Just Call Me Sausage Legs
By Cindy Hale
Thursday, May 10, 2011
Really? These are supposed to comfortably fit a grown woman?
Danny and I have a ritual. Every Wednesday I ride him across town a few blocks and meet with my longtime pal Debbie. We ride hunt seat together, spending part of our time working our horses in the arena and part of the time strolling around side-by-side, chatting non-stop as only horsewomen can. I suppose I enjoy these weekly interludes because it’s not only my chance to spend time with Debbie, but also because I get to reconnect to all those years (okay, decades) I spent riding hunt seat. True, I’m not going to compete again. But it’s nice to put to use all that stuff I have ingrained into my soul: trotting in a two-point, galloping in a half-seat, and keeping my leg still against the side of my horse, even though I’m held in place by nothing more than a few skimpy scraps of saddle leather.
Unfortunately, this rediscovered passion for riding hunt seat presented a new problem: I didn’t have any English riding clothes. I got rid of all that when I stopped showing. Though I tried to make do with a pair half-chaps slapped over a pair of jeans, I soon came to realize that my physique was not going to cooperate with such an ensemble. Let’s just say I was rubbed raw in a few too many “sensitive” areas. Despite a vow to stick to a strict horsekeeping budget, the jeans had to go. Thus began the search for a pair of comfortable yet affordable breeches for my weekly foray into English riding.
I browsed the aisles of my local tack stores. I flipped through the pages of catalogs. I queried my English-riding gal pals. Then I ignored all that and, based on recommendations from a collection of what seemed like truthful, earnest online product reviews, I ordered a pair of breeches from a well-known purveyor of tack and riding apparel. I chose a pair that was modestly priced, in a Plain Jane navy blue (less likely to reveal horse goobers), and crafted in heavy weight cotton enhanced with a dose of stretch.
What arrived was this surprisingly little article of… clothing. Yes, it was cut in the shape of pants, because I could definitely see two legs. But instead of looking like a garment designed for horseback riding it looked more like a pair of leggings a ballerina would wear during pointe class. Plus, both front and back looked identical, with little room to accommodate anatomical bends and bulges. Wasn’t it taken into consideration that horsewomen do, indeed, have derrieres? I pulled the fabric in opposing directions. Thanks to the Lycra, spandex or whatever manmade material provided stretching capabilities worthy of a Marvel superhero, the breeches did seem to expand exponentially. Maybe they would fit. Maybe I would look fashionably correct next Wednesday. Maybe I didn’t spend my hard-earned horse money on clothing I’d never have the guts to wear in public.
I took a big gulp, closed my eyes and prepared for battle. I was going in.
I stuck my foot all the way down one leg opening, and had the bizarre feeling that this must be what it’s like when my sister’s Jack Russell terrier snakes his way down a rabbit hole. Sensing victory, I put my other foot in, grabbed hold of the rubberized waistband, and pulled. Remarkably, the seams didn’t rupture. I didn’t faint due to circulatory collapse, either. Nope. Though I looked a little bit like those homemade sausages I saw last night on Food Network, I was in fact wearing my new pair of breeches. I bent down. I did a few deep knee bends. I squatted in a faux two-point position and mimicked posting the trot. Despite my initial misgivings, they fit!
Thankfully, now I can ride comfortably on Wednesdays. I’ll serve as a testament to the technological advances in modern riding apparel design and a horsewoman’s unyielding determination to squeeze into that which she has purchased.
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Just Call Me Sausage Legs