Have we been so conditioned to wear traditional helmets when riding, that we’ve stopped considering alternatives? I know this will be controversial, but after watching a documentary about Sweden, I was introduced to the newest revolution in urban bike “helmets”, the Hövding, and I love it.
The Hövding is a crash collar that inflates in .1 seconds when it senses a potential collision. It not only covers your head, it also supports and protects your neck, which traditional helmets don’t do. A study by Stanford University says the helmet is eight times safer than a traditional bike helmet, which sounds wonderful. There were, of course, caveats. For example, if the airbag doesn’t fully inflate, it will cause the bag to “bottom out”, protecting the head from impact less than a foam helmet. I still believe it’s a step in an interesting direction.
This hasn’t been tested or approved for horseback riding, but I really feel it’s worth looking into. We’ve all fallen off our horses, and we all hate hat head 😏. I know some Western riders who won’t wear helmets (this is changing, thank goodness), but maybe this type of “airbag” system adapted for horseback riding, can be a viable alternative.
What do you think? Is this something that equestrians should look into? Would you wear this if it were approved for horseback riding?
No, not THAT F-Word, but “Fit. Fashion. Function. and Flexibility” the motto of a new brand of athletic couture named F.Words. I had the privilege of meeting the founder and designer Kendel Neidermyer at this year’s American Gold Cup in North Salem, NY. I was immediately drawn in the by real leather knee patches (100% deerskin) on her breeches, a luxurious and functional touch (can you say “grippy”?). I moved from the beautiful leather to the soft, but durable breech material, which, when pulled on, acts like a slimming pant (horray) but breathes and moves freely with the body. The best part is the pocket on the thigh perfect for your phone. I always struggle with what to do with my cell when I ride, and breeches with “deep pockets” are great.
Filly Breech in Almost Black 650usd
Cell Phone Pocket
I also love her original and beautiful jackets, which can go from the ring to the restaurant, barring any unforeseen horsey-fails in the manure. Kendel’s rain gear will keep you dry but still stylish. She continues her collection with a bunch of well-designed leggings; any Basic B’s wardrobe go to. I want to put her “Frisky Leggins” that have an anti-muffin top to the test….
Friction Jacket 400usd
Formation Jacket 1350usd
First Jacket 3250usd
Facet Half Zip Top 195usd
Frisky Legging – Anti Muffin Top! 300usd
Kendel Neidermyer founded F. Words in July 2017. It’s a small, female-run, self-funded, luxury athletic wear brand. I, of course, focus on her equestrian pieces, which are exquisite, but these garments can be for any woman, whether she rides horses or not. In fact, some of these pieces are too nice for an afternoon hack, but you’ll look great doing it.
I love that everything is made in the USA, and although expensive, each piece is completely hand made and completed by one artisan; you are getting the highest quality. Kendel can be found at trunk shoes, at major horse shows; but her clothing can be found online at her site F. Words or at high end tack stores like Manhattan Saddlery in NYC, Ella Palo Alto in CA, and Kaval.com.
Many brands are having horsey moments, and the house of Chloé seems to be leading the trend. Their collection is a “bit” whimsical and I really think it’s cute.
Without shame, they’ve covered entire outfits with rearing horse embroidery. My favorite item of the collection has to be the Chloe Bomber Jacket; 70’s inspired and indulgently “little-girly”. I normally don’t dig velvet (reminds me of the monstrosity I called my senior prom dress), but this just looks fun to wear. At $2750, the price tag is out of reach for normal girls like me, but maybe someday I can buy it off price at an outlet ;).
which (unlike the clothing) will last more than one season. For horsey people like me, these bags will last a lifetime.
The simple and elegant American brand Derek Lam, has captured equestrian eyes with this amazing dress. It features a simple cap sleeve suede top, with an elegant horse appliqué on the midi length skirt. I would wear this all day every day! It’s another high ticket item, at $2650. I’m searching for lookalikes for less money,; I’ll post updates if/when I find any.
What do you think? Would you wear any of these items (assuming we could all afford them)? Comment below!
A couple years back, I met the artist Beatrice Bulteau at the Equus Film Festival in New York City, where her short, En Lusitaine (above) won Best Artistic Film. Born in the countryside of Loire France, she is currently based in Portugal and works in a number of mediums. Porcelain, print, watercolor, animation, illustration; there’s nothing she cannot do. I instantly fell in love with her simple but elegant aesthetic as she celebrates the clean beauty and noble nature of her frequent subject, the Lusitano Horse.
I will have to save some money to have one of her original watercolor pieces grace my humble home’s walls, however, I can adorn my body with either one of her new clothing pieces or leather handbags. I do recall a gorgeous maxi dress in one of her promotional ads, but I cannot find it to order (please comment below if anyone knows where to find it). I will be ordering one of her beautiful t-shirts (perfect for a night out or a ride in the ring). Her original handbags and silk scarves, as well as any of her artistic works can be purchased online at BeatriceBulteau.com.
…that’s what Love Shack Fancy is made of. I’m obsessed with this brand. In a time where gender neutrality rules the roost, LSF dares to be in-your-face feminine. Any why not? I see nothing wrong with the sweet romantic proclivities of little girls. Flowers and frills in soft pastels and subtle neutrals are just what every woman needs to connect back to her inner little girl. Tea, anyone?
This season’s specials harken back to Little House on the Prairie, one of my all time favorite shows: Michael Landon, the nation’s moral father, teaching life lessons to his all-female brood wearing ruffles, flowers, braids and deliciously modest dresses while digging in the mud and swimming through rivers. I can see me wearing all of these to the barn while I scoop manure…well, maybe not.
These frocks aren’t, however, Little House on the Prairie prices, ranging from the $150’s to the $650’s. Ma would probably have to sew her own. Save your pennies and invest in a long skirt with a slub tee, or a sweet ruffled top to pear with your favorite jeans and western boots.
I love a little bling on tack; I’m especially tickled silly when I see some bling on English tack as it’s been so basic for many years. There are a number of ways to add some sparkle to your saddle gear (and it’s not all $1K Samshields!). There are cute leather bridles in colors with crystals, custom bonnets with or without crystals, tall boots in all sorts of colors and styles, you name it, you can probably find it.
Here are some of my favorites and links to find out more:
It’s been a rough couple of months for those of us not lucky enough to either live in the South or West where riding is doable most of the year. We’ve had snow, ice, freezing rain (as differs from ice, go figure), below zero wind chills and frozen ground. Not very fun (or safe) for riding. I haven’t even seen the trail since fall, and our ring space keeps shrinking in size as the snow accumulates. It’s hard even getting my butt to the barn on days that I can barely get out of the house it’s so cold.
This past week, while the sun briefly peeked out though the thick cloud covering, and my little leased horse rested (growing a big belly) my trainer had the idea to take advantage of the crappy conditions and do something that I only see the up/dowers do – the longe line lesson with another sweet lesson horse. I thought, cool – I’ll take a break from aching thighs and let her drive for a while.
I’m sure most of you barely remember doing this as kids. Going in circles, no reins, and letting your trainer walk the pony around and around – all you had to do was stay on. This was different. Snow and ice covered the ground; we began at a walk. Cool, easy peasy. No reins today! Post the walk. Ugh. Okay, keep going. Up to a trot and post. Constant trotting, arms up, down, out to the side, behind me and then no stirrups. Try and sit the trot. Oops, quick spook, panic canter, then back on track. Post the trot. I regret thinking my thighs wouldn’t burn that day. After what seemed like a long time, we switched direction and did the whole routine over. She then asked me to close my eyes. This was a crazy feeling for me! Taking away my vision helped me pick up the correct diagonal easier, and helped me feel little Rocket underneath me, silly, but I actually felt closer to him. I also learned that I may depend on my hands WAY too much, and taking them away forced me to balance correctly.
It’s a great lesson in many ways. We helped my seat and balance, which need CONSTANT attention; helped my thighs, which get soft in winter; and helped my attitude, getting my horse fix even in the cold weather always gets me out of the doldrums. This was a great way to take advantage of what little riding we can do – give it a shot 🙂