A few weekends ago, I showed at Garden State Horse Show. And along with showing, I did quite a bit of shopping. If you hear sniffling it’s my wallet crying.
As horse show luck would have it, my horse came up lame approximately three days before I was scheduled to show him. We had to have my farrier out – with whom I have a very good relationship – to fix the issue. Being the good guy he is, he cancelled several of his appointments so he could come up to the horse show and see what was going on with Luther’s foot (ps. If you live in Northern New Jersey and need an amazing farrier, please let me know. My farrier is one of a kind, loyal to his customers, knows his you-know-what, and I won’t let anyone else touch my horses’ feet – for real.)
My farrier ended up finding a heel split as well as a bruise on Luther’s right front toe. He switched his shoes to give him extra support, and we had our fingers crossed that Luther would be sound by the weekend (I knew he wouldn’t be, but a girl can dream.)
I got up to the show grounds a little bit after my farrier left. He called me to let me know what happened and then said that my new barn manager had taken him to this tent with all of these fancy jackets (he couldn’t remember the name), and she really loved the training one they were offering. However, she couldn’t afford to spend the money on it right now. My farrier wanted to get a group of people together to get it for her as a “barn warming” gift, since we never got her anything to getting her own facility – even though I may not have been involved because I got there about a month after she moved in.
However, my barn manager welcomed me and my trainer with open arms, was always extremely supportive and included us in show plans, and had offered to allow me to ride not one but two of her horses when Luther came up lame. Among other things, she’s a pretty great person, someone I feel I could be friends with – and on top of that, she is an extremely talented rider and trainer. (Editor’s Note: I have since decided to ride and train with my new barn manager full-time due to my own personal goals and ambitions. I took two lessons with her after my horse came up lame at the horse show, and she allowed me to ride one of her horses in my very first show class at Garden State – at which I would have pinned had I not had an unfortunate swap at the canter. I decided it was best for my career to move on from my old trainer, and my old trainer had taken on a project that would have severely limited her time and ability to train me the way she was previous to her new project).
We decided to take a walk to the tent so I could see the jacket she wanted. She knows I also love shopping, so this was her way of getting me involved (and torturing my wallet). The tent ended up being Charles Ancona.
My barn manager showed me the jacket she wanted, and I impulse decided I wanted one too. The individual running/watching the Charles Ancona tent was extremely attentive, helpful, and accommodating. He explained everything to us, knew what he was talking about, and wanted us to leave as happy, satisfied customers. I will go through each product I tried – and subsequently bought (insert the monkey emoji with his hands over his mouth and eyes; oh, and the one with the money flying away).
Charles Ancona Training Jacket
I ended up trying on the training jacket, and I fell in love. It is extremely fashionable, form fitting, and – to put it simply – amazing. It comes in several colors. Only two are available online, but from what I saw, they also had a black and white version at the tent as well as a hunter green style. I decided I loved the hunter green.
The jacket also has side zippers that you can open and close. The sleeves are tapered in a way so that they cover the tops of your hands, but don’t hinder you while you are riding. It zips up all the way, and it has a nice collar in the back that has the Charles Ancona name on the back. There are also two pockets on each side.
After trying the jacket on and seeing myself in it, I had to have one. The material is stretchy, allowing for maximum flexibility when doing barn work or riding. Everything about this jacket is just amazing.
I will not lie – the jacket is expensive. This is a splurge. Sticker price was $345, so obviously not everyone can afford to spend all of that money on a jacket. However, I will say it is worth the money. I can see myself wearing this jacket on those up and down spring days, cool summer mornings, crisp fall evenings, and even into the winter (though a layer or two would probably be advisable – see below for the scoop on the Charles Ancona insulated vest). I’m sort of dying to either get another one in white or in black. My only issue with the white is how easily it will pick up dust and dirt.
For those of you dying to see the jacket, you can check out a front & back view below.
While there, I tried on two vests. One was insulated whereas the other wasn’t. I have a weakness for riding vests. Actually, I think I have a weakness for anything horse-related. I love what I love, and I love to look fashionable while riding/being around horses/hanging around at a show or at the barn.
Charles Ancona Insulated Vest
While I was at the tent, the staff member had me try on different vests, jackets, etc. All of this was terrible for my wallet because I have zero self-control – especially when it comes to anything horse and fashion related.
There are two vests available – one made of regular, stretchy material like the training jacket. The training jacket and the training vest are extremely similar. To me, it was more practical to purchase the insulated vest. It is somewhat similar to a cooler for horses. I could use it on a cool summer morning and take it off once it got warm, or I could use it to layer when it’s bitter cold out.
I love vests, and I definitely needed that particular one. Okay – maybe not needed, but I did want it. They did not have my size in the tent, so I have to wait abut 4 – 6 weeks for it arrive which I don’t mind given that it is insulated, and it’s almost June. Once I receive it, I will be writing a review.
Charles Ancona Show Jacket
Disclaimer: I did not have the intent of purchasing a show jacket at Garden State. I had already been going through the struggle with Dover trying desperately to find something that find me right. The 10 was too big whereas the 8 was almost too small. I am 5′ tall, 93 pounds, so I am sometimes difficult to fit – especially when it comes to apparel that comes in either a stock size or in a custom fit option.
The day prior, my (now old) trainer had tried on some Charles Ancona show jackets and came to the conclusion that she would need a completely custom jacket that had one size for the body, one size for the arms, etc. A custom jacket runs about $1,000. Eek. I have always wanted a Charles Ancona jacket, but I figured that was a purchase to come far in the future. Plus, I wasn’t expecting to be in his tent two days in a row.
On day two, my biggest mistake? Asking the person running the tent if I could try on a jacket.
The Charles Ancona staff member tried me in one jacket, but it was a bit too small. Uh oh. Was I going to have to go completely custom too? Then he tried me in another size. It fit like a glove to where everyone stopped talking and stared.
I knew that I had heard the price of the jacket a million times, but I think part of me blocked it out, personally because I didn’t think I would be buying a show coat or even in the position to buy one.
However, here’s the thing: If you find a show jacket that fits you, especially if you are hard to fit, don’t let go of that jacket.
That was the tough decision I had to make. I concluded that if I returned the two jackets I got from Dover, my wallet would somewhat recover so I could purchase the Charles Ancona jacket. Obviously I ended up getting it, which you probably already know if you a. know me in real life; b. follow me on Twitter; or c. follow me on Instagram.
The jacket itself is extremely flattering, and it fits me like a glove. Everything about it is perfect (which it should be for over $800). The material isn’t too stretchy, but it also isn’t too rigid. Additionally, the material was thin enough so that I wasn’t dying sweating in the sun, but it wasn’t so thin that someone would freeze to death on a cold winter’s day.
The jacket is well-made, looks and feels beautiful, and I never want to take it off. It is super stylish and flattering. It’s one of those show pieces that could totally double as regular riding attire, if everyone thought that show jackets were just regular jackets.
Above you can see the jacket on me. The wind was blowing in the back photograph, so it was hard for Lindsay to get one without my jacket vents flying in the air. However, I think you get the gist of what I am saying.
Another huge plus to the jacket is that is is machine washable. I don’t have to send it to be dry cleaned every time it gets dirty. I can just throw it in the wash on the delicate or hand wash cycle, and in about 40 minutes, I have a like new, clean, crisp show jacket. No waiting for the cleaners to bring my clothes back, and I’ll certainly be saving money. Plus, there have been times where I’ve forgotten to send stuff to the cleaners and been extremely mad when I remembered. That doesn’t have to happen with this jacket!
For those of you wondering, sticker price of an off-the-rack Charles Ancona jacket (what I got because one of his off-the-rack stock sizes miraculously fit me) is about $865. If you go custom, it runs upwards of $1,000. Like I said about the training jacket, it is completely and 100% worth it. You are paying for good quality services and good quality products.
I would like to give a special thank you to Charles Ancona and his staff for assisting all of us at the Garden State Horse Show! We are happy customers, and we can’t stop rockin’ our Charles Ancona baseball hats.