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?