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My Line: Winter is Here!
By Sarah Ward
Winter is here! Frostbitten toes, heating packs placed
everywhere, layering so many clothes that we almost
can’t move and regular runs to Starbucks for some
pick-me-up, warm-me-up beverages are just part of my
average day. It is true; the idea of me taking off my coat,
vest, and top sweater in the sub-freezing temperatures
doesn’t always seem so appealing. That is, until I actually
mount up and ride, quickly warming up and enjoying my
horses as much as ever… Somehow the quarter sheets
and foot warmers seem to do the trick during that time.
It is only when I have to dismount that cold reality hits,
the winds blow, and I realize that my feet are frozen and
its time to get me (and my horse) back into our layers!
It’s also the time for Christmas and that means shopping
for gifts, stockings flled with treats, and Santa hats for the
horses! There is something about red hats or reindeer
antlers on the halters and bridles that never gets old. I
despise winter, but only because I hate being cold. But I
love what the season brings - the horses’ coats get all furry
and I love bundling them up in blankets and mixing them up
some sweet smelling bran mash to help ward off the cold.
There is nothing quite like the feeling you get of snuggling
up to horses while they are lying in their stall for a little nap.
It’s the one time in the year when we can all take a much
needed break and just chill out (unfortunately in more ways
than one)…
The Best of Times
After a month or two of very cold and very dark days, the
idea of the warmth and sunshine that comes with showing in
Florida is more than a little enticing. But some of my favorite
memories have been made during the frigid months prior
to the Winter Equestrian Festival. Every year we prepare
for Florida, packing up the horses, blankets, coolers…silk
Sarah Ward is currently living in Atlanta. Sarah rides with Finally
Farm’s Jack Towell and Liza Towell-Boyd and competes with
Finally Farm in the hunters and jumpers in both the amateur and
open divisions.
underwear, foot warmers, and heavy coats, to brave the weather
at nearby shows. Yes, I have lived through many sub-freezing
show days with ice in the water buckets and ice on the jump cups!
There was a time when the weather actually won. I remember one
year at Aiken, it was pouring down with freezing rain as I walked
to the ring on my horse. I got as far as checking in at the in-gate,
and even starting to warm up for my class. I trotted maybe half a
lap… but it just wasn’t going to happen! Maybe the mailman can
brave all weather conditions, but I wasn’t up to it that day. I walked
back to the barn, untacked my horse, got him blanketed and cozy,
and then headed back out into the now sleeting cold to the show
offce to scratch. I then headed home to thaw out. I can usually
tough it out through almost anything, though I may complain
the entire time…but that time it was just too much to handle!
It is only when the barometer hits the 100 degree mark and you
are sweltering wearing your show jacket that you will start to yearn
for a bit of winter! That just goes to show you, the grass always
looks greener from the other side!
large muscles in your thighs, today’s breeches are comfortable.
We have to remember that riders run the gamut from 2 years old
to 90 years young. Different breech patterns address different
What piece of hunting kit must foxhunters make sure
fts well and why?
All the pieces have to ft well. If the breech is too tight or
too loose, a rider will have a problem. If the jacket sits poorly,
movement is hampered and the rider looks ill ftted. Shirts need
enough length in the sleeve as well as the tail. At Horse Country,
we want riders to look their best and have the most suitable and
functional attire when they leave the store. We consider many
factors when we outft a rider.
Just how important are custom boots and why?
Proper ft is important with boots, not just for individual needs
of the foot, but the ankle, calf and height. Of course, patent and
brown top boots are a prize to be worn proudly. We’ve offered
Dehner and Vogel custom boots for over 40 years. Dehner has
worked best for us through the years as with most foxhunters. Ten
years ago, we brought in the frst zipper backed boots from Italy.
It was a huge gamble for us at the time, but riders loved the tight
ft of the ankle and the ease with which the boots broke in. It is
uncanny how well they ft both men and women, taking in all the
variables riding boots entail. A simple dress boot and feld boot
led to a huge success for us.
What trends do you pay attention to when ordering
hunt coats for Horse Country?
Trend is not the word to use at Horse Country when it comes
to fox hunting attire. We use the phrases that our attire
the test of time
respects the rigors of the hunt feld.
We feel
we do it right
From fabrics to linings to buttons, cut and care,
it’s two years from ordering the cloth to fnished jackets arriving
at the store
We order Scottish tweeds from the mills and our
makers in England and Italy do an excellent job. We tweak a
pattern from time to time. A few years ago, we added the Vicmead
lightweight jacket for the more athletic rider, both guy and gal.
The ft is completely different and the details are striking. Our
navy stretch hunt jacket for women is exquisite. We’re adding it
in black stretch this season. Men like our store and we like them
back by stocking sizes 34-56 in jackets. We can’t be too trendy
when we offer this much assortment and range. Our jackets, like
our gentlemen clients, are all about tradition, function and value.