, I planned for the first ride in the Neue Schule to just be a walk hack, ponying Presto with us. No contact or anything, I just wanted him to carry the bit and get used to a new feel in his mouth. As expected, he chomped and chomped and chomped the entire time, trying to figure it out. Standard behavior for Henry on day 1 of a bit change.

Day 1!

The next day I put him back in it, and went out to do trot sets. On trot set days we work mostly in stretchy trot, just going forward and straight, adding in some hill repeats. I didn’t ask him to do anything but go forward and relax his topline, so he could work up into some contact but not really make it too “formal”.

The third day was when I knew I’d be able to tell whether or not it was going to work. By the third repetition he’s always over the fact that Something Changed, and we’ve either moved into acceptance or rejection. So for day 3 we went out and did a light dressage ride, and I suddenly had a horse that was quiet and much steadier in the contact. He didn’t chomp at all (chomping is his go-to maneuver and always has been, I don’t think we’ve ever gone a whole ride in any bit with no chomping), and he felt steadier in my hands than he ever has. The next day, same thing, but even better. The following day, same thing, but even better. I described it to Trainer the best way I could, saying that he felt more “mature” in the connection. Steadier, moving up TO the bit, and no chomping. I finally felt like I had something solid to ride him up to.

Only two weeks have passed between the first photo in this post and this one. The difference? A bit change.

In truth, this bit fits the shape of his mouth so much better than the KK, and better than anything else I’ve used on him. It sits so nicely, not too thick, not too thin, and matches the contours of his mouth perfectly. I can see why he finds it so much more comfortable. I think I had fallen into the “bit fitting” trap of looking only at the size and thickness of the bit, rather than really examining the whole shape. Bits are kind of like saddles in that way – it has to fit the whole way across. Until I saw how well the Neue Schule sat in his mouth, I didn’t really realize how all of the others hadn’t.

The real test was our dressage lesson last weekend, where Trainer would be seeing him in the new bit for the first time. Even though he started out tight and tense in the environment, she immediately exclaimed that he looked so much steadier and happier in the contact than he had before. She kept saying that he really looked like a “proper horse”. I asked her afterward to write down her impressions so that I could include it here, and this is what she had to say:

The difference in his hind leg is unbelievable! The connection can finally come from back to front with a soft, elastic connection to the bit. Before, he would hit the bit and try to hide from it, and that tendency has totally disappeared. He finally trusts the contact, which results in a true connection, which results in a horse that can work properly forward from his hind end. 


I am still kind of blown away by the difference. I was hoping he would like the bit, but I didn’t really expect to have any major changes. In my wildest dreams I was thinking maybe he’d be 20% steadier in the contact, but instead I’ve got a horse who is 100% happier than he was, and some issues that we’ve struggled with for years have been massively improved in a matter of weeks. Now I feel bad for taking so long to figure this out for him.

If you’ve been eyeing a Neue Schule, I really can’t say enough good things about my experience. Are they pricey? Yes. Would I have spent the money several times over to make my horse this much happier? Without a doubt. Bits are just as important as saddles, IMO, and you can’t deny all of the time and engineering that has gone into producing the Neue Schule line. You also can’t argue with Princess Henry.

I do always have Riding Warehouse coupons, so if you’re looking to save a few bucks on an order just drop me a line and I’ll send you one. I know every dollar counts! And in this case, those dollars are exceptionally well spent.

Review: Champion Pro-Ultimate SNELL skull cap

I know what you’re thinking… “girl, how many helmets do you need?”. You’re not wrong, I do have several helmets. However, I would say that the correct answer to how many helmets a person needs is the same as how many horses a person needs: always one more than however many they currently have. A gal needs options, ya know?

In all seriousness, though, I needed a new skull cap. My previous Charles Owen Pro II was at the end of it’s lifespan, and to be honest I almost never wore that helmet anyway because it just never fit me right. Or rather, the padding squished down so much that it never fit after the first couple rides. I really love the idea of a skull cap for cross country, something that is actually required in the UK by British Eventing due to safety concerns involving a fixed brim contacting a solid fence. It was also kind of bothering me that my usual show helmet – a Samshield – performed so poorly in the Swedish study that focused on oblique impact. I’ve mostly been riding in the Traumavoid since then, and it just felt wrong strapping the Samshield to my head for cross country.

Champion Pro-Ultimate on the left, Charles Owen Pro II on the right


With the difficulties I had finding a Charles Owen skull cap that fit, I felt a little stuck. There are other brands, of course, but none that had the same kind of proven commitment to safety that CO has shown, and most were not readily available in the US. And then I found out that Riding Warehouse was now carrying some of the Champion line of helmets. Champion is another UK-based brand, with a reputation equaling Charles Owen. The fit is also a bit different from CO, so I was hoping that their Pro-Ultimate SNELL skull cap might work a bit better for me. I have not been disappointed.

The first thing I noticed was that the structure of the Champion ain’t no joke, it looks and feels incredibly sturdy, like I could drive a tank over that thing and it wouldn’t notice. It’s made of fiberglass and Kevlar, so… maybe you actually could. You know a helmet is serious when the Charles Owen looks and feels a bit flimsy in comparison.

The ventilation, while still not fantastic (helmets lose structural integrity when you start poking a lot of big holes in the shell, so this is typical for skull caps), is also better in the Champion. The harness is wider and sturdier, and the chin strap buckle is METAL, and fastens kind of like a seat belt. I have always wondered why we put relatively fragile plastic buckles on something that is only effective if it stays securely in place, so seeing that metal buckle made me happy.

click in, then pull the release to slide out

The lining of the Champion is also completely removeable for easy washing. Aside from just a better fit for me in general (which is so good that I can leave the thing unbuckled, shake my head, fling it back and forth, and it still doesn’t budge), the Champion also feels more padded and comfortable against my head. With the Charles Owen it almost felt like the shell itself was sitting against my skull.

In the UK, Champion has developed a reputation for safety that rivals that of Charles Owen. In fact, they even submitted the Pro-Ultimate skull cap for SNELL testing, a standard that is optional for helmet makers, but goes well above and beyond our typical ASTM/SEI testing standards. There are currently only 4 equestrian helmets in the world that carry the most recent 2016 SNELL approval.

Why is SNELL so special? Mostly because their testing methods are different, and their pass/fail standards are higher. Their standard has the highest crush resistance rating (a BIG thing for me, or probably anyone who remembers Ollie’s horse falling and rolling over his head at Rolex 2010) of over 2,200lbs, they have a higher drop test, and use a variety of differently shaped objects during impact testing.

They want the helmet to cover more of your skull, but not obstruct your peripheral vision, and they check for stability. SNELL also tests the helmets in different weather conditions, temperatures, and from different angles. For full details on their testing, you can read the PDF here, or if you want a summarized version watch this video. It’s from the old standard, not the 2016 updated one, but it’s really cool anyway. Seriously, if you do nothing else today or get nothing else out of this post, watch that video. I highly recommend. It’s fascinating. Even more fascinating that many of the basic standards don’t test helmets nearly this thoroughly. It’s easy to see why SNELL approval is so difficult to achieve.

In addition to meeting a higher safety standard, the helmet (and all Champion models) also has a great replacement policy: within 1 year of date of purchase 50% off retail price, within 2 years of date of purchase 40% off retail price, within 3 years of date of purchase 20% off retail price. Since these are distributed in the US via Toklat, it means that you won’t have to wait as long for a replacement from overseas, and it means that the helmets carry the ASTM/SEI certification labels as required by USEF rules.

The Champion is slightly heavier than the Pro II, I think, although not enough to be noticeable while wearing it. The better ventilation and comfort cancels out any possible additional weight, IMO. It only comes in black, but of course, you can put any skull cap cover on it that you want. I’ve never been much of a skull cap girl, but I find myself reaching for this helmet more and more often. If you can give me comfort AND safety, I’m all in.

I think we can all agree that Bea is a far better model than I am

While the Champion helmet is a bit pricier than some other skull caps, coming in around $450 regular retail, it’s not out of the realm of what is normal for a helmet these days. And honestly, for the superior fit, design, and highest safety rating, the price seems plenty reasonable. I want to go out on cross country with safety equipment that I trust, and having a SNELL certified helmet strapped to my head offers a little bit more peace of mind that I’m doing what I can to help minimize risk.

galloping this fit, feral dolphin is dangerous business

If you’re in the market for a new helmet, I highly recommend looking into the new Champion line at Riding Warehouse. Aside from keeping safety a priority, they also make some really pretty and unique helmets. If the other models are anywhere near as well-made and comfortable as the Pro-Ultimate, you won’t be disappointed. And of course, RW has a very easy/free return or exchange policy if you’re unsure of fit or sizing.

Review: Majyk Equipe Superhorse girth and Impact saddle pad

Y’all know I’ve been a fan of Majyk Equipe for a long time. The first pair of boots I bought from them, purchased in 2014, are actually still in use, having been handed down to a friend last year. That first pair blossomed into what can probably be labeled an obsession by this point, seeing as I now own many pairs (*coughcoughitmightliterallybeadozencough*) of ME boots. Clearly I’ve been really happy with the brand, so I was extra excited when I heard that they were expanding their line to include saddle pads and girths.

The saddle pads were first to launch, back in the summer. The line includes a non-slip all purpose pad, a mesh bamboo pad, a sheepskin half pad, and a shaped Impact pad. The half pad and the shaped pad are both shimmable, and the shaped pad has a layer of impact material already integrated along the top, as well as non-slip material on the bottom. As an eventer, that one piqued my interest the most, so I got the navy Impact pad (and now I also need white for shows, because the right answer is always more saddle pads).

The most unique feature of the Impact pad is the spine relief at the front AND the back of the pad. If you own a high withered or particularly sensitive horse, the design of this is pretty brilliant. The cutouts at the front and back provide a massive amount of clearance along the spine, preventing any kind of binding or chafing even during long rides or on clipped winter coats, and the wither area is lined with sheepskin as another layer of protection against rubs.

the back of the pad sits BRILLIANTLY both for air flow and spinal clearance

The pad also comes with shims if you need to tweak the fit of your saddle a bit, or if you prefer additional impact protection under the saddle. As with all of ME’s products, this pad is neoprene free – the impact material is their ever-popular ARTi-LAGE/BioFoam, which allows for much better breathability, less heat retention, and better shock absorption. The anti-slip material lines a good bit of the underside, making the pad feel really stable against the horse, and also features girth loops and billet straps to keep everything neatly in place. Although, if you’re like me and have a monoflap, feel free to go ahead and chop those billet straps off, because you don’t need them anyway. This thing sits so nicely on the horse, it ain’t going anywhere.


If there’s one thing I’ve really come to expect from Majyk Equipe by now, it’s extremely thoughtful design. They are meticulous with the research and testing that goes into their products, and it shows. These pads are no exception. I’ve been using the Impact pad at home a lot, especially on gallops and long conditioning rides (and a few XC schoolings!) and it’s performed admirably. It never budges an inch, and I like that I can use it by itself without an additional half pad.

My only tiny complaint is that I wish the impact protection sections went about a half inch further back, since I have a large butt + long femur and therefore a loooong saddle. It fits my 18″ extra forward Devoucoux, but just barely.

After the release of the saddle pads, I was really excited to see what the girths would look like. It took a few more months, but the new Superhorse monoflap girth (they also make a long girth, for those of you with dual flap saddles) finally hit my doorstep last month. I was pretty darn excited about this fancy, beautiful creature, since Henry has been wearing a $35 synthetic ovation girth on his jump saddle for the entire time I’ve had it. And yes this ME girth is definitely fancy, but I like that it’s also unfailingly practical. It’s not a $300 french leather girth that has you cringing every time it gets wet and muddy, or feeling like you have to condition it after every ride. Those are beautiful and all, but let’s be honest, I don’t take care of my things that well. The ME girth is still synthetic – making it washable and rugged, but has so many of the “frills” that other synthetic girths don’t, which really set it apart from the others I’ve tried.

My favorite part is the shape and the cut. It sits SO nicely against the horse, with no gapping or uneven pressure, and has plenty of room behind the elbows for full range of motion. I’ve used it on a few horses now and it’s sat really well on every single one of them. The lining is a very squishy and soft perforated bio-foam (again, no neoprene) that is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, and has a center vent to prevent heat build-up. It also has roller buckles and elastic to make it easier to adjust, especially from the saddle.

Y’all know that Henry is not exactly shy about his opinions, nor is he anywhere near stoic, and he seems happy and comfortable in this girth. I like the added belly guard protection too, since he wears studs on cross country. The center d-ring makes it easy to clip my breastplate to, and since it’s made from ridiculously sturdy ballistic nylon and stitched with heavy duty thread, I’m not worried about this thing breaking anytime in the next century. So far to clean it I’ve just hosed it off in the washrack, but the liner is also removeable for easy washing in the gross summer months.

So far we’ve both been really pleased with both of Majyk Equipe’s new products. As usual, the time and effort put into the design and materials really shows, not to mention that the folks at Majyk Equipe are always helpful and knowledgeable with my endless barrage of nosy questions.

As an added bonus, through the end of the year Majyk Equipe is running a special where you get a free pair of colored stirrups with any pad or girth purchase (plus they donate some of the $ to CA wildfire relief) from their website. If you’re thinking of having a Treat YoSelf moment, or I guess in this case it’s more of a Treat YoHorse, now is a pretty good time.

And of course, if you don’t need stirrups (or have a friend to give them to as a gift for Christmas) you can always use a Riding Warehouse coupon code and save a few bucks!

Really though, two thumbs up, well done Majyk Equipe.

Review: Rambo Plus Fly Mask

It’s gross and disgusting here in Texas (the hottest May on record does not bode well for the rest of the summer), which means the bugs have been out in force this year too. Henry’s old Cashel fly mask was finally looking too tattered to survive yet another season, so it was time for a new one. This time, though, I opted for something different – the Rambo Plus fly mask. Or as I affectionately call it, the spaceship.

I picked it up (along with a coat that I’ll review in another post) from Country & Stable, a tack shop that I’ve heard about from other bloggers. They had good reviews, offer free shipping over $100, and free returns. Although I’m always a bit hesitant to branch out to “new to me” shops, they had the items on my doorstep within just a few days. No complaints here.

I opted for the Rambo Plus mask for a couple of different reasons. 1) I’ve always had good luck with the durability of Rambo Products 2) I really wanted something that sat further away from Henry’s eyes. The way his face is built, his eyes are a bit prominent, and I always felt like the Cashel sat just a bit too close to them. Especially if he rubbed his face on something or rolled in mud… then the fabric would end up sitting very close to, if not rubbing on, his eye. This mask is a little on the expensive side for a fly mask, at $40, but for something that he wears 5-6 months out of the year, every day, all day, for hopefully a few years – it seemed worth spending a little bit more money to get one that would be more comfortable for him.

Image result for rambo plus fly mask
stock photo with the nose cover, which can be removed if you don’t need it

Yes, this thing looks utterly hilarious. I laughed and laughed and laughed when I first put it on him. He really does look like an equine UFO. But looks aside, the mask is pretty brilliant. It fits him well and stays in place. The ears are nice and big to give him plenty of space and airflow, and that thing definitely does stay WAY out of his eyes – even when it’s muddy or he tries to rub. There are two velcro closures, one near the bottom of the jaw, and one near the top of the jaw. This makes the underside of the mask kind of anchor on the horse’s jaw itself, making it more stable on the head and not quite as easy for the horse to remove.

The construction seems to be pretty top notch, too. The mesh itself has a sturdier feel than the Cashel did, a bit stiffer and more rugged. The edges have low profile fleece lining for comfort, and there’s a removeable nose cover (which I took off, since my horse doesn’t really need it). I’m optimistic that this mask will last him for quite a while.

even though Presto does his best to destroy all the things, including Uncle Henny’s fly mask

The Rambo Plus mask comes in a few different colors – silver/purple (for all you weirdos that like purple so much), silver/navy, and tan/black. So far I think it’s definitely a winner. When Presto stops growing so fast he’ll get one too… I like it a lot more than the Noble Outfitters Guardian that I picked up for him a couple months ago. Similar design concept, but not nearly as well-executed, IMO.

Country and Stable was kind enough to offer a 10% coupon code, if anyone sees something good on their website and wants to give them a try! Facebookpony10 (of course, some exclusions may apply, depending on manufacturer restrictions).

Review: Ovation Celebrity Euroweave breeches

If you’ve read any of my past breech reviews, you guys know that I am a big fan of the Ovation Aqua-X breeches. They’re comfortable, they’re flattering, and they’re super affordable.  They’re also very lightweight and cool, which is what I need here in Texas for at least 9 months of the year. But when we started talking about doing some foxhunting and I realized I needed to buy a pair of tan breeches (I am so completely assimilated as an eventer now that I legit did not have tan breeches anymore), I figured I should opt for something with a thicker fabric. Foxhunting is generally a cooler weather sport, after all.


So I reached out to my favorite Ovation rep and asked for recommendations. I liked the Aqua-X so much that I decided it was worth giving one of their other models a try. When I described what I was looking for (heavier fabric, but not an actual winter breech… there’s a lot of galloping involved, you warm up fast, and you’re in the saddle for a long time) she immediately recommended the Celebrity Euroweave.

I opted for the knee patch with a euro seat, since they were for hunting, in the regular length. The fit isn’t quite as good on me as the Aqua-X (which fit like they were made for me) in that the waist is just a little bit gappy. I have this problem a lot with breeches, since I carry more weight in my hips and thighs. They’re definitely a better fit in the waist than any of the Equine Couture, TuffRider, or Pipers that I’ve tried… the amount of gap is pretty similar to how Tailored Sportsman’s fit me. Other than that, the fit was pretty good, and they were definitely comfortable. They have my ever-coveted sock bottom, which has become a requirement for me, wide belt loops, and some cute piping detail at the pockets.

piping on the charcoal color

I tried them out for the first time at a tiny schooling show for a couple of dressage classes, and they were quite comfortable. The most impressive thing was how well they washed up afterwards. I am a huge pigpen and seem to just attract dirt, slobber, stains, and general yuck. I just threw these in the regular wash and they came out looking new again.

The next test was rolling them out for their intended use – hunting. One of the reasons the rep recommended this particular model was that they have a bit of a stretchier fabric that uses Dry-Tex™ technology to help wick away any moisture, making them a great choice if you’re going to be wearing them for long periods of time. I wore these things for 12 hours that day, 3 of which were mounted, and I never once thought about my breeches. To me that is the ultimate compliment. They were super comfortable, and the weight was perfect for galloping around in upper 50’s temps.

The Celebrity breeches come in knee patch and full seat, tons of color options, and regular and long lengths. At under $100, they’re a pretty solid buy for a cooler weather schooling breech or a mid-weight show breech (see-through, they are not!).

Image result for ovation celebrity boysenberry

Oh, and I did finally take the plunge and order some Aqua-X breeches in full seat. Verdict? I love them! Finally, a pair of full seats that I actually like. We look so legit at our dressage lessons now (j/k, we don’t, but hey at least we’ve got the right wardrobe).

Review: Mrs. Tutton’s May show shirt

I’m so excited to finally be able to review this shirt. I got it over a year ago, right after we got home from Coconino, but then Henry got hurt and then show season was over and blah blah blah, so it ended up being forever before I could actually wear it. But now I’ve finally worn it a few times and gotten a decent picture of it in action, so here’s the review… better late than never?


I hate stock ties. A lot. As far as stock ties go, I love the one I have from Style Stock, but it’s still a stock tie and I still hate a) tying things b) having a big floof under all of my chins. I just can’t get into it. I tried.  I feel like a rooster. When I get to the level at which a stock tie is required, I will wear one. Until then I will #resist.

But I also don’t really like the plain boring all-white look of just a show shirt, nor do I like the weird ruffley shirts that a lot of anti-stock tie DQ’s have adopted. I like show shirts with just a little bit of unique detail to make them different, and the May shirt from Mrs. Tutton’s really hits it out of the park in that department.

let’s just agree to ignore the THANK GOD WE’RE DONE look on my face, ok?

The May shirt is available in a long sleeve or a short sleeve version. The long sleeve is available in navy or pink, and the short sleeve comes in pink or white. The navy (which is really a very thin navy pinstripe) has navy faux-leather detailing, and the pink and white shirts have brown faux-leather detailing. I got navy of course, because I’m nothing if not dedicated to my color scheme.

I really really LOVE the look of the faux leather around the collar and sleeves. It’s just enough to be interesting without being “in your face”, so I think it looks extremely classy and high end. The fabric itself is a nice Japanese cotton that breathes well but isn’t thin enough to see through. It washes up nicely and doesn’t require any kind of special cleaning, just machine wash.

Mrs. Tutton’s is an Australian-based brand, specializing in the “stable to street” style. Many of their clothes could easily double as work wear, and all of it is made in Australia out of high end fabrics. It’s a brand that was developed by riders, FOR riders, and I think that really shows in the thorough attention to detail, fit, and finish.


Normally these shirts are a little on the pricey side, around $200AUD, but right now they’re actually on sale for $115AUD, which is only around $90 USD! The available sizes are a bit limited, but if they have yours, it’s definitely a great deal for a high quality shirt like this. As far as fit, I found that the Australian/US sizing charts were accurate in this case – it all seems to run true to size. It’s worthwhile to take a look at all of their other clothing too… it’s all gorgeous and much of it is on sale at the moment.

If you’re looking for something a little different, but still elegant, definitely take a look at Mrs. Tutton’s!


Review: It’s a Haggerty’s custom sunshirts

As a Texan, I pretty much live in sunshirts 9-10 months out of the year. They’re an absolute staple down here in the mega-hot-death-ray-sun South, and I own a ridiculous number of them. I’ve tried just about every brand by now, and figured out exactly what I like and don’t like. And since I already have so many, it’s a challenge to find ones that are different and interesting. Enter It’s a Haggerty’s.

I’d seen this brand on Instagram for quite a while, with all of their fun custom patterns and trims and colors. But I’m picky about sunshirt fabric, so I was hesitant to take the plunge on ordering anything custom for fear that I’d end up hating it. I finally was able to see them in person at Rolex and was pleasantly surprised to find that the fabric, while a bit thicker than my favorite Kastels, was quite nice – almost silky feeling. I nabbed one from the Plaid Horse booth to take home with me to test out.


I was glad that I was able to see them in person, because the sizing definitely runs a bit small. I normally wear a medium Kastel but needed a large It’s a Haggerty’s. I quite like the sleeve construction – they have some extra length in the arm and a true cuff, for good coverage and a nice slim fit. I’ve found that if there isn’t a true cuff I’ll end up pushing the sleeves up out of annoyance, which kind of defeats the whole point of a sunshirt. As spring turned into summer I found that the shirt performed admirably in the heat. Not quite as “cooling” as the fabric of the Kastel, but certainly better than the Bette & Court, Ariat, and Riding Sport shirts. The fabric has held up well to my abuse, and the construction is solid.

When there were requests for sunshirts with the Presto logo, I went straight to It’s a Haggerty’s. Not only do they have a million customization options, they also offer cheap embroidery. Typically for large orders they do big batches of the same shirt for barns or teams, so I felt kind of guilty when I sent in my cobbled together order of 11 different Presto shirt and embroidery color combinations plus 2 sBs shirts. I’m sure that was a nightmare, but fast forward a couple months and everything arrived looking great.

The shirts are $60-65 depending on solid vs patterned, and embroidery is $15 (although there are discounts for bulk orders). There was no extra set-up or digitization fee for the logos I sent. Overall they’re very competitively priced for the market. There are so many color and pattern options that it almost becomes impossible to choose just one or two combinations. On one hand I wish there was a fun little configurator on the website to make it easier to envision what it’ll look like, but on the other hand I’m glad there isn’t or I’d probably own a dozen of these things by now.

I’m reserving my Presto shirt – navy with yellow plaid cuffs/collar – mostly for cross country at shows, so that Presto gets to “ride along” with us. Yeah, I’m cheesy. I also ordered one with a Willow Tree logo on one side and sBs logo on the other, which gets tons of compliments every time I wear it. If you’re looking for something custom, or some fun patterns and color combinations, I would definitely check out It’s a Haggerty’s. I haven’t been disappointed!

Ego 7 boots: First Impressions 

Ask and ye shall receive! A full review on these will have to wait a little while, but since several of you wanted to know, here are my first impressions.

I specifically wanted new brown boots for schooling, and wanted to stay under $400. Since Karen’s Ariat’s fell apart in a year, and the Mountain Horse don’t come tall enough unless you also have a slim calf, that nixed both of those. I liked my Mondoni’s a lot, but wanted something a little bit higher quality and darker brown this time around. When I saw that Ego 7 was coming out with chocolate brown, they immediately shot to the front of the line. I first saw Ego 7 a few years ago at AETA and quite liked them. Makes sense, since they’re designed by Franco Tucci, and I love my Tucci’s.

The first obvious difference between these and the Tucci’s is of course the price. The Tucci’s are closer to the 1k mark, whereas the Ego 7’s run more like $500 USD. Which, yes, if I had bought them in the US that would have put them out of my budget. But in Europe they run about 299 Euro, which is around $350 USD. Thus why one of my biggest missions for Europe was finding these boots. Granted, you don’t have to actually fly all the way to Europe just to buy them from Europe… there are plenty of online shops that will ship here and you’ll still come out ahead.

For the price I paid, I’m satisfied with the quality. Not blown away, but satisfied. They are not the fine Italian leather of the Tucci’s, but at the price that should be obvious. They still seem well made and I like the materials and design a lot. They have all the design features of the higher end boots: nice tall spanish top, close fit through the ankle, snaps at the top and at the bottom, a padded “tongue” inside the back of the ankle, and little tab at the top snap to thread the zipper pull through so that it doesn’t fall down. It’s not as innovative and awesome as the snap system on the Tucci’s, but it works. I also like the E-Tex material on the calf. It’s pretty grippy, and blends in perfectly to the pretty chocolate brown color of the leather. We’ll see how it wears over time. I do think that a more squared toe would really take them up a few notches in the style and class department.

I like the little spur rest design that these have, with 3 different “levels”. When I first saw that feature I was worried that it might end up kind of acting like a spur, but I think unless you really ride with a seriously clamped heel then that’s not going to happen. The little nubs are pretty small. I do ride with spurs most of the time, so this particular spur rest design definitely helps keep them in place with no sliding around.

Fit wise, I’m glad I was able to try them on first. The foot seems to run a bit big, IMO, and the calf runs SMALL. Like go up a size from whatever the size chart says you would be. Really I could have ended up in a bigger calf size than I did, but I was limited to what the store had with them, so I’ve made this work. It did require some stretching, and they’re still not quite there yet, but we’ve made a lot of progress. If anything, these first couple weeks has definitely been a testament to the hardiness of their zipper.

To me the instep seems to run a smidge high, I have some extra room there. The ankle is very well tapered though, which gives these a nice slimming look. I also was able to get the regular height, and they’ve dropped to be pretty perfect.

Overall I’m happy with them so far. For a schooling boot, or even a low budget show boot, I think they’re a good choice. I definitely like them more at the $350 I paid than the $500+ that I would have paid in the US.

Review: Lund calfskin stirrup leathers 

I was going to wait another week or so to review these until they’re available online, but a) lots of you have been asking about them, and b) I will probably forget for a while because September is nuts for me. So – doing them now, lest anyone be left wondering when they come out.

I really really really needed new leathers when I got these; my last ones had worn literally all the way through to the nylon core. It was janky. Thank you Lund Saddlery for taking pity on me and letting me claim one of the first available pairs. But I’m also really particular about my stirrup leathers, while simultaneously being extremely cheap. And although I would love nothing more than to drop $200 on CWD or Devoucoux leathers without a second thought, it ain’t happening. At the same time though, I have some very specific “must haves” when it comes to leathers:

  • calfskin: this is non-negotiable, I have french calfskin saddles
  • nylon core: I haaaaaate when stirrup leathers get really stretched out and uneven
  • reasonably spaced holes: either half holes or one inch spacing, because I am really weird about very specific adjustments. I need options.
  • color – gotta match the saddle, yo.

I took a leap of faith with the Lund’s, being a new product, but the brand hasn’t led me astray yet AND the leathers ticked all my boxes.

Out of the box they’re quite orange, which is fairly typical of nice calfskin in it’s brand new, pre-oiled state. The question is always whether or not they’ll take oil and darken well. Boy did these pass THAT test! Two coats of oil and they were butter soft and perfectly matched to the Devoucoux.

before and after!

As with all of my other Lund gear, the leathers are really well made and well constructed. There has been no stretch or wear so far in the first couple months of use, and they look just gorgeous. So far, two thumbs up.

The leathers are supposed to be available online hopefully next week (I’m sure if you want them badly enough they could put you on a pre-order list, or make sure you’re following them on fb for new product annoucements!) and retail right around $90USD. Considering I was ready to pay $150 for slightly used CWD leathers, I’m quite happy to have gotten my hands on these instead. They’re every bit as nice, but brand new and for a much more reasonable price.



Review: Lund Anatomic Girth

I’m actually really excited about this review, because I think this is one of the best products that Lund Saddlery makes. I’m picky about girths (ok maybe Henry is the picky one) and it seems like it’s more and more difficult to find nice ones without spending exorbitant amounts of money. But if you want something budget-friendly that is still beautiful enough for even the fanciest show, these are worth taking a good look at.

Lund has a few different girth styles that will be hitting the market soon: a regular contour girth, an anatomic girth, and a belly guard girth. I chose the anatomic for Henry, because he’s a princess and will definitely let me know if he feels like a girth is restricting his movement in any way.

No one ever believes me when I tell them this, but Henry wears every inch of a 54, and the Lund measured spot on. The sizing is definitely true. Right out of the box the leather looked beautiful, the stitching was perfect, and the padding was nice as soft. I love the attention to detail with the pretty navy elastic on each end, fancy stitching details, dee ring at the center and on each side to clip attachments to, and roller buckles. It ticks all the boxes for the things I want a need a girth to be, and the execution is second to none.


I’ve been using it since December, and it has held up really beautifully. A quick wipe with a towel and everything looks brand new again. The stitching is still the same bright white that it was to start with, which is kind of a feat in and of itself considering that I don’t exactly baby my tack.

The shape of the anatomic style sits really well on Henry. He seems content in it and I’ve never had any issues with slippage. I like that the shape allows him plenty of room at the elbows, something that he seems pretty sensitive about, and the slightly wider style seems to distribute the pressure over a wider area.

The first run of the girths are COMING SOON to the Lund website, and I think they’ll do really well once they hit the market. As with all of their products that I’ve tried so far, the quality is there and the pricepoint is always more than reasonable. If you’re in the market for a new girth, I would definitely consider adding these to your list!

Now I just need them to come out with a monoflap version. Hint, hint. Wink, wink.