Things I’m Loving In June

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We had an absolute deluge all day on Friday, and as a result, Surefire was canceled! I am so bummed. It was going to be the easiest commute to an event ever, and I was excited to do a course I hadn’t done in awhile.

Of course today was dry and tomorrow should be too, but with the amount of rain we got and all three phases on grass, I guess I’m kind of glad they made the decision for me.

Oh well. On to the next. They’re hosting a schooling day on July 4, so I guess we’ll do that instead.

Continue reading “Things I’m Loving In June”

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Product Review: Smartpak Piper Breech With Silicone Grip Fullseat

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The minute I saw Smartpak’s new Piper Silicone Fullest breeches, I had to have them. I’m a fan of their original Pipers and have several colors. They’ve become my go-to schooling breeches, and I use a dark brown pair for cross-country at events and a black pair for dressage schooling shows.

I was intrigued by the silicone grippers on the new Pipers, and picked the black and white pair to try, but there are so many other fun colors I would love to have.

They’re very similar to the original Pipers in fit (a mid-rise on me that requires a belt to fit the best) and just a little more expensive.

I’ll admit, it was a weird feeling sitting the saddle for the first time in these. I felt like I had a little less give in my seat, and they actually squeaked a little in the leg area as I broke them in during the first few rides. Maybe it was because I tend to grip with my knees a little? I guess that’s a good reason not to!

When I got off, I noticed little squares imprinted on the seat of my saddle, but those went away after a few minutes.

I’ve found my other pairs of Pipers wear out in the crotch through the full seat material very quickly and tend to pill a little, but I wear them ALOT. These don’t have the same material in the full seat so I’ll be curious to see how they hold up.

If you’re worried about them imprinting in very soft leather, these might not be for you, but if you want a fun pop of color at a good price, these are a good buy.

Available at Smartpak.com for $99.95 or a little less with a USEF discount. Smartpak also makes a knee patch version.

Product Review: Smartpak Piper Full Seat Breeches

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After spending some time in Wellington, Fla., this winter at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, I was inspired by some of the cool European style breeches. Red with black full seats? Bright blue? Yes, please!

Of course, I can’t afford the $200-plus price tag that often comes with those breeches, so when I came across the Smartpak Piper Full Seat Breeches, I thought I’d give them a try.

I really don’t like spending more than $150 at the very most for breeches, so the $89 price was a definite plus. I was a little unsure about the Smartpak brand though because I’ve heard horror stories about the fit of their other styles of breeches.

But I picked up my first pair of Piper’s late last year anyway, the charcoal with light grey, and they’ve fast become one of my favorites.

The breeches are described as low-rise, but they fit me more mid-rise and this particular color fit true to size. I’ve heard some people have issues with gaping in the back, and while I’ve never had that issue with other brands, there was some slight gaping with the Pipers. Nothing a decent belt couldn’t fix though!

The 2-inch wide waistband was appreciated as was the mesh lining at the calf, which helps my precisely-fit tall boots go on smoothly. I also really love the contrast stitching, which makes me feel “daring” but not crazy in the color department!

After I purchased my first pair, Smartpak came out with several more colors, so I decided to try another pair. I bought the blue jeans with brown color. When they arrived, they were a brighter blue than the photo, which was fine, but they did NOT fit! I ordered the same size, but the fabric seemed to be less stretchy than the charcoal pair I had.

After sending those back, I exchanged for the black with white piping, which I think looks really sharp. They fit more like the charcoal pair.

There are several more colors I’d like to try, including maybe the tan or the military green, which I think would be appropriate for a recognized event. I’ve worn the charcoal pair twice to schooling shows and I think they look great with a black polo.

I would highly recommend the Pipers, but would caution that the fit might be a bit different on certain colors based on the amount of stretch in the fabric.

Since I had luck with my first pair of Pipers, I also tried the Smartpak Bradley Full Seat Jeans Breeches, and WHOA! I have never had such a baggy triangle in my crotch area as I had with those. They were such a bizarre fit. Ah well, I’ll continue my quest for my first pair of affordable denim breeches.