Once upon a time, you went to the saddlery and you’d find a rail with jodphurs and breeches on. Beige for shows, navy or black for general riding and kicking about. Breeches for adults you needed a bigger saddlery for. Brand choices were limited. It was all super practical and not very pretty or edgy. I mean when Mark Todd started making them I was over the moon. OK, I know I’m old in some peoples eyes (probably ancient in a few) but it wasn’t until about 20 years ago that things in this area of the riding kit market really started to gather pace.
By the time I’d stopped riding regularly the options on the rails were much, MUCH deeper. Today the choices is off the scale! I mean there’s things happening on legs that I’m both super pleased about and others that I’m generally not! I recently got the chance to investigate the rising trend in one style of riding attire that had really caught my attention but wasn’t quite ready to press the ‘buy’ button on.
The riding tights or leggings.
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I remember my first seriously well fitted breeches. I was in heaven. I was in my late 20’s and they fitted so lovely, but they cost an arm and a leg, they were Pikeur. I remember standing in the ‘fitting room’ (a corner of a freezing cold industrial unit with a hessian ‘curtain’ covering my shavings laden toes) and turning and turning and turning admiring them and then telling myself they were worth it, I was worth it, my horses were worth it.
When I picked up riding again properly last October I still had 2 pairs of breeches and they still fitted me. Minor miracle if you’ve ever met the maternal side of my family. Hips and bums shall commeth…
Over the last few months I’ve been looking at getting some more day to day breeches and each time my eyes have settled on the ranges of Riding Tights now available. Skin tight, thin and each brand offering a range of key points. I used to run quite a bit after I gave up riding, nothing much but I’d do 5k 2-3 times a week and the odd 10k. I cycled a bit in the past too until I decided that thin rubber tyres on white lines in wet roads were the devil himself. Anyway, with that and working in a sports lifestyle industry a few moons ago I had a fair amount of knowledge in modern materials or the technical features that were being offered by the various brands with their riding tights/leggings. I was actually really excited. Horse Riding was catching up with some other areas of the leisure and fitness market.
About flipping time too.
I first sold technical cycling winter tights, breathable, wind proof and lightweight about 25 years ago when I worked for Trek Bikes. Why had it taken so flipping long for the horse world to catch up with the opportunities this kind of material had to offer us!
I knew I wanted to try them but oh my word there were just so many brands out there, some I recognised from my past, some I now knew from today and a few I’d not heard of at all. The stock holding at the average saddlery isn’t great. I understand that though as the complete explosion of all things kit related means no physical local saddlery can foot the expense to carry huge ranges today. It’s online, but I wanted to see these and feel them properly. I wanted to stand in that drafty industrial unit behind the curtain again. As much as I love the internet sometimes a girl just has to see things for ‘real’.
I mentioned my desire to buy some and test them in this blog and I was told by a few people that the Super X Country brand had a good range. I knew this brand as I’d bought a hat silk from them, had met the talented owner Becci at the first #Hiho&Co day in 2018 where I’d taught her some flat lay photography skills. I spoke to Becci about everything and before I knew it had sent 3 pairs of the Candy Stripe Summer Leggings. All for photographing for her own social media use and 1 pair for me to test. We were both happy with and I told Becci I’d be honest with how things went test wise!!
In a way they couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I was on the search for a new horse having sold Tiny and so these leggings were going to be pushed quite a bit in a reasonably short period of time. I’d be sitting in a number of saddles, in all weathers and obviously different kinds of horses I wasn’t at all used to. Feeling comfortable and secure in my seat was really important for me.
As I unpackaged them it was clear their summer leggings are a lovely lightweight option. Soft to the touch and the silicone knee stripes felt good and tacky. Pulling them on was really easy, they were a comfortable fit and despite being only 5’2″ I didn’t have loads of excess leg length getting in a muddle at my ankles. The waistband is nice and wide which meant it wasn’t going to dig into me like some thinner elastics can. The band felt strong but not likely to stop me breathing either like some of my running tights. Becci’s suggestion of a size small was ideal. I liked both the depth and placement of the phone pockets on both legs, giving great flexibility for left and right handed people. Stripe detailing finished them off. When I looked up the price I was really surprised, just £39.99!!
So far they felt good and looked great on. Time to go ride me some ponies!!!
I’ve now had these testing tights for a few weeks. I’m not sure how many hours they’ve done or how many horses I rode in them and or saddles but I never once felt that any insecurities from my seat came from the leggings. They are so comfortable to wear. The seams never rubbed me, they breathe really well and in hot weather I’ve not felt like I was going to melt or they’d need peeling off me. They wash really well and dry quickly too, ideal if you are caught out in a summer shower. They just plain work really well! My only observation with them is that sometimes you have to wiggle the waistband a bit to flatten it after washing, but it’s only a minor adjustment and certainly no hardship or irritant.
I love each of the colours that were sent through from this range, a great neutral grey, a really lovely teal and the olive too. They are bright and cheery without being in your face. There are other colours also available including navy, black and sand. In the overall range Super X Country make a longer length pair for you lovely long legged people and there’s some for the younger riders too. They have such a casual feel to them but deliver a solid performance.
Oh and I’d happily wear them to Tesco if I needed too (I’m not a fan of wearing full on horsey stuff through the checkouts) without a care.
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Until next time…