Squeezing into The Chaps…

For my fellow competitors that can relate! The struggle is real when you love carbs as much as I do, have the metabolism of a grizzly bear in hibernation, and are optimistic/delusional enough to believe that beer and Halloween candy will not affect your pants size. If you are an equestrian on a budget, and I use the term “budget” loosely when talking about anything involving horses, show clothes are expensive. I’m also attracted to brands and designers that cost a kidney plus your firstborn. I shop around until I find something a little less pricey meaning I’m only giving up the kidney, but still enough of a sacrifice that I don’t intend to make the purchase every year. Offspring has a college fund after all, and I’m not exactly going to World level competitions.

Hunter and eventing styles are pretty classic. If you don’t follow every little trend, and purchase quality, well-fitting pieces, they can last you years, if not decades. Western disciplines (excluding ranch classes), not so much. Western fashion has changed significantly in my lifetime, and a lot of items go out of fashion after two to three years at most. Western fashion is also infinitely more expensive than hunter and eventing apparel. The two items that remain relatively constant in western fashion though are cowboy hats and chaps. While I’ve never struggled to maintain my hat size, my chap size is a whole other story.

Coming right off the greatest low-carb dieting streak of my life, determined to not only return to pre-pregnancy weight, but aiming for high school barbie instead, I was the smallest I’d been in a decade when I began the search for my current chaps. My high school schooling chaps that were snug back in the day actually fit me loosely! I was beyond ecstatic to be shopping for show clothes again. I picked the most unforgiving chap color in terms of keeping clean, and well white/cream colors do nothing to make you look smaller. If anything, cream accentuates every dimple on your A$$ and thighs, but it sure stands out in the show ring! In a sea of black chaps and hats (worn by considerably more sensible/realistic competitors) cream chaps with matching hat screams “Look at me!”. This is good for catching the judge’s eye, but bad if he/she is drawn to your ensemble during a “bobble” moment (we have a lot of those). No worries, Odessa and I are just there to look good for the spectators anyway…ALL five of them.

My show chaps have been both the bane of my existence and the most motivational clothing purchase ever. I was overly optimistic regarding my ability to maintain my post-pregnancy-diet habits and weight. This error in judgement began a cycle of eat low carb long enough to squeeze into my chaps for a show, go back to enjoying life until about two weeks before the next show, and then panic/exist off of a liquid diet of black coffee until show time. My diet success is judged by whether I am able to zip my own chaps, or require Darling Husband’s assistance which comes with his own brand of comedic commentary. I’m just going to say it, no matter how great I look or how great skinny feels, the world is less sparkly without carbs in it. Unfortunately the love affair between me and carbs is mutual, because once consumed carbs cling to me like a spider monkey. Sadly the phrase “you can’t out run your fork” is true. I prefer vigorous exercise and manual labor to giving up carbs/portion control . I’ve voluntarily/successfully completed three full marathons in my life, 26.2 miles baby, but life is not fair.

“The Chaps” (because they’ve now taken on a life of their own) challenged me to maintain a certain size the majority of last year. They hung in the closet shaming me for every single sweet bite I took. This year however, I skipped a competition for a wedding and the wedding did not provide ample motivation to rein in my carb addiction. This free for all of ice cream, frito pie (this is seriously the ambrosia of Texas), Mexican food, and beer has continued for way to long, and there will be consequences for my unbridled, delinquent behavior. While I have both “fat me” and “skinny me” clothes hanging in my closet, I only have The Chaps. So panic is setting in a month early! In my soul I know I can’t out run the fork, but I decided adding a pre-work 5K run into my morning routine in addition to riding and training couldn’t hurt. I’m still climbing on and falling off the low carb/keto wagon, but I know “The Chaps” won’t fail me. I just need to drag them out and try them on in front of a mirror again (and very soon!) so they can give me the kick in the now significantly larger a$$ that I need. I may need to install a place for them to hang in the pantry as a reminder that we have goals!

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