Compression shorts, waterproof socks, good buff and fisherman’s waistcoat are some of the new items that have woven their way into my gear list (yes, horse backriding gear list).

The most recent advisory from the Mongol Derby Adventurists, in particular, a Derbyist guru, who goes by the name of Maggie, detailed her first training tip “Dressing for the Derby.” She described the normal items you think of when riding a horse such as a good lightweight helmet, strong but comfortable sports bra, breeches, riding gloves and appropriate footwear. However, I was surprised to hear that there is such a thing as waterproof socks, boots maybe, pants and jackets, but not socks. My local tack store was astonished as well and gave me the look – you know the one – maybe it is time to go back to dreamland.

Maggie spent quite a bit of time discussing underwear, finding the right fit, seamless, quick drying, breathable, easy to wash, padded, etc. and taking the time to ensure you have thoroughly tested it out. This was the sort of email that you wanted to read alone and only discuss with other Derbyists. I really don’t think my hunter/jumper friend who swears that “thongs really are comfortable” will be much help in this search.

I keep going back and forth about whether the next rule is a good thing or not. The weight limit for riders in the Derby is 85kg (187lbs) dressed to ride plus 5kg (11lbs) of luggage. Before the holidays, I completely agreed with the limit, however, post pumpkin pie, turkey and gravy Christmas and the difficult time I am having in ceasing my sugar addiction, not to mention my exercise hiatus, has caused some doubt.

I took JV Jamison out for a ride on Sunday and even he kept stopping to look back at my rounded belly and matching leg muffin tops spilling over my boots. He usually has some spring to his step, but on that cold grey Sunday he plodded far behind my fellow equestrians. Brittany and Crystal kept remarking how good he was, so quiet and well-behaved. After the ride, I promised Jamison that next time I won’t be packing as much luggage. To seal that promise, he tested my fat content with a well placed nip.

In fact, I scheduled two weeks of intense training in Humble, Texas with previous Derbyist, Devon Horn and her endurance trainer, Darolyn Butler. Darolyn has a herd of 70 horses and 40 of them are endurance competitors that need a few miles put on. Look forward to my next blog – straight outta Humble.