Meredith Dinnick, one of our amazing customers, wrote for our blog today…
“Growing up, I didn’t have the ideal body type that everyone wants and likes. You know the one I’m talking about. Skinny or slim, use whatever word you want. I think I was only slim from around the ages of 5-8 and that was the only time I ever wore a 2 piece bathing suit. After that, I filled out more but still had a healthy body.
Horses entered my life at the age of 8 and changed how I looked at myself. No matter what was happening in my life, I could go to the barn and everything would be better. That’s still true to this day! The process of grooming, riding, etc. gave me the chance to be independent and more confident in myself!
When I first started riding, my parents weren’t sure whether or not I was going to stick with it or even like it, so my riding equipment was a little bit of everything. I used rubber boots, a bike helmet, random sweaters and jackets, leggings and splash pants. As I was starting out into riding, I didn’t really care if I didn’t have the proper riding equipment – I just wanted to be at the barn with the ponies and horses.
As I started to get more serious about riding horses, it was time to invest in some proper riding equipment. I still had the rubber boots, but bought an actual riding helmet and breeches from a second hand store. I was still young, and not having all the expensive and brand name riding equipment didn’t matter to me. I was going to the barn to ride horses and have fun.
Fast forward to a couple more years and my rubber boots no longer fit me comfortably. I decided to buy a pair of ankle paddock boots and half chaps. The ankle boots were easy to find but I was having trouble finding half chaps that fit comfortably and were right for my body size. I can’t quite put a number on how many tack shops I went to and how many pairs of half chaps I tried on, but none were fitting around my larger calf muscles. I was getting frustrated and discouraged because I refused to believe that half chaps were only supposed to fit half way around your calf and that all riders have to fit the show jumping mold. Horseback riding is for everyone.
I was about ready to give up on finding half chaps until I found Pro Chaps. I was at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto with my cousin and some spending money. I happened to walk into one of the tack shops and saw some half chaps. With the help of my cousin, we found a pair that might fit, so I tried them on. To my amazement, they fit perfectly – even over the jeans that I was wearing! A few minutes later, I walked out of that tack shop carrying my brand new Pro Chaps and it was the best decision I could have made! The quality of these chaps amazed me! They are so comfortable, durable and easy to clean and 10 years later after much wear and tear, I have purchased my second pair! I later learned that they carry sizes small to XXL, to fit every rider. I am so impressed that I finally found a tack store that is inclusive to all riders and seems to understand passion for horseback riding should not be limited by body type.
I horseback ride because it’s fun, good exercise and I get to spend time with beautiful and remarkable animals. No matter what you do as a horseback rider I feel you need to have the right fit; and proper riding equipment in order to do so. It shouldn’t be about who has the best and most expensive helmet, breeches, saddle or bridle. It should be about going to the barn to ride a horse but knowing that you have the right tools for the job. There are so many riders out there with so many different body types. The barn where I ride has small to extra large riders and I feel like size doesn’t matter there. We all go to be around each other, to talk about horse and non-horsey topics, to participate in lessons and just enjoy everyday barn life. We are inclusive to everyone that comes whether they have been around horses or if they are just starting out.
I feel like more riding equipment brands and tack shops need to be more inclusive to every rider no matter what their body type is. Horses, riders, tack and clothing is not one size fits all, and manufacturers like Pro Chaps make it so we can all fit in. At the end of the day it’s not about your size as a rider, but what gives you confidence to ride.”
Author: Meredith Dinnick