Equestrian Gift Guide 2018

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The Best Time of Year always comes with one of my favorite activities – gift giving! Why? I like the challenge. How? I’m not sure – most of the time I just give people things that I would probably want to receive myself, things that are useful but not so necessary that someone would purchase it themselves. Basic criteria. Obviously I can’t share my gift list for all my loved ones, that would spoil the surprise, but I can provide some ideas for the equestrian in your life.

So, let’s get to it! This guide is perfect for “naive” (meaning they haven’t already received your own Wish List) horse husbands or SOs, parents of horse crazy girls, adult amateurs looking for gifts for their fellow riders or trainer or for your very own steed.

  1. Tucker Tweed James River Carryall

    When girls become horse girls, suddenly their entire shopping fund is refocused towards horses. Treat her to something that she can use to pull together an everyday outfit that still has a subtle nod to their equine obsession. TT bags are high quality and timeless, which is great because she won’t have any funds to allocate to a purse budget for at least another year.

  2. ColorTack Black Roller Ball Spurs

    Another super useful gift that may be slightly more expensive than one would prefer to purchase for themselves. Got a hunter gift recipient? Grab those in black or a neutral bronze or slate color. Jumper or eventer? Snatch up a pair in their matching competition color!

  3. The Skydio R1

    Obviously this is not in everyone’s price range, but how cool is this thing!? How much do you think your barnmates would love to share a selfie drone?? Forget asking anyone to video your lesson ever again! Alternatives: the Soloshot for the ground view or a GoPro for a first person point of view. If you’re still hopeful for the drone, just remember that six years ago a 4K TV was $20,000, and now you can pick one up for around $650. There’s hope! #mooreslaworsomething

  4. Quarter Sheet

    Back on Track has a whole range of therapeutic warming products for you and your horse. The quarter sheet would make an awesome gift for your horse because it’s just a little extra, and probably wouldn’t be a normal purchase. And if your climate is anything like Northern California’s, Real Winter has only just begun, so you’ve got a few more even colder months to get through and why not help your horse get through them in comfort?

  5. Roeckl Madrid Glove

    These gloves are so gorgeous! Roeckl, always with a quality product, offers this sportier design with a bunch of super cool color combinations. My personal favorite is the black and gold, but there are plenty of options for everyone’s style and riding wardrobe color palette (that’s a thing, right?).

  6. Hunt Club Show Shirt

    Hunt Club is one of my favorite equestrian brands and their entrance to the show apparel is very exciting! These shirts are beautifully designed, and, if they’re the same quality as their other riding clothing, will a great addition to anyone’s show wardrobe. Plus, show clothes, while not utilized right away, are always greatly appreciated as they prevent the recipient from scrambling to order a few show shirts days before a summer show!

  7. Tiger Tongue

    The tiger tongue is a grooming tool/sponge that’s taking the equestrian world by storm, or something. Use wet or dry, on sensitive areas or to remove dust and dirt from a thick coat. Seems like a cool idea, has mostly rave reviews and a great price point as a stocking stuffer.

  8. Uniqlo Down Jacket, Vest or Parka

    My current favorite brand for cold weather barn wear isn’t Asmar, it isn’t Patagonia, not even Ariat or Joulles. It’s all about Uniqlo. Their down jackets are warm, but also cheap enough that I don’t freak over horse snot and slobber or treat crumbs. They wash up easily and retain their warmth and down, and also come in so many more neutral colors than any other down-wear I can think of!

  9. Sport Horse Essentials Gift Pack

    SHE is an awesome up and coming all natural brand that manufactures grooming sprays and salves, and gifts often end up being a great way to try out a new brand. It’s both useful and something you wouldn’t normally purchase yourself since you’re stuck in a brand-loyalty rut.

  10. Custom Horse Ornament

    While brainstorming ideas for my 2018 Gift Guide, I knew I wanted something strictly for Christmas-use and ornaments are always a great gift to give, at least in my opinion. I went searching for a custom horse ornament and stumbled upon Hamer & Clay and Kelsey’s adorable designs! Her Etsy shop has since been shut down, so you can’t order from her but they were too cute to not include in my list. I even tried to message her on Instagram to no avail.

  11. Wine Down Hoof Pick

    This is actually an item I already own, but I could totally see working out as a prize at a barn party, white elephant or secret Santa. Pair it with a cute nameplate and you’ve got a super cute and thoughtful gift that will last for years.

  12. Saratoga Bandages

    Okay, so I definitely already have a set of these polos, but I’m SO obsessed!! They are super easy to wrap, never slip, look super classy in every color and with SmartPak’s embroidery options, you can customize them with your loved one’s name or monogram. Just be sure to order early if you do get them embroidered!

Recent Purchases Reviewed

Sterling Essentials Leather Conditioner

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I first saw this brand in an Instagram advertisement. So, advertising works... though I hate to admit it. After looking them up and seeing a few independent reviews, I thought I'd give them a try. After all, I do have somewhat of an obsession with cleaning and shining my boots.

I ended up ordering the Floral Citrus scent and it smells incredible! Not as good as the Effax Lederbalsam which smells like wax and honey, sooo good, but I still appreciate being able to make my boots smell like something other than dirt and shavings.

I start by letting my boots dry completely, especially if they are sweaty from riding in the heat. Our apartment gets so humid that we actually have a dehumidifier so I'll sometimes plop the boots in front of that. Once they're dry, I'll take a damp microfiber cloth to them, and a shoe shining brush to the cracks and crevices where dirt tends to hide. Let dry again. Add generous amounts of the leather conditioner with separate microfiber cloth. Let stand for a few minutes. Use the same cloth to rub in, and/or take excess conditioner off, and then polish with my favorite Effax speedy shine sponge. Works well!

I would absolutely buy Sterling Essentials again, it definitely works better than any black boot polish I've used and I don't feel like I'm making a mess or ruining all my microfiber cloths using it either. 10/10. Might need to get the lavender leather cleaner next.

 
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Wine Down Hoof Pick

As my favorite @adultammystrong saying goes, Whinnies and Wine make me feel fine! I've been attempting to incorporate more equine-themed décor in our home lately, and this bottle opener seemed like the perfect fit while also being useful. I had just lost our best wine opener ever, a hand-me-down from my grandparents I’m sure they picked up in Maui sometime about 2000. My replacement hoof pick/corkscrew combo is a great value for the price and looks quite nice hung in our kitchen. Plus, the hoof pick end is great for getting bottle caps off as well. I have Big Plans for future wine picnics at the barn and/or shows.

8/10 because I could live without it, but it's damn cute. I feel like these would be amazing gifts with a little nameplate or engraving??

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Lorenzini Stirrups

*Note: does not stop the rider from looking at horse’s lovely ears.

*Note: does not stop the rider from looking at horse’s lovely ears.

Honestly? These stirrups were life-changing. If I had to nail down a single thing that most improved my riding in the last six months, it would be these. Not to hate on MDC, but I just can't do the flexible foot bed, IMHO, I think it makes it easier for your heel to be down, but even easier for it to come back up. There's no putting your heels down and having your leg 'lock' in the correct position.

The combination of the wide foot bed, cheese grater pads, and the slight incline really just make them so supportive and my feet are never sore! The Lorenzini have helped my heel come down so much that it stays down (more the most part) over the jump *gasp* and my boots even started rubbing in new places because of the changed position.

9/10. Might need a pink pair.

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Professional Choice Girth

I didn't really need to buy a girth. But I don't really ever need to buy anything.
My barn provides girths. There are multiple sizes, types, etc. and there was a favorite super nice shaped leather Antares that Leo and I both loved for a while… buuuut it would go missing when everyone traveled to shows, and eventually I couldn't find it altogether and just decided to treat myself and grab a synthetic girth.
Everyone has a PC girth. There is a reason. They are awesome, and the price is right. It's easy to get on, plenty stretchy. It's easy to tighten on the ground and in the saddle. The color works. It’s very easy to clean. I think it helps with saddle slippage too.

10/10 would absolutely buy again!

Equestrian Wishlist, Summer 2018

1. San Soleil White/Navy SunGlow Top

Literally cannot dream up a classier looking sunshirt.

2. San Soleil Tennis Print SunGlow Top

Just kidding, this is clearly the classier sunshirt. Tennis racket print? Wow, can I stop by the country club before my lesson for a mimosa? I feel like I would have to with this shirt.

3. [another pair of] ManeJane Spur Straps

At the top of my current want-list is the four leaf clover, Oh La Latte, or Rose Fox on the Rox. Or maybe I'll buy them all. Plus, I have to say it's awesome to purchase horsie items from a small business who stands behind their products. Did I mention they overnighted my last order to arrive in time for my last horse show? They're amazing!

4. Kerrits Cross-Over Breeches

Okay, so I already ordered these in the Storm (blue) color and I'm so glad they ended up on my wishlist. I had a few pairs of the Ice Fil Tech Tights last summer and they were A. Mistake. These, thankfully, are SO flattering, even more so than a Tailored Sportsman. Perfect rise and smoothes every dimple. I do wish they had other, better colors. I might get the Colt (brown) next. But look forward to a product review coming soon!

How cute is this!? Regardless of how dirty white tees get at the barn...

How cute is this!? Regardless of how dirty white tees get at the barn...

5. Wine Down Hoof Pick

So this 'hoof pick' doesn't have much to do with horses, but I figure I can use it to start yet another conversation about horses. Or possibly bring it to the barn to keep in my tack trunk for Barn Whinnies & Wine (probably @adultammystrong copyrighted) Nights, which I'm still trying to get going...

6. Eqwine White Tee

I love all of Eqwine Co's sweatshirts and hope to collect them all, just closer to winter when I can actually wear them! Until then, hopefully this fitted white shirt can tide me over. I love nothing more than cute equestrian inspired clothing that doesn't overtly scream OMG I LOVE HORSIES. Add an additional nod to wine? I'm all in.

7. 17 Hands Spur Belt

I'm honestly not yet in the place in my life where I'm regularly purchasing $150 belts, but 17 Hands Equestrian has been making me strongly consider it! Luckily for my wallet they're out of my size in the Rose Gold Blush belt. It will probably stay on my wishlist through Christmas and possibly until my next birthday. Not to mention, their cute brand stickers also make me that much more inclined to purchase!

17 Hands Equestrian's GORGEOUS Rose Gold Blush Belt

17 Hands Equestrian's GORGEOUS Rose Gold Blush Belt

8. Roeckl Roeck Grip Lite

Northern California summers are scorchers. I can't live without gloves and my regular Roeckls only dry so much between rides. I don't need vented gloves, but damn do I want some.

9. White Back on Track Saddle Pad

Leo's getting older and, as a worrier-by-nature, I really want to make sure I'm reducing the wear and tear on his body as much as possible. I've heard great things about Back on Track and this pad would be great for him especially since he really needs a good warm up before he's loose in his stride and back. I love a crisp, white saddle pad, and it would reflect some summer sun. And yes I will be getting it monogrammed in white!

10. with matching White Back on Track Polo Wraps

I've wanted a set of classic white polos for a while, and again, I think I would go with Back on Track over other products to help with circulation for my favorite old man.

 
None of the images in this post are property of The Two H Blog.

HH Reviews: Show ROOTDs

Coat - RJ Classics Grey Label Washable Coat

I loved this coat! I told myself when I got back into riding, I'd be disappointed if I didn't get to show while green was still 'in'. Well, luckily, I won't live with that regret. I got this coat from SmartPak for 50% off and it was a great purchase. It's comfortable, washable, slightly stretchy but not in an obviously synthetic way. It's polyester, but you can't really tell since it breathes so well! Also important, it blows beautifully in the breeze, (or full blown gusts of wind in my case) see below. I washed it after the show [after leaving it at the bottom of my laundry bin for a week] and had a near-meltdown after seeing that the Tide pod didn't fully wash off. I just re-rinsed it and let it hang dry and it luckily survived the dilemma.

 
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10/10 for price, comfort and quality

Breeches - Tailored Sportsman Mid-Rise Breeches

I'm a huge fan of high-waist everything being back on trend, and thankfully it never really left the equestrian world. TS mid-rise breeches are the epitome of comfort and are great for not having to worry about those bloated days. I ended up purchasing a pair at the mobile tack trailer for Sunday and they only had my size in long, so my mid-rise became high-rise and they were INCREDIBLE. Very comfortable, and even with my jacket flapping all over the place, no one saw my shirt. Maybe it looks like I had a case of long-butt, but comfort > everything.

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Rise up to my armpits and still so flattering!

9/10, highly recommend

Shirts - Ariat Sunstopper & RJ Classics Rebecca

I purchased the RJ Classics shirt last fall when it was on sale and glad I did. The firm collar and cuffs were nice for taking the shirt on and off while wearing make-up, or just being dirty in general. The cuffs were slightly uncomfortable, probably because the sleeves were slightly long for me and I think the shirts run a little bigger compared to Ariat. I did have to roll them up when I was not wearing my jacket, though you're probably supposed to since they have pretty prints on the inside of the collar and cuffs.

The Ariat shirt was the same breathable fabric as the sunstopper 1/4 zips with the same mesh on the underside of the sleeve (the RJ shirt had this as well). HOWEVER, the damn shirt stains SO EASILY. I got barely any make-up on it when I first received it in the mail and tried it on. Okay, Clorox penned it and washed with Oxyclean. Almost didn't come out... then stained it again after taking it off after the show. I don't wear a ton of make up when I ride so I don't know what happened. Also, does not have fancy cuffs, just a regular plain-end sleeve.

Both shirts: 7/10, overall would buy again considering prices of both

Gloves - Roeckl Roeck-Grip

No one wants to pay $50 for gloves, but there is a reason everyone does. If you have one splurge item, make it yo gloves girl! Especially if you're like me and cheap out on reins...

10/10, forever loyal to Roeckl

Spurs Straps - ManeJane Elephants with Black Strap

So placed an order for some spur straps from ManeJane the Tuesday the week before the show. After waiting about a week, I contacted the owner to see if they would ship. She said the strap was currently on backorder, but to choose another pair for them to send until my previous choice was back in stock. AND THEY OVERNIGHTED THOSE PUPPIES TO ME. They arrived the Friday before the show and I know they brought me good luck! Plus they're not flimsy at all like every other spur straps I've ever owned, keeping my heavy roller balls right in place! Peep these fancy elephants:

 
Mane Jane straps v. my old SmartPak straps sans crystal

Mane Jane straps v. my old SmartPak straps sans crystal

 

10/10 for quality and customer service

Belts - Hunt Club 'Counting Strides' & 'Half Pass' Derby Belts

What's not to love about Hunt Club Derby Belts? Nothing, that's what! There's a reason why every start up blogger with merch sells a HC inspired belt. They're comfy, adjustable, come in cute colors with catchy names. I'll be doing a review post eventually on all my Hunt Club items!

9/10, because Hunt Club

Riding Capsule Wardrobe, Winter Edition

It would not be wrong to say that I’ve worked much harder on my riding wardrobe than my work wardrobe. Dressing well is a form of good manners, or so says Tom Ford.

When I first returned to riding, I showed up in untucked shirts, no belt, my unflattering Kerrits tights and my cordovan half chaps and paddock boots that had to be at least 10 years old (which I loved anyway). It wasn’t embarrassing but it didn’t make me feel proud and especially when I transferred to a nicer barn, it didn’t make people respect me more as a rider. I quickly caught on that this was a barn where you dress for lessons. Shirts tucked in, always with a belt, and hair tucked up regardless of how nice any of your gear was. I’ve always been interested in fashion and took this as my opportunity to build a new capsule wardrobe, while also making sure most items I purchased (besides breeches) could be worn outside of the barn. Below are some items I’ve acquired over time with mindfulness in regards to quality and usefulness along with a color palette I could really enjoy.


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Breeches

Breeches are the one component of a wardrobe I would recommend not cheaping out on. No one wants to be mid jump and have a seam ripping incident, or (much less mortifying and likely) having to constantly replace breeches that show too much wear. So after trying a few different brands, I decided to try to classic Tailored Sportsmans and love them. I’ll be doing a review sometime in the future, but the flattering fit and wide variety of colors is what drew me to the brand. I also have a few pairs of the Mid-Rise SmartPak Piper breeches with silicone grip and love those for low-key schooling days.

 
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Jackets & Vests

I’ll admit it. I have an addiction to vests. They’re cute, they’re warm, they’re flattering. I used to be in the camp of ‘they can’t keep you warm if they’re not covering your arms!’ but somehow, with whatever lightweight down magic they have, they keep me quite toasty on colder days. I have a diverse collection with one from City Girl Equestrian, some Patagonia, and some Uniqlo. Two of my down jackets are also from Uniqlo and the third used specifically for the barn was a Christmas gift from my trainers with their logo which I’m in love with (so happy to be part of a barn fam!).

 
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Belts

Every equestrian needs a good set of belts. A good collection starts with black and brown leather and ends with every color of Hunt Club belts. When I first started back to riding I got some very cute non-functional belts from thrift stores which I also wear with my SmartPak breeches on occasion since they don’t actually need to be held up.

 
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Tops

¼ zips and crewneck sweaters are my go to options for tops in the winter. Equestrian brands are great if you want a cute pattern or mesh sleeve, but Amazon and Target are also great retailers for cheaper basics. Searching for ‘long sleeve sun shirt’ gives a great number of options that are perfect for riding without the Kastel Denmark price tag.

 

Palette

Without getting too involved in color profile analytics, I tend to stick to neutrals because I have an olive based skin tone. Anything too pigmented makes me look sick, so sticking to blues and rose pinks, and any range of greens make me look best. I stay away from bright colors, especially red, orange and yellow. There’s a whole wealth of knowledge out there in the color typing world, though, and I’m not the most educated on the subject. Reddit's /r/femalefashionadvice is a fabulous wealth of knowledge if you're interested in investigating a suitable color palette for yourself. 

Twoh Reviews: Millbrook Leathers and MDC Stirrups

Twoh Reviews: Millbrook Leathers and MDC Stirrups

I chose to purchase a pair of after attempting to save some money and getting a pair of SmartPak lined leathers. They were ridiculously thick and didn't seem like oiling them would do anything. Buy quality and only cry once is pretty much my favorite idiom (my husband always adds that we're still crying). Anyway, I'm not a fan of lined leathers and wanted something of quality that would last a while.

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New Boots, Who Dis?

New Boots, Who Dis?

Technically speaking, these aren’t new boots, just newly fitting! I purchased these beauties back in May (happy birthday to me!) while they were on clearance and in preparation for my return to riding. I knew they would be a bit snug when I purchased them but it feels like it took forever to get my calves in shape. After seeing the pictures from my lesson a while back, it looked like my old boots were too dropped in the ankle. It took me years to get my beloved old Ariats to fully break in and achieve second skin status and now they're TOO BIG. I was half disappointed, half excited. This meant that 1) I was finally getting into proper riding shape and 2) I could try to get my new Ariats on properly. And it worked! They actually zipped up!

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