Tech Advances in Equestrian Apparel

Editor’s note: Please welcome new guest blogger, Ashley Matchett Woods, who owns and runs Equestrian Concierge, a full-service tack, apparel and equestrian custom service shop located at Sonoma Horse Park in Petaluma, CA.  A former ad agency executive, corporate officer and independent consultant, Ashley left the corporate world in 2006 to pursue her dream of putting her myriad professional skills to work for her love of horses at Equestrian Concierge.  Trainer Beverly Jovais utilizes Equestrian Concierge, and this year, Ashley is sponsoring assistant trainer John Wohr as one of her Outfitted by EQ Elite riders. 


Equestrian apparel has always been about the elegant nod to tradition. And while it still is, our garments are now more like gear.

Let’s celebrate that we finally have technical performance options! I want to be sure you know about them, so here is EQ’s first post of a three-part series on innovations:

1. Showing – Performance and Style

2. Schooling – Functional Comfort

3. Horse wear – Relief and Well-Being


Most of the leading trainers and riders value tradition, but also take advantage of comfort fabrics, vented helmets and new materials for boots and equipment.

Take care while creating that modern look – you don’t want bold fashion choice detracting from the overall picture. Your apparel can be an advantage over another rider with a similar round.

Technology Meets Tradition

New Coat Fabrics: Microfiber, Softshell, Pro-Stretch, lighter stretch wools that mimic the techies.  A few are even machine washable.

  • In-Style: Three or four button, traditional two-vent or modern single-vent.
  • Make a statement: Suede (easier to care for than velvet) collars and/or piping is more acceptable in all rings.
  • EQ Favourite: Grand Prix’ tech-Lite fabric is lighter and stretchier than former softshell.  Kingsland’s Technical is as just as light with beautifully crafted details: American Flag touches and brass buttons.
  • You may miss: Tech coats don’t have colourful linings as an option.

  • Breech Advancements:CoolMax, Schoeller, second-skin stretch.
  • In-Style: Euroseat, frontzip, microfibers with back pockets.
  • Make a statement: Always color in the jumper ring but more greys and shades of beige/tan/khaki in the other rings.  Whites are trimmed in colors and carry lots of logos.
  • EQ Favourite: Ariat Olympia is #1 seller with Pikeur Ciara is #1 quality for the Hunter/Eq crowd; GPA’s Skin breech with no thread and thermal bonded edges is the latest.
  • You may miss: side-zip, flat-front – especially for your shad belly.

• Shirts Evolved:Techy and lighter (see the pattern?)

  • In-Style: Long sleeves are still in, but so are short sleeves, and customers love that both are available with the new wrap collars.
  • Make a Statement: Consider these options: colors work in any ring; the polo style covers up under a coat; the sleeveless options look more Euro; check out contrasting collars and cuffs.
  • EQ Favourite: Tailored Sportsman for the more traditional with beautiful colours and patterns; GPA takes it again with its most-stretch Salma show shirt.
  • You may miss: embroidery on your collar.

  • Not-So-Hot Helmet Designs: They are now vented and washable.
  • In-Style: Black is still the “it’ color, but vents are acceptable everywhere.  Do keep the bling minimal and go for the removable/washable interior.
  • Make a statement: Custom designs and different colors.
  • EQ Favourite: Antares’ Casque is beautiful from its all-black ultrasuede Hunter to its custom Ostrich leather.  The black/brown combo is our fave; we’ve even been known to apply a barn logo! Charles Owen Ayr8 is the most popular and now the SP8 (wider brim) is available for the sun-sensitive rider.  We love the GPA First Lady for elegance and ultimate protection (but the price tag is steeper).
  • You may miss: The traditional velvet “hunt cap” sleekness – but you won’t miss the concussions.

Stay-tuned for EQ’s next entry on innovations in schooling attire where Ashley will talk about boots!




Horse Tales from Guest Blogger, Alexandra

Guest blogger Alexandra hanging out with barn buddies Caroline and Christina

Welcome to new guest blogger, Alexandra Polidora, age 10.  She takes lessons at Chestnut Hill, and loves spending time at the barn. She wrote all the text and took many of the photos.  Go to the post and add a comment, or share via FB! ~~ Editor.

At Chestnut Hill you don’t only meet horses, you meet friends.

Alexandra on Petey, Caroline, and Christina on Bear.

And you don’t just become friends with people but with horses, cows, sheep and chickens too.

Neighbor cows at rest.

The sheep are so friendly!

Alder Lane chickens lay the best eggs!

There is never a place at Chestnut Hill where you won’t feel welcome.

Taking a lesson on Petey, under Katy's watchful eye.

Besides the wonderful pleasure of riding, there are many other fun things you can do with the horses that will be almost just as fun.

Kari and Alexandra and Katy getting lunch ready in the feed room.

Opening up the SmartPak containers for each horse.

Off to the paddocks to feed via the golf cart express!

Feeding is fun, but lots of work!

MMMmmmmm lunch!

You can wash them up, feed them treats, make and deliver their food, give them love, and much more.

Turning the horses out in their paddocks. Alexandra and Pacheco, and Caroline and Tommy.

Our wonderful trainers/friends Katy, John and Beverly help us through and through. With them around there is always a vibe to never give up.


John, Alexandra and Madison.

Beverly with Smith brothers Hill and Braden.

 Also our grooms Ricardo and Avel are always there with their arms wide open to help.

Head groom, Ricardo.

Our newest groom, Avel.

At Chestnut hill we have big horses, small horses, brown horses, black horses, white horses, red horses, multi-corlored horses, special horses, and My Little Pony!

Posing with Aurora's "big" horse Basil.

Basil + Alexandra.

With Hayley's "little" horse Mac.

With new Chestnut Hill rider Brit and her "brown" horse.

With Aurora's "black" horse, Fafie.

With Madison's "white" horse, Lottie.

With Sidney's new "red" horse, Rolf.

Aurora's "multi-colored" horse, Rocky.

With Ligeia's "special" horse, Metro.

And with everybody's favorite, "My Little Pony," Pacheco.

After a day or even a minute you will find a pal that leads to a wonderful tale!

Guest blogger, Alexandra at work.

Spruce Meadows Week Two

Another guest blog post from Chestnut Hill rider Madison Bradshaw, this one featuring her second week at Spruce Meadows. 

The first week finished up really well as far as the horses were concerned however, the weather continued to deteriorate.

The storms held off for all the divisions except the 1.40m and everyday it poured for the 1.40m.

The worst came when Katina 12 (Kat) went on Friday.  The sky opened up and there was a torrential downpour as we stepped into the ring.  It was so bad that I couldn’t even see fence two.  The following two riders after us pulled up because the visibility was so bad.

Despite the conditions Kat still qualified to compete in the final four, a class where the top four rider from each division ride each of the top four horses over a shortened course.  We however opted out of competing in the final four because of Kat’s upcoming trip to Kentucky.

Sunday was back to normal competition. Fellow Chestnut Hill rider and 1.0M team member Kris Loewenthal and Solo put in a double clean round to finish 5th in the 1.00m Barrage, a fabulous conclusion to the first week at Spruce.

Solo and Katina 12

The competition week two didn’t begin until Thursday.  Fortunately, the rain ceased for the second week, however the absence of rain brought out the giant Spruce Meadows mosquitoes.  Thursday Ithaca (Moofy) was clean in her class and finished 7th in the 1.20m Jr welcome class. Kat put in a 4 fault round and finished just out of the ribbons in the 1.40m. Friday Moofy was clean and finished 3rd in the accumulator and I had a rail on Kat, but we were the fastest of the 4 faulters so we finished 11th.  Just Moofy showed Saturday and she had a rail in the first round, but no one jumped clear so we jumped off four faulters, and although we had the fastest time a rail at the last fence resigned us to 5th.

Although putting in solid trips and placing doing well was amazing, the Spruce experience was even more incredible. The caliber of horses and riders is unmatched at every level, especially in the higher levels.  Every horse there is normally one of the nicest horses on the show grounds but at Spruce they are just average.  I learned so much by watching the best in the world compete in the 1.60m everyday.  Both the US and Canadian teams were there preparing for the Olympics.  It was incredible to watch the best in the world tackle some of the most challenging courses in the world.

Team members Destry Spielberg, Hannah Von Heidegger, Collette, and blog author and Chestnut Hill rider, Madison.

Madison, and team coach Jeff Cook with poster of Chestnut Hill trainer, Beverly Jovais ("Flat Bev")

Another unique factor at Spruce is the community support.  Spectators from Calgary come to all of the Grand Prixs.  It is cool to have the local support and be able to share our sport beyond the equestrian community.  The caliber of Spruce is unmatched by any other show in the Americas in every aspect and that is why it draws riders from all around the world.