Hi everyone! This is the first time I’m announcing this, but my barn is switching facilities. We are doing this to have our own property, which is great! But it’s not this easy for everyone. Some people have to completely move barns, trainers, and horses. I have been through that and I’m writing this to help you guys get through this yourself if you are in this position.
Finding A Barn
Finding a barn that you like is the most important part because you don’t want the same experience to happen again. To find a barn you like, do online research to just find any barns near you that would be available to go to. Don’t look at barns that wouldn’t be available for you to go to, just in case you absolutely love it and your hopes would get down. Once you find barns near you, pull out the ones that are the correct discipline. Take a lesson or two at the ones you are most interested in then go from there.
How To Tell Your Trainer
This is the hardest part. All trainers react differently to a student saying that they are moving barns. Some would say they are happy for you while others would be angry and want to question you.
To tell your trainer, ask them to come someone separate at the barn where no one is around. Tell them that you are going to be moving barns then say why without letting them talk in between. If a trainer is happy for you they will act cool with it and say something like “okay I hope you will progress at your new barn.” If a trainer is mad they will start to question you and you have to be upfront and say that you are not happy at the barn you are at.
Some of you may or may not know that I do most of my training alone, headphones in, in a borrowed arena that’s a mile walk away from my stable, usually between shifts at my job. While I wouldn’t change this for the world, it does make when I’m finally able to get to a real stable to train even more intoxicating. Stepping away from my “grown up job” and being able to involve myself so thoroughly in the sport I adore was close to spiritual. The want and need to watch, learn, understand, absorb everything overtook me. I was lucky enough to be invited to spend some time with a good friend of mine, who only 3 years ago, returned from Germany with his Bereiter degree. It was hard not to fall in love with the facility at his stable Tex-Over, in Conroe TX. For five glorious days, I fell back into my working student routine and from 7am to 7pm, helped him and his grooms any way I could for the sheer desire to learn. Through watching him ride, coach lessons, hack out together, and over a couple margaritas (obviously to replenish much needed electrolytes, duh), I took enough notes to fuel me until the next time I could get some time to go train with him again.
The most valuable lessons were small and maybe overlooked by others, but they left their impact on my training methods and my beliefs. I’m lucky enough to have written most of them down and would love to share them with you!
To collect, you want to make the horse physically smaller from nose to tail. Isn’t that a great visual?
If you bend without your leg, you’re just pulling. Leg sends the horse forward, rein brings her energy back, and they meet in the middle.
Gripping with thigh ruins the effectiveness your seat has.
Shoulder fore should be used to correctly position for the outside hind leg drive to inside leg steps.
Walk to canters come from inside leg and seat, not outside leg.
Always push forward to bit.
Always take more snaffle and less curb if you are in a double. The weight should be in the snaffle to take away the danger if the curb.
Compact and active, that’s how the outline should be.
Over bent = shoulder falling out.
Ask for halt from outside rein, and ask for connection over the back with leg on, even in immobility.
Never let go of the half halting rein.
Anytime your horse is too long or hard in the hand, he needs more leg.
Haunches out is NOT shoulder fore.
On the stiffer side, drive from outside rein and leg!
Start everything in forward trot, end everything in forward trot.
It’s important that in the collection to feel bursting at the seems forward, almost exploding out the front, so as not to suck back.
*reinforced* Just because you can buy a horse doesn’t mean you can ride it.
Now these aren’t my lesson notes, because lord knows I’m still trying to apply the complex concepts to Joy, who is not enjoying it. Once I sort those out, I’ll share them as well.
My favorite lesson was this:
“Okay so we fixed one piece, but as we know, Dressage is the french word for if you fix one thing, the rest falls apart.” (edited for less profanity)
HOW TRUE IS THAT?! Even watching him school clients on their professionally trained, imported, gargantuan creatures, there’s always the understanding that the work is never over. You never just leave something alone. You know that you’re working towards a state of suspension near complete collapse. Like Chris Pratt in Jurassic Park, with his raptors. At any moment you know everything you’re working on could be miscommunicated and fall to pieces (hopefully not get eaten by raptors..?), but you carry on, knowing your fighting an endless battle to work in tandem. If you wake up, get up, show up, and work your ass off, the understanding that your work is never over should be a motivator. You always have another day to improve. You always have another ride to further your understanding of just how you’re influencing your ride. Surrender yourself to your lack of knowledge and drink from the well of self improvement.
As always my dears, happy riding and never stop learning!
Hi guys I’m Hannah and in this blog post I’ll be reviewing some of my favorite tack brands I use for Phippen!
My First Favorite Tack Brand: EquiFit Original Front Boots for my jumping lessons with Phippen. I love these so so much because they’re comfortable, easy to wash and put on! I highly recommend these for all jumpers and they’ve got many new styles for a great price for the comfort it’s bringing to the horse.
My Second Favorite Tack Brand: E.C Equestrian’s Saddle Pad that I use for every lesson! I love this saddle pad because it’s comfy, easy to wash and hardy fabric! I recommend her products for every equestrian! Her Instagram is E.c._Equestrian. Check it out for amazing products and tack!! If you’re intrested in buying my coupon code is Hannah10! 🙂
My Third Favorite Tack Brand: Smart Pak Breathable Girth and I love it so much! It looks like a nice leather girth, is super breathable and it’s perfect for hot days. I recommend for anyone having lessons or schooling!
My Fourth Favorite Tack Brand: Plymouth Raised Fancy Stitch Bridle by Smart Pak. It’s perfect for schooling and lessons. I have been using it for 4 or 5 months now and I love how it stays in excellent condition.
The epitome of the working equestrian is looking fabulous on the go then transferring to looking even better at the barn. Everyone has what they call “The Basics” that are kept near them at all times. Depending on what you like, the contents may vary. I have made a Step-By-Step layout on how to build your perfect “Street to Stable” essential bag.
Find a great bag to store your essentials in. I have mine in a tote bag by EC Equestrian. It hold a great amount of stuff and has held up with all the rough-housing I put it through on a regular basis. Some other great companies to check out if you are looking for bags are K. Marie Equestrian and Spotted Gecko Designs. They all offer great products that would make perfect go bags!
Define what you need in your bag. Do you need extra make-up for touching up after a ride? Is it going to rain on me before, during, or after my ride? These are some good questions to ask yourself when going through this step. I love to have gloves, Hippies On Horses goodies, sunglasses, stickers, and a hat. But, based on where you live, if you ride outside or inside, etc your needs will vary.
Figure out what brands you want to use in your bag. There are tons of great brands out there but everyone has there preferences. For my gear I love to have:
– I love to have hats in my bag at all times. They are great for sun protection and tos of other purposes. My arsenal of hats includes many different types but my favorite are moisture wicking. Nike and Target have some good ones in lots of different colors.
– I go through gloves like crazy. Maybe 3-4 pairs over the course of a year. So when I wear them out, I get blisters I need some instant relief. The combination of my Hippies On Horses Hand Butter and Ointment heal them up super quickly. You can find both products here.
– Stickers are what I live for. Every time I go to a new place, I buy like 5 stickers. Galloping Graphics and Welsh Wear stickers are my equestrian company go-tos for them. I put them everywhere from items like computers and water bottles to my grooming tote and show box. You can find them here and here.
Include some goodies for your pony too! I keep an extra broadband from Spotted Gecko Designs and homemade treats in it at all times. When you are somewhere like Kentucky Horse Park in the fall, the moisture and heat make for build-up of gross stuff on the face. So being able to change out equal as amazing browbands is awesome. And treats are to spoil them after a great ride.
If you followed these 4 simple steps, you and your bag are set to go! Whatever your job, life, or pony sneezes onto you, you will be prepared. You can check out all these great companies on Instagram and keep up with them and some great sales that they offer!
Horse shows are a big part of competitive riding. At the shows, it’s important to not only take care of your horse, but to take care of yourself. Here are some tips to help make your shows go smoothly and make each outing fun:
DRINK: I can’t stress this enough. Drinking is so important for every athlete. Make sure to go to the show with lots of water (or money so you can buy it there). Throw in some sports drinks too; it’s important to replenish your electrolytes as you sweat. When you ride, ask a friend/coach/groom to hold your water. That way, you can have a drink before and after going into the ring. A lot of the time, the ingate has a water jug and paper cups for the riders. Feel free to take advantage of this!
Eat: Even if you’re nervous, make sure to eat. Athletes can’t preform without fuel. It’s incedibly important to give your body the nutrients it needs to preform to its best ability. Make sure to pack some food to eat on the go. Power bars are a great and quick way to fuel up!
Get out of the sun some: Summer horse shows are a blast, but make sure to take some time out of the sun’s powerful rays. Even with sunblock on, it’s easy to get too much sun. Make sure to keep yourself as cool as possible.
Keep yourself cool: It’s so easy to overheat. Keep yourself cool by drinking lots, staying in the shade, and using different resources. I personally love the “CHILL-ITS.” (CHILL-ITS) You simply wet these towels and the keep a damp chill. These towels are only priced around $7 on Amazon, so buy a few!
Take a break: When your not showing, you don’t always have to stay around the show grounds. Take a break. Maybe go back to your hotel, and take some time in the AC; you won’t regret it.
Bring what you need: Stop at a local convenient store and stock up on water and sports drinks. Stop at a gas station to buy some ice. Bring a cooler, and fill it up! Horse shows are expensive, and they can be set up far from the amenities. This way you’ll have what you want right by you!
HAVE FUN: Enjoy yourself! This is fun! Enjoy competing, and practice good sportsmanship. Have a good atitude, no matter how your rounds go.
So breeches, as a whole, have always been sort of a struggle for me. Finding a brand that fit “just right” took me forever! Finally, I came across the brand of breeches called Ghodho.
Ghodho breeches come in 7 unique colors and styles. These breeches don’t look like any other breech on the market and they’re full of spunk, but still very professional looking. The brand’s sizing differs from all others and (if measured correct) fit like a glove! (My legs have always been too skinny in certain places for the breeches to fit on, causing them to be baggy. With Ghodho, my legs are hugged by the breech in all places.)
The fabric is 63% Micro Poly, 32% Viscose, and 5% Elastane making them extremely comfortable. I find them to be also comfortable, temperature wise, in the heat. You would think that the knee-patches being leather would be very slippery; actually, it’s just the opposite! I feel that the leather creates almost a stronger grip than the normal suede knee-patch. Another difference in these breeches are the ankles of them. Instead of your usual velcro or stretch, you have a zipper (except for the show breeches). I have never had problems with the zipper rubbing, even without socks under them. The stitching is a nice accent to spice up your look when schooling. Ghodho does also have a small line of show breeches.
Taking care of these breeches is easy, as well. They’re machine washable and you hang to dry. I’ve had both of my pairs for about 4 months, and they haven’t faded even a little bit! The stitching hasn’t torn or snagged either. (I usually wear each pair, at least, once a week).
Overall, these breeches have a wonderful look, feel, and price to them. I would definitely give this product a 10/10. (Below is a gallery of all the Ghodho breeches).
It varies why I’m no longer riding with you; from location to limits, there’s a reasonable reason we are no longer working together. However, this doesn’t mean I’m no longer benefiting from everything you’ve done for me.
You all win a little when I win, and loose a little when I loose. I am a product of all of your hard work and hours. Thank you for helping me learn and grow as both a person and a rider. At least once a ride I use something that you’ve taught me. When I walk in the show ring, I carry with me all that you’ve told me.
Thank you for the hours that you put into me and my horses; from crazy hours to record weather conditions, you rarely thought about yourself. You’d stand in the frigid cold for the rest of your life until we made that line work out, and without that perseverance, I wouldn’t have the skills I have today. You always put your personal needs behind your clients- whether it be skipping a meal for my under saddle, or waking up before dawn to get to my early morning classes.
Thank you for taking what I cared about seriously. Walking into the short stirrup class on my pony, you were 100% focused on my and my pony’s performance. I benefited from your intense dedication a countless amount of times.
Thank you for sticking by me for every moment that we worked together. I could never express my gratitude for all that you sacrificed for me properly, but I truly appreciate you.
Hey everyone! Every horse has their loves and hates. If some of those bad things are part of your grooming routine, keep reading to learn some hacks for grooming to keep the process comfortable and stress free!
Does your horse not like fly spray on their face? Use rub on fly gel! Rub on fly gel is basically the same as fly spray but it is in gel form. It won’t scare the horses because it is basically you rubbing your horses head. (You can buy this at any tack shop! )
Make it a positive experience.
I had a horse named Noble who was absolutely terrified of the smell and feel of fly spray. If this is the case for your horse make sure to introduce any form of fly spray slowly!
How to: This fly gel works on legs too but don’t use it on their body as it makes them look slippery and greasy!
Did you know that hoof polish actually is really bad for your horses hooves? Despite looking good on your horse, it rots their hooves away… solution? Effol hoof gloss!
This hoof gloss makes your horses hooves look the same as they would with hoof oil but without the possible harm. Effol is good for protecting your horses hooves from water (apply before a bath), making the hooves shiny for shows and it also strengthens the hoof!
How to: Apply with the brush In the packaging on all 4 hooves before riding or doing just about anything with your horse!
Mane and Tail Brushing
When your horses mane and tail get tangled you have 2 options. Brush out the tail or use conditioner!
Brushing: make sure to start from the bottom and brush in small sections then work you way up. This is so you don’t pull out much tail to maintain a thick and healthy tail. For the main just brush it to the right side (the correct side for showing English) normally!
Conditioner: I recommend Cowboy Magic conditioner. When using it on a tail, just put some on your hands and rub it all over the tail then brush starting at the bottom. This makes your horses tail look shiny and sleek. For the mane, apply like you did for the tail then brush the main to the preferred side!
Hope these hacks helped you guys and I hope you try some!
Until next time,
Trips to Florida are not a rarity in my family. I have grandparents and great-grandparents that have lived down there for many years.
It wasn’t until about 9 months ago that I realized that there were more then just hunter and jumper trainers in Wellington. Surprisingly, the number of fantastic dressage trainers in Wellington is very high. Some names you may have heard of are Laura Graves, Caroline Roffman, Mikala Gundersen, etc.
I first decided to ride in Welly when my Dad asked me where I wanted to go for spring break in April of 2016. The thing that popped in my mind was riding down there. He gave me the go ahead and so I started to make my lessons. Of course I needed to find a good trainer and facility to ride at. Lauren Knopp at IDA Farm was immediately my choice. I have looked up to her and her accomplishments since I found her on instagram in November of 2015. As soon as I could, I sent her an email about everything and she was so kind in her responses.
That trip was one for a lifetime and I knew that I would keep coming back. Lauren was so inviting and kind to me. So, of course when I was given another opportunity to ride in Wellington, I chose Lauren.
This year, I was coming down with my Mom to Fort. Meyers to visit my great grandparents on her side. When given to chance to choose two places I wanted to go, I decided on Disney World and Wellington. Disney because it’s Disney and why not? And Wellington to visit one of my favorite people.
When we arrived at IDA, I was lightly raining but nothing to really be concerned about. So, we proceeded like usual and tacked up, ready for our ride. Over the course of about 15 minutes, the rain went from trickling out of the sky, to hurricane like wind and lightning. At first, we thought that Kenny would be fine but, he became spooked at a very big and loud lightning strike. By then, we decided to hop off and wait out the 45 minute storm.
Since Kenny was still a bit spooked, Lauren allowed me to ride one of her horses, Red. During my trip in April, Red came to Lauren for resale, so it was bittersweet to be able to see and ride him. After just one ride, I was in love. He is super sweet and so forgiving in the saddle. With some great trot work and amazing canter work, it truly was a ride to remember.
Big thanks to Lauren for being so welcoming and furthering my education with horses. You can find her information on her website laurenknoppdressage.com.
It’s hard getting a horse to adapt to new water, barns and weather, so here’s a few tips that can help with all three things.
When I first bought Phippen I had to trailer him across many states and I was worried he would be upset, rowdy and sore. My Mom suggested we could use Sacred Mountain Oil Blend and let him smell it whenever we stopped. It was such a calm and easy trip. Phippen was excellent the whole trailer ride home and we continue to use both Sacred Mountain and Copaiba oil to help him remain calm during transitions, traveling, and even storms.
Here’s a tip on using one of my favorite oils to help a horse adapt to new water.
On a long trailer ride you have to stop and refill your water buckets, but that doesn’t always mean the horse is going to drink it. When I was hauling Phippen home I used two to three drops of Young Living Peppermint Vitality Oil and it helped him to get used to the new water source. Anybody can use it for horse shows, switching barns, and long trailer trips.
Looking for luster and shine?
If you want a lustrous, shiny coat you can use Young Living’s Lavender Essential Oil and Coconut Oil on your horse. I’ve been using this on Phippen for a few months and I have noticed a huge change in his coloring and hair.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gives you some ideas how to use essential oils for your horse this show season.
Here are the oils I shared about:
Young Living Sacred Mountain Essential Oil
Young Living Copaiba Essential Oil
Young Living Peppermint Vitality Essential Oil
Young Living Lavender Essential Oil
For further information you can check out my Family’s website theoilystable.com 🙂
Check out @theoilystable and @hannahequestrian on Instagram.