Writing about products seems like an obvious, even an inevitable step for a blogger. It was always a part of my plan for Dressage Perspectives but I wanted to find an approach that I was really comfortable with. I started by thinking about the products that I use, as a dressage rider, on a day to day basis.
The first product that sprang to mind was my Roeckl Chester riding gloves. The incredible popularity of Roeckl gloves among high level riders in all disciplines speaks for itself; their list of sponsored dressage riders is a roll call of classical and competitive experts. Now, I am not one of that select group and I’m not writing this in the hope of free gloves by the way; lovely as that would be!
I have used Roeckle gloves for everyday training and for competition for almost twenty years now, they are the only brand I will buy. When I go shopping for riding equipment I always go alone, to say I am picky doesn’t even begin to describe the experience. I believe in excellence, that somewhere out there is a perfect version of each item I need.
What I look for in a riding glove is for it to feel like a second skin, to be able to forget it is even there. Perfect contact with the mouth of the horse is about the right riding style and the right bit of course, but it is also about the gloves and the reins you choose. These details really do matter when you are devoted to getting it right.
I work with my horses in hand a great deal and not only do these gloves give me the same sensitive contact as when I ride, they offer great emergency traction if horses are playful and pulling. Although very fine, they have protected my hands effectively on the few occasions that a line was pulled quickly from my hand. There is no additional ‘sticky’ on the palms or fingers to add bulk, the fabric itself offers all of the grip required. Critically, it does not offer excessive grip, which can be very irritating.
The longevity of these gloves is a feature that matters to me. Back when I was riding at least five or six horses a day, which is pretty heavy wear and tear on riding gloves, I found a single pair lasted me at the very least six months. I only ever own two pairs at a time, one for everyday and a pair for competitions, though the pretty colour combinations do tempt me to buy pairs I don’t need!
Keeping them looking good is easy; I wash them in with my laundry from time to time and air dry them. Prior to finding Roeckl I used to buy the thinnest leather gloves I could find but I certainly couldn’t machine wash those and there wasn’t the same lovely stretch over the back of the hand. When I have my hand softly closed around the reins I hate to feel even a slight pull across the knuckles – I told you I was picky! I do try on other gloves when I am in tack shops but none of them have ever rivalled Roeckle for comfort, feel or style!
If you want to give them a try you will find they are stocked by many equestrian retailers and are readily available online.
Roeckl produces a range of gloves for different sports. Their web site in English is at http://www.roeckl.de/en/