Product Review: FITS, Two Horse Tack, and helmet help, please! April 15 2014, 5 Comments

Hi all, I hope everyone is having a better day wherever they are than we are here in northern NJ. It's windy, rainy, and the temperatures are dropping fast. We went from a long, cold winter into a beautiful few days (we hit 80 degrees this weekend - eeps!) and some sunny mid 60s - 70s breezy days right back into stormy, rainy (over an inch already and still coming down), windy with temps dropping down into the 20s tonight. Ugh.

The good news about this weather, however, is that even though I'm not out riding, it's giving me a chance to catch up on some product reviews. So here we go!

My first spring show was just a few weeks ago, and the weather was nice, the sun was shining, and I got to wear my new FITS Megan knee patch breeches. I bet you didn't know that FITS made Hunter/Jumper breeches, did you? Well, I didn't either. At least not until recently. Since I do mostly schooling and fun shows (alas, my Olympic dreams have passed...haha), I tend to show in whatever I have nearby that's clean, recently washed, and doesn't look too bad. Until I saw some show pictures. Oof. Then there's FITS. Their new Megan knee patch breech has the same deerskin perforated knee patches that their full seat breeches have for amazing grip, and they also have the form-fitting-make-you-look-skinner panels in the material that, well actually makes you look thinner! Love! Even better was finding out that they are stain resistant so for a change, by the time we got to my class, after coaching students in multiple divisions throughout the day and helping with a variety of horses, I actually still looked good and had clean breeches. What a pleasant surprise! I've now officially retired my (actually semi-new, bought them last fall) Ovation breeches, and scrapped the idea of saving up for any other brands. FITS has me hooked. They really do what they say - fit! Has anyone else tried them? I'd love to hear how your experiences compare to mine, as I was really impressed.

Lately I've also been using my Two Horse Tack bridle and breast plate out on trails for conditioning because we've had a lot of rain and mud here (did I mention that already), because it's easy to clean and I don't have to worry about my show tack and leather bridles getting wet and muddy and ruined. I ordered it to test it out because I also have a trail horse that I was going to primarily use it for, but it's turned out to be far nicer than I expected and become a key part of my training equipment. They have a ton of customizable options which are a lot of fun for eventers, either for shows or schooling, to be able to match your gear. And even more fun are the day glo options (that's actually for my trail horse since we do some riding at night) and other options like bling and so on. Lots of fun stuff! Here's a link to their English Bridle collection which I love, and you can browse around and find some even better pictures of their tack (the one I took is my bridle at the left). Even better is that their prices start at just $30! Great for starting babies, hacking out on trails or XC, hunter paces, beach rides, or anywhere else you just don't want to drag your show stuff. And trust me, for the price, it's an incredible value - double stitched, reinforced, and made to last. Yup, new schooling tack for me!

Finally, I need some help. I'm in the market for a new helmet. Mine haven't been in any major falls per se, but they are older and leave some (much) to be desired. My show helmet is an 8 year old GPA Titium that's seen better days. Again no major falls, but it's been around the block. And the show ring. And the jumper course. And the hunt field. And the XC field. And...well you get it. My schooling helmet is an Ovation schooler that was cheap (I think around $70) and comfortable and lightweight which is great for every day riding, trails, and riding in inclement weather, but is kinda blah in the show ring. Yes, yes, I said I show at open/schooling shows but hey, who doesn't want to look good? So I'm at a crossroads. I've got the opportunity to test a Samshield helmet, which I've tried on and loved the fit and feel, but the ventilation can be a bit much, especially in colder weather riding. Normally I wouldn't care, but in this past winter...well yeah that's changed my mind. However I do tend to also overheat easily so I need something ventilated. Queue Jin Icona by Jin Stirrups...well ventilated, made to fit by a company that knows what they are doing (they also make race car helmets so talk about safety ratings!), and their main front vent can be opened and closed so you can adjust based on weather. Of course, it's also available through ISellTack.com (and I may be biased...) but I'm so darn picky about helmets I wanted to hear from you.

So have at it - ever tried a Jin? Sameshield? Any other brand? GPA is definitely out for me as they just aren't that comfortable, and Charles Owen, while nice, have never made a model that quite fits my head. Share your feedback in the comments and help me pick a helmet (though I warn you I am leaning heavily towards the Jin in all black....*drool*).

Happy riding!
CJ