My unsuccessful adventure in buying products from the UK

So, my friend and fellow blogger, Amanda convinced me to try breeches from Aztec Diamond Equestrian, a UK based company who makes gorgeous technical fabric riding apparel.

Like Amanda, I ordered the Houndstooth Luxe breeches, but I also decided to order the Flight technical breeches. Since she had ordered the UK 12/Euro 40, which is the size equivalent to a US 8, I thought that size should work for me as well, since that is my usual street clothing size. Editing to add that my size for breeches varies pretty widely, depending on fit. I don’t have any Tailored Sportsman breeches, but I have: Ariat All Circuit Breeches in a 28, Ariat Pro Circuit Breeches in a 32 and Tredstep Symphony breeches in a 30.

I ordered the breeches last week Friday, the 10th. ADE isn’t set up for US orders through the website yet, but if you use the contact form on the website, it’s very easy to order. Jane, who is in charge of sales, got back to me very quickly. Do keep in mind the time difference though. While the responses were timely, they were very early in the morning. She confirmed what I wanted to order via email and then sent a Paypal invoice. Note: don’t be a dummy like me. These prices are in GBP, NOT Euros. The conversion amounts were a bit different and it ended up costing a bit more than I expected. Another thing to note is that since we are outside of Europe, we don’t have to pay VAT. In the end, that ended up saving me roughly 16.67%, or roughly 30 pounds. The Houndstooth Luxe came out to 83.33 pounds and the Flight breeches came out to 66.67 pounds, with postage being 20 pounds. Total=$170 pounds, or approximately $273.22. Yes, I realize that sounds like a lot, but let me tell you why I think it is worth it:
1) These are gorgeous. To die for.
2) The fabric is amazing.
3) That really only equals out to $136.61 per pair if split down the middle and here in the US, that can’t even buy me one pair of Tailored Sportsman breeches.
4) They are unique and so much fun.
5) It only took 6 days for them to arrive, even with Columbus day in there.
6) The customer service is fabulous.

So, that does mean I received the breeches yesterday. I will admit that opening the package felt a bit like Christmas. The packaging was lovely. I opened up the plastic shipping bag to find a nicely wrapped black tissue paper package that had an ADE sticker in the center. Upon opening that, I found two absolutely stunning pairs of breeches.

The fabric is awesome and even though it looks thin, they look very good on. They have so many cool details. Normally I don’t like big logos on anything, but the ADE logo is very appealing to me.

Unfortunately, this is where the good news stops for me. I tried on the houndstooth luxe breeches first and I couldn’t button them. So I tried on the flight breeches and those were even further away from buttoning. I didn’t find that the waist band had any stretch, which most of my other breeches have at least some stretch.

So at this point, I was sad. Very, very sad. I emailed Jane and she was baffled that the two pairs fit differently, as they are cut from the same pattern. So I am not holding anything against ADE, I will just chalk this up to manufacturing variations. When I laid the flight breeches on top of the luxe, there was definitely a difference. There was about half an inch of fabric sticking out underneath the flight breeches from the luxe breeches on each side. The waist sizes looked roughly the same, but the flight breeches were slightly narrower through the hips and thighs.

I can exchange them and I’ll just have to pay postage back to the UK, which isn’t a bad deal at all. I may give one pair as a gift if they fit my friend, so they (one pair of breeches or two) won’t go back to the UK until probably Monday.

I feel like these run about a size smaller than indicated on the size conversion chart. So If I exchange my breeches, I will order the UK 14/Euro 42/US 10 instead, for sure in the houndstooth luxe. As far at the flight breeches, I am on the fence, since they should fit the same, but in my case did not.

Flight breeches on top of the houndstooth luxe:
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Flight breeches:
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Houndstooth Luxe:
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A funny story, a picture and a project in the works

Yesterday I visited my horse for the first time in a week. Luckily I have an awesome friend who rode him for be all week. I brought some carrots and an apple. I went into my horse’s turnout which he shares with another horse. They’re quite hilarious and I know they’ll miss each other when I move Dexter home. Anyhow, I held out the apple for Dex and he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. He took it from me and was rolling it around in his mouth. He finally rolled it towards his front teeth and Prinz tried to grab it from him. He finally bit it in half and Prinz gladly picked up the half that fell on the ground. Then they begged for carrots. I split what I had between the two of them and was able to take a carrot to my buddy Mars, the horse I rode before I got Dexter.

Dexter and Prinz

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Mars

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I’m also starting a project that so far isn’t going the best. Let me just say that spray painting is harder than I thought it was. I can’t seem to figure out how far away to hold the can, or get a very even coat. Hopefully it turns out okay. As for what I’m working on, I bought a blue pair of Equipe aluminum stirrups a few months back. I love the stirrups but not the blue. So they’re getting repainted. Or at least that’s the end goal. We’ll see how it works.
Before:

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During:

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Update to come soon!

I had planned to ride tonight but it’s cold and rainy outside and I still feel like someone hit me in the head with a bat. Not sure what is wrong with me.

Since I’m a terrible blogger, here’s the last month

I was well intentioned when I decided to start a blog to chronicle the adventures of my new horse, but I failed. I failed quite miserably.

I visited my horse exactly three times before bringing him home. I sat on him twice. I had only walked and trotted him. The day we picked him up (Labor Day) was the second time. Turns out he was pretty
awful the first couple weeks my friend had him, but once he decided to just be good, he was pretty lazy. He was good when I rode him and loaded like a champ. Other than moving around a lot, he rode in the trailer reasonably well. He nearly stumbled out of the trailer, but seemed to like his new home.

The first time I attempted to canter him, I evidently curled up like a hunchback because I got him to crowhop. Things were better after that. Our first few rides were in the roundpen, then we graduated to the indoor arena. He was good in the outdoor and the jump field too. He didn’t seem to be very spooky. We really had no issues until it got chilly and he got wild. Then it warmed back up and he was lazy again.

He gets groomed often and gets lots of treats. He’s had his teeth floated and feet trimmed. So far so good.

One of my friends also helps ride him which has been a huge help, especially this week since I was out of commission.

In addition to the western saddle we have a wintec dressage saddle. I like it and he seems to be just fine with it. Though if his back changes much, I think we’ll have to look for a hoop tree saddle. He’s currently in the XW gullet. He doesn’t have much of a wither and has pretty big shoulders. Hello hard to fit QH back.

Hoping to ride in some lessons and do some more riding outdoors before he moves home either later this year or the first part of 2015.

Hey Facebook: STOP FINDING ME PONIES!!!!!!

I came across Joker being for sale on Facebook in the fall of 2010. I came across the black beast on Facebook this June.

Anybody see a trend here?

I NEED TO STAY OFF THE FACEBOOKS.

Facebook finds me good deals I can’t pass up time and time again.

So one day I was on Facebook and I received a notification of a for sale ad on a group I belonged to, so of course I had to open it.

Next I saw an ad for two black Appendix QH geldings at fire sale prices. So I messaged and asked prices. $750 and $1000 for nice looking horses. I of course thought this had to be too good to be true, as these horses had been posted since April. I decided to message the advertiser and to my delight, both horses were still available. One, a 6 year old gelding, the other a 3 year old gelding. Neither was broke to ride. It was pretty much a classic case of breeders that had a lot of nice horses that they didn’t have time for because they were also running a training business with lots of client horses. Plus, They primarily do the Buckskin shows, so black horses don’t exactly fit that mold. DH and I were already going to be an hour away at a doctor’s appointment later that week, so we decided to go look at the 6 year old gelding.

I asked lots of questions, the lunged him, I got to pet him and it turned out he was very friendly. I tried my English saddle on him which didn’t fit at all. We left and said we’d be in touch. On the drive home we bought the horse. In comes Please No Autographs, 6 year old, 16hh Appendix QH gelding. I’ve ridden green horses and problem horses and lots of horses in between, but I had never broken a horse. So we decided to leave him with them for training for 30 days. He only got 5 rides in that time, so with the help of my BFF, we took him to a cowboy’s place on July 19th. He was there for 15 days and has been with her since August 3rd. After a lot of discussions last weekend, we decided to bring him home on September 1st and keep him at my trainer’s for at least 30 days so I can ride him with other people around and get help if needed.

So….the adventure continues. Yesterday I visited the not so black black horse. He’s all sorts of sun bleached right now. He doesn’t really know me yet, but he enjoyed a good grooming, a walk, some fly spray and last but not least, tolerated picture taking. And a selfie.

I’m hoping to go visit and see him ridden next weekend and someday soon I’ll ride him myself.

A little about me before we get to the horse

I’ve had a few blogs over the years, namely of the melodramatic teenager variety.  A couple xangas, a couple livejournals and most recently two tumblrs. However, none of these have been horse related. So welcome to my first ever pony blog.

I grew up in Alaska and according to my mom was always horse crazy. No, I didn’t grow up in an igloo, but I feel like my hatred of indoor arenas comes from growing up there. I loved pony rides and the guided trail rides I got to go on occasionally. No one in my family likes horses very much. At age 9, my parents agreed to let me take riding lessons and a couple months later, I had my very own horse. An Arabian mare named Suzanne. She was the perfect first horse, but once I learned how to jump, she and I slowly drifted apart, as that just wasn’t her forte. I was fortunate to have plenty of other horses to jump on and eventually I ditched the saddle altogether. When I was 13, we traded Suzanne for a TB mare named Cherokee, a horse I never should have owned. She had a rearing problem. But as a teenager I wanted my own horse, not to just lease one. In hindsight, the WB gelding I could have leased would have been a much better choice. After two years, we decided that it was time to move to a different horse, so along came Fievel. I leased him from 2003 to 2004. We started off in Long Stirrup Hunters and Equitation, along with some beginner jumpers. The next summer we did really well in the Children’s hunters and level 0 jumpers. I eventually made my 3 foot debut and did respectably well in the 14-17 Eq. I wanted to move up to our 3’3″ medal, and Fievel’s owner was wanting him to move down in height.

I rode a green horse of another client’s for a while and was all set up to lease my dream horse, however, it just wasn’t in the cards. So I moved to another barn for the summer and half leased a TB gelding named Cruiser and tried my hand at the jumpers. Cruiser was a tough ride. Some days we did okay, but I really just never figured out how to ride him well. Luckily for me, he liked me well enough and tolerated my lack of riding skills. He was not known to be the most tolerant horse.

My final year at home, I moved back to my original trainer’s and leased Sly, a 19 yr old TB gelding who was Mr. Hunter Extraordinaire. We formed a good bond and during my time riding him, I was offered a spot on the Kansas State University Equestrian team for the following year. We did very well showing in the AA Hunters and Equitation throughout that summer, but sadly Sly wasn’t registered with our horse show association. I, however, was year end Champion for AA Eq.

Then I moved to Kansas. I got to ride some really neat horses at a local barn and some very challenging horses on the EQ team. I only stayed on the team for most of my freshman year due to a lot of different factors, but stayed here and kept riding.

I eventually moved to another local barn and rode some more neat horses. Chief, Charlie, Lady, just to name a few. My two very generous friends shared their horses Thug and Ginger. Eventually I got Joker, who was a trip. He came with some very bad habits, but after about a year and a half, decided he was over being a jerk. That was also about the time I decided to sell him. The main reason was money, but it also became pretty clear that he wasn’t going to be my jumper. I started riding at my current trainer’s about 5 months before selling him and he improved a lot, but due to his rocky start in training before I bought him, he was better off being sold to a home where he wouldn’t jump. He is now a very happy dressage pony. After I sold Joker in September of 2012, I kept riding at my trainer’s place. I started off on a QH mare named ChaCha and eventually moved on to Mars. Mars was very hard for me to ride at first. He’s a very bouncy warmblood and my forte has always been the Thoroughbreds. I love that horse now though and I am so grateful to have him in my life and even more grateful for my trainer who is the sole reason I’ve been able to keep riding.

Up next: how I acquired the not so black black pony.