As my training ramps up and I’m wearing through tights and boots and workout clothes, I thought it was apropos to thank my two amazing sponsors who are ensuring I’m outfitted in some great gear for the Derby.
This isn’t shameless product promotion, as I only approached companies I was already loyal to and believed in. I’d be pretty stupid to accept shoddy, ill-fitting product that fell apart when I’m trying to bomb a thousand kilometers across Mongolia in all kinds of weather. So, here are my two awesome sponsors and reviews of the products that they’ve outfitted me with:
Kerrits – yes, the tights people, makers of cheery coloured, fun patterned apparel. I was sold on their seamless riding tights a few years ago after I got sick of caring for traditional breeches and being gouged and chafed a few too many times by stiff fabrics and knee patches. There are a lot of stuffy riding clothes out there that project a certain image. These clothes might be pretty to look at and flattering on, but do you really want to be wearing it when you’re schooling five horses in 40-degree heat? As a kid going to horse shows, I HATED cramming myself into unpractical, unbreathable breeches, blouses and jackets. And really, we’re a casually-driven culture now. I don’t want dry-clean only fabrics and to have to starch my show clothes. What I like about Kerrits is that they put comfort at the forefront, but don’t sacrifice style. I’ve tried a number of their tights and shirts but if I was stuck out on the Mongolian steppe and only had one item of clothing, it would be their Ice Fil Tech Tights.
These tights fit like a glove – and have pockets too! At the risk of sounding like Ned Flanders, it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all! I rode 200 kilometres through Utah in these babies and even slept in them one night when I passed out from exhaustion and didn’t bother changing. A bonus is that they’re super flattering. To me, Kerrits are the Lululemons of the horse world.
Tipperary – To me, Tipperary is synonymous with crash vests. I had an old Tipperary vest from when I used to do Pony Club rallys, but it was 20 years old and a few mice had decided to use it as a meal ticket. Tipperary kindly sent me a helmet and vest and I’m blown away by how their vests have improved in two decades. They sent me the Eventer Pro 3015 vest in black.
First of all, the aesthetic of these vests have improved exponentially. I always thought my old one looked ‘dorky.’ The padding was thicker and the colours and design were never that great. It seemed to be merely functional, with not much thought given to the look. But now, with this newer model, I get ‘oohs and ahhs’ from fellow riders when I put it on. When I zip this one up to go gallop the race horses, I feel bad ass. I feel like I’m a knight putting on some armor. They’re also incredibly lightweight and comfortable. To get acquainted with riding in the vest, I also brought it to Utah and rode for long distances in it. There was absolutely no chafing, and the pull ties on the sides made the vest easily adjustable.
So now that Tipperary and Kerrits have kindly outfitted me in all-black garb, I look the part of a wild-pony riding Mongolian trekking warrior. I hope I can back up the look with riding skills. ‘Cause there’s nothing worse than having gear that’s better than your actual skills.