Products tested – ladies’ breeches, paddock boots and polo shirt
I wore these products for around six weeks, riding on average five times a week for up to four hours at a time. I wore them in a range of weather conditions and washed/cleaned them regularly as usual. I also carried out the usual stable duties such as mucking out, grooming etc and sometimes had the shirt and breeches on all day.
Breeches: I really liked these breeches. Features include two rear pockets, two front pockets, ‘sticky bum’ design down to the knee, belt loops and elastic inserts at the ankle. They’re made from a mix of spandex, bamboo and nylon and can be washed at 40 degrees. The design features a discreet logo in silver thread on one rear pocket. The colour is olive green which is unusual and stylish – and also practical! The material is sturdy and the breeches gave me a ‘supported’ feel without being restrictive. The fit was excellent, considering I hadn’t had the opportunity to try them on! I’m a fairly standard 10/12 but I occasionally find that breeches are too low rise for me and aren’t comfortable. These SB International breeches were generously cut without being baggy and they washed and dried well. The ‘sticky bum’ design is ideal for giving a little extra grip in the saddle as my mare can be a little sharp! I found the front pockets a really useful size – deep enough to hold a car key safely but not bulky. I don’t tend to use breeches pockets much except for tissues but I did find myself using these! The inclusion of 32% bamboo in the fabric meant they were cool and breathable, too.
Boots – size – 38. Colour – brown This was a neat, workmanlike pair of short leather boots, with lacing but also zips at the back for easy access. The sole is moulded to give a shaped look on the instep which makes them look contemporary. There’s a lot of nice detailing too, including a spur rest and leather toe cap. I didn’t muck out in these but otherwise wore them for several hours at a time, including walking the dog. They were a very slightly large fit, so ideal for wearing with a thick pair of socks if you suffer from cold feet! Otherwise they performed well. They sit comfortably above the ankle bone and the leather felt flexible. They looked smart as well, I’d have been happy to wear them to the shops with jeans. I have fairly standard size feet and these were a perfect width on me. I cleaned them a couple of times during the trial period by brushing off loose mud, wiping with a damp cloth then applying boot polish and they came up well each time.
Polo shirt – This is a neat, smart, lightweight polo shirt suitable for summer use or as a base layer. It’s made from nylon and spandex with an aertex look, and features included a zip with black trim at the neck, neat ‘zip guard’ of fabric to prevent rubbing and the ‘SB International’ logo on the right breast. I think this shirt could potentially be a very useful part of the rider’s wardrobe. I was testing in March and April when it was too cold to wear it on its own as it’s very lightweight and breathable, but it worked well as a base layer. The white colourway is very slightly see-through so you do have to think about your underwear options! Also, I wondered if the design was unisex as it’s fairly straight cut from armpit to waist. It is very comfortable, though, and if you like a slightly looser fit for summer then it’s ideal. I liked the zip at the neck which made it look smart and altered the look depending on how you wore it. It washed very well and dried practically within minutes! I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of this in the summer.