Tech - Life was better back in the day
BUT WAS IT THOUGH?
DEVELOPMENT OF ARTIFICIAL FIBERS AND FABRICS
Most of us probably know the expression "life was better back in the day". But while riding Esteban through the forest my thoughts wandered to a time long ago.
25 Years ago, I 'rescued' my first horse from the riding school by buying her for myself. I remember wearing spurs, just because they were part of the outfit those days. Riding around without wearing a helmet. How my horse got stacks of blankets in the stables. Putting on non-breathable leg protection.
Bitfitting, saddle fitting, flexchair, it did not exist back in the day. But thankfully times have changed! Of course, things can always be improved when working with horses, but there is so much more awareness and technology than ever before.
SPORTS APPAREL HAS CHANGED AS WELL
In the late 50s, the US company Du Pont invented the first synthetic fiber: Spandex. The motivation behind this was the need for a better alternative to rubber in women’s underwear and hosiery. Spandex announced the start of a new industry around artificial fibers and fabrics.
And I am very happy with this invention. Because, if I go back in time again, I remember going to my mare Xaviera almost every day. I did not own a car, so I had to ride my bicycle from work or home to the stables. Rain or shine, I had to go to Saaf (as I called her lovingly). And once I was done riding, I really needed to swap my (cotton) undershirt for something dry. It would have been terribly cold if I rode my bike back home in a wet, cold and clammy shirt.
So, once I discovered the technical base layers that were being sold in outdoor shops, I could not be more excited. The outdoor apparel brands were light years ahead of the equestrian brands in terms of fabrics and finish.
I didn’t need to swap my shirt anymore, but I was also more comfortable during riding. For instance, if I stopped my activity for a minute, the cotton started to feel cold almost instantly. The new base layer with (sometimes partly) artificial fibers wicked the moisture away, so I was feeling much less cold or uncomfortable.
Another great piece of gear I found in my outdoor shop was a windstopper vest and/or jacket. Related to the chill factor, a windproof layer stops your base layer from getting too cold too fast. Super light to wear and super in breathability. The windstopper vest that I bought was actually designed for cycling, but the fit was also fine for equestrian purposes.
At some point I also started to look at some techy underwear. Quite an important piece of ‘soft’ equipment for any horse rider. The outdoor shop did have a range of underwear made from for instance Merino wool or Polyester/wool blends. So, the fabrics were better than my regular cotton undies as it wicked the moisture away from my bum and kept my skin dry. This was a huge leap forward for me. Especially on those 3+ hour rides! Those cotton ones tore me apart….literally.
Since my ‘discovery’, new technologies have resulted in even better fabrics. Even more waterproof, even more breathable, better moisture wicking, more stretch, softer feel.
For our Breezy Boxer we use a combination of Polyamide and Polypropylene. PP is a remarkable fiber which we use on the inside of our Breezy Boxer. This fiber is extremely hydrophobic (repells water), super light and very breathable.
This means the inside of the underwear does not retain any water, but expels it to the outside layer. This keeps your skin dry and free from any sores.
In addition to having great features for active wear, the fiber is also bacteriostatic and anti-allergic, making it great for using in underwear.
Click here to read more about DriRide™.