To wear or not to wear? Will my fashionable riding gloves stand up to the rigors of REAL riding?
I am faced, for the first time since I left for my freshman year of college, with a “What to Bring List.” If you have spent the last decade either composing such lists for others or avoiding events that involve them (at all costs), then you are likely unfamiliar with my current restive, stressed, and dare-I-say harried state. Do I have what I need? Is what I have good enough? Will what I wear label me and therefore ensure my week-long bliss or (far more likely) completely undo me at the outset?
I have various forms of the requisite riding gear. This includes britches, chaps, paddock boots, and hats. I have a raincoat (streetwear, but it will survive) and rain pants (my husband wears them while biking). I have the water bottle, the sunglasses, the sunscreen, the swimsuit (for the blessedly present hot tub).
All of this I feel comfortable will transition from East Coast to West, from occasional-use to intense-abuse. All of this I am prepared to lay out, roll up, and pack tightly into a duffel for the trip ahead.
But then there’s the gloves.
I love my riding gloves. They’ve always elicited (complimentary) comments whenever I wear them, and I (luckily) haven’t been in any riding situations where I felt completely out-of-control and therefore foolish flaunting them. They are pink, and they are “faux” leopard skin. And they are totally fabulous.
And something tells me they’re not quite right for working cattle.
As I ponder this possibility, faced with the need to acquire “real” riding gloves somewhere between now (after closing on a Sunday) and a week-from-now (when we leave) in a city not especially known for its rugged outdoors-wear (Boston has more of a prep-scene), I’m left wondering how what’s “tough” on the street ain’t nowhere near “tough” in the saddle.
Seriously–if you met a (thirty-something) woman in the grocery store in pink leopard-skin leggings, you’d look twice (well, depending on your neighborhood) and then either shake your head, raise your eyebrows, or walk briskly the other way (again, depending on your neighborhood). But regardless of your reaction, if you spend the time to ponder the woman’s choice of fashion, you’d likely think her daring, dangerous, or perhaps misguided…but on the edge nonetheless.
I might call such a woman just a little bit “tough.”
But the same color and print encasing your hands on a horse in Wyoming?
I’m willing to bet that’s nowhere NEAR tough enough.
My guess is I’ll take them, along with my pillow and my toothbrush and the hairdryer I will never use (ah, sweet memories of summer camp), and maybe by Friday I’ll feel comfortable enough amongst my peers and in the saddle to let my true colors–as daring, dangerous, and misguided as they are–show.
We’re getting close!
–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor, Trafalgar Square Books