Thursday, August 7, 2008

Change: Somtimes It's Just Not Right

Jodhpurs Picture Courtesy of Wikimedia

Jodhpurs Photo from American Import Export, LTD
This is more like it!

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia
These riding breeches look more like ski pants than the romantic equestrian jodhpurs of my day.

Out of desperation, I searched for and found a pattern for jodhpurs, however, they don't appear to have the voluminous silhouette of yore.
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If you live as long as I have, you will experience many changes in your personal landscape. Some changes will delight you and you embrace them; some you'll just have to roll with; but some changes just aren't right and you are compelled to dig your heels in and refuse to bow to them.

Now take jodhpurs (if you can find them!). When I was young, I had English riding lessons at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was rumored that my riding master, a retired U.S. Army man, had played on General Patton's polo team. In any event, he required that proper riding attire be worn to each lesson: the knee high leather riding boots; the black velvet riding helmet; a correct shirt and finally, the jodhpurs. Jodhpurs, those wildly romantic breeches that officers of the cavalry wore; the ones amorous Argentinian polo players sported; not today's skin-tight pants that make you look like a skier. Rather the ones with the generous volumes of fabric around the thighs and the little button-on elastic stirrup that fits under each foot, inside the knee-high, black leather English riding boots.

After years of not having been near a horse, I decided to take up riding again. So Tall Husband and I found a store that sold English tack and apparel, not an easy place to find in Texas. When I was shown the selection of "jodhpurs" that looked more like leggings, I asked to be shown "the real riding pants." The clerk looked puzzled when I described them and asked, "Where have you been lady?"

When it finally sank in that there were no real jodhpurs to be had; that the romance had gone out of riding, I was devastated. What else in the world had changed that I had not noticed? "This is just not right," I declared to Tall Husband and we went in search of romance.

We located a shop that specialized in reproduction of the look of yesteryear. I described the breeches to the young manager and drew her a sketch. She was excited about them, promising to see what she could do. It took a season, but her company came up with a reasonable facsimile of the jodhpurs. She called me to give me the news and I immediately went to her shop and bought a pair. Yes, one pair because that's all they had left. She said the minute they went on display, they sold out. I was so happy to hear that there were women with a sense of adventure and romance left in the world. One pair would do just fine!

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