Professional Photoshoots: How To Prepare

I adore having photos of my girl. While the photos I take on my phone, but they are never the best quality and normally don’t have both me and her in them. So, getting professional photos done is the perfect way to get those high quality, cute pair photos you’ll treasure forever. But, getting ready for these photoshoots can be nerve-wracking. Accident prone ponies and weather are just a few examples. As someone who has done a lot of these types of shoots, I have compiled a list of my favorite things to do when I prep for a professional photoshoot.

 

Bath Time!

Making sure your pony is squeaky clean and shiny is super important. These are photos that you are getting to show off you and your perfect best friend; no dusty and dirty ponies allowed! If it’s possible and works with your area’s weather, clipping is a great thing to do also. When Carina and I did our photoshoot in Wellington with Lorien Huddleston of Lorien Huddleston Photography, we had a horse show the next day so she was bathed and ready to go. To battle to Florida heat, she was also body clipped.

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To Braid or Not To Braid

I personally love the look of when a horse is braided for a photoshoot but sometimes it jut isn’t feasible. While braiding provides a really clean look, it takes up a lot of time and some horses won’t even stand still for it. The best time to braid is when you do a black background or solo, artistic photos of your horse. Other times, it shouldn’t be a concern. Since Carina had a rated show the next day that she was going to be braided for so I kept away so I didn’t tear up her mane too much.

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Wear Neutral Colors That Won’t Blend Into Your Background

Don’t wear anything flashy or super intricate patterned. They just don’t translate well to the camera and can do more harm than good. I opted for a simple patterned, navy and white button-down with some plain white jeans and navy Sperrys.

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Clean Your Tack

Whether you are using a bridle or halter or even full tack, making sure it’s clean is vital. You want to look the best you can and dirty tack is not the way to do it. Even if it’s just running a damp cloth over the tack, makes all the difference.

Dress Up

You want to look perfect for these photos, so don’t be afraid to dress up. Also be aware that you were more than likely will get horse spit on it so make sure that it isn’t near impossible to wash! White is also a color to steer clear of but I was willing to take the risk 😉

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I will forever cherish these sweet photos of my girl and I. Lorien did a phenomenal job and I have more shoots lined up with her when I go down to Wellington again this season. If you are interested in getting a shoot with her, she is frequently traveling so DM her on her instagram @loriens.photography to get in touch!

 

I hope y’all enjoyed this article about prepping for a professional photoshoot! If you ever have any questions feel free to DM on Instagram @equestrian.syd!

Until Next Time Preps,

Sydney & The Ponies

 

Buying On A Budget: Why Second-Hand Horse Items Are Best

Horse stuff is expensive. Plain and simple. But, it doesn’t have to be. Why by new stuff when you can buy something gently used for much less and still get an amazing product?

Buying things second-hand is one of the most underrated things in the horse industry. Of course, there are some things that you shouldn’t buy second-hand like helmets if they’ve been used, medications, etc. But you can find some amazing deals on stuff that you may not normally be able to afford for your horse. Blankets are a perfect example for this. If you have a blanket destroyer or live in a place with bipolar weather and you need to buy lots of blankets, buy second hand! Most are kept in great condition and are sold for a fraction of the price a brand new one would run you.

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All of Carina’s bridle was bought second-hand! Even though it is a monocrown and has an extra strap we don’t need with this bit, it works greatly as our trail bridle!

Many people are wary of buying second hand, especially online, in fear of getting scammed. Luckily, I’ve compiled a little list with my tips to make sure that you don’t end up in that situation.


  • Always Use PayPal Goods & Service

PayPal has anti-scammer policies that helps to protect your money in any good/service transaction. While they do have a small fee, it’s a small price to pay for insurance that you’ll get your money back if it turns out that it is a scam.

  • Ask For A Specific Photos

By asking for a photo that is of a specific thing on or with the product, you are making sure that the seller really does have to product in their possession. If they are unable to provide it at all (people have jobs and may need a day or two to get and send the photo so please be patient), I would say to walk away.

  • Never Accept Screenshot Photos

The photos need to be taken on whatever device the seller is talking to you on. If the photos are screenshots from a text, email, websites or just at all, walk away. This is the tell tale sign of a scam. Bogus sellers will get lots of photos off of other Facebooks posts or websites and pass it off as their own.


 

Personally, I am apart of a lot of Facebook groups and I constantly visit consignment shops on the hunt. Joining a lot at first is a great plan. As you scope out posts, you can remove yourself from groups you don’t like. My favorite three are English Tack Trader (USA), High End English Tack Trader, and English Tack Exchange. I’ve had great luck with there groups and see really awesome stuff on there constantly. Also, there are groups specific to calling out bad sellers. Joining one of there helps you keep up to date with scams going around. The one I am apart of is Bad Tack Sellers/Traders. Surely, there are loads if other groups but I’ve found these to be my favorite. All of them are ‘request to join’ so there is potential to not be able to be apart of certain groups but almost always, the admin will let you in.

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Both my saddle and my breeches were bought second-hand!

My favorite things to pick up used are apparel items like shirts and breeches, saddle pads, and accessories for my horse like boots, bonnets, half pads, etc. Carina has a collection of so many extra things I wouldn’t normally be able to get for her or even myself, because I buy them second hand. Heck, I even got my saddle off of a facebook!

 

I hope y’all enjoyed this article about buying horse item second-hand! If you ever have any questions feel free to DM on Instagram @equestrian.syd!

Until Next Time Preps,

Sydney & The Ponies

Growing From Experiences

This past June, I took my mare to our first show since she came to Indiana. It was an eventing combined test at a local farm. For those who aren’t familiar, a combined test is only the dressage and show jumping phase of a 3-day event aka no cross country. I came into the class fairly confident that we would be perfectly fine. Boy oh boy was I wrong.

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I knew that we would be having a somewhat rough dressage test. Carina is not a dressage horse but has solid flatwork. She was great in warm-up but as soon as we walked into the area, it all fell apart. My nerves translated to tension from Carina and silly mistakes we should not have made happened. Walking out of the area, I knew that our score would reflect those mistakes. I got the worst dressage score I had ever received that day. Reading the judge’s notes really helped to show me what we needed to work on in our flatwork at home and in the comment section she wrote “Wonderful pair! Just seems to be nervous today, keep working hard.” This really helped to show me that the score doesn’t reflect Carina and I as a pair, it shows us what we need to work on to get better.

Going into the show jump warm-up I was much more confident that my horse knew her job and we would be able to clean up what we lost in dressage. Again, I was wrong. She was great in warm-up but I failed her as a rider in the arena. We had a refusal at jump 3 and again at jump 5. We were eliminated and walked back to the barn. I cared for my horse, gave her some of her favorite treats, and patted her because she tried her hardest for me, even if everything didn’t go our way.

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At first, I was mad at Carina for not performing as I knew she could. But really, I was angry at myself for not being the right ride for her that day. Horses are only as confident as their rider is. They are our partners and just like us, they can have bad days too. We had a bad day and when we went home, our training plan changed to reflect what we needed to work on.

Horses keep us so humble. They teach us lessons about everything under the sun and while it might be tough to deal with in the moment, it gets better. Looking back on that day, I see my actions, where I went wrong, and know that I have bettered myself from my experience. Carina and I went on to another show in our area 2 months later and placed 4th in our 3′ round out of 19 and 5th out of 21 in our 3’3″ class. I am proud of what we have accomplished and I am incredible blessed to have Carina in my life. Never again will I take for granted her talent and work ethic. I can’t wait to have more experiences with her and learn all the lessons that she has to teach me.

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I didn’t realize until now that we are wearing the exact same show set-up!

I hope y’all enjoyed this article about growing from experiences! If you ever have any questions feel free to DM on Instagram @equestrian.syd!

Until Next Time Preps,

Sydney & The Ponies

 

The Preppy Equestrian Holiday Gift Guide 2018

I have been told many times this year that equestrians are hard to shop for. There is just too much to choose from! I have compiled The Preppy Equestrian’s 2018 Holiday Gift guide with 8 awesome, “jump for joy” present ideas.

 

Horse Guard Flaxen Flix Treats

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Hore Guard is the most trendy supplement company on the market. They mostly gained popularity around their flax based treat Flix. Even the pickiest of eaters love these treats! You can find a 9lb bag here for $23.99.

 

Saratoga Horseworks Bandage Set

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These bandages have been taking social media by storm  Their versatility, simple care instructions, and virility have made them a favorite for so many people. They are offered in 3 different lengths, 2 different colors, and in 4 or 2 packs. You can find them here starting at $84.99 for a 4 pack.

 

Park North Designs Nail Necklace

Equestrian themed jewelry that isn’t tacky can be hard to come by. This necklace is a fun twist on an equestrian item that normally gets overlooked, a farrier’s nail. With a sleek, sophisticated design, you are sure to get compliments. You can find it in sterling silver here for $116.00 or in rose gold here for $121.00.

WOW Pampa Yellow Belt

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Belts are always a great way to accessorize an otherwise plain outfit. The WOW Pampa Yellow Belt is a great addition to practically any outfit with it’s 2 base colors being a neutral navy and cream but still having a little pop of red. You can find it here for $47.99 and it is also offered another in a multi-color pattern here.

Kate At The In Gate Custom Pony Portrait Embroidered Hoop

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Can you say cute?! These awesome little embroidery hoops are a perfect way to showcase your ponies adorable face. All of them totally customizable and are handmade by Kate. They are available is 2 different size hoops and 3 different background fabric colors. You can find them here for $45.00 and you can browse Kate’s other embroidery options here.

 

I Love You More Than Horses Art Print

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I have a weak spot for pretty, horse related art pieces and this one is no exception. This fun print would be an awesome edition to any room on the wall or on a table. Its quirky little saying and fun colors add a great vibe to anywhere you put it. The art is offered in 4 different sizes. You can find it here starting at $18.95.

 

Noel Asmar Equestrian Calais Wool Cape

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Noel Asmar is a superpower for equestrian fashion; this cape is no exception. Its chic design is perfect for street to stable. It can perfectly pair with most high-necked shirts and long sleeves for a comfortable and stylish look. You can find it here in 2 colors starting at $214.40 on sale.

Dalia Lehmann Equestrian Alexy Light Pink Shirt

Sporty, fashionable, and out-of-the-box has become incredibly popular this season. New colors with stylish designs on some of the biggest riders in show jumping. This shirt has the flare to stand out while still being feminine and chic. You can find it here in 5 sizes for $116.19 and others like it here.

 

I hope y’all enjoyed this year’s holiday gift guide! If you ever have any questions feel free to DM me on instagram @equestrian.syd!

Until Next Time Preps,

Sydney & the Ponies

 

What Goes On Behind The Curtain

As a young equestrian in an ever-evolving age of knowledge, I work with multiple trainers at all different levels to grow my own personal knowledge in the industry. I have learned from some of the best in the business and also some small town homegrowns. They all have something new to offer. But, when you are taught something by anyone, there is always room for something to go wrong.

You see nowadays, with the assistance of social media’s watchful eye, people bounce from one barn or trainer to another all the time. It has happened since the very beginning and will probably continue for more time to come. People have many reasons for moving barns or trainers; the facilities may be too far for a regular commute, the board may become too expensive, etc. But, there are also more reasons that aren’t talked about.

Drama amongst barn members is big, along with arguments with trainers over many numbers of things. The barn “family” as it is called is a rider’s support system. And when drama starts among members… all hell can break loose. Without a solid support system, riders lose touch with the fun that riding horses brings, making it no longer an activity that they want to partake in. Trainers are a large part of the support system and could easily be considered the core. They are the make-or-break of a rider’s confidence. It’s one thing to be verbal with harsh criticisms, but sometimes it is what trainers don’t say that hurts the worst. Personally, I’ve gotten to be on the receiving end of both and it isn’t pretty. I was very close to taking a ‘leave of absence’ from riding because I was so unhappy. But that wasn’t the end and normally it isn’t.

Our industry is flooded with the money seekers, the ones that are just in it to make a buck off of whoever they can. Crazy charges for simple tasks or holding back riders until they buy a big, fancy horse, the list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong, professionals charge what they feel their time & knowledge is worth and that is entirely up to them. But, taking advantage of people is not okay. All too often, you see families leave barns or stop involvement in horses altogether because it grows to be too expensive.

Sometimes, even if riders love the barn, people, and horses, it just isn’t feasible to continue training under certain people. The equestrian industry is based on a platform of judgement, and that judgement has ruined riding for so many people. But, riders doing what is right for themselves isn’t wrong.  Knowing when it all becomes too much is important. I hope by talking about this and bringing the not-so-fun subject to light, the judgment that surrounds moving barns or trainers, etc becomes less of a taboo affair.

I hope y’all enjoyed this article! I know it was kind of a downer but I promise there are lots more fun and exciting articles coming your way 😉

Until Next Time Preps,

Sydney & the Ponies

Ringside Fashion

Watching shows from ringside is one of my favorite things to do. But, not everyone enjoys showing their horse(s). With nerves, the pressure to do well, etc etc, the fun gets sucked out of it. Just because you aren’t riding doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun and look good while doing it. I’ve curated a collection of some of my favorite outfits to sport while watching ringside with an emphasis on stable to street.

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Athleisure is one of the best things to ever be invented in my opinion. It gives me an excuse to wear comfy leggings and have nobody judge me. For this outfit, I decided to pair one of the new Kastel Denmark fall collection sun shirts with my favorite Lululemon Leggings. For shoes, I added my all black Nike Revivals.

Basic black is pretty plain but by adding a fun color up-top with the turquoise, it brightens the look right up. Technically this is athleisure, but it still works really well for working out or even riding! Kastel’s breathable material makes sure that you don’t overheat while also keeping you looking fashionable. Looking for an equestrian specific workout plan? Check out The Fit Equestrian for some great programs as well as tips and tricks.

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Off The Shoulder Top & Breeches

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Pairing these two things may seem pretty out of the box. Typically, when wearing riding attire, you want to look professional. The off-the-shoulder top adds a more fashion forward look to a plain pair of breeches that seems to be a trend on the rise in the competition ring.

As a little bit of flare, I added Salvatore Ferragamo Gancini belt. This is totally optional and the outfit can look good with or without a belt. For shoes, I chose to wear my dark leather and tan Sperry Top Siders. The neutral tones of the shoes pair so well with the grey & navy to complete the earthy tones. If you want to add a fun twist, wear a pair of fun tall boots! Browns would pair best but if you have a fun pair of boots like grey, those would look great too!

You may also be able to spot the CEECOACH headset that we use during lessons as well as the stunning Custom Saddlery Saddle we got to model with! De Greggory was our equine model for the shoot and is modeling his own awesome outfit; A 20×60 Premia Double Bridle in black & white and Dressage Sport Boots in brown. Big thanks to Lauren Knopp for helping out and allowing me to use Greggy and her little dog Kaia.

 

 

I hope y’all enjoyed this article about ringside fashion! If you ever have any questions feel free to DM on Instagram @equestrian.syd!

Until Next Time Preps,

Sydney & The Ponies