I know I’m not alone in coveting new gear for myself and my pony, right? For those of you shaking your heads, take a good long look at yourselves and be honest. I know you want pretty things. That’s right. I’m calling you out.
Myself, I’m an unabashed clothes hound. I used to covet dresses and pretty blouses, but that hoarding tendency has transferred 100% to horse gear. Since I’m half-leasing for the time being and much of Addy’s gear is taken care of, this tends to manifest in lots of riding clothes.
And that’s where SmartPak comes in.
I could write an ode to their fast shipping, fantastic return policy, or lovely selection that amuses me on their website for hours on end. But that’s not what this post is about. Instead, I’ll share my latest haul(s) and tell you exactly what I think: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Piper Knee-Patch Breeches by SmartPak
I got these in the merlot-charcoal color based on an emphatic recommendation from Jenn at Stories From the Saddle, and haven’t regretted it for a minute. I also got another pair in iron-champagne thanks to Allison from Pony’tude, and am eying a couple other color combos on the website.
The good: so super comfortable. The sock bottom make them fit really well under my super tight tall boots, and the material has just enough stretch to make them great for all-day wear without getting baggy after a few hours. I’m also a huge fan of the colors- the merlot is straight up pretty and a fun different color, and the iron is perfect for hiding dirt without looking like you’re trying to hide dirt. You know, that effortless barn chic we all crave (sadly it looks like this color is discontinued. I’ll try not to gloat too much). Basically, I feel like a fashionable rockstar in these; everyone looks better with a little euroseat stitching to give some shape.
The bad: the waistband is a bit gappy. I don’t have much of a badonkadonk so this isn’t too bad, but my friend had to return hers because the gapping was so extreme. I just throw a belt on and it fixes the problem for me. For the price ($70ish but there’s regular 20% off sales!!), I ain’t too mad about this.
Overall rating: 4/5 will almost definitely add more to my collection
I recently snagged three of these on sale in black/gray, blue jean, and coral pink. In fact, I wore the blue jean tee yesterday and currently have the black/gray tee on.
The good: literally everything. They’re way softer than anticipated, fit nice and close to my body, have just enough of a vee-neck to be flattering, they’re long enough to tuck into low-rise breeches, and the colors are great. Not to mention the price- with the sale and my USEF discount, I paid roughly $7 per shirt. The black/gray also perfectly matches the piping on my merlot Piper breeches, so I’m psyched to be the matching queen.
The bad: I didn’t buy more while the sale was on. Seriously, I can’t think of anything wrong with these. I guess my coworkers sometimes ask why there’s a horse on my shirt (the Smartpak logo)??? But that’s their problem if they haven’t realized I’m a crazy horse lady, so I refuse to ding the shirt for that.
Overall rating: 5/5 will DEFINITELY add more to my collection
Sunshield Longsleeve Shirt by SmartPak
Picked this up (also on sale) in the royal blue color based on strong recommendations from Jenn (there is a pattern here. She is my enabler).
The good: in love with the color. Especially with my snowy white pony (listen, I can dream about her someday being clean, don’t burst my bubble). It’s fairly lightweight and I don’t get too overheated in it.
The bad: While it does protect me from the sun, I definitely know that I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt in the middle of July. It’s much better than another long sleeve would be, but the breathability isn’t as high as I was hoping. Also, the sizing isn’t great- I got an XS and it’s still super boxy.
Overall rating: 3/5 will maaaaybe add more to my collection if there’s a sale
I’m showing in the jumpers more often, so we need to have a bonnet. Right? I’m a big fan of playing dress up so we’ll go with it. I lucked out that my barn colors were available (navy and burgundy) and the price was right, so I pulled the trigger and ordered.
The good: the ears fit really nicely and it’s a good size overall. There’s plenty of material to go under the crownpiece, so I never worry about it getting loose. Like I said, the colors were ideal. The materials were good too- Lycra ears which stretched just right and cotton woven front.
The bad: maybe I’m just bad at bonnets, but I couldn’t get this to lay flat and pretty. Part of this may be due to Addy’s big poofy forelock that I didn’t adequately tame prior to our ride, but it just didn’t seem quite right. I’d be curious to see how other bonnets fit to see if this is something wonky with the bonnet, or something wonky with Addy’s giant head.
Overall rating: 3/5 not unhappy with my purchase, but will probably spring for custom next time
Ariat Prix Classic Polo
Got this in navy to wear to our first jumper show- I really lucked out that my barn’s colors are navy and burgundy, since most things come in navy and it’s my favorite color. Boom.
The good: nice weight, has held up really well in the wash, and definitely long enough to tuck into low-rise breeches. It’s a pretty navy and I like that it has 4 buttons instead of the classic 3. I now have an official barn polo that I’ll likely wear in shows, but I love wearing this in lessons and for schooling- it looks very sharp and professional.
The bad: SO HOT. I know a medium-weight dark polo probably wasn’t the best choice for a hot summer show, but I was sweating like a pig in this thing. It’s not the shirt’s fault for that though, it can’t help the way it was made. I also wish it was a little cheaper, but I’m the type of person who hates paying more than $10 for a shirt (but apparently I’m fine with dropping $200 on pants without blinking). For the quality and comfort, it really is a very fair price.
Overall rating: 4/5 will likely grab another if I find myself in need of another polo