Review: Mrs. Tutton’s May show shirt

I’m so excited to finally be able to review this shirt. I got it over a year ago, right after we got home from Coconino, but then Henry got hurt and then show season was over and blah blah blah, so it ended up being forever before I could actually wear it. But now I’ve finally worn it a few times and gotten a decent picture of it in action, so here’s the review… better late than never?

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I hate stock ties. A lot. As far as stock ties go, I love the one I have from Style Stock, but it’s still a stock tie and I still hate a) tying things b) having a big floof under all of my chins. I just can’t get into it. I tried.  I feel like a rooster. When I get to the level at which a stock tie is required, I will wear one. Until then I will #resist.

But I also don’t really like the plain boring all-white look of just a show shirt, nor do I like the weird ruffley shirts that a lot of anti-stock tie DQ’s have adopted. I like show shirts with just a little bit of unique detail to make them different, and the May shirt from Mrs. Tutton’s really hits it out of the park in that department.

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let’s just agree to ignore the THANK GOD WE’RE DONE look on my face, ok?

The May shirt is available in a long sleeve or a short sleeve version. The long sleeve is available in navy or pink, and the short sleeve comes in pink or white. The navy (which is really a very thin navy pinstripe) has navy faux-leather detailing, and the pink and white shirts have brown faux-leather detailing. I got navy of course, because I’m nothing if not dedicated to my color scheme.

I really really LOVE the look of the faux leather around the collar and sleeves. It’s just enough to be interesting without being “in your face”, so I think it looks extremely classy and high end. The fabric itself is a nice Japanese cotton that breathes well but isn’t thin enough to see through. It washes up nicely and doesn’t require any kind of special cleaning, just machine wash.

Mrs. Tutton’s is an Australian-based brand, specializing in the “stable to street” style. Many of their clothes could easily double as work wear, and all of it is made in Australia out of high end fabrics. It’s a brand that was developed by riders, FOR riders, and I think that really shows in the thorough attention to detail, fit, and finish.

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Normally these shirts are a little on the pricey side, around $200AUD, but right now they’re actually on sale for $115AUD, which is only around $90 USD! The available sizes are a bit limited, but if they have yours, it’s definitely a great deal for a high quality shirt like this. As far as fit, I found that the Australian/US sizing charts were accurate in this case – it all seems to run true to size. It’s worthwhile to take a look at all of their other clothing too… it’s all gorgeous and much of it is on sale at the moment.

If you’re looking for something a little different, but still elegant, definitely take a look at Mrs. Tutton’s!

 

Review: It’s a Haggerty’s custom sunshirts

As a Texan, I pretty much live in sunshirts 9-10 months out of the year. They’re an absolute staple down here in the mega-hot-death-ray-sun South, and I own a ridiculous number of them. I’ve tried just about every brand by now, and figured out exactly what I like and don’t like. And since I already have so many, it’s a challenge to find ones that are different and interesting. Enter It’s a Haggerty’s.

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I’d seen this brand on Instagram for quite a while, with all of their fun custom patterns and trims and colors. But I’m picky about sunshirt fabric, so I was hesitant to take the plunge on ordering anything custom for fear that I’d end up hating it. I finally was able to see them in person at Rolex and was pleasantly surprised to find that the fabric, while a bit thicker than my favorite Kastels, was quite nice – almost silky feeling. I nabbed one from the Plaid Horse booth to take home with me to test out.

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I was glad that I was able to see them in person, because the sizing definitely runs a bit small. I normally wear a medium Kastel but needed a large It’s a Haggerty’s. I quite like the sleeve construction – they have some extra length in the arm and a true cuff, for good coverage and a nice slim fit. I’ve found that if there isn’t a true cuff I’ll end up pushing the sleeves up out of annoyance, which kind of defeats the whole point of a sunshirt. As spring turned into summer I found that the shirt performed admirably in the heat. Not quite as “cooling” as the fabric of the Kastel, but certainly better than the Bette & Court, Ariat, and Riding Sport shirts. The fabric has held up well to my abuse, and the construction is solid.

When there were requests for sunshirts with the Presto logo, I went straight to It’s a Haggerty’s. Not only do they have a million customization options, they also offer cheap embroidery. Typically for large orders they do big batches of the same shirt for barns or teams, so I felt kind of guilty when I sent in my cobbled together order of 11 different Presto shirt and embroidery color combinations plus 2 sBs shirts. I’m sure that was a nightmare, but fast forward a couple months and everything arrived looking great.

The shirts are $60-65 depending on solid vs patterned, and embroidery is $15 (although there are discounts for bulk orders). There was no extra set-up or digitization fee for the logos I sent. Overall they’re very competitively priced for the market. There are so many color and pattern options that it almost becomes impossible to choose just one or two combinations. On one hand I wish there was a fun little configurator on the website to make it easier to envision what it’ll look like, but on the other hand I’m glad there isn’t or I’d probably own a dozen of these things by now.

I’m reserving my Presto shirt – navy with yellow plaid cuffs/collar – mostly for cross country at shows, so that Presto gets to “ride along” with us. Yeah, I’m cheesy. I also ordered one with a Willow Tree logo on one side and sBs logo on the other, which gets tons of compliments every time I wear it. If you’re looking for something custom, or some fun patterns and color combinations, I would definitely check out It’s a Haggerty’s. I haven’t been disappointed!

Ego 7 boots: First Impressions 

Ask and ye shall receive! A full review on these will have to wait a little while, but since several of you wanted to know, here are my first impressions.

I specifically wanted new brown boots for schooling, and wanted to stay under $400. Since Karen’s Ariat’s fell apart in a year, and the Mountain Horse don’t come tall enough unless you also have a slim calf, that nixed both of those. I liked my Mondoni’s a lot, but wanted something a little bit higher quality and darker brown this time around. When I saw that Ego 7 was coming out with chocolate brown, they immediately shot to the front of the line. I first saw Ego 7 a few years ago at AETA and quite liked them. Makes sense, since they’re designed by Franco Tucci, and I love my Tucci’s.

The first obvious difference between these and the Tucci’s is of course the price. The Tucci’s are closer to the 1k mark, whereas the Ego 7’s run more like $500 USD. Which, yes, if I had bought them in the US that would have put them out of my budget. But in Europe they run about 299 Euro, which is around $350 USD. Thus why one of my biggest missions for Europe was finding these boots. Granted, you don’t have to actually fly all the way to Europe just to buy them from Europe… there are plenty of online shops that will ship here and you’ll still come out ahead.

For the price I paid, I’m satisfied with the quality. Not blown away, but satisfied. They are not the fine Italian leather of the Tucci’s, but at the price that should be obvious. They still seem well made and I like the materials and design a lot. They have all the design features of the higher end boots: nice tall spanish top, close fit through the ankle, snaps at the top and at the bottom, a padded “tongue” inside the back of the ankle, and little tab at the top snap to thread the zipper pull through so that it doesn’t fall down. It’s not as innovative and awesome as the snap system on the Tucci’s, but it works. I also like the E-Tex material on the calf. It’s pretty grippy, and blends in perfectly to the pretty chocolate brown color of the leather. We’ll see how it wears over time. I do think that a more squared toe would really take them up a few notches in the style and class department.

I like the little spur rest design that these have, with 3 different “levels”. When I first saw that feature I was worried that it might end up kind of acting like a spur, but I think unless you really ride with a seriously clamped heel then that’s not going to happen. The little nubs are pretty small. I do ride with spurs most of the time, so this particular spur rest design definitely helps keep them in place with no sliding around.

Fit wise, I’m glad I was able to try them on first. The foot seems to run a bit big, IMO, and the calf runs SMALL. Like go up a size from whatever the size chart says you would be. Really I could have ended up in a bigger calf size than I did, but I was limited to what the store had with them, so I’ve made this work. It did require some stretching, and they’re still not quite there yet, but we’ve made a lot of progress. If anything, these first couple weeks has definitely been a testament to the hardiness of their zipper.

To me the instep seems to run a smidge high, I have some extra room there. The ankle is very well tapered though, which gives these a nice slimming look. I also was able to get the regular height, and they’ve dropped to be pretty perfect.

Overall I’m happy with them so far. For a schooling boot, or even a low budget show boot, I think they’re a good choice. I definitely like them more at the $350 I paid than the $500+ that I would have paid in the US.

Review: Lund calfskin stirrup leathers 

I was going to wait another week or so to review these until they’re available online, but a) lots of you have been asking about them, and b) I will probably forget for a while because September is nuts for me. So – doing them now, lest anyone be left wondering when they come out.

I really really really needed new leathers when I got these; my last ones had worn literally all the way through to the nylon core. It was janky. Thank you Lund Saddlery for taking pity on me and letting me claim one of the first available pairs. But I’m also really particular about my stirrup leathers, while simultaneously being extremely cheap. And although I would love nothing more than to drop $200 on CWD or Devoucoux leathers without a second thought, it ain’t happening. At the same time though, I have some very specific “must haves” when it comes to leathers:

  • calfskin: this is non-negotiable, I have french calfskin saddles
  • nylon core: I haaaaaate when stirrup leathers get really stretched out and uneven
  • reasonably spaced holes: either half holes or one inch spacing, because I am really weird about very specific adjustments. I need options.
  • color – gotta match the saddle, yo.

I took a leap of faith with the Lund’s, being a new product, but the brand hasn’t led me astray yet AND the leathers ticked all my boxes.

Out of the box they’re quite orange, which is fairly typical of nice calfskin in it’s brand new, pre-oiled state. The question is always whether or not they’ll take oil and darken well. Boy did these pass THAT test! Two coats of oil and they were butter soft and perfectly matched to the Devoucoux.

before and after!

As with all of my other Lund gear, the leathers are really well made and well constructed. There has been no stretch or wear so far in the first couple months of use, and they look just gorgeous. So far, two thumbs up.

The leathers are supposed to be available online hopefully next week (I’m sure if you want them badly enough they could put you on a pre-order list, or make sure you’re following them on fb for new product annoucements!) and retail right around $90USD. Considering I was ready to pay $150 for slightly used CWD leathers, I’m quite happy to have gotten my hands on these instead. They’re every bit as nice, but brand new and for a much more reasonable price.

 

 

Review: Lund Anatomic Girth

I’m actually really excited about this review, because I think this is one of the best products that Lund Saddlery makes. I’m picky about girths (ok maybe Henry is the picky one) and it seems like it’s more and more difficult to find nice ones without spending exorbitant amounts of money. But if you want something budget-friendly that is still beautiful enough for even the fanciest show, these are worth taking a good look at.

Lund has a few different girth styles that will be hitting the market soon: a regular contour girth, an anatomic girth, and a belly guard girth. I chose the anatomic for Henry, because he’s a princess and will definitely let me know if he feels like a girth is restricting his movement in any way.

No one ever believes me when I tell them this, but Henry wears every inch of a 54, and the Lund measured spot on. The sizing is definitely true. Right out of the box the leather looked beautiful, the stitching was perfect, and the padding was nice as soft. I love the attention to detail with the pretty navy elastic on each end, fancy stitching details, dee ring at the center and on each side to clip attachments to, and roller buckles. It ticks all the boxes for the things I want a need a girth to be, and the execution is second to none.

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I’ve been using it since December, and it has held up really beautifully. A quick wipe with a towel and everything looks brand new again. The stitching is still the same bright white that it was to start with, which is kind of a feat in and of itself considering that I don’t exactly baby my tack.

The shape of the anatomic style sits really well on Henry. He seems content in it and I’ve never had any issues with slippage. I like that the shape allows him plenty of room at the elbows, something that he seems pretty sensitive about, and the slightly wider style seems to distribute the pressure over a wider area.

The first run of the girths are COMING SOON to the Lund website, and I think they’ll do really well once they hit the market. As with all of their products that I’ve tried so far, the quality is there and the pricepoint is always more than reasonable. If you’re in the market for a new girth, I would definitely consider adding these to your list!

Now I just need them to come out with a monoflap version. Hint, hint. Wink, wink.

Review: ECP Contoured Correction Saddle Pad

Because there’s no such thing as too many saddle pads, am I right? Especially if they come in a million colors, are XC shape, and have a built-in half pad.

Behold. Also please ignore the fact that my stirrup leathers have literally worn through to their core.

Typically on XC I use my regular jump Ogilvy pad on top of their XC pad, which is more of a euro-cut than a contour. The setup has always worked well for me functionally, but I was interested in the idea of an all-in-one pad, especially in this slightly smaller contoured shape. Because streamlined. JK mostly because lazy and one pad is easier. The Contoured Correction Pad from ECP is very budget friendly and has built in memory foam (Henry’s favorite) shims… I figured it was definitely worth a shot!

The shims to me kind of feel a little bit more like a regular foam than the dense Ogilvy memory foam that I’ve become accustomed to… it’s lighter weight and more open-cell than theirs, but it does have a good “spring back” quality to it like you would expect from memory foam. The pad has four pockets total, one in the front and one in the back on each side, and each pocket contains three shims of varying thickness. That’s 12 total shims to play with.

front shims
rear shims

Since I was using it as an all-in-one pad, and since Henry’s jump saddle is meant to fit with an Ogilvy under it (ie a bit wide), I left two shims in the front and all of them in the back. Together they make something that is about the same thickness as my Ogilvy. I like having them as shims though, it offers a lot of leeway for fit with a horse that might be uneven or is still growing and changing a lot. It takes all of 2 seconds to just unvelcro the pocket and put shims in or take them out. It would also be very easy to use shims of a different material if you wanted (Thinline devotees, I’m looking at you). The pockets offer lots of options.

The shape of the pad fits my saddle (17.5 extra forward CWD) pretty perfectly, and the contoured spine means that it stays up off of his withers. It has a bit of an upward contour in the back too, so it doesn’t sit down on the spine… a problem I had with my PRI contoured pad. Princess Henry has lodged no complaints thus far and has deemed it to be of sufficient padding for his delicate-flower needs. It washes well (take out the shims) and seems to be very well made. The fabric is sturdy, as is the stitching.

It also comes in a metric crapton of colors. Riding Warehouse has all of these:

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not gonna lie, I kinda want the green one too, to go with his green bonnet

Plus I think there are a few more that they could probably order for you if you smiled and asked nicely (burgundy and purple?). The price is super reasonable at $55, and I bet you could find a friend *AHEM* that has a coupon code or two floating around somewhere at any given time. ECP also has a dressage pad and a regular square pad too, if you’re not into the XC contour shape.

Overall I think that if you’re looking for an economical all-in-one pad, or have a need for something shimmable, this is definitely a good option!

Review: Kentucky Bridleworks leather halter

Just like bourbon and thoroughbreds, it’s hard to compete with Kentucky when it comes to leather halters.

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This beautiful creature is from a relatively new company called Kentucky Bridleworks. As the name implies, they are made right here in the USA in Lexington, Kentucky from American steerhide. The construction is very classic, with wide sturdy leather, a rolled throat, double buckle crown, and English chin. What these particular halters have that’s a bit different is a trigger snap at the throat, which you can swivel to face in or out, and it’s probably my favorite feature. It’s much more sturdy, and IMO makes them a bit safer. I always get nervous about regular clips snagging on something.

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Currently Kentucky Bridleworks offers two options: black with chrome hardware or brown with brass hardware, both of which come with an engraved plate. I was really tempted to go with the black and spice things up a bit, but in the end was persuaded that black looks a little too dressagey, and let’s be honest no eventer wants that (just kidding, DQ’s. Kind of.). It arrived quickly, was beautifully packaged (great for gifting!), and pre-oiled, so it was ready to go right out of the box. I opted for the horse size for Henry, since he’s normally between cob and horse. I probably could have gone either way, but since he doesn’t wear a halter in turnout I prefer a looser fit. They seem to run pretty true to size.

A+ for presentation!

The halter is absolutely gorgeous, broke in quickly, and is holding up great. The hardware is solid and the stitching is perfect. Kentucky Bridleworks makes all of their halters by hand, which takes one hour per halter. There’s no machine cranking these out in a matter a minutes… an actual human (in the US, no less) is putting these together piece by piece, which I definitely appreciate.

still a pretty halter, even when it’s on a grumpy face

Kentucky Bridleworks also offers a money-back guarantee for returns within the first 30 days, or free repair of any defects within the first year. Always a good thing to see a company willing to stand behind their product and their work!

At $84.95 including US shipping, I think these halters are a good value. They’re built to last, yet still beautiful enough to look right at home in a show barn. Check them out facebook and Instagram for more pics and videos!

Review: Lund Four Point Collar

I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently to review this, because it’s something that I really didn’t think I wanted, yet it’s become my favorite piece of Lund tack. Why? I’m not totally sure I can explain it… I just really love it. Alas, for the sake of an actual review, I’ll try to explain.

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The leather is the same Sedgwick as all the other Lund stuff. Pretty, with fancy stitching, Italian leather padding, and the little bit of elastic is navy, which is obviously a plus. I think part of what makes me like it so much is the look. It’s essentially a classic polo style breastcollar, just with additional snaps to the saddle dees (or dee savers, which it comes with). When I first got it I thought that while it was reminiscent of the breastplates that literally everyone used to use, I hadn’t seen any exactly like it before. But the more I started looking, the more I noticed how popular this style is, especially amongst eventers. Michael Jung, PDutty, Sinead Halpin… I’ve seen a breastplate like this on at least one of their horses at some point or another. It seems particularly common in Europe (what do they know that we don’t?).

And now that I’ve used it for a while, I get it. At first I was worried that just one simple leather strap across the chest would be restrictive, but because this one a) sits above the point of the shoulder b) has little elastic inserts, I’ve found just the opposite. Henry goes really well in this thing and has tons of shoulder freedom, which makes me think that maybe it’s really the piece that runs between his front legs on a regular breastplate that can feel more restrictive to a horse. Or to him, anyway. Henry seems to really go well in the Lund four point, with a big open stride and plenty of freedom to stretch when he needs to.

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Yet it also does a good job of keeping my saddle in place. It has less straps than the 5 point, so it looks cleaner and is less fussy to put on, but I’ve not had any sliding issues, either side to side or front to back. It’s really just a nice, simple, classic breastplate that does exactly what it’s supposed to do. The only complaint I had was that when I first got it, the leather straps to the girth felt a little thick under my leg. While that feeling did go away as the leather broke in, I believe Lund is going to make a change to have this strap be nylon and therefore less bulky. Generally this style breastplate is more common with eventers in the dressage ring (you see them All The Time in eventing dressage), so I think they’re going to make it available in black at some point, too.

As of right now the Lund four point collar comes in brown and retails for $137 USD, or $185 Canadian. They’re giving one away to one lucky winner this month too! If you’re on the fence about it, I strongly encourage you to try it. Everyone I know that has one loves it, myself and Henry included.

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Trust me, this is his “Love It” face

Review: SleekEZ grooming tool

I usually do a full body clip every year, so it’s been forever since I had a horse that was shedding a winter coat. Like… maybe a decade or more. Practicality-wise I love the Irish clip that I did this year on Henry, but now that we’re into shedding season OMG HAIR. He grows a coat like a wooly mammoth.

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hairy butt

I’ve been currying Henry’s hairy ass for a month now, and it’s seemed like a lot of work for very little reward. I thought surely there was something out there that could get all the hair off more quickly and easily but didn’t cost an arm and a leg? When I saw that Teddy’s Tack Trunk is now carrying SleekEZ, I knew I wanted to try it. Toi only carries stuff that she likes, and she has yet to steer me wrong on a grooming tool.


I had the SleekEZ in my hands a couple days later (because TTT always breaks land speed records when it comes to shipping, I’m pretty sure they’re bribing the US postal service or something) and immediately took it to the barn. Much to my delight, the hair just showered right off with the SleekEZ. I’m a little obsessed with this thing, no lie. I love watching long gross winter hair pile up on the floor. I especially love that I don’t have to stand there and curry forever, stopping every once in a while to clean the hair out of the curry comb. Using the SleekEZ is as simple as using a sweat scraper, and the hair just falls away. Quick and easy (just like Bobby).

LOOK AT IT

Besides just being a really easy, effective way at removing all that shedding hair, the SleekEZ also pulls dander and dirt out of the coat as well. It has a unique blade with tiny, closely spaced teeth that enable it to really get all the way down to the base of the hair. Henry had one particular flaky spot that I’d been picking at for a while, trying to get the scaly stuff off, and the SleekEZ pulled it all right out. It’s really easy to clean, too, just a simple spritz and then wipe down with a towel.

I’ve liked it so much that I’ve let a few other people use it as well, and everyone has been equally impressed. One person had been using a shedding blade and said that the SleekEZ gets way more hair out in way less time. I like the Large size to cover more surface area on the body, although I’ve also been using it (gently) on his legs too with no problem. Henry is a delicate flower with lots of opinions and has yet to complain about the SleekEZ.

At under $20 the SleekEZ is one of the cheaper shedding tools on the market, and IMO totally worth it. It’s made shedding season so much more bearable (and kind of a little fun…)!

Review: Ovation Aqua-X breeches

I have a few items in the queue for review that all have everyone’s favorite thing in common: stuff I didn’t think I’d like that much and actually ended up loving. It’s always fun to be pleasantly surprised.

My quest for great breeches seems to always be ongoing. I have a couple of brands that I really like but you know how it is… everyone always needs more breeches and more breech options. I especially have been on the lookout for something a bit similar to my Aztec Diamond breeches. Those have been my favorite pair for a long time, but they’re now going on 3 years old and I’m not sure how much life they’ve got left in them. Sadly, ADE changed their fit after that season, so I haven’t been able to get any of their other models to fit me as well. But I do love the fabric of those, and the silicone knee grips. They were kind of like my lower budget version of my very beloved 5yo pair of Animos.

Enter the Ovation Aqua X. They have 3 of my most favorite features: 1) fantastic, comfortable, quick-dry tech fabric 2) more of a mid rise 3) silicone knee patches.

I had a pair of Ovation breeches many many years ago, back when they were a mostly cotton blend. They were ok then but I didn’t have them for very long before I sold them, and that was the last time I really even looked at Ovation breeches. I’ve had several other Ovation items that have served me quite well… schooling helmets, bridles, breastplates, a couple saddle pads, etc. For a low budget brand, I’ve had pretty good luck with them over the years. I’m just such a breech snob, I guess it never occurred to me to circle back around and check out some of their newer models.

When I got the Aqua X breeches I was immediately impressed with them. The fit is really excellent on me–I love that the rise isn’t too low (no worries about needing a belt!) and they are SUPER flattering in the saddle. When Trainer first saw them that was one of her first comments: “They’re so flattering!”. Which I think translates to “You look less fat in those pants than you normally do.”. Whatever, I’ll take it. The fabric is nice and light without being too thin, and they dry really fast. I think these will be fantastic in the summer when I start sweating buckets in some very unflattering places.

full seat version

I also find them to be extremely comfortable. They’re nice and stretchy without getting saggy, and have the ever-so-popular euro seat and mesh sock bottom, because velcro is literally the devil. These breeches are marketed as summer breeches, although here in the South they’re quite suitable year-round. They’re made from MIPAN Aqua-X material, a “cool-to-touch” nylon/lycra blend (no cotton to fade or sag!) that also offers UV protection… this same fabric technology is also used for items like cooling sleeves that are so popular with cyclists and golfers.

My only minor complaint about these is that I would like the silicone on the knee patch to come a couple inches further forward toward the knee, just to give them extra grip in the saddle. They aren’t slippery, but they aren’t as grippy as my Animos (which, granted, are like weary sticky spray in pants form). Otherwise I haven’t come across anything else that I don’t like. In fact, I’ve been wearing these things almost non-stop since I got them. I also wish they came in a huge rainbow of colors, but apparently they’re working on that. 😉

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New color, Aegean Blue. These are next on my list!!!

Price wise, the Aqua X are very budget friendly. They come in both knee patch and full seat, and retail for only $116.95 from Riding Warehouse. Currently only beige and gray are in stores, but Aegean Blue and Navy should be arriving by late March (rumor has it that black and hunter green are coming in the fall also). Plus there’s almost always a coupon code floating around for RW (message me if you need one!) and they have free shipping over $50, making these breeches an even better deal.

If you’re looking for a lower budget, comfortable, light weight breech, especially for summer or a warm/humid climate, I definitely recommend giving these a try!