Oh, WARHorses, we have a bone to pick with the riding apparel companies!

Product Review Written by WARHorses Contributing Writer, Karen McPeak
“Lady Godiva” Painting by William Holmes-Sullivan, 1877

Hundreds of WARHorses responded to our recent survey about riding wear options for mature riders.  Loudly. Thanks to everyone who participated. Among other things, you wished:

The waist band was higher, when seated normal waistbands dip and give those behind me a cheeky half moon ??”   

Yes. This. Because our mooning days are over for the most part.

“They would ban low rise breeches!”  

There’s a theme here. Don’t you just love constantly yanking up your breeches to cover that ever so mild (or not so mild) paunch that will not ever go back to its pre-childbirth, pre-weight loss, pre-weight gain, pre-menopausal tautness? And when you crank in that belt it only pulls upwards on the belt loops because the pants from crotch to waist are only three inches high to begin with. Sorry. We need pants that aren’t sized for toddlers.

“There were more options in larger sizes above ultra thin.”  

Yes. And very petite women have trouble finding sizes that aren’t baggy, making them just as frustrated. I think it’s a conspiracy.

“Women’s pants, tights, breeches had pockets!  Real pockets, not just big enough to put 1 car key in!”  

POCKETS. OMG. I put my hand in my pocket the other day. My hand went in to my knuckles. Oh yeah. That’s useful. Try sticking a hoof pick in your pocket, or a screw driver, or any other tool. Now go look at men’s pants. Go ahead. I’ll wait. I’ll have your wine waiting when you come back even further fried about the inequities of the garment industry.

“Things fit less tight. Hot flashes combined with tight clothing is so awful. 

Tight clothing is pretty much awful under most circumstances. Here in the southeast US, tight clothes in the summer means a visible sweat band under the “girls”. Ain’t pretty or comfortable. And it really makes you think twice about stopping at the grocery store after leaving the barn. I mean, do it if you want to get in and out quickly because people will definitely give you a wide berth.


Most WARHorses Want MORE Options

We want more room in the arms and shoulders. Fabric that doesn’t show every bump. Longer legs, shorter legs, larger waists, waists that don’t gap. More affordable options (amen to that). Fabrics that are briar resistant, temperature sensitive, moisture-wicking, and sun-blocking. One WARHorse suggested clothing companies like Outdoor Research and Columbia. Good idea. You want stylish options that aren’t too flashy. I swear, if I see another pair of breeches or jeans with rhinestones on the back pockets…because the thing I want most is to draw attention to my backside. Uh, no. You want white breeches that aren’t transparent. Cheers to opacity! Y’all, I saw a woman walking down the street in flesh-toned leggings the other day. Some things aren’t meant to be seen.

Some of you have favorite brands, like Kerrits, Ovation, Wrangler, Cowgirl Tuff, Fuller Fillies, de Koster, and Annstadt Das but almost all of you agree that sizing isn’t consistent. I work in a tack shop which means I get to try on stuff. Forget breeches. Those are nearly impossible to gauge. Ovation seems to be somewhat tuned in even if the fabric is a little thick. Kerrits always seem to work but they don’t hide anything. Shirts are nearly always too tight in the upper arms if they fit everywhere else, and I don’t have massive arms. They just happen to be 61-year-old arms. A gorgeous Grand Prix show coat in my normal size fits like a size 2. I could barely get it over my shoulders. A Tredstep coat in my normal size swam on me like a tent. I mean, come on. Are women in Canada that much smaller than women in Ireland, the countries where those brands come from? I’d volunteer to be a size model if that would help. Well, no I wouldn’t. I’d want to be paid. Horses are expensive.


Most WARHorses Believe Riding Clothes are Designed for Younger Riders

Oh–a side note. Know what else I’ve noticed? Many of the sales reps are young, fit young women. Those in our age group are reps for things like gloves. Think about that.


Our Clothes Need to Fit US – WARHorses!

WARHorses want riding clothes that fit, let alone more affordable options. Why is this so difficult? Some of you noted you have more disposable income these days but that doesn’t seem to be recognized by equestrian wear companies. One clever responder noted she would just buy another horse if they didn’t want her money! So there.


WARHorses Have Apparel Preferences

Most of you wear breeches but jeans were a close second. Except for the center seams. One of you asked that center seams be dealt with. We feel your pain. You wish there were more boot cut options that don’t require wearing tall boots or half chaps. One of my favorite trainers wears the most delicious boot cut, full-seat pants so I emailed to ask where she gets them. Overseas. Hard to find in the US. Naturally. They’re Sonnenreiters. And they run about $250 so there’s that. Awesome.


WARHorses – We Like What We Like

You are brand loyal, at least to the degree you stick with what fits. And yes, yes, yes, you all agree that options are overwhelmingly slanted toward younger riders. Because we must be ready to trade our saddles for rockers, right? Ptttht!


WARHorses Want More Product Reviews – You’ll Get Them!

You also agree that it would be helpful if your peers shared product reviews. WARHorses won’t let you down, we are embarking on a regular series of product reviews with YOUR best interest in mind. In the meantime, know you aren’t alone in your desire for riding clothing that fits and won’t cut the Mariana Trench in your budget. Maybe our collective voices can be influential in increasing our options. Have suggestions? Take our WARHorse Survey and tell us what YOU think!