New Breeches Bring Riding Pants into the 21st Century; Featured Rider at Rolex KY 3 Day Event Picks FITS
Fun In The Saddle
During her 24 years in apparel product development, Sheryl Rudolph learned hands-on about the highly competitive, creative world of top athletic wear designers--Nike, Adidas, Speedo, Arcteryx and Jantzen, among others. Such companies have long recognized that gear matters for top performance.
As an amateur dressage rider, Sheryl also knew first-hand about the shortcomings of standard riding breeches for equestrian athletes: poor comfort…difficulty in fitting them into tight boots…the “diaper” appearance of full-seat riding pants…chafing from seams in the wrong places…lack of fabric breathability…not enough “stickability” in the saddle.
For years, she toyed with the idea of a new design for riding pants. It took a nudge from her terminally-ill father to actually go for it. In 2005, Sheryl took what she knew, assembled a world- class design team, and went about reengineering the classic riding breech.
“My team didn’t come at the problem from a ‘only looks matter’ perspective,” recalls Rudolph, Fun In The Saddle, Inc.’s (FITS) founder and president. “We researched the physics of riding and analyzed the spectrum of fabrics and sewing technologies. We were looking for the design that would help every rider perform and feel better, in addition to looking smart.”
The result: FITS PerforMAX™ breeches, the company’s flagship product. Since their introduction in 2005, the patent-pending pants have earned accolades from endurance, jumper, trail, and elite three-day eventing riders, among others. “In three-day eventing, the rider encounters challenges from six-foot drop fences to the tightly-controlled sitting trot in the dressage ring,” explains top Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event 2007 contender Sara Mittleider, a 21-year-old riding phenomenon who has been on the U.S. Equestrian Team short list. “Having breeches with good tackiness is essential when you are taking off at a 90 degree corner jump on a thousand pound horse, or making a water crossing on the cross-country course. I’m wearing FITS’ breeches for the Rolex 3DE because of the advantage they give me. They provide good protection, they’re light, they breathe well, and they’re good and tacky so they’re not slippery on the saddle.” The only four-star event in the Western Hemisphere, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the premier competition for the top horses and riders in eventing.
Riders of all disciplines are taking note of FITS breeches’ unique attributes:
- Comfort. Rather than one piece of leather, FITS breeches feature unique, segmented leather panels that allow maximum freedom of motion. The gusseted crotch lets riders sit more deeply in the saddle and has no center seam, eliminating chafing and binding. Powernet fabric at the calf makes getting in and out of your boots easier, keeps your legs cooler, and increases leg contact with your horse. Moisture-wicking fabrics mean you can ride longer in more comfort. Notes Rolex hopeful Mittleider, “Most breeches rub you where the knee contacts the saddle. I always had open saddle sores at the knees, but not with FITS breeches.”
- Stickability. Tiny perforations in the genuine leather seat and knee patches create more surface resistance against the saddle. Riders get better grip and superior breathability in a machine-washable breech.
- Flattering Fit. The Powernet four-way-stretch ab panel (patent pending) wraps from hip to hip, providing tummy and core support. The lycra and twill construction even camouflages cellulite!
“Would you believe I grew up in a family business and SWORE I never wanted to own my own business?” Rudolph jests. “But I couldn’t find a pair of decent-fitting, comfortable, full-seat breeches so I started my own company to get a pair. Nuts, huh?” Rudolph will be running her own show for the foreseeable future. FITS is on track to double sales this year with a line of riding apparel that now includes all-season and winter breeches, technical shirts, stock ties and other accessories.
FITS is the featured product line at the Gallops Saddlery exhibit at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington, KY, April 26-29, 2007. Sara Mittleider will sign autographs at the booth during the show. Call 503-703-5722 for autograph times.
Digital product photos, Sheryl Rudolph bio and additional testimonials available on request. FITS riding apparel is available in 36 states and Canada, and on the web at www.FITSriding.com. Or call 1.888.360.3487 to find a local retailer.