The Happy Athlete

In 2015, Joy and I missed regionals due to an minor soft tissue injury. Her moody, stall bound ineptitude was immortalized in a series of posts called #TheStallRestChronicles that helped followers understand just what a finicky creature she is. Whether that has anything to do with the whole chestnut mare situation or not, I’m unsure. Granted, it could be the Trakehner. Maybe it’s all three things. No matter what, she doesn’t hide her feelings. On the ground, under saddle, you name it and she’s got an opinion.

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#TheStallRestChronicles summed up in a nutshell. 

Now, I love that about Joy. She’s honest and sometimes overly emotional, but she gets her point across. The best part about riding in any discipline is learning to work with your partner who happens to be half a ton and have a mind of her own. They have bad days and good days, just like us, and as athletes, their work is hard. No one doubts that. So it’s our responsibilities as riders to make sure we do our part to keep them happy! A happy, healthy athlete is a necessity. With a princess like Joy, it’s difficult, but here’s how I manage it.

  • We never warm up in the arenas! Either we take a solid 10-15 minute trail ride or walk around the fields that surround the arenas. This keeps Joy more engaged and excited about what comes next. If we’re lucky enough to travel down to the Rose Palace for a school, I count the mile trek as part of our warm up.
  • We also never train in the same arena two days in a row! I’m lucky enough to have three arenas to choose from with very different conditions. With the changes in scenery comes no anticipation of what we’re plan on schooling.
  • I’m always trying to find unique ways of doing movements in a different order or different direction so we aren’t doing the same thing more than a handful of times. Boredom breeds irritation. An extra shoulder-in isn’t worth risking my life.
  • Cross training. I’m not talking about pole work. I’m talking about letting her channel her show jumper sire!
  • Fitness days filled with trot sets, canter sets, breezing, hill work, swimming (when it’s warm!), and long trail rides, sometimes 6-10 miles!
  • Schooling or playing around bareback or even completely tackless. Obviously, this should always be done in a controlled setting, but sometimes we even use it as a cool off from a lunge session.
  • Lunge days in different arenas, targeting different things (stretch, transitions, engagement, etc) but always working towards consistency, tempo, and rhythm. I’m not a huge fan of side reigns unless lightly used during pole work, so most of it is done in a simple surcingle.
  • Trot and canter poles! Never more than twice a week because that is a great deal of stress on joints, but they are a great addition to lunging days. (This is per the great Reiner Klimke recommendation)
  • Never underestimating the amount of warm up or cool down needed. Can’t have enough of either of those!

That list is pretty comprehensive and high-maintenance but I’m willing to do ridiculous things to keep Joy happy. Keeping her body strong and fit is a task, but nothing compared to the task that is keeping her brain busy and equally as fit. We spend plenty of time bonding on the ground and doing in hand work to increase lateral suppleness and loosen up tight muscles. Additionally, there’s lots of baths and grooming, because nothing beats that!

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Werk werk werk. Joy really utilizing her hind end and engagement to make it through a long line of trot poles – my favorite exercise. 

There’s no “secret recipe” for keeping your horse a happy athlete. Each one is just as uniquely complex and the next and you, as a rider, have to gauge what and when your partner needs a change of pace. In addition, you have to have a deep enough understanding of what they are physically and mentally capable of. It’s a balancing act of trying to accommodate working towards your training goals with the hope of helping create a better athlete. A happy, healthy, mentally active horse that is excited about the days work is going to be more willing to learn and engage themselves in new concepts. Bland routines are the enemies of ever getting 110% out of the bond you’ve created with your partner, so do yourself and your horse a favor. Step out of the arena, try something new, and don’t be afraid to take a little adventure with your four-legged best friend. You never know how it could benefit you!

Happy riding, preps!

Much love,

Bailey

Common Horse Health Problems & Prevention

Everyone in the equestrian world will expirience horse health problems sometime in their riding career. Continue reading to find out what some of these issues are and and tips on how to prevent and treat them so your horse can live a long & healthy life.

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Tip-Grooming

Grooming your horse on a daily basis is one of the best ways to check your horse for any problems. While you go about your grooming routine, check all over your horses body. You could come across a sore spot, cuts and scrapes, ticks/other insects, etc.  

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Colic

Colic is actually not just one, but several different digestive problems. Colic can be caused by improper food, foreign objects or other factors. Some signs of colic are inappetence, constipation, signs of pain, teeth clenching, salvation, stretching legs out from the body, and frequent rolling. When you first notice a sign of colic, you must act fast and contact your equine vet as all forms can be fatal. 

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Tip- Tidy Up

Ensure that your horses stall is clean and free of anything that could harm him/her. Horses should have access to clean water 24/7. Clean out water buckets often and keep your horse well hydrated. Make sure buckets are always filled and never empty. Stalls are exactly like your room; you wouldn’t want it to be filthy and unsafe! Your horses stall should be cleaned out daily and every few days strip out old bedding and replace it with clean bedding. Check your horses stall of any nails or insect nests. In the summer, stock up on high quality fly spray and use daily. Also consider investing a fly mask or fly sheet. 

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Laminitis

Laminitis is an inflammation of certain internal structures of the hoof. This is very painful for horses as they may lay down to relieve the pain. The hoof may feel hot to the touch and the horse may be limping. Another way to tell if a horse is lame is to look at the way they are standing. They may be leaning backwards. There are numerous causes to laminitis. Some being stress, eating too much grain, working a horse on very hard ground (asphalt), reactions to drugs, and more. If laminitis goes untreated, it may result with the horse becoming lame for life. 

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Abccess

An abccess is an infectious pocket within a bodily cavity-in this case, within a hoof. An abccess can occur if a horse steps on a sharp object, such as a nail or sharp stone which penetrates the hoof. This is a very painful thing for your horse so he/she may hold up their leg and not put any weight on that foot due to the pain. Your vet will have to open and drain the abccess. Be sure that you follow up with medication, poultices, soaking or anything other way of healing. 

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Parisites

Your horse spends a lot of time outdoors, therefore, he/she is exposed to insects. There is a large range of insects or parasites that can affect your horses health such as ticks, lice, ringworm, tapeworm, roundworm and lungworm. Most of these internal worms can be controlled by deworming your horse on schedule. As for the external worms, you may have to pick out yourself or use a medicated shampoo or salve to remove these parasites. 

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Tip-Ticks

If your horse is in a pasture with tall grass or plants, then he/she may be more likely to pick up ticks. Check for ticks during your grooming routine. One of the places your will most likely find ticks are al through the mane and in the tail, especially at the base and end of the tail bone. You can purchase tick medication drops, where you just put a drop of medication where it says on the instructions. Use lots of fly spray in the summer and warmer months to keep these pests from harming your horse. 

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Thank you for reading!

-Amelia💙

Small Equestrian Businesses

In riding, us equestrians often continue to buy the same products that work for us and our horses. It works, so why not use it?? It seems to make sense! In this I’m going to tell you about 3 very different small businesses that I can’t help but share my love for.

The first one is Hippies On Horses (otherwise known as HOH by it’s fans). HOH has all natural products for horses and riders. The products are particularly good for sensitive skin. My favorite products are Soft n’ Shiny and Fungus-Be-GoneSoft n’ Shiny conditions your horses’ coat and hair. It works to gently detangle without making their tail itch. Common chemicals can lead to tail rubbing, and that can actually end up leading to a thinner tail. Soft n’ Shiny also helps maintain a thick and full tail. Fungus-Be-Gone is the perfect all natural and gentle treatment and prevention spray for cases of light scratches, rain rot, and all other horse fungi. After I bathe my horse and dry his legs, I spray on some Fungus-Be-Gone. It’s gentle enough for everyday use! When I order from HOH I ask for the products to be lavender oil free as lavender can be confused as a drug when a horse is drug tested at a show. The owner, Kori, has impeccable customer service. Hippies on Horses’ Instagram: @hippiesonhorses       When you order you can use my code HOHRACHEL for 5% off of your order.

 

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Hippies on Horse Logo

Crystallize Equestrian is one of my favorite small equestrian businesses. They are known for their patented crystal bridle charms. My CE favorites would have to be my Lapis Luzili bridle charm and my Oil Diffusing Bracelet. My charm is good luck. I have a horse who tends to be sensitive so I keep it on my martingale instead of on his bridle. When ordering, you pick the crystal you want. Then, you select which charm you’d like with the crystal. Then, you select if you want a charm, necklace, or both.The Oil Diffusing bracelet is amazing. It is round with a nice little design on it, and the strap is a leather wrap. Inside (the top screws off), is a little pad. You put a couple drops of the oil blend of your choice (also sold at CE) on the pad every few days to keep the smell. As equestrians, after returning from (and while at) the barn we can tend to take the ‘horse odor’ home with us. This bracelet diffuses its’ fresh scent and keeps you smelling fresh even after a full day at the barn. I where mine everywhere. After seeing mine, my friends want one! Crystallize Equestrian’s Instagram is @crystallizeequestrian  . Their website is Crystallize Equestrian.             When ordering, you can use my code RACHEL10 for 10% off your entire order!!

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Lapis Luzili with no additional charm

 

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Oil Diffusing Bracelet 

 

The last small business I will review today is Blue Saddles. Blue Saddles is a fine used saddle selling company. They will both help you sell your saddle and find you your dream saddle for an affordable price! They carry CWD, Voltaire, Antares, Butet, Devoucoux, and many other high end french saddles. Blue Saddles is owned and run by a competative amateur, Katy Baldini and a USEF hunter equitation judge/trainer; Dina Mazzola. Katy and Dina are the saddle dream team:

Katy brings her equestrian retail knowledge and passion for all things equestrian to bluesaddles, while Dina’s years of experience matching saddles to riders and horses, and riding in a variety of saddles has equipped her to offer practical advice on a variety of brands.

You truly can’t go wrong with these two. They offer trials, and are incredibly willing to work with you to find you and your horse the perfect saddle. Find out more on their website: Blue Saddles.

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Blue Saddles Owners Dina (left) and Katy (right)

These three customer focused small businesses are among my favorites. I can’t recommend all of them enough, and every time I enter the ring, I’m using at least one thing by each of them. If you have an questions you can direct message me on my Instagram: @rachel.p0rter . (the 0 is a zero!! ♥)

Until next time,

Rachel

Interview with @them.7.minis on Instagram!

Hello everyone! I’m Julia ( @nikonh0rse ) and I am a new blogging intern for The Preppy Equestrian Blog. I’m so excited to be here!

For my first article, I have interviewed @them.7.minis on Instagram and I also got to know her favorite riding outfit which I have for you guys to see!

Them 7 minis

Q: When did you decide you wanted to get a mini/ work with minis?

A: About 2 years ago I was just going through the YouTube and I saw @1itscrunchtime1 video and I thought it was honestly the coolest thing ever and I really wanted to try it myself

Q: Are you looking to get more than 7 minis eventually or train and sell minis in the future?

A: I do want to rescue/train/sell minis when I become older, and I’m hoping to maybe get one more mini cause I really wanna breed Pickles and Toby

Q: Will you show your minis someday?

A: I want to but there are no mini shows near me

Q: How do you manage all of your horses plus school and social life?

A: Honestly it’s really hard I don’t ever really get to have a social life with friends from school but I somehow manage to get all my horses and minis out 3-4 times every week

Q:What is your favorite riding outfit?

A: I love my @anniesusa light pink breeches with my @anniesusa white shirt and my equine couture bling belt.

You guys can click on the quick links to get to the website where she got her outfits from! I personally love the Annies breeches myself! Kaila (them.7.minis) is sponsored by Annies breeches and if you look through any of her accounts, you can see her wearing most or all of the pieces of the outfit. Kalia’s accounts are @them.7.minis , @stride.to.jump , @@caviars.journey , and @hoof.haven.farms .

I hope you guys enjoyed this interview with @them.7.minis! Any requests? Comment them below! (It doesn’t have to be interviews!)

See you all soon!

~Julia

Horse Show Protocol: All Three Rings

DSC_0212.jpg    When showing, you and your horse should always look your best. Since judging can be subjective, you always want to earn those little bonus points for the simple things you can do before you are even in the saddle! But, “looking your best” isn’t always the same for all 3 rings (hunters, jumpers, and equitation). Each area of the hunter/jumper riding style encases many different elements to help out with the choice you make on how you look when you and your horse strut into the show ring!

The basics of preparation for showing include:

  • Clean tack: It never looks nice to walk into the ring and have a dirt covered bridle that you haven’t cleaned in the past week.
  • Polished boots: “I should see my reflection in the toe of your boot.” is what my trainer always says. Being that most show boots are black, the dirt attracts and shows very easily, so it’s very important to have your boots spotless when showing.
  • A Clean Horse: Your horse should be pristine when you compete. Whether your horse has white socks, is totally grey, or doesn’t have markings, they should be stainless and shiny. Also, their mane should be pulled beforehand (about an adult hands’ length). And last, a horses hooves should be polished, just like your boots.

Hunters: In the hunter ring, it’s important that you look great, but almost more important that your horse looks better.

You: To start, when showing in basic hunter divisions, you should alway wear a collared show-shirt, show jacket, tan breeches, and tall boots. Also, as a normal standard, make sure your hair is in a hairnet and tucked inside of your helmet. In this arena, you have a little more freedom to pick the color show-shirt or show coat you want to wear. But, saying that, I would stick to the main colors (black, navy, & hunter green) for a show coat, at least. (With that said, I have seen some beautiful boysenberry and brown colored coats in the hunters). I wouldn’t astray from your basic tan breeches in this ring.

In stakes classes and derbies, it’s traditional to wear a : instead of your normal show jacket. As stated before, it’s best to stick to the main color group of show coats. But, if you want to spice it up, you can always find some cool shadbelly points to complete your look!

Your Horse: When you walk into that ring, your horse better look like a-million bucks! The judge is going to focus primarily on your horse in these classes, so this is the most important part. Tack your horse in clean tack and a white, traditional show pad (not a square pad). If you are showing at an ‘A’ rated show, make sure you braid your horse if you are showing in the hunters. Otherwise, just make sure your horse is gleaming and ready to go. In the hunter ring, keep it flashy!

Equitation: This is the one ring you don’t want to walk into with your hair in a ponytail and your shirt untucked.

You: Everything about you in this division is going to be precisely looked at. So, you should always wear a hunt coat (navy, black, or hunter green), a white, collared show-shirt, and *tan* breeches. Tall boots are a must and they need to be shined! Make sure your hair is extremely neat looking in your hairnet and helmet. In this case, YOU must look like a-million bucks.

Your Horse: Even though the judges will be focusing on you for the class, it is still important that your horse looks outstanding. They need to be shiny, polished, and whitened in the needed areas. Always tack up in a traditional show pad and clean tack, as I stated in the hunter section. You can put protective boots on your horse, if you wish. Braiding, you are usually obligated to do at an A rated show. In the equitation ring, keep it classy!

Jumpers: Jumpers is the one ring you can truly express yourself!

You: This ring you have a little more freedom to further your creativity in how you look. In normal jumper divisions, you are free to wear a classic looking, collared sun shirt or polo. This means if you want to wear a bright blue shirt, go ahead! Just make sure it’s collared! I would recommend still sticking with the tan breech and tall boots combination, as well. In jumpers, you can wear your hair back in a ponytail or braid, but it always looks nice to have it tucked under your helmet.

For classics and Grands Prix (yes, that is the plural form), it is customary to wear a show-shirt and show jacket. But, have a little fun! You can have any color coat you want!

Your Horse: Walk into that ring in style, if you’d like! For the upper classes, you want always wear a white square pad (so you can pin your number on one side). I would also do that for if showing at an A rated show in jumpers. But, if you really wanted to add some color to your set look, you can put a fly bonnet on your horse’s ears. You can also wear protective boots in here, as well. In the jumper ring, keep it sassy!

**Wear a belt and gloves when you horse show!

I hope this good way to put a guide to look good at horse shows.

Catch you later my Preppy Equestrians!

– Anna Catherine

 

 

eco-friendly.

Hey there friends! So I want to introduce you to one of my favorite brands, who lucky for me, is a sponsor of mine! Ecolicious Equestrian. I have so many reasons that I love this brand & the ladies behind it. I want to share some of my favorite products from them with you today, since we are in the middle of show season & summer!

CaptureFirst off, let me say that EcoLicious has a brand new, stunning website that you should checkout! Their products are 100% free of nasty chemicals, parabens & silicone. All of their products are made with natural & organic, GMO free ingredients. Let me tell you, when I first came across this brand I was sold on this alone, because I am picky about it myself with my hair, so I knew that my horses would LOVE their products.

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So these are a few of the things that I regularly keep in my barn from EcoLicious. They are my staple as far as bathing & grooming go. There are a couple not pictured here that I will include for you as well that I love. Everything smells AMAZING.

First off, the Squeaky Green & Clean is a MUST. It smells heavenly & my horses have never been softer after using it. At the last horse show, my young horse needed a bath the morning of & we had an 8:00 ride. We bathed her with the Squeaky Green & Clean , threw some Glossy in her tail & let her dry. I didn’t even have time to brush her & I had so many compliments about how shiny & soft she looked. I ran out of time to use the Silky but if you use that after the Squeaky Green & Clean you are golden.

Many of you know that my Grand Prix horse is a gray…. well for all of you out there that have a horse with white or a gray, the Blinded By The White is for you. I HATE the purple shampoos. I don’t like my hands being that color or the fact that sometimes it tints the horses. This is by far the best as the product is white. I use it in combination with the Squeaky Green & Clean & there you have a VERY clean & bright horse.

Let me tell you about Glossy. I used to be a Show Sheen fanatic…until I found  this. It is way better than Show Sheen any day & not to mention way better for my horses. One thing that I use all the time is the Squeaky Green & Clean waterless shampoo spray. If I have a horse that has spots the morning of the show or if it is winter & I can’t bathe, then this is the handiest tool of them all! Something else that they have that is amazing is the De-stress. It is an amazing detangler for manes & tails. This product helps to keep my horses manes & tails from getting dry.

They also have some amazing people products as well. I will tell you that at horse shows I have been known to use the horse products in my hair… they make it incredibly soft. All of their products are AMAZING. If you love organic & things that smell great, then this is the brand for you & your horses.

Be sure to check them out! Even Fritz approves!

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My Everyday Grooming Routine

DSC_2101.JPG    Hi I’m Hannah Burchfield and I own a 9-year-old Ottb named Phippen! I can’t wait to share my everyday routine with all of y’all!

DSC_2094.JPGMy first step of the routine is to heavily curry Phippen everywhere to help get rid of dirt and dander.

DSC_2102My second step is to hard brush his stomach, chest, back and legs to get excess hair and dirt off.

DSC_2127My third step is to pick all his hoofs and put hoof conditioner on to reduce dry, cracking hoofs.

DSC_2137My fourth step is to soft brush his face, nose and under his forelock to prepare for his bridle.IMG_8575

My sixth and final step is to get my favorite YL Oil Live With Passion and rub it on my chest and Phippen’s neck to bring a great aroma that helps us feel ready and fresh before we ride!

Grooming is a great way to get rid of dirt, dander and prevent fungus. It’s also a great way to build a trust and bond with your horse.

My grooming supply recommendation:

Bronco Fly Spray

Oster grooming brushes

Cowboy Magic Detangler

Show Sheen

YL Horse Shampoo