How to Keep Your Daily Rides Interesting and Fun!

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(Photo by: Kelsey Bolin @snapcrackleclick)

Most of us ride our horses 5-6 days a week. Those 5-6 days envelope lessons and your plain  hacks on your horse. But those “plain hacks” can easily be changed into a whole new learning experience if you go into with the mindset of doing something new almost everyday. Below, there is a list of ways I make my hacks more meaningful for the well-being of me and my horse, and just more fun for the both of us! (All of these may vary for your riding situation)

  • Ride in different areas. Instead of riding in a normal arena everyday, try riding out on a flatter, grassy area. And, if available to you, don’t just ride in the same ring everyday. Where I ride, we have have 4 actual arenas (3 outdoor and 1 indoor). It’s very good for your horse to experience many types of scenery.
  • Don’t just “go around the carousel”!! Mix it up by throwing in some circles, going down the quarter line, or doing serpentines. That way your horse will be able to balance itself without the rail to lean on.
  • Ride with other horses. Lots of horses enjoy having company. So, they might be more focused if they know someone is working with them. Also, it can give them trail buddy (next bullet point will explain).
  • Go on trail rides. After a ride on your horse, reward them by cooling them out outside of the arena. This will help them stretch out after work. It’s also good to trail ride with other horses because it can create a relationship of trust with other horses. It can help a horse who is usually grumpy around others maybe pick friend!
  • Have a plan going into your ride. Plan out what exercises you want to do with you horse so it’s easily to establish reward. That way, you don’t run out of ideas while riding.

Enjoy your summer while it’s here!

– Anna Catherine

The “Breakthrough Breech”

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).

Catch you later Preps!

– Anna Catherine

The Luna Breech

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The Pamela Breech

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The Vela Breech

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The Jenna Breech

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The Victoria Breech

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The Pandora Show Breech

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The Fiona Show Breech

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All photos are from http://www.ghodho.com

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