I do not like belts on a good day but have to wear them with my work clothes, riding and any other extra activity that is not lounging in my house and being lazy.
I was absolutely blown away at how comfortable they were. My husband is going to hate me because he's spent countless amount of money to buy me belts that look great for different attires-but I will come clean that my Unbelts belts are my new ONLY belts you will find in my closet.
I don't know about you, but the front of my hip bone can sometimes get uncomfortable with leather belts when I bend over, even pinch! Some belts will curve from regular wear as they stretch over time. The Unbelts do not pinch, stretch where they need to and slip fit nice and tight(depending on how you set it up). They work fantastic with all work and riding attires (I work in Emergency services and wear heavy duty cargo pants and they are phenomenal).
You guys you need to buy one to try out. I promise you it will become the best belt you have ever owned. The intrepid is even neater in design because it was silicone on the inside which makes it phenomenal with skirts of pants that don't actually have a belt loop.
Phenomenal product that every equestrian(and even non equestrian)should own.
We’ve been working for literally years on the first companion belt to the Classic. You asked us for a more rugged, technical belt that would still have the hallmarks of an Unbelt: insanely comfortable, machine washable, travel-friendly, and really, really size-inclusive.
The new Intrepid ticks all the boxes above - and we’ve added a couple of brand-new features, too. First… this is a lifetime belt. Buy it once, and we’ll repair or replace it forever. It’s our way of measuring our materials’ durability and minimizing our environmental footprint. You’ll also find some hidden bonuses like a secret pocket, a no-slip inner grip, and elastic made out of recycled water bottles.
And finally - every Intrepid is sewn in our new studio in Edmonton, Alberta, where we’re determined to create the same living-wage jobs that we’ve been so proud to sustain in our other hometown of Shanghai, China.
Unbelts was founded with two goals in mind: helping you feel great in your jeans, but also creating quality jobs for the people at the beginning of our supply chain. Why?
Because we know just how many pairs of hands it takes to bring a product to life, and have learned that with every step of our belts’ production, we have a chance to insist on better working conditions, more manageable hours, and more upward mobility for the people behind your belts.
Investing in our supply chain also results in a higher-quality product. Unbelts are made to be worn and loved for hundreds of wears - and to be repairable when they do reach the end of their first life. Designing for longevity helps us reduce our environmental impact, and having a direct relationship with our suppliers helps ensure our components stand the test of time.
Beyond "Made in _______"Unbelts founder Claire here. I'm so passionate about this subject that it's impossible for me to write about it without telling a little bit about my story.
I lived in China from 2008 to 2014. When I moved to Shanghai, I knew what reputation the “Made in China” label carried with it. Throughout my first couple of years there, though, I couldn't help but notice how many locally-produced goods were of extraordinarily high quality, and how much skill even amateur "makers" (a term that had popped up in the North American lexicon) in my neighbourhood had.
Meanwhile, on visits back to Canada, supersized stores with supersized piles of very, very cheap products were thriving - especially in the fashion industry. I just couldn't reconcile the putting-down of Chinese manufacturing with the clear reality that Western demand for huge quantities of on-trend, low-priced goods was making low quality inevitable. What would happen, I wondered, if a company was willing to pay higher wages for smaller quantities of well-made goods?
When I launched Unbelts from my living room in 2011, “Made in China” wasn’t outsourcing. It was insourcing. It was my "made local," because the women sewing our small quantities of belts lived right down the street. And as the business grew and as the global movement against fast fashion materialized, my team and I became more and more determined to show our customers that a more human-scale style of manufacturing is not only possible beyond North American borders - but necessary.
Does this mean we’ll only ever manufacture in China? Nope. Our goal is to benefit as many communities as we possibly can as Unbelts grows - and in Fall 2018, we launched a second studio. This one's in Edmonton, Alberta, and we're using the shorter turnaround times and real-time prototyping opportunity to launch our brand-new Intrepid belts. So now we've got twin studios - one in Canada, one in China - both offering living wages, stable hours, and upward mobility. In other words... we're focused on the who, not the where, and we invite you to join us as we keep learning how to make the best jobs we can.
I don't know about you guys, but I actually love cleaning my tack. I love the way leather smells and I love how soft the leather gets. Nothing beats a buttery soft bridle that is conditioned and maintained. To me your horse tack is an investment, and with the amount of money I spend on it every year, I like to do everything I can and take care of it to ensure that it will last me for years.
Other than just keeping your leather clean and supple, tack cleaning also gives you the chance to inspect your equipment and make sure that it is still in good working condition or if it needs repair or replacement. Sometimes the inspection might also show you some changes in your leather and will prompt you to change the product you are using which in turn helps prolong the life of your leather.
What I find fun(and that's where you might question my sanity) is there are so many different types of products to maintain and condition your leather. Testing new products and seeing how they will react or behave once on my leather is part of what I enjoy. It gives me the chance to see which products work well to soft, condition, shine, clean or even darken it. Just so many products to work with!
Hopefully reading this post, you will give you some inspiration to develop your own tack cleaning program.
Tips and tricks
** Got mold? make sure your tack is always clean and dry before putting it away in a closed tack box. A leather cleaning product that contains a mold inhibitor (Leather Restorers & Conditioners are examples). The can also help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew between cleanings, especially in humid climates. Breathable bags are also great to store tack.
* Always make sure to keep your cleaning and polishing sponges and clothes separate. I have 2 different large ziplock bags that I have labelled and keep a sponge and a cloth in each for their designated use.
* Always take your tack apart(bridle and breastplate) apart when you are cleaning them. Most of the dirt accumulation is in the buckles, because the dust and grim has nowhere to go.
* Soft bristle toothbrush is fantastic in getting in those tiny nooks and crannies that you otherwise would not get access to.
* Keep bit wipes in your grooming kit for easy access when you are removing tack after you ride. Makes it easy to keep your bit clean.
Cleaning: Saddle soap
Leather damage on your saddle is often a result of an unbalanced pH level. When regularly cleaned with the proper saddle soap, the fatty acids in the soap combine with the salt contained in horse sweat to keep your saddle leather’s pH levels balanced properly.
Glycerine soap works to seal the pores of the leather, giving it a like-new glossy finish and protecting it from dirt.
Conditioning: Leather conditioner
I prefer using a cloth for this step because it gives you a better tool to work the conditioner into the leather than a sponge would. Make sure to condition all surface of your leather including those hidden areas under your flaps and the underside of those saddle flaps.
Brightening bits, stirrups, buckles and name plates
Once or twice a month, you should put all of your bits into a bucket for a thorough cleaning. Use a product like Bit Therapy Effervescent Cleaner, which fizzes when added to water, and let the bits sit for 8-1 mins. They’ll come out shiny and mint-scented, even in the hard-to-reach crevices. Another option is to put your bits in the dishwasher! even your stirrups do fantastic with a regular dishwasher trip!
If you don’t have time before a show, use a polish paste like Simichrome Polish on the rings of the bit to get them shiny. Your stirrups will also benefit from this-make sure you cover all aspect of the stirrup including the bottom, underneath portion. Be sure to select a non-toxic metal polish so you aren’t dyeing the surrounding leather, and allow the polish to sit for a few minutes before buffing it away.
I am a huge promoter of these. These bridles are stunning in design and quality and offer a little something different compared to some of the bridles currently available on the market. I thought I would introduce you to some of their bridles to those of you who are new to this brand or have never heard of them.
First off they use eco-friendly leather.I think we all appreciate any company who puts some thought when creating their product on how they decrease negative effects on the environment. You can immediately appreciate the beautiful leather that is used n these bridles. Over the years I have owned many brands and and price ranges of bridles, and very few have actually met the quality that these bridles offer. To add onto that I have actually refused to buy any other type of bridle and will invest in these bridles just based on the leather quality. My oldest bridle is used 4-5 days a week for schooling and shows and still looks the same as the day it came out of it's packaging.
Next the large padded poll piece that sits behind their ears offers a wide surface area with cutouts which creates gorgeous rounded corners for the ears to sit in unobstructed. It makes it even more comfortable for the sensitive(and non-sensitive)horse and provides a wide surface area for any poll pressure that might come from the bit and the rest of the bridle.
The next really great feature is the cradle feature. The bit pieces in the reins as well as the cheek pieces have elastic cradles inside the buckles. It allows the horse some soft play without feeling it has a fixed bit in their mouth. I have absolutely loved that feature when working with young horses and even keeping trained horses soft. When you combined that feature with a soft hand, you've got very happy horses with soft mouths. Still achievable without this feature, but the perk of having this extra comfort to the horse, to me is worth having.
I have personal contact Equine Canada and a couple of judges to check any possible issues in the show ring with these. If you actually took a close look at the rule book, there is nothing mentioned about the cradles themselves. At this point they are not deemed legal in the show ring (until it is revised anyways). An easy solution to that for those days when you do show, is to simply not use the cradle portion of your buckle when you compete. There was some talk about the bridle not being legal because they do not have a throat latch, but that is false information. If there are any concerns, the bridles do come with a removable throat lash.
One of the other great features that seemed like common sense to me as to why no one has ever done this, is the snapping browbands. All their browbands snap on and off for easy change. If you like your bling like I do, this is a priceless feature.
One of the new products I have recently acquired and wanted to do a review on is the Schockemohle Lorenzini Titanio Stirrups. Waiting for my new saddle to come in and I think a new pair of stirrups will be super timing. I’ll be honest hubby takes the credit for that one because he pushed for me to spend the money on another great pair of stirrups.
I currently ride in Makebe Jump Wave Stirrups which I will also make a review of in the near future, and I absolutely love them but when I found a set of the Lorenzini stirrups this past weekend partnered up with one of my favourite brands and one of my favourite colors, it was just a match made in heaven.
I am quite excited to own Schockemohle stirrups because I love everything they make. The quality of their products is always top notch and the design of their equestrian gear and apparel always shows that extra ingenuity in their designs.
To start this off the color of the stirrups is absolutely beautiful. Very vibrant colors for those who want to have some fun with the standard silver and black for those who compete in hunter competitions or want the more classic look.The stirrups have the Schockemohle logo on one side and Lorenzini logo on the other side.
Youtuber doing a review on the stirrups below:
The height of the stirrup itself is also a little smaller than most which is once again really nice it just fits your foot better and they don’t look like a massive piece of metal hanging off your saddle. Another great feature is the slight angle of the base which helps keep your foot in a more natural position and helps promote your heel down. That style of cheese grater is also fantastic in really keeping your foot secure where it needs to be.
The weight of the stirrup is also fantastic. If you do happen to lose one of them, the weight on them helps keep it still in the right spot for you to easily find and get back. I found it to be a little heavier than a standard stirrup. Heavier than a regular steel stirrup but definitely not a composite stirrup. The balance of the stirrup itself is perfect
Having had flex stirrups in the past and having enjoyed the flexibility and softness they offer, going back to a solid base has been really nice. I think you forget how beneficial it is to have a solid base when you are going over bigger fences. That is one thing I have really enjoyed with these stirrups is that solid base that they give you. My leg position is still perfect where it needs to be, solid yet with a great angle to soften your ankle just enough. They ride very similar to my Makebe Jump Wave Stirrups(which are also phenomenal).
Overall I think it’s a great stirrup iron. The weight, the narrow base, height and colors are just gorgeous. They feel very secure and comfortable for long rides. I would purchase them again and recommend them to anyone wanting a classy stirrup that will provide a lot of support. I would rate these a solid 4.5/5!
The weather was not in our favour this year unfortunately but we still had the chance to have some phenomenal rides. Super grateful for the great people who run our club. Excited to get going again next year.