Mel Donald - 11 September 2018
A Pocket Full of Sugar: finding the perfect pair of pants.
“What has it got in it’s pocketsess .. ?”. The iconic line from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, where Gollum tries to guess what Bilbo Baggins has in his pocket (hint: it wasn’t sugar!). I love pockets. Pockets are life. If you turned out the pockets of my Trainers pants, you would find the following: phone, iPod, coffee money, and probably a few dead tissues (sorry honey). If travelling, you could also find a Leatherman knife (essential travelling kit), baling twine, lesson money, shopping lists. And sugar. A big old pocket of sugar (hint: do NOT put your iPhone in the pocket with the sugar, your phone will not thank you for it).
When Colleen asked me to ride-test some of her new riding pants for feedback, I was pretty excited (and very humbled - thank you!). I think we can both agree that the moment I spotted the Trainer pants, it was love at first sight. They were the first style I tried, and after going through all the styles, they were the ones I returned to, and rode in the most. The bit which I was instantly attracted to, if you hadn’t guessed by now, were those two big beautiful thigh pockets. OMG. Heaven.
Now, like most female riders (and some male ones too!), I am pretty sensitive to what bits of my body are on display when sitting on a horse. I have some important criteria for riding pants to meet, so just how do the Trainer pants stack up?
Riding pants must look good. They need to hide my thigh dimples (hello, yesterday’s fish n chips!), do the job of holding in my tummy that the lady on the DVD promised would happen after hours of sweaty yoga (she lied), give that look of miles of leg (more leg!). Oh, and be in a colour OTHER THAN WHITE. All of the Ride Proud pants can boast these qualities. The fabric is really flattering, yet supportive in the right spots. No jiggly bits! The mid-rise waist sits snugly over my hips: no more having to wear long shirts, or risk a cheeky fashion mishap. (On this note, I should mention that the Equitation pants are my second favourite, with a higher-cut waist that tucks in the tum and doesn’t end up like an armpit shelf). Oh, and they come in my favourite matchy-matchy colour of brown (cinnamon). Do you know how many joddies don’t come in brown?
Straight out of the Box:
Unwrapping my new Trainers was like being handed a precious gift. A lot of care and thought had been given to the packaging and preparation of this pair of riding pants, which really inspired me to put them on and saddle up straight away (hashtag pant-speration!). When I tried them out for the first time, I found they “settled” (broke in) within the first ride. No “bubble butt” (when the full-seat doesn’t want to give and you end up riding an inch above the saddle, just grand for that first dressage test). No having to hold your breath for the first three hours whilst the fabric deigns to soften. It was “pants on, ride away”. I was even able to bounce on up (ok, less bounce, more grunt) on my big girl from the ground. Now that’s a flexible pair of pants! The full-seat didn’t require copious amounts of glue - or a rasp! - to provide good traction control, an aspect often missing in the freshly-new suede seats of many a jod. Which leads me to…
I got bucked off my young horse the other day. No amount of velcro was going to keep me in the saddle with that big dirty starfish buck, not after I had lost a stirrup. It’s not an experience I really enjoy. I have ridden in full seat breeches for years now, as I have found these to give a most secure seat when riding fractious youngsters or spooky mares; however even this varies between manufacturers. Some pants leave you flat out uncoupling from the saddle after a few minutes, and others give you that impression that you shoved a pat of butter in your undies and are giving your saddle the skating-rink-spider-on-iceskates treatment. The Trainer pants give me a good grip on my saddle, without restricting my ability to move around as needed, or get up to go over a fence. Even my coach has commented that my seat has firmed up in the last few weeks. No saddle-glue required here. Another very positive aspect is that the material is thick enough to provide protection from being pinched by a wayward leather - no more “paintball” legs - without compromising on the ability to breath. I did a five hour clinic in the blazing sun the other day, and at no point did I get the unenviable leg-in-the-oven sensation, or a sweaty butt.
These pants are like a trusty old ute. They go jumping, they go to dressage lessons, they go on trail rides (hence the coffee money in the pocket), they do clinics. I love my boots and full gaiters, and the Trainers happily tuck into a set of leather gaiters. With the boot strap, the pants stay exactly where they are meant to, no riding up under the gaiters. I also have the option of leaving off the gaiters and going casual-Sunday down the trail - great for summer! Then of course, I am too lazy to change and so I take them shopping (plenty of pockets for a wallet, shopping list, keys, and no funny looks from non-horsey folks either) and even out fixing fences when the bl..dy mares start squalling over the fenceline.
In short, I absolutely love this particular style of pants. It’s classic in its looks, versatile in its use, functional AND flattering. Plus, it has big deep pockets that can hold an enviable supply of sugar cubes, a rhythm box (iPod in the thigh pocket is at just the right height), a phone (for when I get bucked off again), and assorted other bits and pieces whether I am planning for a ride down the road, or a schooling session with my coach. I feel confident that, no matter what the trail throws at me, my Trainer riding pants won’t let me down.
I’m pretty bloody proud to wear my Trainer pants.