Monday, February 22, 2016

Austrian tack stores: SO DANGEROUS (even to a confirmed non-tack ho)

This week, I'm in the Czech Republic for work, but I managed to sneak down to Vienna for the day on Saturday to meet up with Tanja, who has the Dressage Hafl blog. We've met twice before, and it was so great to see her again!

She had a full day for us planned: First, shopping at two very large tack stores just outside of Vienna, and then attending an FEI show in the afternoon. I've been to a few European tack stores before, and they're fun because the brands are so different from what we have in the US. However, I usually manage to walk out with my credit card relatively unscathed since I already have so much stuff and rarely feel the need to buy more.

Uhm, yeah. So that didn't work out for me this weekend. I walked into the first store and the first thing I saw was this:

MATTES. NOTHING BUT MATTES.

And you know how much those pads are? ~$150 US, as compared to about $270 for a Euro-cut Mattes dressage pad. Luckily for me, they didn't have any color combos I really wanted in the right size, or I would have come home with them.

This one was super tempting, but it was an AP. 

Did you know that Mattes makes a "baroque" style pad? This would have looked fantastic on the Brego for jousting, but not for $350.

There were lots of other pads to choose from. This is about half of them. I managed to restrain myself.

And browbands. So many browbands.

I didn't get any pictures, but the entire second floor of the first store was clothing, and it was all matchy-matchy stuff. Breeches, polo shirts (short and long sleeved), vests, jackets... everything you could want to match the saddle pads downstairs. Even a color-challenged person like me could look super coordinated without much effort. I tried a few things on but didn't really find anything I loved, so you won't be seeing me in anything super matchy anytime soon. Sorry.

I managed to leave the first store with a few really nice brushes and a saddle pad for Taran, thinking I was doing pretty well. And then we got to the second store and my credit card basically leapt out of my wallet and went on a shopping spree.

I had tentatively been looking at some brown tall boots, because they're gorgeous. But then I saw they had real DRESS boots (the stiff kind, not like my floppy Ariat Volants that are really designed for hunter derby riders) and I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying them on.

This is actually my size in Euro sizing. Confusing as hell, since I'm a US 7.5 or EU 39. 

But, I hadn't really planned on a new pair of dress boots, so I went to look at breeches instead. I probably tried on 30 different pairs, because they actually had that many different brands/styles in my size.  Well, OK, they had more than that, those were just the ones I liked.

And this was the row of Pikeurs... in my size. This is maybe 1/10th of all the breeches in the store.

After trying on so many, I've discovered that I'm a Euro size 80, which is more or less a 28 long. Getting the "long" size meant that I didn't have the problem with tight knees that I usually do, so that was pretty amazing. I also discovered that I really prefer the tech fabrics, especially the Scholler. It just molds better and has a better feel than anything else. Besides, the Pikeurs I liked were exactly 1/2 as much as I'd pay for them in the US - thank you, strong dollar. I restrained myself to only one pair, despite the little voice in my head suggesting that I get two because they're half off, right?

And then I went back to the boots and tried them on some more. Checked prices ($300 less than in the US). Walked around more. Considered. Looked in the mirror. Asked Tanja's opinion. And somehow I found myself at the checkout with a new pair of dress boots.

So tall. So pretty. So uncomfortable.

I know it looks bad, but it's not ALL mine. 

Only this part. Good thing I brought a large suitcase that was half empty.

There were a few more items, but those are gifts and I'll have to wait to post about them. In the meantime, anybody got any suggestions for breaking in really really stiff boots?

40 comments:

  1. Omg those boots! (Did you have to wear them home on the plane? That's one way to break them in...)

    Omg those browbands! I've always drooled over super thin and SUPER sparkly chain style or wave browbands.... next time you're over I'm sending you with a purchase list, you can send them when you get home. ;)

    Omg breeches! I'm getting ready to make an order from Europe (thanks exchange rate!), but have no clue which brands will fit me best. I like Kerrits in the US, but have no experience with upper $$ brands.

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    1. The chain style would solidify Murray as the residence Barn Princess FOR SURE. MIGHT NEED ONE.

      Those boots are gorgeous though! GORGEOUS!

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    2. Austen, I'd die if I wore those on the 18 hour travel home. I can barely bend my leg much less sit in them! You should definitely get one of those browbands, it would look groom Guinness! As for breeches, I love Kerrits too, and the pikeurs fit me similarly well and the scholler fabric is very stretchy yet thick. I suggest going to a local tack store and trying everything on to figure out your size/style and then ordering.

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    3. Nicole, Murray needs one of those browbands. Definitely!!

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  2. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

    And this is why I can't afford to go to Europe. Because I'd need a mattes or two and a whole armload of pikeur. And boots. AND ALL THE MATCHIES.

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    1. Oh you could afford to go, but then you wouldn't have any money left to go talk shopping. Which would suck.

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  3. Swoon! I am going to Germany later this year and until now the thought of checking out European tack stores hadn't occurred to me. I am now doing all the googling!

    Good luck with breaking in the boots! For my last pair, I wore them for a week straight before bringing them out to the barn (wore them at home for a weekend, then wore them under dress pants at work). I was walking hilariously stiff-legged for the first few days but after a week they were pretty good. Mine weren't True Stiff boots though.

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    1. All I can say about tax shopping in Europe is to save your pennies and be prepared for all the goodies :-)

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  4. Dude I totally approve of your shopping spree. 100% Lauren approved.

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    1. I feel so much better now that I'm officially Lauren approved!! :-)

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  5. I would have walked out with a browband for sure. And next time you go, I'm sending you with a shopping list too!!!! Good luck on the boots! They're gorgeous!

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    1. I have so many pretty Browbands from Darkhorse designs, so I wasn't even tempted. I will definitely take a shopping list next time I go :-)

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  6. Replies
    1. I'd say it was horrible, but I'd be lying.

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  7. I want to go to Europe just to go tack shopping.

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    1. That seems like as good a reason as any other!

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  8. I would get into so much trouble in that store!

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  9. So cool. I want to go shopping in Europe.

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  10. what a great summary of our Saturday - to anybody else, just let me know when you are around in Europe, I know almost all the tack shops in Austria, German, the Netherlands, UK... :D more shopping yay :D you can find some more pictures of us here: http://www.dressagehafl.com/2016/02/when-horse-bloggers-meet-and-go-to-or.html

    Thanks Jen for visiting, it was so much fun!

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    1. Given how many people have said they want brawl bands, you might have to take orders! Thanks again for being such a wonderful hostess and planning such an amazing day!!

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    1. So much fanciness it was overwhelming!

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  12. omg so many pretty things.....

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  13. Ooooo I should not be permitted in a store like that! But I mean TC needs a browband...

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  14. I would have had zero restraint, even though I am not riding english much any more.

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    1. I usually have lots of restraint, and somehow I checked it at the door...

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  15. My BF has AIT in Germany this year. Definitely making him buy me presents.

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  16. Loesdau & Krämer are something else, they produce catalogues that are dangerous to look at.

    I'm always a willing enabler and can post stuff over to you if there is ever anything you want from Euroland ☺

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    1. I'll take 6 pairs of Pikeurs, and 3 Mattes pads in the following colors... No, wait. Wait, forget I said anything. I'm on a shopping hiatus for the next year.

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  17. I'm living the opposite life - on every trip home I get on Valley Vet and stock up on everything that costs 4 times as much in Germany. (Wormers, etc) I can't go clothes shopping in Germany because I'm out of the sizing range. In almost 10 years of living here I've never bought a pair of jeans. I walked into a shoe store the other day and the lady asked me my size, and I said, "40? I'm not sure. Somewhere around 40." Our local tack store (and Kraemer too) has an American section. You can buy a bottle of Show Sheen for only 24Euros!

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    1. Well, if the exchange rate were "normal," stuff wouldn't be so "cheap" for me. I was really surprised at the difference in prices on some things! It's funny that you stock up on stuff from Valley Vet, though - I wouldn't have thought things like wormers would be overly expensive in the Eurozone.

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