Amy Skinner reviews the hard working Betty jean from Kimes Ranch

IMG_5358Amy Skinner is a frequent guest columnist and the owner and operator of Essence Horsemanship in Boyne City, Michigan. Here, she reviewed the Betty jeans from the Kimes Ranch Jean Company:

Amy writes:

I ride a lot and I go through a lot of jeans.  I never spend a lot of money on jeans since I tend to wear them out fast and end up buying another pair in no time.  I find most brands not worth the money and not holding up to the test of a rough out seat, sweat, and time.  But recently, I received a pair of the “Betty” style from Kimes Ranch Jeans in the mail and was excited to try them out.

Enter to win a pair of Kimes Ranch Jeans and a pair of Ariat boots.

They fit great and to my surprise were actually long enough for me – often my jeans end up making me look like I’m waiting for a flood, and stick out the top of my boots when I ride.  These are high-waisted, a feature I Kimes Logowas skeptical of at first.  I don’t normally wear high-waisted jeans, trying vainly to stay away from the “grandma” look.  But I found these to still look great, and that the fit was great for wearing my chaps over (Sometimes with low-rise jeans, my chaps push my shirt up and rub the skin off my hips.).

They not only look great, but are super comfortable, and probably they are the best jean I’ve found for riding in.

  • They don’t bunch up.
  • They don’t pill from my rough out seat saddle.
  • They are made of thick denim so they’re durable.

IMG_5356I love the way they look for riding, but they also look great with an outfit for going out on the town (as if I had time for that….I imagine they would, anyway).

I love that with each ride, with each dismount and each mount, I don’t have to hitch them up or adjust them.  They stay where I put them, which helps me focus on my ride.  I love the dark denim, too.  They stand out and look attractive, while still saying “I work hard for the money. So hard for the money.”

These jeans were built for durability and a great look – unlike most jeans, they fit better and look better each time I wash them and the more I wear them.  I’m a Kimes Ranch convert, and think the jeans are well worth the price.  They’re a better deal than buying lots of cheap jeans that wear out quickly. These jeans are here to stay.

Check out our review of the all cotton Francesca jean.

Enter to win a pair of Kimes Ranch Jeans and a pair of Ariat boots.

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New Kimes Jean Habit Well Worth It

Some say humans are nothing more than their habits. That’s especially true when we try to make healthy diet and exercise changes. Nearly everyone I interviewed for our Focus on Fitness articles said success came only after many failures and near misses. Once habits get paved into your brain, it’s incredibly hard to bushwhack new neural pathways even if your heart’s into it.

nI1EPwurU4-89dBVquG2PD4ItRzzQFm6IBUGts7nq9QWhat do Kimes Ranch Jeans have to do with breaking habits?

Kimes wasn’t around when we were kids. Founded in 2009, the fast-growing company is the baby in an industry full of grandparents. Read more. We did not grow up wearing Kimes. And as creatures of habit, it might be hard to convince ourselves to try Kimes when the same ol’-same ol’ has been on our shelves for so long.

But do the same ol’ same ol’ jeans:

  • wear out quickly?
  • bunch at the waist?
  • rub on your knees when you’re riding?
  • IMG_2713look like a hand-me-down after three wearings?

 

I’ve been wearing Kimes jeans for several weeks and am happy to report I’m forming a new jean choice habit.

When I first received two pair of Francesca jeans, made of 100 percent North Carolina cotton, I was skeptical. They felt less rugged than my usual jeans. Crafted with a dark indigo rinse denim, they looked like the kind of spiffy dress jean that doesn’t hold up to ranch work.

So, I put them to the test.

  • I wore them while trimming four horses’ feet without the use of a hoof stand (Four horses over two days, not four individual hooves!). They were super comfortable for the task, did not require hitching up every time I stood up, and easily withstood the wear.
  • I rode and walked and hiked. They fit brilliantly under leggings and never rubbed my inner legs, even during a hot, four-hour ride with lots of gait changes.
  • I wore a fresh pair to dinner in town. They looked nearly as dressy as a pair of black slacks.

Kimes designed the Francesca simply and with quality. The back pockets do not have two pounds of glitter-thread and rhinestone, just the classy, stitched Longhorn logo. Check out the Francesca jean here.

IMG_2674The seams, labels, and branding have comfort in mind: seams lie flat and thin. Labels are either embroidered or ink-stamped so you won’t need to cut out that scratchy, nagging label flap.

I asked Amanda Kimes to name her top three features that make the Francesca a great riding jean.

“The rise. It’s not too high, not too low. The denim is the perfect weight for hot summers. And the wash. The dark denim looks cleaner longer.”

Agreed.

Next week, we review Kimes’ Betty jeans.

Sign up to be a Remuda Reader and you’re automatically qualified to win a pair of Kimes Ranch Jeans and a pair of Ariat boots. Total value, $400. Sign up here.

Summer Reads, Watch, and Listens

Summertime is when we take a break from what we need and lean toward what we want. When it comes to downtime, that’d be horse-y books, DVDs, and even music.

Here are a few suggestions:

51pI3mpXhPL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_To Read:

To painlessly bolster your knowledge of the evolution and domestication of the horse, check out Wendy Williams’ best-selling The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion. Read review here.

Looking for a lively, bathroom reader to browse from horse topic to horse topic? Try A Rider’s Reader: Exploring Horse Sense, Science & Sentiment. You can get it for free when you subscribe here.

For more suggestions, visit our Horse Book Recommendations page.

To Watch:

I didn’t figure a movie about cows and autism would call for Kleenex. But Temple Grandin, starring the impressive Claire Danes, had just that impact. If you are at all interested in a better understanding of the animal perspective, it’s a Must-See.

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin

I’ve covered Grandin’s presentations and interviewed her. Read more about that here. The movie was a powerful complement to those opportunities. It creatively illustrates the myriad challenges of growing up autistic and of raising an autistic. In it, the prejudice Grandin endured and her commitment to humane treatment of animals is carefully, elegantly highlighted.

On cattle, Danes as Grandin says:

“We raise them for us. That means we owe them some respect.

Nature is cruel but we don’t have to be…I wouldn’t want to have my guts ripped out by a lion. I’d much rather die in a slaughterhouse if it was done right. We can easily do it where they don’t feel pain and don’t feel scared…I mean their cortisol levels go through the roof.”

Watch trailer.

For strong, quiet lessons in better horsemanship, check out 7 Clinics. It’s essentially outtakes from the hundreds of hours of footage shot by Cindy Meehl and company for the making of Buck, the award-winning documentary. Read the 7 Clinics review here.

To Listen:

Wylie Gustafson

Wylie Gustafson

I’ve got Wylie Gustufson’s Hang-n-Rattle! CD on heavy rotation lately. Not sure which attracts me more – Gustafson’s clear, buoyant voice, his lyrics (heavily subsidized by the contributions of poet Paul Zarzyski), or his original country singer/songwriter style which has been described as able to “transcend nostalgia.” Click here to visit his site.

If you’re just wrapping up a long day on the trail, mending fence, or mucking out barn and trailer, kick back with Zarzyski’s double CD of poetry and music. It’s fun and contemplative at the same time. Read review here.

These Jeans Tell a Story

I may be crazy, but I’m not the one who quit my job on Wednesday and started an apparel company on Friday.

That distinction goes to Matt and Amanda Kimes, co-founders of Kimes Ranch Jeans, a fast-growing Western apparel company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Not only did they take this rookie leap into the cutthroat garment industry, they did so in the throes of the 2008-2009 recession, whilst motor-home living with their two dogs in a Malibu, California RV park.

Kimes LogoBecome a Remuda Reader and you’re automatically entered to win a pair of Kimes Ranch Jeans and Ariat boots. Read more.

“We had absolutely no experience in the industry,” recalled Amanda Kimes. “You could say we faked it, ‘til we made it.”

Seven years down the road, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company (originally named Longhorn Jean Company or LJC) is eyeing a bigger slice of the jeans-market pie and enjoying its cachet as one of the only companies making their products in the United States. (Wrangler, Levi Strauss, and Cruel Girl, for instance, make virtually all their jeans abroad.)

And for this persnickety jeans wearer, Kimes is also one of the only companies making all-cotton jeans for women. [No spandex! Stay tuned for our review of the Kimes Ranch Francesca jean next week.]

Though they came from different careers – Amanda ran a wine distribution company and Matt was a financial broker. – both were well heeled in the horse world. Matt amassed several AQHA and NRHA titles and strongly considered horse training as matt-kimes-2a career. Amanda rode Quarter Horses at the national level as well.

Kimes’ culture, style, and design are undoubtedly ranch-influenced. The jeans are meant to be durable for barn and ranch work, comfortable in the saddle, yet stylish enough for hitting the town.

The couple, who married just prior to launching Kimes Ranch, have imbued the company image with no-fuss Cowboy Chic. It’s not without a bit of whimsy, though: jean styles are named after animals on their Arizona ranch, including Barney, the longhorn steer responsible for the distinctive pocket detail.

Customer feedback drives design decisions, said Amanda Kimes:

When women complained about the zipper keep, Kimes switched hardware and put a sturdier men’s keep in women’s jeans.

The thread color combination of “cha-cha” orange and light teal on the Francesca jeans was selected as fans’ favorite on social media.

“We take all of the reviews very seriously,” said Kimes, who noted that sales have increased five-fold over the last three years.

Now, the jeans are produced in orders of the tens of thousands. That’s a far cry from the couple’s initial batch of about 300 pairs.

nI1EPwurU4-89dBVquG2PD4ItRzzQFm6IBUGts7nq9QMatt Kimes remembered that time, seven years ago, when after several months of frenetic meetings with designers, cutters, pattern makers, and other production line entities, they introduced their product to the masses, through horse world networks, friends, family, and trade shows.

Back then, “our family asked, ‘what are you guys doing?’ We took it to the world and literally nobody cared,” he said.

But if the couple had to pick one word that’s summed up their strategy, they’d both pick “perseverance.”

One hundred and forty-three years ago, Levi Strauss was a man, not a brand. That’s the Kimes’ dream, too: to leave a legacy.

“As a horse trainer or financial broker, you’re only as good as (the success of) your next client,” said Matt Kimes. “We want to build a brand that would eventually reach beyond our story.”

Become a Remuda Reader and you’re automatically entered to win a pair of Kimes Ranch Jeans and Ariat boots. Read more.

Clothes Horse: Ode to Rednecks

The Clothes Horses is our new, regular feature with posts by fashion-conscious riders. Here, we discuss the decisions, merits, and enthusiasms behind riders’ wardrobe choices.

Got a Clothes Horse idea? Contact us!

The Clothes Horse this week comes to a sliding stop and jogs abruptly to the side with an Ode to the Redneck Rider.

The Redneck Rider is passionate about many things. Fashion and taste and allegiance to tradition just aren’t three of them.

Redneck Riders:

  • love their horses
  • love their dogs
  • love their fellow riders
  • love a good time


When it comes to gear and apparel, Redneck Riders care most about

  • Usefulness (Function over fashion, every time)
  • Comfort is King
  • Whatever might lend itself to a good time

On the surface, Redneck Riders might come off as offensive, but stop and visit. You’ll find hearts the size of melons and street smarts that serve them better than any clothing sense, etiquette course, or college degree.
Read about boots, bras, and balance.

To quote Gretchen Wilson, professed Redneck herself:

You might think I’m trashy, a little too hardcore
But in my neck of the woods I’m just the girl next door.

Here’s some “fashion statements” of our most exemplary Redneck Riders:

— Ballcap
— Ripped jeans
— Tank tops when it’s hot
— Shirts emblazoned with rhinestones, logos, and clichéd sayings
— Saddle bags full of beer for themselves and water for their dogs
— Halters under their bridles

And possibly:

— Knotted reins
— Ugly, tattered saddle blankets
— Saddle, formerly owned by daddy and before that, grandpappy
— Cupholder mounted from saddle horn

And, finally, a trail-worn slicker tied on with saddle strings – because it’s not about good weather, it’s about a good time!

Watch a Redneck Goodtime in Acadia National Park, click on image below:

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