Monday, August 15, 2011

First show over fences

We are getting there. I'm not sure where "there" is, or even if I'll know when I'm there, but progress is happening. No blogging lately because I just haven't had the time! But here is an update on my mare Mazzy. She is progressing great! She now has a few shows under her belt. Last weekend was my first time showing her over fences. She was great. The first time I had actually jumped a legitimate course on her was the day before the show. That is enough practice, right?

Mazzy has alot of great qualities. She is very sweet, and has a good work ethic. She is a pretty quick learner and wants to do the right thing. She has a great mellow personality, and not much phases her. New jumps aren't a problem, and she isn't spooky. My wish for her becoming something great is starting to become a reality. I'm really happy how she is turning out so far. We have come a long way since the day she was born! Showing her over fences for the first time is a pretty big deal for me.

At the show Mazzy was really good, she did exactly what I told her, however, I told her to go a bit too fast. Her stride is quite a bit bigger than I am used to, so going at the correct pace for her large stride feels very slow to me. Nerves of showing her for the first time added to this. At home I can monitor her stride better, but I got a little frozen in the ring and made it down the lines way too easy. In my equitation class, there was a bending line (first one I had ever done on her) and I left a stride out. Oops. It was supposed to be 8 and it was right there in seven for me. I should have broken the line up more. It wasn't bad, just not the plan.

There was a little hunter derby at the end of the day, and she marched around all the natural obstacles like a pro. The course included a trot jump, getting mail from a mailbox, and we had to hand gallop the last jump. Fun, fun!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Horse Show Fashion - Boots

There are mixed reviews for almost all custom made boots. Basically, your custom boots are only as good as the person who measures you. I can find people who love and hate about every boot out there. Luckily, there are so many options available today. The current trends are a fitted ankle, zippers, elastic gussets, and a spanish top (this cut is higher on the outside of the leg for an elegant, elongated look without raising height at the back of the knee for comfort and function). I think I'd like a bit of snake skin around the top, same color so it is only noticable up close.

Vogel's - I remember getting fitted for my first pair of Vogel's. It was a momentus occassion. At the time they were the only boots to get. Harold Vogel married my dad's cousin, so I got fitted in his son Dean's home, who now runs the company. Although we are relatives, there was no discount (haha), but the boots were worth whatever I paid for them and they lasted me for years and years. I eventually outgrew them and got another pair, which I still have and wear. They are classic. Uncompromising attention to detail and exceptional wearability are the hallmarks of E. Vogel boots. Over the years, Vogel equestrian boots have become internationally renowned. E. Vogel has been selected repeatedly as bootmaker for the US Olympic Teams, as well as for the finest equestrian athletes worldwide. Among the many notable medal-winners who sport E. Vogel riding boots are Bill Steinkraus (first U.S. gold medalist equestrian), Rodney Jenkins, Greg Best, Melanie Smith, Joe Fargis and George Morris.

Dehner's: Since 1875, the Dehner Company has been working non-stop to provide the finest quality riding boots and leather products available. Not only have they succeeded in creating a global following, but the Dehner Company continues to build every boot and shoe by hand, just as was done over a century ago. I've owned thier paddock boots in the past, but not thier field boots. I haven't heard  much about these lately. They don't seem too popular anymore.

Der Dau - Made by hand in the United States. I have heard nothing but good things about these boots. I had a pair of thier paddock boots, but the elastic stretched out and the leather was really stiff, but they weren't custom.

I saw someone wearing these around the horse show last weekend, and couldn't help but stare. Not my taste.

Parlanti - Handmade in Italy, Parlanti is a family business with over 50 years in the fashionable footwear and boot business. Gorgeous boots but expensive, I think around $1850. I would love a pair of these!!!
Flag on the top of the boot leg

Swarovski crystal on the top of the boot-leg.

Tucci - Fine italian calfskin leather, used inside and out, virtually molds to your leg.  Tucci offers over 20 styles of boots.  Their innovative approach and advanced technology create a very sleek, comfortable feel with superior quality.  Included in all Tucci boots are full-length zipper, swagger tab with Swarovski crystal embellishment, if desired; spur rests, top and bottom zipper covers, toe cap, rubber sole and personalization on boots and complimentary boot bags. About $2000

Sergio Grasso: The Sergio Grasso riding boots are designed and manufactured in Italy. They also sell and off the rack model that looks nice.

F.lli Fabbri - F.lli Fabbri Field boots come in many styles and options. Top quality Italian calf T-Grip on inside available Many colors and tops available Hand made in Italy. Many famous riders wear these McLain Ward, Anne Kursinski, Chris Kappler

Wilson & Davidson - I don't know anything about these, but they look nice. Made in Chile. Virginia Double-Leather Field Boot - The double-leather field boot is a variation on our traditional Virginia field boot. It features an extra, inlaid piece of leather that runs along the zipper down to the ankle and then wraps around the lacing. Shown in black, it may be of any color (non-standard colors by request). Also shown with visible welt.

Alberto Fasciani - The shoes are handmade in a small factory in northern Italy and they are worn by the British Royal family. His collections include the signature tailor-made riding boots as well as fashionable mens and womens shoes that fuse traditional Italian craftsmanship with impeccable aristocratic sensibilities. A few of my friends have these and like them alot.

Beautiful boots with mixed reviews:

La Mundial - made in Ecuador since 1906, offer the long, slender styling and glove-like fit (with virtually no break-in time) that we have come to expect from custom tall boots – at a fraction of the price. Custom tall boots start at $600. It seems as though it is hit or miss with these boots. If they are measured and made to fit property, people love them, however there seems to be ALOT of boots that arrive and do not fit and the customer service is poor. Here is a thread about them from The Chronicle of the Horse Forum.

Ayora/Las Casa des las Botas - I've heard/read more bad things about the customer service and boots that don't fit than good things, but if by chance your boots do fit, they are really pretty. It sounds as if there is a problem with the fit, they will not fix them or refund your money. My trainer has a pair and they are beautiful! They will customize any color or pattern you want. Ordering these is a gamble for sure. $450

Off the Rack:

Ariat Monacos - I have a pair of these and I love them, however, they do not hold up well. I hardly wear them and I've already worn a hole in the calf. Everyone else I know that has these has had the same problem. They are really soft and comfortable but the quality is pretty poor. I also have the Monoco half chaps and paddock boots and they hold up much better and I love them. The boots are about $900.

Treadstep DaVinci - Italian calfskin leather with full grain leather lining, and a specialist high performance Vibram outsole. The full length rear zip is supported by a flexible spine which maintains the height and elegant long line of the boot. The da Vinci sports a classic European top line, side spur rests and zip guard. They look really nice and are about $500.

Treadstone Grand Torino - These look pretty nice and I think you can find them for under $300!

Beval Puissance - Looking for a custom look and fit without the wait? Bevals now has the answer!! The Puissance boot incorporates an innovative stretch panel design with a full-length zipper. Made from the finest French calf leather with meticulous attention to detail. Built on wooden boot trees to create a lovely shaped calf while molding perfectly around the foot as well! Available in three heights with a variety of calf widths and shoe sizes for a custom fit directly out of the box! $850

DeNiro Ottaviano - All DeNiro Boots are made with grain calfskin leather inside and out. Every boot undergoes the unique Water Resistant Advanced Treatment (WRAT) for the leather sole as well as the outside leather. The treated leather still retains it's breathability, allowing sweat to escape, while preventing outside water from seeping in. Activated Carbon Insoles have a natural antibacterial action, while the mid-sole is made of natural leather and has a high sweat absorbent power keeping your feet clean and dry. Vibram anti-slip outer soles keep your feet secure in the stirrups, even in the worst weather. Rear zipper is made and guaranteed by YKK. Made in Italy. $669.95 at SmartPak

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