Rider Review: Kastel Denmark SunShirt

I posted this review last year but given all of the reviews popping up on sum shirts again and that I wanted to republish it this now seems like the perfect time. 

I am a long sleeves are only for the winter kind of girl. I am typically very heat sensitive and the thought of wearing a long sleeve shirt outside during the summer has always appalled me. I have looked at/ felt many different brands of sun shirts trying to convince myself that I should get one to avoid any more sun damage or potential skin cancer… Since you know some discomfort is better than the discomfort of skin cancer… But I never bit the bullet until I felt these shirts at a horse show. All of the other sun shirts that I touched seemed to have very thick fabric, scratchy mesh, or just looked unattractive. Yes, I am a bit vain… (some of the other brands include Tailored Sportsman – $65EIS – $85Bette & Court – $75 ).

I also have grey with a purple accent

A from 900 Dollar Facebook Pony wrote a great review which helped encourage me to try out the shirts and when I saw them in the Willow Tree Equestrian trailer I knew I had to try one on. It amazes me that more people haven’t tried these shirts out and shared them with the rest of us!

The fabric is probably most comparable to the Bette & Court sunshirts. It is light, smooth, and the shirt features a very soft mesh panel under your arm. I only planned to get ONE shirt but there were so many great colors that I almost bought three… Before I knew it I was walking out with 2 shirts (see I can compromise) and a hat in my hot little hands… Self control and moderation have never been one of my strong suits. Onto the details!

side note: don’t know if it was Kastel or the individual retailer offering free hats but props to you! I LOVE FREE THINGS. And I wear hats all the time – free marketing!

Price: $75

Review: I was so excited about this shirt that even though I wasn’t riding I wore it the next day at the horse show. I will admit that the idea of wearing a long sleeve shirt in the sun/ heat did not settle with me right away. I was fidgeting with my sleeves and overall just trying to determine how I felt about the shirt. That said when I did sweat or get the shirt wet it felt amazing. The shirt also wicked the moisture so despite having sleeves I didn’t feel muggy and disgusting. Something else to figure is that I really didn’t feel as hot because with sleeves the sun wasn’t burning my skin and I didn’t have to constantly reapply sunblock (which I hate).

Another serious benefit to these shirts is that they wash up very well. It is no secret that barns aren’t always the cleanest places. Being around horses can get messy. At the show I somehow managed to get a fairly substantial smear of blood on my sleeve (don’t ask how because I couldn’t tell you)… It was very much dried by the time I was home and could wash the shirt. I ran it under some water in the sink and the stain came right out. After I washed it you couldn’t even tell it had been worn let alone smeared with blood.

The real test was riding in this shirt. I was very skeptical as I am pretty picky and do NOT like to be uncomfortable – no one does but I was prepared to stop and change if I didn’t like the shirt. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t give these bad boys enough credit. The cuffed sleeve helps keep the shirt in place while out of the way of gloves, the half zipper allows you to decide how modest or not modest you want to be while allowing some air, and the fabric in general (the shirt and the mesh) is a perfect combo. The fabric almost has tiny little vents all over it – unfortunately not easily photographed. I am not sure I own a softer shirt.

Bottom Line: I want to buy all of the colors. If you are worried about sun damage, don’t like the feeling of sun on your skin, or just in general are looking for some good summer gear you should give these shirts a try. I really like that I could probably comfortably wear this shirt into the fall and during the spring as well. I sometimes find the temperatures during those times of year to be just warm enough that a normal long sleeve athletic shirt can be uncomfortable so I feel like this would be a great compromise. I will have to check back in with that review though in a few months.

Like A I felt that actual AC with one of these shirts on when you were still damp with perspiration was actually kinda chilly! I have now gotten to test the shirt out on ridiculously hot days and while I sweat profusely (I would have done that regardless of the shirt) I stayed pretty comfortable. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this shirt out to the barn on one of the hotter days when they happen. I feel like this is a shirt that will be working for you in many ways. First they protect you from the sun, second they cool you down and wick away sweat, and third THERE ARE SO MANY COLORS! I want them all. At $75 this is the most expensive shirt that I have worn to ride in besides a show shirt but I think it was worth every penny. I hope to be able to buy more colors soon!

If you have been considering a sun shirt I would definitely recommend trying Kastel Denmark’s Sunshirt first. 🙂

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I have been thinking a lot about how all of us horse people live in varying parts of the country (or world) and all have different horses and plans. With our different lives we all have different schedules…

Attendance Award

This led me into thinking about how often everyone goes out to the barn. I know some people that ride almost every day… Others ride 3-4 days a week and seem just has successful.

When I was in school I was going to the barn almost everyday. As I moved into the land of adult working ammie I learned that it’s not always feasible to get out to the barn daily. It literally blows my mind how some of you manage to get out to the barn and ride everyday while still getting all of the things done. I guess my time management skills just aren’t as well honed!

How do you decide how often you ride? How often do you go out just go out to go out/ check on your horse? I’m really interested to see how this varies and if its related to commute, discipline etc. 🙂 Any tips for your fellow adult ammies?

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Joy of Home Ownership: Plumbing

Unfortunately I do not have anything exciting to talk about. This past weekend our house decided to break on us and kinda kill Kyle’s birthday weekend. 

Last week was kind of killer for both of us at work and I decided to take a bath on Friday evening. You’re probably wondering why I am telling you about my bath time but it’s important to the story… Afterwords I went into the basement and there was water all over the floor. Pouring out of our basement sink which was filling from the drain… Cue panic. The water didn’t smell bad and I couldn’t figure out what happened… Until I realized it was warm water that smelled just like my lovely bath bomb from LUSH cosmetics…   

After some cleaning and a visit from a plumber we have running water again but it is going to be a rather spendy process to resolve the issues permanently. I hate trees now and want to kill every tree within 50-100 feet of our house. Note to home owners… Do not plant trees near your plumbing! 

The joys of home ownership! 

I like to stress bake which led to a lot of Pinteresting and the creation of the masterpiece below (cookie/Oreo/brownie bars)

 I will probably be in a sugar coma by the time anyone reads this. Must eat all the things!

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Rider Review: Mango Bay Belts

Once again reaching into the archives and posting a previously posted review.

A few weeks before my birthday I received a very special package from a very awesome lady. L from Viva Carlos sent me my very first Mango Bay Belt. The wonderful owner of Mango Bay even included a nice little handwritten note. Talk about service.

On my actual birthday I found out that I won 900 Facebook Pony’s Mango Bay Belt giveaway. My birthday was a really hard day for me but this was a fun surprise. Imagine my shock when I opened the package from Mango Bay a little later and there was not one but TWO belts. I don’t know if the owner is just amazing and decided to send two on a whim or if she saw on my instagram/blog that I needed a pick me up. I have no clue but I was very surprised and so pleased. You can just call me a Mango Bay Poster Girl 😉

Denim & Grey Chevron

Back to review land…

Price: $18-19

Review: Mango Bay Design offers the chicest patterned belts out there for some of the best prices around. These belts come in countless fun patterns on colored webbing. They feature ring closures that truly do lay flat when being worn. The end of the belts are also protected with a metal cover which prevents fraying and finishes a very clean crisp look.

I personally wear a size 26/28 in most breeches and all of my Mango Bay Design belts are a size small. This does not leave a large tail hanging which I prefer when riding. In addition to looking great these belts stay put and don’t move when you are being active. The fabric of all 3 of my belts measures exactly 37″ so I would say they are true to size in terms of being accurately described.

The only thing that I don’t love about these belts is that on the belts that have a pattern that has to be worn a certain way (for instance it has a horse jumping on it) I don’t like that with my side zip Tailored Sportsman the tail of my belt ends up pointing forwards instead of back (if that makes any sense). A very small qualm and all this will do is probably push me towards the more flexible patterns that I can flip upside down so that the tail points in the direction that I want it to. Picky rider will be picky! – ETA: the owner of mango bay has said she can change the direction of the buckle if requested for patterns that have a “right side up”.

Bottom Line: Now that I have had the belts for over a year I can say that they seem to hold up nicely. They also wash up great. I find myself stalking her website for the release of a 2″ model of her belts that will fit perfectly in my Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunter Belt Loops. I WANT THEM ALL. I hope that any of you looking for fun belts to mix up your riding outfits – or attire in general will consider looking at Mango Bay Design. These belts are really well made and come in so many awesome patterns.

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Bumper Pull Trailers

Now that we have a hauling vehicle we are seriously thinking about trailer options. I never knew how many options there were to consider when it came to a trailer purchase. For the sake of this discussion we can assume we are purchasing new but in reality I am seriously scouring the inter webs for a fairly price used trailer (aka 5k or less)… Nice used BP that aren’t close to the price of a new trailer are hard to find!

Things to consider:

  • load type (straight or slant)
  • escape doors/ no escape doors
  • ramp/ no ramp
  • dressing room/ no dressing room
  • materials (frame/ wall/ flooring)

For me I am pretty certain that I want a straight load, ramp, escape doors, and a dressing room. The more difficult questions come in terms of flooring for me. There are 3 popular options in wood floor with mats, rumber flooring, and aluminum flooring with mats. I can’t seem to decide what would be best. Wood and Rumber are probably my top choices. All of my experience has been with wood or alum and mats. I know that many people with rumber love it – though I have heard it can be slick. Are the warranties on certain floors better?

Weight is a slight concern given we have a smaller truck so right now steel frame/ alum skin or all alum are the top contenders. There are a few brands that I have been eyeing. The top one (Shadow) comes out quite a bit higher than we would want to spend but has fun options like fans in the horse area… Those are however unnecessary…

With price in mind the top brands are: Adams, Trailers USA, Eclipse, and Hawk.

For those of you with trailers or in the market how did you decide on all of the features you wanted/ needed? Is there anything you didn’t get that you wish you had? Or things that you upgraded for that you never use?

Looking forward to hearing all of your alls opinions and advice!

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Rider Review: Higher Standards Saddle Soap

Reaching into the review archives again this week…

Being a self proclaimed tack ho comes with some price. The more tack you have the more cleaning there is to be done. Even if you aren’t using the leather it still needs to be cared for (or so I am told by my currently very sad looking leather open fronts after their months of neglect).

I recently discovered Higher Standards Leather Care and I think that I might be hooked. I stumbled upon something genius.

When a thread popped up on the COTH Forums about a new saddle soap that worked well, conditioned while you cleaned, and (the best part) smelled like heaven I knew that I needed to give it a try. When I went searching I wasn’t particularly in love with the scents offered but then that changed with October’s Limited Edition (see below for a full list of scents offered). In the past I had tried one scented soap (MOSS Vanilla Soap) that was not a total bust but it definitely isn’t my favorite product so I was still on the hunt for a soap that I liked that smelled good too.

Down to the nitty gritty on the Higher Standards Suger & Spice Limited Edition & the Cinnamint Limited Edition Scents.

Price: $14.95 – this is pretty comparable to most jars of soap from my experience

Pros: This soap smells incredible. The scent is not over powering but rather a nice refreshing change for the tack cleaning experience. Much to my dismay my tack doesn’t seem to retain the delicious scent (don’t worry your horse won’t be tempted to nibble on your minty tack 😉 but it also isn’t left with any kind of residue like many soaps tend to cause. On top of cleaning properties this soap also seems to have some conditioning effects too. This is great because for those of us on time constraints using this soap will allow you to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Or just get a jump start in the prep for using the awesome Higher Standards Leather Balm.

Cons: Inspires thoughts of hoarding… The limited edition scents are only available for one month every year! This made me want to stock up and keep extras…

Available Scents:

Fox’s Vanilla Lavender

Buzz’s Citrus Ginger

Starla’s Sugar & Spice

Phinney’s Cinnamint

Ben’s Rosemary Mint

Plain Bay – Unscented (for those of you that just like a great cleaning product!)

Bottom Line: I will definitely be purchasing more of this soap. For myself, for gifts, for myself… The fact that this soap has a sweet story as well makes me want to use it even more.

Small excerpt from the creator of this great product on how it came to be:

“During Rolex week, I sent a care package to Kentucky for Woody and his “staff.” In that package was a container of my handmade soap. I was stunned a couple months later, when Karen’s excellent longtime groom, Max Corcoran asked for more of my soap, saying it was wonderful stuff. “

You can read the full story on how this soap came to be here.

As I am reposting this again I am sure most of you have already heard about HSLC but if you haven’t I highly encourage you to try it! 🙂

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Nope… I am not referring to the color but rather the fun little growth on the inside of our horses legs.  I personally was always taught (when needed) to slather some vaseline over them for a few days and then they peel right off. I know many others wait until they are big enough to pinch off and some even cut them off.  

You can also normally peel them when bathing your horse. 

Some horses are really not interested in cooperating – luckily for me I’ve never experienced a horse that hates them being touched. I was kind of amazed by how ugly some horses chestnuts are!

What do you all do with them? Do you let them grow? Do you remove them? Tell me all about your care/ management of the pesky buggers. 

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The Barn Vehicle

In my experience most horse people are also dog people – at the very least we typically like other animals even if we don’t have any others. Horses are certainly more than enough of a hole in the wallet for most!

I fall into the loving all animals category (I would save them all and be a hoarder if I had no job and more room…). When Kyle married me he knew that he was not only getting into life with at least two dogs but also possibly a horse and any other creature that makes its way into our life. He is incredibly supportive and tolerant. Probably more of a softie than me even! 

As Kyle’s car gained more mileage and we thought about trading it in I hinted strongly suggested that a truck would be a great vehicle for our lifestyle… His sedan was not really practical for transporting the dogs… And while I have an SUV its too small to haul anything should we need to… I have some amazing friends/ professionals to fall back on but it’s much more convenient to have your own wheels! Not to mention it would add a lot to my piece of mind.

Thor (K’s F350) vs Little Truck (Our F150)

Bottomline we decided that a larger vehicle would be a good fit. Next came determining what size truck.Prior to really starting to research hauling and building my own rig I really had no idea about trucks. As I started hauling more and gained experience I was primarily pulling gooseneck trailers with at least 3/4 ton trucks…  

A truck that size is unfortunately not very practical for people that will have to use the truck as a daily driver. This killed my dreams of a gooseneck trailer because it’s typically not a good idea to try to pull a gooseneck with a smaller truck. I am sure that there are ways that one can make it work but for me a 250/2500 would be required for me to feel comfortable.

We ended up finding a great deal on a really low mileage 2013 F150 with great features to make it a really comfortable daily driver as well as potential hauler. I love driving the truck and can’t wait until I can complete the rig at some point by added a light weight BP!

Anyone else in blogger land haul with a 150/1500 truck or large SUV? What trailer did you all end up with?

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