I must confess that I've discovered the most wonderful pair of breeches... probably in the world. Yes, they're that amazing.
This is sort of a childish analogy, but has anyone ever heard of that book/movie "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"? It's about a group of teenage girlfriends (of all shapes and sizes) who discover they all fit perfectly into a certain pair of pants. The Pants look great on the token plump girl, they look great on the string bean teen, and the athletic girl, and everyone in between. Somehow, The Pants invoke heart-felt feelings in these girls and their families, deepening their relationships, opening new doors in their lives, etc., etc. (trust me, it makes sense when you read it or see the movie...yes, it's a little teenybopper-ish, but humor me for a minute). The point is - The Pants change you...give
you confidence and let you express yourself to your maximum abilities. (Notice the caption on the ad at the left: "Laugh. Cry. Share the pants." Love it!! I, however, will NOT share my newfound, coveted pants...get your own!)
This, my friends, is how I feel about FITS breeches. They're simply life-changing. Am I being a bit overly dramatic? No... let me explain.
Okay, so where do I start? Well, first off, who doesn't enjoy a really nice pair of full-seat breeches? I certainly do. They give that extra bit of "grippage" without you having to slather your saddle in Sadl-Tite (yes, I use Sadl-Tite religiously...even in dressage...don't judge me, it works!). And we all know how much we love that extra bit of stickability that full-seat breeches give us while jumping. Granted, it won't save us when our horse leaves out a stride at that huge oxer, but you know what, it may give us just enough extra "cling time" to be able to scramble back into the saddle and continue on our merry way.
(Above left: Sadl-Tite -- a marvelously sticky concoction. Where would I be without you, Sadl-Tite? Probably on the ground somewhere...with The Pony cackling gleefully all the way back to the barn.... Right: Wheee.... loved the grippage during my test run last week! Josh Walker photo.)
So now we've come to the conclusion that we all love full-seat breeches, yes? But, here's the big question... what would you change about them if you could? There's always something. I believe FITS has hit the nail right on the head... it's the DESIGN of the "grippy parts" that's an issue. And, well, the actual grippy part in itself can be a problem as well.
Let's start with the design element first: full-seat breeches make you look like you have a large heiney. There's no getting around it. It's the "accented" part of the pant - the part that people notice. How can we make it more flattering? FITS breeches are designed specifically to be figure-friendly, comfy, and efficient. (And I quote from their website)"Rather than one single piece of leather as in traditional breeches, FITS full seats feature segmented leather panels to allow for maximum range of motion without restriction. This enables you to spread your seat bones for a deeper, more secure position in the saddle." Genius! We have two cheeks... therefore two cheek panels! Why didn't someone think of this sooner?
(Below Left: Of course we had to do a photo shoot during the test run...what you can't see is the utter delight on my face...Josh Walker photo.)
With this in mind, here's one of the main selling points for me... the FITS breeches are full seat pants, but they don't feel like them. You know what I'm talking about... ever been walking around the show grounds in your leather-butted full seat breeches after a long, hot day of riding? You get that..."soggy diaper" feeling. And your fanny feels HUGE... I mean, it is completely padded with leather. Not fun. Not comfortable. Not practical! The cool thing about FITS is that they feel like normal breeches, but with all the added sticky-bottom features of the classic full-seat. FITS says, "Our patent pending 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." Not to be crude, but I'm loving that gusseted crotch feature...
Okay, and here's the other neat part about FITS that I love: "Soft, supple deerskin with tiny perforations creates more surface resistance against the saddle, giving much better grip than flat or imitation leather or suede. The holes also increase stretch capacity and freedom of motion, and allow for significantly better leather breathability than any breech on the market today." I'm all about the soft & supple...and definitely breathability plays a major role in my book. You're thinking "yes, but I don't want my breech sticky-butt part to be TOO soft...suppose my pony decides to take a chomp out of my bottom when I'm tightening his girth... they need to be durable, too!" Fear not. Long-lasting and strong, they are...and stretchy (you know how suede absolutely refuses to stretch...especially after Thanksgiving/Christmas/bad break-ups?). Up close, the leather parts sort of resemble those non-slip rubbery pads that you put in your kitchen cabinets (or under your saddle pad)...but way cooler. These pants work with you in a gentle, but firm way...they're your friend.
So, what's one of the main things we look for when trying out new breeches? The fabric, right? If it's summer,they have to be lightweight and breathable; if it's winter, they should be warm & snuggly and able to withstand wind, rain, snow, dog hair, manure stains, the wrath of God, etc... If at all possible they should be extremely form-flattering (we have more pictures of us in riding clothes at horse shows than anything else, am I right?).... not give us what Jim Wofford has dubbed "muffin tops," nor should the breeches embrace our thighs as if they're trying to squeeze the last bit of gel from a toothpaste tube.
"The all-season fabric (I like the sound of that... it makes me think I don't need to spend a ton of money buying breeches for every season) offers both wicking and warming properties to keep you comfortable all year long. Twill weave microfiber polyester next to your skin wicks moisture in warm weather and traps an insulating layer of air close to your body in cooler temperatures. Strong, abrasion resistant microfibre nylon on the face of the fabric provides long lasting good looks and durability (long lasting good looks & durability...like George Clooney or Harrison Ford!)A high lycra content gives our breeches ultra stretch and recovery while providing you with a comfortable, muscle supporting fit that camouflages cellulite and helps keep major muscle groups from tiring." I know you're reading this and you see the words "camouflages cellulite" and you're already reaching for your checkbook. Smart move!
(Left: I give these bad boys a thumbs-up! And seriously, they're not lying when they say "all-season" fabric...I wore them last week in 40-degree weather and today in 70-degree weather... completely comfy both days. Amazing. Josh Walker photo...although I don't know that he'd like to claim that one...)
Oh, one last thing - they're not too high-waisted (like some dressage breeches tend to be) so that they nestle up under your armpits, nor are they too low, which I find not very flattering at all...especially when my shirt tail wiggles out and starts flapping around during dressage. They're like the "Baby Bear Porridge" of the Breech World... juuuust right!
I kid you not...these pants are magical. But don't take my word for it... listen to Corinne Ashton (who won Pine Top Advanced H.T. last weekend with a 27.3 --wow-- and also won the Advanced division of the AEC's last year): "I work in the industry and consider myself an expert on the comfort, style, durability and usability (all day in the saddle and in the barn) of breeches and I have probably tried 90% of all the breeches made and that is quite an impressive array of breeches! I have been enthusiastically recommending FITS to all my friends and fellow competitors. There are few breeches that are this comfortable to wear yet tacky enough in the saddle, I am seriously impressed. They do not ride up or down, they have a comfortable close fit, and most importantly a breathable and movable full seat, no longer do we have to sacrifice security for comfort or vice versa! And they are quite flattering!" 'Nuff said...
It appears that other FITS lovers include Tara Ziegler, Sara Mittleider, other famous riders and lots of non-famous riders... like me!
The USEA is proud to have FITS as an AEC silver level sponsor... so I encourage you to support them and start your year off with a nice, comfy, suitable pair of breeches. "FITS" stands for "Fun in the Saddle" and trust me, with these bad boys on my behind, I'll be having lots of fun in my saddle.Very soon you and your eventing buddies will form your own "Clan of the FITS Fanatics" or something along those lines...they're just that good!
World-class equestrian competition is back with full spectator attendance and opportunities for giving back
After a one-year hiatus for spectators due to Covid-19, The Event at Rebecca Farm will be running at full strength for competitors and spectators, July 21-25. The Event draws more than 600 riders and 8,000 spectators each year to the picturesque Flathead Valley in northwest Montana.
Max Corcoran, President of the USEA & 5* event groom, joins host Nicole Brown. Talking all things from preparations & time management tips to specific top-level grooming insights. Max shares her wealth of experience with us, highlighting that knowing your horse is the most important factor when considering all elements of equine management.
“My whole journey has been a series of interconnected circles,” says Gina Miles.
The central compass point of those circles has been the Olympics. The Games are what set the Californian on her path, and where she reached her pinnacle - the individual silver medal in Hong Kong in 2008.
Gina, now 47, was 10 when the Olympics came to Los Angeles in 1984.
Plenty of event riders have chosen to cross oceans and base themselves thousands of miles away from “home” in pursuit of their career dreams - look at the likes of New Zealanders Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson, and now Tim and Jonelle Price, while Andrew Hoy, Clayton Fredericks and of course Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton have set sail from Australian shores. Not many American riders do it, though, probably because the sport is big enough and competitive enough in the U.S. not to make it necessary.