Thursday, February 25, 2016

From the Horse's Mouth

Last Summer I did a little trail riding around the family farm and surrounding area on a horse that hadn't been ridden in quite some time. Rusty is mild-mannered and sweet as pie, but was far more interested in the carrots in my pocket than he was in my desire to ride. In fact, he wasn't at all happy about having his "healthy" midsection tightly cinched with a saddle, and filled his belly with air when I tacked up. This is a common horse trick, those clever devils. The temporary expansion of girth while being cinched means the saddle will actually be loose once they let the air out. While less constraining for the horse, a loose saddle can be disastrous for the rider when it slips sideways and suddenly you find yourself anything but upright.
For more about my Summer adventure with Rusty, see my prior post here.
This can generally be avoided by walking the horse a bit after you tighten the cinch for the first time, giving him time to relax his belly before you tighten it again. Unfortunately, despite my efforts to outwit Rusty and make sure the saddle was secure, he initially outmaneuvered me and, sure enough, it wasn't long before the phrase "riding side saddle" took on a whole new meaning when both saddle and I ended up nearly horizontal with the ground.
My love of all things equestrian started young - I started riding when I was only 18 months old; The wrap skirt from now defunct department store Parisian is nearly 20 years old, but a timeless design; The leather bag has been with me even longer - I bought it from a street vendor in Florence, Italy in 1995; Leather belt (Nordstrom); Monogram necklace (Ross Simons); Three-strand statement necklace (Secret Ingredient); Leather riding boots (Frye; Zappos).
I get it. I really do. Nobody likes a tight waistband, be it horse or human. That's a primary reason this equestrian print wrap skirt has been an absolute staple of my Fall and Winter wardrobe since 1997. The beauty of a wrap skirt is that it's forgiving - if you fluctuate between sizes (an unfortunate reality for many of us), a wrap skirt will generally fit, and it's very simple (even for a non-seamstress like me) to move or add additional buttons at the waistband for comfort. This particular skirt has two permanent sets of buttons so that it can be adjusted for comfort on the fly in the event I've inhaled a tad too much Thanksgiving pie (or Reese's eggs, as the case may be...)
This pearl bracelet with bridle bit clasp is from the gift shop at Churchill Downs.
The other reason this nearly 20 year old skirt has remained part of my wardrobe year after year is that it's a timeless design. I cannot remember the last time the "equestrian look" was not featured somewhere as hot for the Fall and Winter season. Not that I would really care in any event, because it suits my personal style regardless of what any beauty editor deems "in" or "out," and embracing our own personal style (regardless of waist size) is really what it's all about!
A blue fox-trimmed Burberry scarf provides an extra layer of warmth and texture, and a fur and sequin trimmed head wrap from AH Collection in Clay Terrace adds practical warmth in addition to a little pizzazz; The earrings are from Profyle Boutique at Iron Works; My Longines watch also has a "horse" connection - I won it last year in the Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest (see my post about it here). It's also a timeless (pun intended) classic I'll still be wearing twenty years from now.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
Frye boots are made of the softest leathers that look better and better with the patina of age and wear.
I'm linked up with Hat Attack this month!
You may also enjoy these horsey posts: