A Tale of Two Joules

Eight years ago I abandoned my career as a budding College Counselor and dropped out of my Masters Program in Clinical Psychology because I literally had worn myself out both physically and mentally.  After three months of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to take a drive to the Los AngelesEquestrian Center, my home away from home growing up. That day changed my life, as I traded in my potential PhD for a job as an Equestrian retail associate. Needless to say my mother probably wasn’t too thrilled! But I knew I had to be around the one thing that always brought me sanity…horses. My first day on the job was during the Memorial Day Classic, and I managed to bring home a Golden Retriever puppy, who we call Betty…the second thing that makes me sane!

 

Luckily for my mom’s sake, I was much better at selling riding apparel then I would have been at treating patients, and within 5 years I became the owner of that same store with my best friend. And during one of the next Memorial Day Classic Weekends, I of course fell in love with puppy numero dos…a scrappy black lab who sneakily managed to weasel her way into mine and eventually Betty’s heart.

 

When it came to naming this one I wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite riding apparel companies.  One that I felt embodied my style, my personality, and my love of living an Equestrian Lifestyle.

And just like my exceptionally beautiful and regal little  puppy, this UK clothing line embraces youthful femininity and playfulness.  So after much deliberation we named the new addition to our family Joules.  

 

Joules the dog….  

seems to have many things in common with Joules the clothing line….

 

First, they are both continually surprising me with what they can do… 

Second, they love to play with all things colorful.

 

They also both make great pillows.

 

And finally and probably most importantly they are both particularly fond of flowers and other animals.

Plus Joules has extrenely great taste…both of them that is!  Here is Joules modeling her pink pok-a-dot Joules raincoat!

It’s so comfy she even sleeps in it!

So in my humble and totally unbiased opinion…I believe that Joules makes the best polo on the market…

And Joules is the best black lab in the world!

For great deals on Joules, come by LA Saddlery during our Big Annual Memorial Day Classics Sale! We have racks of Fall Joules Samples on sale for 30% Off! All of our Spring Joules will be 20% off…and who knows maybe you will find a Betty or a Joules to bring home with you!

Gotta Have A Sparkly!

One of the first movies my husband and I bonded over was the “Secret of Nimh.” If you have ever seen it, then you will no doubt remember Dom Deluise as the voice of the loveable and nutty crow Jeremy who gets stars in his eyes every time he see something sparkly.  Most women can relate to Jeremy’s condition, as many of us have wandered into Tiffany’s and swooned over the cases full of sparkly’s! I am not usually one for too much bling in my wardrobe, but I have always loved dressing up my friends, my Barbies, and yes even my horses.  

I figured it wasn’t fair to just blog about the rider’s wardrobe since the horse really does half the work, so for this piece I wanted to showcase a fantastic line of bling browbands by Nikki Reynolds.  Nikki is from Australia, and she explained to me that unlike here in the States where we are conservatively stuffy with our navy and tan palette, the riders down under sport vibrant colors from their hunt coats to their bridles.  It is, after all a “show”, and all good shows need a few jazz hands!

 

Like many of us eqgirls, Nikki started her riding career at a young age and competed in English disciplines across the board. She was never short on good ponies and her parents provided her with all of the necessary equipment.  Nikki, however, also wanted the fancy browbands that had become the hottest fad at the horse shows.  Luckily for us, her parents felt that if Nikki wanted to bling out her horse she was going to need to be resourceful and do it on her own. Determined to sparkle at her next show, Nikki stepped up to the challenge, got herself a job, and bought the materials to make her first sparkly browband!

 

Today she calls her growing business “a labor of love” and says “there is nothing better than seeing the delighted face of a client when they see their browband for the first time. I love receiving photos from my clients of their favorite friend wearing their new bling.”

 

She has also expanded her bling line to include dog collars, halters, hair bows, lapel and stock pins, crops/whips/canes & dressage whips, western earpieces and parade bridles/reins and does many custom orders as well.

The handsome Friesian pictured here is “Noah.” He is graciously modeling his custom browband that he wears when he attends parades and exhibitions with his human.

 

LA Saddlery has been lucky enough to have some of Nikki’s pieces in our store. They are literally the most picked up, touched, and talked about items we have on display.  Women are just naturally drawn to their sparkle,  as we are magically brought back to our childhood dreams of becoming a princess and crowned with beautiful jewels. What…just me?

While we may not all be princesses many of us can still pretend by dressing up our mighty steeds for our next horse show or perhaps just a leisurely jaunt along the trails!    

We have invited Nikki to LA Saddlery’s  Annual Memorial Day Weekend Sale where she will be showcasing some of her fabulous desgins…so make sure you come by and check out all of the sparkly’s!

The Price of Fashion

If you thought that horseback riding was an economically friendly sport, then I am here to assure you that you were in a deep state of denial when you came to that conclusion! Sort of on the same lines as the woman who sued Nutella because she thought that delicious chocolate hazelnut spread on white bread was a healthy snack for her children. If only!

The problem is that usually when we try to save money on our riding apparel we end up looking saggy, baggy, and boxy. The fabrics don’t hold up all that well, the boots are big in all the wrong places, and the helmets look and feel like big plastic mushrooms on our noggins! And while we love Animo show coats, Pikeur breeches, Tucci boots, GPA Helmets and Ralph Lauren Polo’s, many of us are still on a budget. The good news however is there are a lot of options in Equestrian apparel that are more affordable and still extremely fashion friendly.

Now when it comes to shopping I am the person who goes to a big sale and then only buys clothes from the one small section in the front of the store that of course are all at full price! I am not a bargain shopper, I do not think I am getting a deal because something is in a bin, I hate shopping at big outlet stores, and I never shop online because I need to touch and feel everything before I buy it. This is why I almost exclusively shop at small boutique stores, where the clothes are unique and the sales girls can simply look at my body and know exactly what will compliment it. I am also an avid supporter of small businesses and am always saddened when my favorite shops go out of business. It’s an epidemic in this country, and I fear that one day big superstores and online warehouse sites will be our only shopping option!

However, as the owner of an Equestrian Apparel and Tack store I know that not everyone shops like I do, and it is extremely important to carry a wide range of options for the riders who both want to save and to splurge. I also know how imperative it is to make each customer, no matter how big or small their budget, feel like they are being catered to and properly outfitted for every occasion. So I wanted to put together some more affordable options for all of my fellow equestrian fashion enthusiasts who want to look fabulous without breaking the bank!

Best Save on Breeches: Equine Couture. They are cut well with a good quality cotton micro blend fabric, and have fantastic detailing, making them fun and affordable. They come in a variety of colors, including hunter tan and jumper white, and are a great choice if you want a schooling breech with a little flair.

Best Save on Modern Wrap Show Shirt: Romfh Ratcatcher. This entire line is pretty fabulous for the price point. I love this show shirt because it has the great wrap snap collar, and the Drilex stretchy side panels which gives you a nice contoured shape and keeps you cool.

Best Save on Techie looking show helmet: Tipperary T2. This is a perfect alternative to the GPA SpeedAir if you like that sporty look and ventilation but you can’t justify spending over $500 on a helmet. Now I am definitely not one to skimp on money when it comes to protecting your head, but I own a Tipperary helmet myself. It meets all of the same safety requirements as the high end helmets, and also has the “unique drop back shell which cradles the skull, increasing protection area and supporting helmet retention and stability”. We had a customer a few years ago that bought a Tipperary for her first lesson, and unfortunately had a bad fall. The doctor told her the helmet saved her life! Just make sure when buying any helmet you go to a tack store that is well versed in how to properly fit your head.

Best Deal on Soft Shell Hunt Coat: Gersemi Idun. Ok so this coat is not exactly inexpensive at $450…but when compared to the Animo Coats which are double the price, they are a great deal! Plus they fit much better than some of the lower end soft shell stretchy coats and are significantly more chic.

Best tech Jump Polo: Horze Competition Shirt. This shirt has been a best seller since we picked up the line over a year ago. It is only $39.95 and looks just as good on as a Kingsland shirt which will run you well over $100.

Best Polo Shirts: Goode Rider. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this line. They make great, well, everything! Their price points are extremely reasonable for the high quality fabrics, fashion forward design details, and flattering cut of all of their riding apparel. The owners are women of course, and cater to what every equestrian girl wants to look like in and out of the saddle!

Find more great deals on Equestrian Fashion at www.lasaddlery.com

Why Not White!

I had a brilliant idea yesterday for an Equestrian Apparel Challenge…white breeches!

I have had a love affair with white breeches every since I was a little girl and fantasized about competing in my first dressage show.  White breeches were not something you purchased if you were not showing, so when my mom bought me my first pair of Pikeur full seat breeches for my Dressage debut at the Malibu Tennis and Riding Club, it was literally a dream come true. That was when full seat breeches were still made with real leather and you had to actually pull on your Frankenstein boots! 

Just like little boys who want to wear their Batman costumes to bed, to the park, to school, I wanted to wear my white breeches all the time. However, white pants on a child at the barn…not exactly an ideal combo.

To this day I still find myself wanting to buy every pair of white breeches we see at the trade show.  I love the way they look with a crisp white shirt, or sharp polo.  They are simply and subtly sexy but in a very classic Jackie O’ kind of way.  They look great with polo boots, cowboy boots, field boots, even cute wellies look chic when paired with the right pair of white breeches. 

 

Fortunately I remembered last night that I still had my white GPA breeches that I had worn as part of a Halloween costume last year. At approximately 10pm I started playing equestrian stylist with my wide collection of fashion boots, various tops, jackets, etc.  I found that my comfy white breeches looked good with everything from a simple striped Splendid shirt, to a bohemian Lucky blouse, and were particularly fantastic with an oversized belted cashmere sweater.

Unfortunately it was getting late, and my extremely weary eyed husband could not stay up any longer to take pictures of me in my best white breech outfit!  So sadly I don’t have any personal examples just yet, but I did compile a few pictures that I hope will inspire you to either style your own pair of white breeches, or give yourself a reason to finally buy some!

 

If you did want to purchase a great pair of white breeches to style, my personal suggestions would be Goode Rider (featured  in this blog with the black and white stripe tank and wellies), Pikeur Ciara, B//Vertigo Kimberly (featured in my first blog), or a new breech company Lo-Ride Equestrian which is shown below, that we now carry at LA Saddlery!

 

When researching white breeches I also came across some fabulous white equestrian boots and even…yes…a white Dressage saddle by Tekna!

 

As always don’t forget to check out www.lasaddlery.com for great deals on Equestrian Clothing! 

What Women Want…

WordPress has a great feature that enables you to see how many people view your blog per day, what they are looking at most, who’s following you, and most importantly how they found your blog.  Today I discovered that by Googling: “riding breeches ass” somebody clicked on eqgirl…I can only hope this was a woman looking to find riding apparel that would make her look awesome from behind, and not something else!  But it got me to thinking about women and why so many of us are drawn to horses and what we really want out of this sport.  Of course it’s different for everyone, but I definitely believe that because horses are such sensitive creatures, women naturally feel more connected to them. We are also more adept at communicating with horses and as a result mutually understand each other, which can be extremely difficult for us in our human relationships, especially those with men!

Because we want to spend so much time at the barn, with and on our horse, we of course want to wear quality riding apparel that allows us the freedom to move, to breathe, and to obviously feel and look great at the same time!  It is no wonder then that there are so many Equestrian lines of clothing that have been developed, designed, and manufactured by female riders. As a woman in business, I think it’s extremely important to support other women in my field, so that we can have a stronger influence on the development and evolution of our favorite pastime.   As the main consumers in this sport it is our responsibility to use our experience and creativity to design clothing that will make us better horsewomen.

Many years ago when I was working at my first Equestrian retail job, a new riding apparel line had just been launched, and the owner attended a big sale at our store. She asked me if I would wear her breeches all day to showcase them to our customers.   Having worn Pikeur full seat breeches since I was a little girl, I was a bit skeptical of the unusual design and extremely tight fabric.  My first actual thought was that they looked like Star Trek pants and I feared they would show every flaw on my lower half!  However to my surprise they were not only comfortable to wear all day, they actually covered up my flaws, and even gave me a more flattering shape.  The only downside was that all day people kept coming over to check out my ass…thankfully the breeches made it look quite nice!

When the sale was over she let me take the Captain Kirk tights with me so that I could test them out in the saddle.  It was then that I truly fell in love with the F.I.T.S breeches.  Not only did I feel glued to the saddle, the crazy Star Trek looking design of the seat gave me so much more freedom of movement!  This was the first time that I began to see the need for innovation in riding breeches, and was excited about the possibility that the right clothing could actually make me ride better. Only a woman could have designed a breech with so many details, each having its own purpose…a multitasking breech if you will! 

I didn’t want to get it wrong, so here is all the ways this magic breech will make you feel like Wonder Woman in the saddle! (Taken directly from the company)

Our patented design incorporates an athletic gusseted crotch that is leather-free and has no center seam thereby eliminating the tendency for the breeches to pull down at the crotch or feel in any way binding.

Our patented Powernet 4 way stretch “ab” panel wraps from your left hip around your abdomen to your right hip. This gives you subtle but effective body core support and smooth, flattering lines to your tummy and hip areas. Powernet at your inner calf helps alleviate bulk and heat build up inside your boots and also affords you the closest possible contact between your leg and your horse.

Body Sculpt fabrics and garment engineering make our breeches fit you like a second skin. The front of our waistband is slightly dipped for your comfort while the back is raised for increased coverage and support. At two inches wide, our waistband flatters shapes and supports you as do our slimming design lines and flat seam construction. FITS All Season Microfibre fabric is double sided. It features a smooth and very durable surface that imparts a rich luster to the breech color. The inside of the fabric is a looped twill construction that camouflages cellulite, and comfortably supports and shapes your legs and body.

Check out my blog as I will showcasing other Equestrian Clothing lines founded by women!

And of course check out www.lasaddlery.com for great deals on riding apparel!

Today is brought to you by the color BROWN!

In a previous blog I mentioned my current obsession with all things brown…well it’s not exactly a current obsession, most of my closet emanates a brownish glow! Some of the most wonderful things in the world come in various shades of brown…coffee, chocolate, cinnamon, a great suntan, Labrador retrievers…well you get the idea.

So to tell you the truth, after almost a decade of working in the Equestrian retail world, sometimes just the sight of a plain Jane navy coat gets my fur up.  And not only that, I can’t count how many times I have heard people look at a navy coat and say “it’s just not navy enough!”  WHAT! Some of you hunter girls must be inhaling too much hoof polish!

 Most of you however have gotten a little more adventuresome and will at least consider the possibility of a little piping detail, or decided black was a nice change of pace. But just like the lighter colors and assorted tones of grey, brown coats still tend to be overlooked on the racks. Probably because most of you fear that a brown coat will catch the eye of an overly critical judge who has decided that despite the fact you are riding beautifully, that particular shade of chocolate rubs him the wrong way…Sounds a bit ridiculous right?  If you agree with me then I hope you will be open to trading in your navy tinted glasses and start to see things through my beautiful brown ones!

 

I was so thrilled last year when the dressage rules loosened up regarding show coats, and we were able to branch out to fun colors like burgundy, chocolate brown, charcoal grey, and even a brighter blue.  We even sold a dark lavender shadbelly to one of our top dressage trainers after a customer was nice enough to showcase it for us during her Musical Freestyle. 

 

But ladies, I am not even just talking about brown hunt coats. I am also seeing the need for more and more brown boots, brown collars and piping, brown helmets, and yes, even shades of brown show shirts!  Here are just a few ideas to get you started!

 

Samshield and Charles Owen both have beautiful options for brown helmets.

 

Tucci, Tucci, Tucci…their brown leather is truly sumptuous!

 

Sergio Grasso’s new Carthago Paddock boot and Calypso half chap are made from this amazing waterproof nubuck leather. They are modern and a little on the edgy side! I love them!

 

This stunning brown Le Fash shirt looks amazing with any brown coat.

 

And you can’ t go wrong with Animo of course, who makes awesome stretchy and fabulous coats in brown!

 

For a great deal on brown breeches check out www.lasaddlery.com where you can buy these!

Bedazzled Boots

Whenever a customer comes in and makes a beeline for the tall riding boots, 9 times out of 10 it’s someone who does not ride and is strictly looking for an authentic field boot to wear for fashion.  We have even sold a pair of boots to a Ralph Lauren employee who will sometimes send people to us to get her look! Luckily for them field boots today all come standard with zippers and softer leather, almost completely eliminating the “break in” period.  Even better, there are so many ways to customize your boots, making them one of kind to fit your personality and style.  Again the right boots can serve you well at the barn as well as with your skinny jeans.  Just like riding clothes, boots can be cleaned and made presentable for everyday wear, and I guarantee people will stop you on the street to ask you where you got them!


One of my favorite boot companies is Sergio Grasso. They are of course Italian…you will notice I am a bit biased in my love of Italian goods, being full blooded myself!  But it’s hard to argue with their artistry, attention to detail, and ridiculously beautiful leather, not to mention the passion and innovation that lives behind every design.  I had the pleasure of meeting Monica, the daughter to the Grasso empire, and she is just as lovely as the boots her family produces.  I was excited to see all the ways someone can customize their boots..

Choices in color leather:

Options for piping:

Crystals, patent and punch designs: 

And even some exotic details too!

If you are feeling patriotic you can even have a bedazzled flag on the top of your boot!

I am not a super flashy girl myself, but it doesn’t mean I can’t shine…so I prefer just enough sparkle to distinguish myself from everyone else. I also have a growing passion for all things brown, and I truly believe you will see more and more brown boots in both the jumping and dressage arena. 

This particular style top is my favorite, and I am already dreaming about ordering a pair to add to my growing collection of boots! 

If you are in the market for a new pair of boots, I highly suggest you do some research before ordering custom ones. There are a lot of companies to choose from and you want to make sure they are being made in their country of origin, that the person measuring you is well trained, and the quality of the leather is top notch.  Custom boots do not come cheap, and don’t be fooled by a “deal.” A quality custom boot will start at $1100, will take at least 8-10 weeks to produce, and will allow you the freedom to design it from top to bottom.  As my business partner has said in the past, “a cow sacrificed his life for that boot!” So in honor of all the cows who have given us the leather products which enable us to ride…if you do decide to go custom, then I suggest going all out. Even if all out for you is a simple piped or patent trim, some punch details, or a color other than black, that cow deserves to go out in style! 

And as always don’t forget to check out www.lasaddlery.com for some great clothes to go with your new custom boots! 

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