Monday, June 27, 2016

Tack review: Revisiting the past

Time to update on a couple of previous purchases!

First up:  Frank Baines Evolution jumping saddle

This saddle is now a well loved, well used one year old saddle.  I've done jumping clinics, hunter paces, beach rides, and many jumping lessons up to 3' in this saddle.  It's been seen by the saddle fitter twice and used by a couple of other riders with Theo and with the Bambino. 

Everyone agrees, it's butt candy.  It's just insanely comfortable.  It's darkened up to a nice mahogany red.  The leather is all intact and looks good.  That calfskin covering makes a big difference when Theo does things like decide to squeeze a stride in.  It's flat as a pancake and will do nothing to keep you on through bucking, but the knee rolls are perfect and have been a great emergency seat belt.  Theo still goes better in this saddle than anything we've tried, including his custom fit dressage saddle.  It's still a calfskin covered saddle and I have to care for it like it's made of glass.  While my dressage saddle with buffalo can handle a nuclear blast, this thing lives with a cover on it.  It's worked, the saddle looks great and has improved with age.  Great investment and I don't regret buying it one bit.

Second:  PS of Sweden Flying Change Revolution bridle

I've had this bridle for about a year now.  It's used for all of my dressage rides and some trail rides when I'm too lazy to bust out the jumping tack.  It's gone to several shows this season, sometimes sporting the big bling and sometimes going plain.

You know your bridle is pretty when multiple stewards mention it while doing your tack check.  The leather is wearing well and the slipping browband problem seems to be limited to just the one browband.  It's not butter soft leather but it's wearing like iron and has a lovely shine when I clean it.  Our new bling stays put, no problem.  Theo finds this bridle comfortable and it fits better around his rather substantial ears than the other bridles I've tried on him.  The quick change browbands are fantastic when you want to change the look at a show. I decided to break out the big bling for my last day at GMHA and it took about a minute to put it on.  No bridle disassembly needed!  I like this bridle so much that I'm planning on buying a High Jump for him to replace his current jumping bridle (an HDR monocrown that just isn't the right fit and isn't wearing well).  Still a highly recommended bridle due to generous padding and an attractive look that will get you comments from those that handle your bridle.

Finally:  RJ Classics Soft Shell Hunt Coat

This poor thing has been through a war.  I got it last year in August I believe.  Since then it's been through rain, heat, dust, and thrown in the back of the trailer.  Then the back of my car.  I'm not good at taking care of my coats and this has been my only coat for about a year. 

If you need a basic coat that can take abuse, buy one of these.  Water beads and runs off rather than soaking you and making you hate your life in warm up.  It's stretchy enough that it doesn't gap over my rather substantial chest while still fitting my shoulders.  It's not a summer weight jacket, but it's a lot lighter than a traditional coat.  Three buttons, two vents, and functional pockets to finish it off.  It's not fancy, it's really pretty non-descript, but after a show I can throw it in my wash machine on cold, hang it to dry, and it's ready to go again.  I've washed it something like five times before that picture.  Solid purchase and will remain a feature in my show wardrobe even when I add fancier coats.  It's perfect for damp, rainy, muddy days and comfortable to wear.