Riding Habit Revised a column where the best and worst of equestrian fashion and decor is reviewed with a modern edge.
With the holidays upon us, equestrians everywhere are making their wish list for Santa. Naturally, it will be overflowing with horse products of every shape, size and color. But before you let that list exceed the page count of a Tolstoy novel, let me suggest five items that should be immediately crossed off the list.
1. Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power
Winter weather can sometimes mean missed lessons, but please do not resort to wishing for this “Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power” contraption from South Korea to keep in shape when you can’t ride the real thing. According to the product description on YouTube, Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power is “for those who like to ride horses in front of the TV and in the comfort of their own home space.” I’m not convinced such a person exists, particularly if you add the fact that you will look hilariously ridiculous while doing it!
Just about the only thing going for this device is that it’s manufacturers acknowledges that horseback riding requires good hip mobility and strength endurance. But really the whole thing is just silly. My advice – leave the TV, put on your long underwear or rain jacket, and brave the outdoors with your horse for some real exercise!
2. ISES Taper Gauge Two Finger Measure
I take no quarrel with the origins of this little invention. The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is concerned that riders are over tightening nosebands to the pain and discomfort of their mount. Nobody wants that! So they came up with a rule of thumb, well really two fingers, on the matter. A noseband should be adjusted to allow two fingers to be inserted at the horse’s nasal midline. Simple enough!
Or so it seems. Apparently your two fingers just won’t do. You need this tiny piece of green plastic that establishes the exact size of two average adult fingers to the tune of AU$49.99 (or about $45.00 US). You heard me right – $45.00 for a piece of plastic the size of your two fingers. Doesn’t that sound just a little bit crazy? I say, unless you have a gig as a ring steward at a show, use your own two fingers and save the money for the stuff that really matters – like horsey treats!
3. Personal Style Clipper Lids
It’s easy to understand where the idea for these beauties comes from. From smart phones and tablets, to music players, we are all a buzz with giving our electronic devices a bit of personal flair. But we use those devices everyday, often multiple times a day with friends in public spaces. Who is using their clippers that much? Even better question – who is showing their clippers to other people so much that they care what they say about their personal style? I dare say no one.
Don’t get sucked in by this bling. Wahl makes a fine pair of clippers. Buy them in a nice ordinary color and save your attempts to define a personal style for where it belongs – you know, on your horse where you can really show it off!
4. Metallic Hoof Polish
Sure, when at a horse competition a nice clear or black polish on your horse’s hooves can really help you to stand out. And for the extra ostentatious types, a bit of sparkle polish is not necessarily outrageous. But seriously, when, short of a costume party, should you be making your horse suffer the indignity of metallic pink hoof polish!
This may be a personal style pet peeve of mine as I have always been a firm believer in knowing how much bling a horse can handle. Some horses I swear would buck you off at the mere suggestion of putting a bow in their mane or glitter in their tail, while I must admit others just want to shine a like the star they are from head to toe. But pink hoof polish? That’s just too far. At least I think we can all agree that there must be over a thousand ways to better throw away a few bucks on your pony.
5. Hermès Hampton Show Rug
This last one just makes me laugh. Really all of the outrageously expense “For The Horse” stuff at Hermès makes me chuckle. I’ve inspected the pictures many times to understand why their stirrups, bits, and polo wraps are three or four times more expense than the quality competitors you find at a real tack shops. I’m pretty sure your just paying for the logo.
But at an astounding $1,075.00, this “show rug” really takes the cake. Do they not understand that a blanket like this is used to protect priceless ponies from poop stains and slobber marks? Do they really expect you to shell out over a thousand dollars for any item you actually intend to get animal excrement on? If you want to spend big bucks at Hermès, I recommend holding out for their leather products. After all, leatherwork is truly their first and best specialty, and those beauties can be worth every penny!
I sincerely hope that this post will help you avoid the trapping of these silly equestrian products and ease Santa’s burden even just a little!