by HoofPrints owner Gina Keesling - December 22, 2020
"Here, put this on. It'll solve everything." 3 reasons why vests are best - an UPDATE
First, they give you so much more freedom about the arms than a regular sweatshirt or jacket. Paired with the Sweatshirt or Longsleeve T of your choice, you've got more options for climate control, too. If you start to overheat (as often is the case with me) you can take off the vest without getting chilled until you cool down. This is not really an option with a heavy coat as then you get too cold.
My vests are a wardrobe staple that are with me almost year 'round. This soft sweater fleece vest is one of my all time faves.
First - the fabric is the best of both worlds as far as utility and comfort. The outside is a textured tweed knit that's smooth, so stuff doesn't stick to it like it does to fleece. And what does end up sticking, mostly disappears. I have both a black and a white dog, so am somewhat of an expert at being covered in highly visible dog hair, no matter what I'm wearing.
Inside, it's the traditional fuzzy fleece that we all love so much for softness and warmth.
It's shown here with the Heartbeat for Horses embroidered sweatshirt. This is a discontinued style and some sizes are already sold out, so if you've been coveting one, don't wait. That's available here.
Second - has to do with the pockets. These days when we all need to keep our phone on our person, pockets are a big help, and they're part of the reason that I love my vests so much. The pockets on this one are done right. They're NOT made of the same fleece fabric as the vest. The manufacturer could've saved time and $ by slapping a patch version on and calling it good. But then you'd have pockets (while warm) that would also serve as a fleecy repository for all the crud and crumbs we animal lovers encounter on a daily basis.
Instead, these pockets are smooth taffeta. They don't add bulk, and they readily invert to eject hay chaff, dog treat pieces, etc, from every last corner. The only downside is they do not have zippers.
This grey vest pairs well with any color, as evidenced here with our festive red Oh What Fun it is to RIDE longsleeve T-shirt. These Ts are a holiday favorite; the preshrunk cotton fabric is just the right weight and super soft/comfortable. That's available here.
Third - they've solved an armhole problem that I hate by finishing the edges with contrasting chambray fabric, instead of folding the fleece on itself and sewing it all into a bulky, uncomfortable ridge.

That same chambray is also utilized inside below the back collar; a decorative patch that adds a nice detail that keeps the neckline and shoulders from stretching out.

I like to fancy up my vests with a zipper pull. Shown here is the Western Cross version. The black enameling combined with the engraved silver tooling really looks sharp against the grey tweed. There are 4 different zipper pulls to choose from here.
Here's the UPDATE - I forgot to make a size chart this Fall. I made a reminder note, but it got buried, and I continued to forget. Even after multiple inquiries regarding sizing on these, I couldn't manage to get it done. In my defense, I have two offices - the "creative" one in my house, where I often work early mornings and late at night on new products, catalog layout, social media posts, etc. That computer (a Mac) houses the page layout and image editing software that I need to make these things happen.
The warehouse computer is all business, with invoicing and inventory and product info. So, the house office computer needed to create and send the size chart for this vest to the warehouse computer. During which time the network stopped working; previously I could send files between the two. But security measures kicked in (not initiated by me) that prevented this from happening. So then the "plan B" was either emailing to myself, or using a flash drive to transport between devices. <sigh>
With all the orders coming in, and recent postal issues causing order delays (more about that here), the vest size chart was swept aside multiple times. Finally, today, planets aligned and the size chart got made.

Whew. If you were holding off on ordering because you weren't sure what size to get, this should be a big help. Just compare the measurements on the chart to a garment that you already own that fits well - that will help you pick a size that is most likely to fit perfectly.
When it's chilly and the Great Thermostat Debate is imminent, I grab a vest and throw it everyone in the house; "Here, put this on. It'll solve everything." and it does.
Vests are a better solution than piling on another long-sleeve layer. The biggie for me is the collar. If my neck is cold then the whole rest of me is cold. But, at my age - wearing a turtleneck is not the answer. Because in 5 minutes I may be overheated. This radical temperature fluctuation is easily solved with the stand-up (or not) vest collar and zipper. In two seconds I can be wearing a turtleneck of sorts - or a v-neck - depending on whether I am chilling or sweating. This fleece vest might seem a little pricey at $49.95, but that's pretty cheap, really, for personal climate control.
Great gift for dog lovers - Life is Short - Play With Your Dog T-shirt
I love helping with gift giving... It's probably a dumb idea to promote a service I offer that doesn't make a single penny for the company, but it's one of those feel-good things that I like to share stories about. I offer to include a gift card at no charge should the customer be needing to send the item directly to it's intended recipient. Probably the big companies have a clever computerized way to handle this, but HoofPrints doesn't. It involves choosing an actual card from the specially reserved stash, and hand-writing the requested sentiment inside. It can get to be time-consuming, especially if it's a long message, or one with a lot of names that I need to make sure are spelled correctly, etc.
But I always appreciate being a part of a kind gesture between one person and another - even if it's two folks I don't even know. The Life is Short, Play with Your Dog T-shirt shown here was recently ordered by a woman, to be sent as a get-well gift to a friend who'd sustained a broken leg. She hurt herself PLAYING WITH HER DOG!
HALF PRICE - Hero Dogs: How a Pack of Rescues, Rejects, and Strays Became America's Greatest Disaster Search Partners
In 1995, Wilma Melville volunteered as a canine search-and-rescue (SAR) handler with her Black Labrador Murphy in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. At the time, there were only 15 FEMA certified SAR dogs in the US. Believing in the value of these remarkable animals to help save lives, Wilma knew many more were needed in the event of future disasters. She made a vow to help 168 dogs receive search-and-rescue training in her lifetime - one for every Oklahoma City victim.
Wilma singlehandedly established the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation to meet this challenge. The first canine candidates - Ana, Dusty, and Harley - were a trio of golden retrievers with behavioral problems so severe they were considered irredeemable and unadoptable. But with patience, discipline, and love these dogs proved to have the ability, agility, and stamina to graduate as SARs. Paired with a trio of firefighters, they were among the first responders searching the ruins of the World Trade Center following 9/11 - setting the standard for the more than 168 of the SDF’s search-and-rescue dogs that followed.
Beautiful and heart-wrenching, Hero Dogs is the story of one woman’s dream brought to fruition by dedicated volunteers and firefighters - and the bonds they forged with the incredible rescued-turned-rescuer dogs to create one of America’s most vital resources in disaster response.
Gina Keesling started HoofPrints in 1986 to provide helpful promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. Along the way she added a fun selection of horse and dog products geared toward women of a certain age. This newsletter is emailed to subscribers a few times a month. Watch for sales, stories and more.
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I have awesome customer service reps available 24/7 to take your order or answer questions at 765-724-7004, or email