Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Your Mileage May Vary: Thoughts on Hoof Boots

You can say this about most topics in endurance: Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). But there are some people in this sport (as in all great passions) for whom the answer is My Way or the Highway (MWOTH). 

There is no single right answer for electrolytes, conditioning schedules, nutritional supplements or behavioral training. With any method, YMMV.

He's gotten a bit pudgy over the winter. We are two of a kind.

So you gotta feel bad for the newbies. Some poor 19-year-old posts to your Facebook group “Which is better, hoof boots or shoes?” and the entire board braces for impact as the MWOTHers come out to play.

When I read the passionate responses, nay, declarations, of the MWOTHers, I can’t help but think how lucky they have been to find a solution that works so well for them they are willing to pretend it’s the only possible one. Because I will tell you something about my experience with horses: They are all really different. 

Blue is in boots because shoes didn’t work for him. That is the only reason. If I thought I could put him in shoes tomorrow and not immediately have problems, I would sooo do it. Why? Because boots are a  &^$&@#$-ing hassle, pure and simple. They are fussy and inconvenient—just one more thing to worry about on the trail… where I have enough to worry about already, thanks very much.

My conditioning ride this weekend was a perfect example of why boots might not work for some people. All I can say is thank goodness I was riding alone.

Every little thing he does is tragic. Oh, horses. Do they ever stop hurting themselves? 


Had Blue been in shoes, this little scrape (looks much worse than it is—it was basically a glorified rug burn) would have required nothing more than a smudge of Neosporin. Because he is in boots, and the boots have a gaiter, and the gaiter sits exactly on top of this scrape, a bit more elaborate booting protocol was needed.

That’s athletic tape on top of vetwrap on top of gauze on top of desitin on top of Neosporin. No big deal. And PS: It barely budged through our whole ride, including through miles of fetlock-high mud and two trips though a stirrup-high water crossing.

The aftermath: filthy, but still quite functional.

Trial and (plenty of) error. As part of the ongoing thrush drama, I decided to try padding Blue’s front boots to give him a little more cushion and support. I am not convinced they make a significant difference in his comfort level or his way of moving, but I will tell you one thing. They sure change the way the boots fit.

Or don't.

You wouldn’t think that 6mm of soft padding would cause such a fuss. At least, you wouldn’t if you were me. And then you would be surprised by just how much fuss it was as you kept having to dismount to put the boot back on.

Are they still on? 1-2-3-4 GO! Something that I never did in my shoe days was stop and check that all four shoes were still nailed on after a tricky obstacle. Now I do it every time. And when I say “stop and check” I mean STOP and check. I don’t know how else to confirm the boots are there than to stop the freight train, lean over in the saddle and count to four.

Steady-state riding. What’s that? In his book 4th Gear Endurance, Dennis talks about steady-state riding, which basically means asking the horse to go at a consistent pace that is right on the threshold of his ability. For Blue that is a sustained 10mph trot. And we might have been able to do that this weekend if his footwear had been nailed on. That same front boot kept popping off, so finally I took it all the way off to get a closer look. As is turns out, it wasn’t a problem with the pad at all. The heel hardware on the gaiter had pulled through the rubber part of the boot and was basically just flopping around.

I wasn’t carrying a spare, so it was time to improvise. I washed the boot off in a large, deep puddle. (Plenty of those around.) I had my truck key tucked into my shirt, so I used it as a screwdriver to take the whole thing apart, realign the pieces and tighten it back down. 

All told, this probably took 5 minutes to fix, but it was long enough for me to feel the chill wind and decide it was time to stop bushwhacking head back to the trailer. 

I guess the moral of the story is this: Boots are not for you if frequent stops drive you crazy. You need some flexibility in your conditioning plans to allow for boot malfunction under normal circumstances. And during the transition/learning curve period, you might as well plan on not having a plan. 

We still did 13 miles of worthwhile riding on Saturday, but they were not the 13 miles that I had planned. If you have a plan and a schedule you really must keep, the boots will derail you every time.

So which is better: Boots or shoes?

Eh… no comment.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Seven Dwarves of Thrush

We’ve had a very busy few weeks between work and weather and houseguests, so I hadn’t ridden my horse in a while. How long? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m not one of those overachievers who keeps a conditioning journal. 

One of the upsides of the new barn is that everyone is in love with my horse. This means they want to ride him just for the fun of it. This means I am getting free exercise/training from people who know what they’re doing. This is very good when I wake up one weekend and realize we haven’t done a real conditioning ride since early January. 

What is not good is (are?) Blue’s feet. Those twin abscess holes, still very visible, are pretty much old news. That damage is done. What worries me now is what you see when you pick those nasty feet up off the ground. All of his frogs (except, possibly, one of the hind ones) bear more than a passing resemblance to a fine gruyere—spongy, crumbly, stinky, tender, rubbery, slimy and moist. On second thought, I won’t besmirch the good name of a tasty dairy product. Let’s call these the Seven Dwarves of Thrush.  

In the mud pits of February, these little guys always show their ugly faces. And fighting them is a constant, exhausting battle in Blue’s case. For some reason, things are especially bad this year. It might be the new environment and whatever microbial life is in the mud here that wasn’t at the last place. It might be that a very dry fall and early winter gave way to a snowstorm, followed by a deluge, followed by above-average temperatures. Could be that I’m still trying to adjust Blue’s diet to work in a place where I don’t have as tight control over what he’s getting as I used to. Many possibilities.

Regardless of the cause, the result has been multiple frog blowouts and great flaps of rotten tissue to carve out of his already not-so-great feet. I shudder to think what it will look like when those wall abscesses grow down to the sole too. GAH. GAAAAAAAAAHHHH.

But even this year’s megathrush seems fairly run of the mill compared to Blue’s poor, flinchy back. Boy does not want me to put the saddle on him. He also would prefer not to be brushed with anything firmer than a feather duster. 

Coming down the long hill at Hardy Creek on Sunday, he was pretty much unwilling to go faster than a mincing trudge. Tiny, slow steps, the very opposite of his attitude going upwards an hour before or his usual downhill scramble back toward the trailer. I have suspected for a while that the Specialized was starting to dig him just below the point of the shoulder on the left side, and this increasing sourness at saddling (imperceptibly gradual, but after a few weeks away from him to gain sufficient perspective, the tail wringing and outright avoidance this weekend was very obvious) and wincing down the hill pretty much proves it as far as I’m concerned. Time to get out the shims again. Probably it was time to do that a long time ago, but it is so hard for me to tell if the saddle is doing what it’s supposed to or not. 

When the sweat marks all look great, but your horse is doing his best Bartleby the Scrivener impression, what does that mean?

I feel like the icing on the cake was a few nights ago when I went out to do a serious thrush treatment. I was planning a wash/soak with antibacterial Dawn dishsoap (thanks for the tip!) followed by betadine. They say you have to be careful with betadine because it can dry out the hooves. I can't imagine ANYTHING  drying them out right now. Hair dryer? Heat gun? Nuclear blast?

So anyway, I got out there all excited to do something productive on the thrush front, and I find my horse has one eye swollen shut. If you're a Facebook friend of mine, you've probably seen the photo of the abrasion on his eye. Happy to report that he's back to his normal appearance now, thanks to just under a week of atropine, antibiotics and banamine. Only time will tell if there has been lasting damage to his vision. :(

I feel like if Blue was a human, CPS would have taken him away a long time ago. “Your child has hoof rot and a sore back and the same time... and now you've been poking him in the eye with a stick? Ma’am, please step away from the animal.”

Seriously, please don’t report me. I’m working on this.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 PNER Convention: “The year of the hoof”

Officially, this year’s convention theme was “Hobby or addiction?” —and while that is a really valid question (!), it wasn’t the one addressed by the majority of our speakers. Instead we were treated to a wonderful assortment of talks about hooves—anatomy, biomechanics, lameness, shoe v. boot, and more.

Obviously, these topics are relevant to my interests. Sadly, I found myself leaning over to Heather all too often and saying “Blue’s are actually worse than that” when one of our esteemed speakers showed a picture of what they would call “extreme aberration” of hoof angles. Whatever those pictures showed, make them 25 percent worse and you’re talking about Blue.

And it wasn’t just the weak angles. It was the narrow frogs, the contracted heels, the crushed tubules, the bruises and, now, the abscesses. 

I find myself in an almost permanent state of apology for Blue’s hooves. My new farrier, who came along as an accessory to the new barn, is a barefoot guy. An Easyboot guy, even. I was excited to meet him and show him how much progress had been made and tell him what my hopes were for the year to come. But of course, these things are never as simple as I imagine them.

Farrier day arrives and I cleaned off Blue’s feet to find these.

Yes, those are twin blown abscesses. Perfectly symmetrical, twin, blown abscesses. I say that so that I can point out the one silver lining. At least they are symmetrical. My horse may be messed up, but he’s messed up evenly. Whoop dee freakin’ doo.

Hoof growth wise, it is hard to say if these date back to Foothills or OR 100. It was almost certainly one or the other. I can’t imagine a training ride being the culprit in this case. 

Chuck, the new hoof guy, was incredulous when I told him Blue is perfectly sound on everything except loose, chunky gravel. But he really is; I swear to you.

Or maybe he isn’t. Maybe all of his feet hurt equally, so they balance out and there’s no apparent limp. It could be that. 

My only solution for now is to be more diligent about using the boots everywhere except the arena. 

Now, you maybe have read Amanda’s blog about padding the inside of Easyboot Gloves. This is not what my clinical friends would call “best practice,” but I’m tempted to give it a shot after all I learned this weekend.

Hopefully, with the help of hoof guy, my own regular follow-up trimming, religious booting, improved diet and more natural living conditions, the hooves will get a chance to improve drastically this spring.

I am curious if padded boots would increase Blue’s stride back to where it was when I bought him. So I’m gonna order some and try it. I can't imagine it would hurt.

Friday, January 3, 2014

This post should have more pictures, but doesn't

Quick recap of December/January:

1. New house!
2. Christmas with the in-laws in Boise!
3. Happy New Year!
4. Strepto-pneumo-rhino sleep all day bug.

Yes, I've been sick the past couple of days, which I really hate. Enforced sloth doesn't have any of the sweet, getting-away-with-it vibes that you get from being lazy on your own terms. So I spent most of the past 48 hours in bed, mostly sleeping, mostly feeling rotten. And also really jealous of the people who are outside riding on such a nice, clear couple of winter days.

The thing about spending several days in Boise is that it reinforced to me how much better we have winter here. Well, better being relative. It is much warmer here than it was there, out in the desert. And so far, knock on wood, it has been a dry winter here too. Granted, that can be bad for people who ski or who depend on spring runoff. But for me, it means that riding is not a slog... all the more reason to be mad that I'm too sick to ride.

Recently, members of the local OET chapter had been making rumblings online about a new riding area to check out—sort of a "best kept secret" near Oregon City. Turns out there is this large logging tract about 40 minutes from my barn that is, at least for now, open to recreation. Everyone calls it Olson/Unger, which just refers to the nearest intersection. A small group of PNER riders went up there and flagged some loops of varying lengths, though the entire property is a honeycomb of nice singletrack trail and logging road. I've done my last two weekend conditioning rides there, and I absolutely love it. It's a shorter drive than Hardy creek and, so far at least, less muddy than the State Parks. I haven't taken any photos on the actual trails, but I do have a record of Blue's opinion when we finished:

Blue is doing really well at the new barn. I need to do an entire post on the new place but for now let me just tell you that being outdoors 24/7 in a sloped, moderately muddy pasture has done wonders for him when it comes to negotiating wet trails.

He's also getting more regular work now, in spite of my sickness, because Jake, the young guy who cleans stalls at the new place, is smitten with him. The owner of the barn approached me (because Blue is such a good, mellow horse) to ask if I'd let Jake take lessons on Blue. This is a win-win as far as I can tell, since it means my horse is getting supervised exercise on weekdays. Jake also likes to get him out and lunge him or take him for short "trail rides" around the pasture.

However, as Jake seems to be getting a bit attached to my horse, I'm wondering if it would be in my interest to turn this arrangement in to a formal lease. Jake has said that he would consider taking on some of the expense of putting Blue on a bit more robust supplement regimen, and that certainly wouldn't break my heart.

I could see making a contract that Jake has free use of Blue Monday through Thursday on the barn property for some amount of money (reserving weekends for me), and then adding a vet clause in case of injuries to the horse and a liability clause in case Jake hurts himself. I've never done a lease before, though, so these thoughts are in their infancy.

Have any of you been in a lease contract before? What is usual? What is important? Tell me in the comments! :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Don’t count on us

Along with neglecting my own blog, I’ve been neglecting others’ too. But fortunately I had a little time to kill the other day. I spent it cheerfully catching up with the group you see over in the righthand column.

Endurance Granny’s tale of being a pariah when asking ahead of time for a riding buddy touched a bit of a nerve with me… and also reminded me that I never really told you guys about our ride at Foothills. These topics are somewhat related.

Foothills was way back on October 19—several centuries ago in house-buying time.
It was a beautiful weekend. The weather was custom-made for riding. It was in the 60s. Sparkling sun on fall colors.

And I was escorting a newbie. (Not a junior, just a newbie.)

I have been a lot of things over the years. I have been the newbie who doesn’t know how to get through a vet check. I’ve been the one on the young, green horse. I’ve been the one on the crazy, dangerous, fire-breathing spook monster. I’ve been the one using other people as a backstop. I’ve been the one using other people to drag me along. I’ve been the person who didn’t think electrolytes were necessary. (I’ve been the one who didn’t even know what they were.) I’ve been the one who rode into camp oblivious to the hopping-lame horse. I’m the one who has fallen off… a lot. And I’ve gotten caught up riding other people’s rides instead of my own.

That last thing is why I always hesitate to commit to ride with another person.
At Foothills, I offered to escort a first-timer who had come with an experienced rider who was doing a different distance. I hoped that it would end up being a lot like my ride with Evita and Corky at OR100. A young person and an athletic horse would keep me and Blue interested and steadily moving forward.

Instead, my partner at Foothills turned out to be delightful company… and a terrible match for me and Blue.

I’m going to give you a list of some of our incompatibilities for educational purposes. These are things to think about before you try to ride with a partner.

Our horses’ gaits didn’t match up. Her horse had a slow walk and a powerful trot. Blue is pretty much the opposite. When we were walking, she couldn’t use me to block her horse’s energy because Blue kept getting ahead too far. At the trot, her horse would get frustrated at Blue’s steady 6 mph. He’d then pass us very fast before getting worried about being alone and having a mini-meltdown.

Our horses’ fitness didn’t match up. The experienced rider who brought my newbie was fairly sure that her horse could do the 25 miles, and pushed her to do the LD instead of the trail ride. I will say the little guy valiantly tried.
Unfortunately, he spent way too much energy on his racebrain at the start. There wasn’t much left at the end, and we were very close to going overtime. I put myself in a very hard position—where encouraging this newbie was pitted against my knowledge that I could easily complete the ride on time if I left her behind.

She didn’t know what to expect from her horse. As the newbie’s horse began showing signs of tiredness, she would ask me to slow down to a walk, or would get down and try to jog with him. She was waiting for his breath to even out or for him to offer energy like he had at the beginning.

I asked her what he’s normally like after a long ride like this, but she didn’t know. In much the same boat I was last year after 36 miles, she was trying to do right by the little guy without knowing if anything was wrong.

My own horse is lazy and tends to pant. That’s just the way he is; I’ve learned not to worry too much when he pretends that he is about to drop dead on the trail. So, frankly, I was annoyed to be slowing down for a horse that might or might not be in any distress. I was especially miffed because these little episodes kept happening on nice, level areas where I would have been making up time if I were by myself.

Foothills is a very cerebral ride in that you have to judge the safe places to go fast—there aren’t a whole lot. You can’t waste those opportunities if you want to complete.

We had different e-lyte protocols. Eventually, I asked her how much electrolyte she had given him because am imbalance might explain why he seemed sluggish. I think you can guess the answer. She hadn’t given any. I assumed (foolishly) that she had been using powder in his feed the same way that I did when I was new. Well, no. She was very near tears at this point as her horse seemed to be giving up… and so was she. I gave her one of my spare syringes for him. I was pretty sure that camp was nearby in case of a real emergency.

We were a personality mismatch. You might make the argument that my confidence and determination on the trail are a result of being an experienced LD rider. I tend to believe that it is more my cold-fish nature coming out in a time of stress.

I have yet to experience the emotional extremes of distance riding myself, so I don’t really know how to react when I see it happening to others.

My newbie partner was frustrated, tired, worried about her horse and just unprepared overall for the grit that distance (even relatively short distance) demands of you. I’m fairly certain she spent the last two or three miles of the ride thinking terrible things about me, my horse and our sport, glaring daggers into my back.

No, I wasn’t mean to her! But I’m also not exactly a motivational speaker. I was pragmatic:  This is roughly how far we’ve gone. This is how much is left. There is nothing I can do for you or your horse out here in the wilderness. Camp is where the real help is. It’s just a few more miles. Focus on finishing.

I could tell she really needed someone more motherly and understanding. Sorry, toots. The only way I’ve ever finished is to just keep riding.

With much cajoling, we finished with about 10 minutes to spare.
It was a relief in more ways than one.

Here’s the thing about personalities. Remember that personality test I did for work? Basically, according to the test, there are four ways a person can be. You can be any combination of them from perfectly equal to split between two to leaning hard one way.

Analyticals look at the facts to make a decision. In their world, any problem can be solved by applying the correct information. On the trail, analyticals are the people who have mentally mapped out every step of the ride and stick to the plan to achieve their stated goal.

Drivers are goal oriented in the extreme. They are always in a hurry and often make snap decisions without taking time to think things through. On the trail, this is the person who planned on riding a steady ride but throws that plan out the window to gallop into the top ten.

Amiables are your self-denying, motherly types. They just want everyone to be happy, even if they have to hurt themselves in order to help others. This is the person who stops to help an injured horse or rider, often at the cost of her own completion. Bless the amiables. They are the glue.

Expressives are your daydreamers and talkers. They lose sight of finishing because they live in the moment. On the trail, this is the person who is more interested in photo opportunities and stories of long-ago rides than keeping an eye out for ribbons.

At work, I am the only “Analytical” in my office. On the trail, I’m still an Analytical…  with serious Driver tendencies. :) The people I most often ride with tend to be Amiable and Amiable-Analytical.

Do you recognize yourself? Your friends? Your favorite riding buddy? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Excitement served cold (with a side of guilt)

I’m not the most sentimental person in the world. In fact, not too long ago they had us take this personality test at my office to help the team understand each other better because of some conflict in the workplace blah blah blah. So now in addition to knowing I’m not the most sentimental person in the world I’ve been gifted with new descriptors in black ink on white paper: analytical, unfriendly, systematic, objective, withdrawn. 

Fine, I’m a cold fish. A loner.
I’m also a pretty decent social media coordinator for whatever reason. Fake it ‘til you make it?
So anyway, I’m maybe not the best at taking other people’s feelings seriously (because, c’mon, you guys, just suck it up and stop whining). But I am sort of worried about something I have to do this week. I have to intentionally hurt someone’s feelings. I have to give notice at the barn where I board.
You see, the long radio silence on the blog has been the result of buying our first home—a process that has been better than having my fingernails removed individually with pliers but worse than taking the SATs with double pneumonia.
Other things that I have bought over the years (horses, cars, raincoats, lunch…) have been easy to acquire. I take the money that I have and give it to the other person in exchange for the thing I want. But when you buy a house, it feels like NO ONE wants your money until the day that EVERYONE wants ALL OF THE MONEY. We’ve finished the part where we go back and forth:
Please take my money.
No. Someone else gave us their money faster.
Please take my money.
No. Someone else will give us more money.
Please take my money, but first fix that obvious safety hazard.
Naw. Granpappy installed that there water heater/sauna hisself. It’d be downright unrespectful.
And so forth.
But now we’ve finally arrived at the part of the process where someone said yes. And I just write check after check after check and hope for the best.
I recognize that I am probably jinxing the whole thing by talking about it before we’ve officially closed. But that’s where we stand. If things continue on their current course, we’ll be in our new place by Thanksgiving.
Ergo, I need to move Blue. The new place is in the south ‘burbs of Portland, roughly half an hour from Salem. Silverton is another 30 minutes beyond that. I’m not driving an hour each way to ride. Sorry. No. Especially not when I am spending ALL OF THE MONEY on the house.
I’m one of those freakazoids who actually likes boarding. I know so many people who hate boarding and want their own acreage so they can do things “their way.” 
I understand that impulse. I, too, crave the freedom to have things done my way. But for me, the definition of doing things my way is “pay someone else to do the things.” My way is to leave the area on impulsive weekend trips and/or come home from work and fall asleep on the couch. All without worrying that my precious horse will starve or be standing knee-deep in his own leavings.

So I started looking for full-care board that fit my budget and was within 20 minutes of the new house (to save time and gas). I wanted access to an indoor arena, trails, daily turnout, mud-free paddocks, lessons—the whole enchilada, if I could find it.
With apologies to Allie Brosh.
Not only could I not find the enchilada, but any place that even came close to my criteria charged the same monthly fee as my mortgage. Literally. The same. 

This is partially my fault. The area we chose is kind of… ritzy. The house itself is a townhome. Not much larger than our current place. Modest. Family oriented. Close to the freeway. But the neighborhood in general? Think of the Hamptons… Beverley Hills… The Stepford Wives. Give that mental picture a light coating of soccer moms, liberal guilt and high-end chain stores.
And then laugh because Brian and I couldn’t afford to live in a more “authentic” or “gritty” neighborhood. It is much cheaper to live on the fringes of wealth.
So in this pristine suburb, I found only two possible barns that fit a reasonable number of criteria, with an emphasis on budget and convenience.
The first one I visited (option #1) was dilapidated. No other word for it. The people are nice and thoughtful; they obviously care about the horses, but the stalls are dark little caves arranged along a shockingly narrow walkway. At least each one has a small attached paddock to keep the horses from going completely nuts. The indoor arena, about a third of the size of the one at my Silverton barn, appears never to have been worked. And it is the only riding space on the small property—no trails, no outdoor arena. The turnouts looked pretty good until it was explained to me that the way they keep the grass from getting stressed is by keeping the horses in their stalls 48 hours at a time. And I would be responsible for cleaning the stall myself. I left, full of warring desires. The place was cheaper than my current barn (!). It was very near the new house. I could probably make it work. But it just didn’t feel right. I thought of Black Beauty, when he talks about stables:
“I may as well mention here what I suffered at this time from another cause. I had heard horses speak of it, but had never myself had experience of the evil; this was a badly-lighted stable; there was only one very small window at the end, and the consequence was that the stalls were almost dark.
“Besides the depressing effect this had on my spirits, it very much weakened my sight, and when I was suddenly brought out of the darkness into the glare of daylight it was very painful to my eyes. Several times I stumbled over the threshold, and could scarcely see where I was going.”
OK, yes, BB was written by a human who could only imagine the suffering of a horse. But still. I wouldn’t have wanted to live in that barn. Blue shouldn’t suffer for me being cheap.
Option #2 could not have been more different from option #1 if it tried. This was especially striking because these two barns are, at most, half a mile apart. Option #2 has stalls with beautiful sand and gravel runs. It offers the option of full-time pasture board on a hillside with rocks and trees. The barn farrier is a well-known barefoot advocate and boot fitter. There is a world-class dressage facility next door for lessons. (How world-class? One of their horses was made into a Breyer.) The downside is that there is no indoor arena onsite and it costs $100 more than the other place. Nevertheless, I think you can guess pretty easily which barn I chose.
So here we are. I need to break the bad news at my current barn. The owner, an elderly man, LOVES my horse. I know everyone thinks that their horse is a favorite, but I kid you not: Blue is like a celebrity at the barn. The old man talks to him, admires him, studies his behavior, comments on his quirks and good-naturedly asks me where I’m taking “his horse” when I trailer out.
And now I’m about to trailer out for the last time.
On top of that, there are several open stalls already (no fault of the owner, just boarders like me with changing circumstances) not bringing him any income. Another empty stall going into winter is not going to help his finances. He lives on the income the property generates, such as it is.
So, basically, this feels like a really sadistic breakup. Like I am sending a note that says, “I am leaving you in 30 days, but let’s not talk about it in the meantime. Sorry about that. Good luck replacing me.”
It seems so cold…
…even for a cold fish like me.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A PSA for all the ladies out there

In case you ladies weren't aware yet, Jockey is making a product now called Skimmies. I like them roughly a zillion times better than my Smarty Pants.
  • They are thinner and lighter. 
  • They breathe!
  • They don't bunch.
  • They come down closer to my knees and don't ride up.
  • You can pull the waist all the way up to your bra-line, or leave it where it naturally falls (they are REALLY stretchy).
  • They do have an inner thigh seam, but I have yet to notice it while riding because it isn't bulky at all.
  • I can also wear them under skirts at work. 
  • They come in sizes that fit sturdy women like myself.