Life after Lame

I’m sure many of us have been there. You’re riding and something feels wrong. Are you pulling on the reins too much? Is your seat not right? Are you out of balance? I naturally go to what I’m doing wrong (which is the usual suspect), but this time, it was Chance’s leg that gave out.

Chance is my steady Eddie…the Golden Retriever of horses; forever an ambassador for the equine species to kids and adult beginners and husbands alike. To see him out of action breaks my heart. His gait was never completely even, but this seems different, like we won’t ever do that training level dressage class we were working towards.

Chance has a bad stifle (the rescue where I adopted him said it was because of an injury as a colt…we’ll never know for sure). There seems to be quite a bit of arthritis in the joint, and it’s basically taken all summer to for him to feel up to trotting at a good clip for more than 20 minutes; we’ve yet to canter.

I’m left wondering if he’ll ever be back to normal, but then I think will I? My back and neck have arthritis and hurt every other day. I’ve been feeling carpal tunnel start in my wrists of late, and I have to struggle to keep off that last 5 pounds these last few years. As we age together, I’m happy to fight for every canter, trot and trail ride we have left. With enough Advil for me and bute for him, there is definitely life after lame!

xo

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Hermés Craftsmanship

Hermés craftsman, Monsieur Goblet, is featured in this documentary short.

I was mesmerized watching how much detail, work, time, perfection and ultimately love go into Hermés bespoke saddles. In fact, it was so beautiful, I felt the need to share it with my equestrian readers. Monsieur Goblet’s every hand movement is like watching a musician on their instrument. When he’s done, his masterpiece can be ridden in for generations.

Hermés has a wonderfully curated YouTube channel; definitely binge-worthy. The saddle above is the Hermés Arpege Dressage Saddle.

Simply amazing.

xo

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Story of an exceptional saddle-maker at Hermès

Spring is Almost Here

Just about time to put away your winter woolies and ski equipment and break out the T-shirts, lightweight sweatshirts and sunglasses. I’ve just updated my Spring and Summer 2020 shop :). I can customize any apparel for you, so please contact me with any special requests.

I also have exclusive lines for my retailers in and around Westchester and New York.

Spring countdown begins!!

xo

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My Fav Instagram Equestrian Influencers

I scroll through the equestrian posts on Instagram almost religiously. The following are my favorites and must-follows for horsey people of all disciplines :).

Heels Down Magazine (@heelsdownmag)

This is the Instagram page for the famous Heels Down Magazine and pod cast. Part Instagram photography and video feed and part online magazine, they link to their informative equestrian articles and podcasts. This is perfect for seasoned equestrians and newbies alike!

My Equestrian Style (@myequestrianstyle)

Overflowing with beautiful equestrian photography, gorgeous clothes and a super cute host, My Equestrian Style is a fun and informative feed. Keep up with Bethany for the latest in hunter/jumper style!

Fork to Fabulous (@forktofabulous)

New to the equestrian scene but not new to Instagram, Suzane’s lifestyle and health page is filled with gorgeous photography, inspirational healthy dishes and adorable animal and family pics. Follow her story for new motivational content daily!

xo

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Go Stallside, with Matthew Eliott, DVM

I worked at New England Equine Practice, a large referral equine hospital in Putnam County New York for two years, and in that time, I met Dr. Matthew Eliott, one of their practicing equine veterinarians. I spent most of my days in the equine pharmacy, which gave me an opportunity to chat with most of the techs and doctors; his was always a friendly face when he came through the door. One day, he mentioned that he wrote a book, and being very gracious, gave me a signed copy.

I swore to myself that I would read it, and as soon as my schedule allowed, I grabbed the chance.

Stallside, My Life with Horses and Other Characters, is a really fun and interesting book. Dr. Eliott takes his readers all around the globe, following his life growing up in Jamaica and New York, his internship working with zoo animals in Ohio to working as an equine vet in California.

These memories are wonderfully entwined with vet stories from the Dr.’s point of view; all creatures big and bigger, of sorts. What I really found entertaining was not just his description of what vets do when they work up your horse, but WHY they do it with medical explanations (in ways the layman can understand).

When Dr. Eliott isn’t out on farm calls, he spends time riding his steeds and tending to his gorgeous Riverhorse Farm, in North Salem, NY.

Horse lovers, and animal lovers in general, will find this a fun, informative and great book to read anywhere, but I suggest it would be a refreshing summer read while sitting on a bale of hay next to your best four legged friend, eating carrots and sipping rose!

xo

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First Show in Years

My son Dane has ridden horses for years, but only recently decided to start showing and get a little more serious. This past Sunday, we took him to his first show at Gardnertown Farms across the Hudson in Newburgh, NY. I don’t know who was more nervous, him or me!  He looked very dashing in his show coat and tie. I told him it would look better with a sparkle unicorn t-shirt (like the ones you can buy in my store) but he disagreed <wink>. 

Dane has been training for showing with Angelo Danza at Three Phase Equestrian Center / AD Sporthorses, and it’s been amazing to watch him improve and ready himself for this level of intensity. I’ve always been proud of his ability to bond with horses, especially the very forward and sweet thoroughbred Greta (show name “Game Face”), he was riding today. 

The first class out of three, was a crazy course with 14 jumps.  I looked at the map and realized that this event was almost more about memory than equitation. The rain was varying from light to medium and was probably a blessing as it would have been very hot in the afternoon sun. The small crowd of watchers gathered under the trees by the event ring as the riders strenuously repeated the course in their heads, “red, red, outside, diagonal, oxer – no, brown!”  

The first rider rode and cleared, though her horse was an unwilling participant, shying and fighting the whole way. I hoped Dane was paying close attention but I’m sure the first event butterflies were not helping him concentrate. After a couple more riders, it was his turn. 

The whistle blew and he was off.  One jump and then another went smoothly but Greta was excited and running super fast. Angelo was calling out instructions from ringside, mostly to “slow down!” but Dane was struggling to steady the pace.

Agh! SLOW DOWN!!!

Eventually around the twelfth jump he made a wrong turn and the beep-beep of the “rider off course” ended his first run. But for a first run it was great – fast (too fast!) and he had almost finished. To add to the excitement he knocked over a standard on the way out (still going fast) and Angelo went to pick it up for him. 

Dane was clearly frustrated but we told him it was an amazing first run. The rain drizzled on and the riders cycled through the second round until it was Dane’s turn again. They had changed the jump order and he nearly got it except for a wrong turn right at the end. Beep-beep!  So close, but Greta was feeling more confident, as was Dane. 

As the last round got going my husband worked with Dane to memorize the jump order as they watched the other riders. Then it was time to run again. Dane made one jump after another . I heard Greta hit a pole in the middle but I didn’t see if it fell. A tight turn into the final jump (“let her see it!” called Angelo) and he had finished his first successful run! Great Father’s Day Gift!

Great jump, but squinting from the pouring rain….

The riders went to put the horses back in the trailer while we waited for the results. We knew he wouldn’t be placing in the first two incomplete rounds but then I heard them announce the third, “First Place, Dane Beels and Gameface”. A blue ribbon on his first competition!  The other kids cleaned up as well! He makes me one proud horse Mom!

The blue ribbon round 🙂

Retail Therapy

I have fun news for my local readers: some local and very popular tack stores have given me the opportunity to launch my line in their beautiful shops. We’ve collaborated and curated specific Tack and Tweed apparel and accessories for clients in and around the Hudson Valley, Westchester and Connecticut.

The first store to graciously feature my apparel is Saddle Manor in Patterson, NY, which serves Northern Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Fairfield Counties. Owner Donna Woods will be sure to take care of your every need with a smile and warm welcome. She has a wide variety of beautiful saddles, apparel, tack and anything else your horse or horse lover could possibly need! Stop in Monday through Saturday 10am – 5pm. 2974 Route 22, Patterson, NY 12563 (845) 878-3881.

The Horse Connection is in Bedford – New York’s horsiest town. It was started by owner Natasha Tarasov in 1992 as a mobile tack store offering the best products at the best price with the best service. Her store is a popular staple in Bedford’s historic downtown. Treat yourself to lunch in town at Bedford 234 or the Bedford Post Inn after buying your horse-crazy girl one of my super soft sweatshirts ;).

Open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm. 38 Village Green, Bedford, NY (914) 234-2047

The next two stores are local famous farm markets and have taken on some of my more artsy apparel. We feature the stunning equestrian watercolors of the talented Lorisa Zorina. Please drop by and enjoy some cider donuts and their very own hard cider (yum!) at Harvest Moon Orchard in North Salem.

Open daily summer and fall 9am – 6pm. 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY (914) 485-1210.

Also take some time and visit the stunning Rochambeau Farm in Mt. Kisco, NY. Your kids will love to feed their incredibly happy farm animals while you will enjoy munching on their own fresh produce and browsing local products, like my friend Susanne Nastasi’s line of homemade, all natural laundry wash, aptly branded The Farm Babe.

Open Wednesday – Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm. 214 West Patent Road Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 (914) 241-8090.

If you are in the area, please support these amazing local stores who are holding their own against the big online retailers. There is something so wonderful about going in to a real store, trying a pair of breeches on for a perfect fit, touching soft and luxurious garments, smelling leather tack and most importantly, creating a genuine relationship with local business owners who truly care and contribute to our communities.

xo

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Happy New Year!

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For the New Year’s celebration, I’ll be kicking it here at home. My daughter has a nasty cold, so babysitters are out. This has, however, given me some time to shop online New Year’s Eve sales for equestrian equipment while sipping some bubbly.

Post Christmas, there are some great deals, so if you have a moment between parties, check ’em out. 

Need new muck boots? Normally, these Noble Outfitter’s Ladies MUDS are over $100, but you can get them at Dover Saddlery for 39.95, and yes, there are multiple sizes and colors still available. 

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This is an adorable vest by Riding Sport at Dover, normally $40 on sale for $14.99, pretty great price for a pretty quilted vest. Different colors and sizes available (this one matches the boots). 

RidingSportQuiltedVest

It seems as if we’ve had (at least here on the East Coast) more days of rain than anything else. I’m about to build an arc…anyway, this rain jacket (it’s men’s, but I’m sure anyone can wear it. Beval Saddlery regularly $199 on sale for $49.99 – pretty good!!

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If you’re looking for something for your four legged friend(s), like a new snuggly winter blanket or sheet, type on over to Statelinetack.com and you can shop their big blanket blowout. I found this really nice Tough-11200D Snuggit Tough blanket from $69.95 (normally $156):

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And, if it’s not too late…try to go out and find this for your celebration or drink it at the barn with your buddies, Dark Horse Brut, $13.99.

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xo,

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Merry Christmas!

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May your holiday be filled with love and happiness, and yes, maybe a horse or two :). We spent the days before Christmas with our buddies Chance and Ron, who didn’t complain that they got their presents a couple days early.  A belly full of candy canes kept Ronnie from wanting to work ;). Today, after a big present-opening extravaganza, our tummies will be treated to a prime rib roast (Happy Christmas to me), some hot toddies and old-timey Christmas music. Nothing better.

Please share how you spend Christmas with your family (or post videos/pictures) in the comments – I love to hear different family traditions.

xo

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The Anti-Helmet

Have we been so conditioned to wear traditional helmets when riding, that we’ve stopped considering alternatives? I know this will be controversial, but after watching a documentary about Sweden, I was introduced to the newest revolution in urban bike “helmets”, the Hövding, and I love it.

The Hövding is a crash collar that inflates in .1 seconds when it senses a potential collision. It not only covers your head, it also supports and protects your neck, which traditional helmets don’t do. A study by Stanford University says the helmet is eight times safer than a traditional bike helmet, which sounds wonderful. There were, of course, caveats. For example, if the airbag doesn’t fully inflate, it will cause the bag to “bottom out”, protecting the head from impact less than a foam helmet. I still believe it’s a step in an interesting direction.

This hasn’t been tested or approved for horseback riding, but I really feel it’s worth looking into. We’ve all fallen off our horses, and we all hate hat head 😏. I know some Western riders who won’t wear helmets (this is changing, thank goodness), but maybe this type of “airbag” system adapted for horseback riding, can be a viable alternative. 

What do you think? Is this something that equestrians should look into? Would you wear this if it were approved for horseback riding?

xo

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Go Ahead, Say the F.Word(s)…

No, not THAT F-Word, but “Fit. Fashion. Function. and Flexibility” the motto of a new brand of athletic couture named F.Words. I had the privilege of meeting the founder and designer Kendel Neidermyer at this year’s American Gold Cup in North Salem, NY. I was immediately drawn in the by real leather knee patches (100% deerskin) on her breeches, a luxurious and functional touch (can you say “grippy”?). I moved from the beautiful leather to the soft, but durable breech material, which, when pulled on, acts like a slimming pant (horray) but breathes and moves freely with the body. The best part is the pocket on the thigh perfect for your phone. I always struggle with what to do with my cell when I ride, and breeches with “deep pockets” are great.

 

I also love her original and beautiful jackets, which can go from the ring to the restaurant, barring any unforeseen horsey-fails in the manure.  Kendel’s rain gear will keep you dry but still stylish. She continues her collection with a bunch of well-designed leggings; any Basic B’s wardrobe go to. I want to put her “Frisky Leggins” that have an anti-muffin top to the test….

Kendel Neidermyer founded F. Words in July 2017. It’s a small, female-run, self-funded, luxury athletic wear brand. I, of course, focus on her equestrian pieces, which are exquisite, but these garments can be for any woman, whether she rides horses or not. In fact, some of these pieces are too nice for an afternoon hack, but you’ll look great doing it.

I love that everything is made in the USA, and although expensive, each piece is completely hand made and completed by one artisan; you are getting the highest quality. Kendel can be found at trunk shoes, at major horse shows; but her clothing can be found online at her site F. Words or at high end tack stores like Manhattan Saddlery in NYC, Ella Palo Alto in CA, and Kaval.com.

xo

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Fitting Your Horse Rug, Blanket or Sheet

Fitting A Blanket to Your Horse

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Hermes DouDou Winter Blanket 1850 usd

Now that the weather has started to turn colder, we’re all starting to pull our musty horse blankets out from deep storage. If you’re looking to purchase a new blanket, or even searching through used blankets, getting the best available size is very important. If a blanket doesn’t fit correctly, it can cause discomfort (even rubs or sores), get stuck on a fence or tree branch, or even completely fall off and to get trampled.

When I purchased my first blanket (after adopting Chance), I got it on super sale from eBay, and prayed that it would fit my horse. It didn’t, and I couldn’t return it. Good money thrown down the drain. After that, I decided to actually measure my sweet boy and find something in his size range.

Use the following tips to get the best size for your steeds and for a final fitting, please see the guide below from Your Horse Magazine. They posted a very comprehensive and easy-to-follow tutorial on YouTube.

Measuring Tips

  1. Make sure your horse is standing square.
  2. Have a soft tape measure or a long string available (having a friend to help is always nice!)
  3. Start measuring at the center of the chest (between the two chest muscles).
  4. Stretch out the tape measure or string up the broad side of the horse and all the way around to where the hair starts to hit the buttock.
  5. Keep the tape measure tight and level for the best measurement.
  6. This measurement will be your horse’s blanket size, in inches. (If you used a string, mark on the string where you started and ended and then measure the string between these marks.)
  7. If you are between sizes, order a size up for the best fit.
  8. Remember that size varies between brands, so do a little research on the brand’s sizing for best results.

 

Now the shopping fun begins!! Look at all the cute blanket choices that are available these days:

Post tips or your favorite blankets below!

xo

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En Lusitaine by Beatrice Bulteau

A couple years back, I met the artist Beatrice Bulteau at the Equus Film Festival in New York City, where her short, En Lusitaine (above) won Best Artistic Film. Born in the countryside of Loire France, she is currently based in Portugal and works in a number of mediums. Porcelain, print, watercolor, animation, illustration; there’s nothing she cannot do. I instantly fell in love with her simple but elegant aesthetic as she celebrates the clean beauty and noble nature of her frequent subject, the Lusitano Horse.

I will have to save some money to have one of her original watercolor pieces grace my humble home’s walls, however, I can adorn my body with either one of her new clothing pieces or leather handbags. I do recall a gorgeous maxi dress in one of her promotional ads, but I cannot find it to order (please comment below if anyone knows where to find it). I will be ordering one of her beautiful t-shirts (perfect for a night out or a ride in the ring). Her original handbags and silk scarves, as well as any of her artistic works can be purchased online at BeatriceBulteau.com.

bulteaubag350
Leather Bag B 350usd

bulteau$50
TShirt Blue Jumping 50usd

bultau250
TShirt Luso Grey 50usd

bed+sheet+and+pillows
Pillow and Sheets 350usd

IronSculpture280
Iron Trot Sculpture 280usd

lusogreywatercolor650
Luso Grey Watercolor 625usd

scarf+jacq+158
Mousseline Silk Scarf 158usd

xo

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Mocha Chocha Latte

Puppy of love

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Apparently 5 chickens, 2 kids, a horse, 2 cats and a husband isn’t enough to have hanging around the house, so we adopted a puppy several months ago. Mocha (nickname MochaChochaLatte), rescued from Alabama, born on Christmas Day, is the newest member of our clan.

Introducing her to the family has been interesting; she successfully herds our chickens (she’s mainly border collie), tries to herd the horses (no success there), goes mountain biking with my husband (even wearing HIM out), and brings in all sorts of dirt and love to the house.

I have to start looking for Border Collie themed (or maybe just puppy) horse accessories. Stay posted, in the meanwhile, here are some gratuitous puppy shots/videos.

xo

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Hunter Paces….

My sweet steed, Chance, is really shaping up. Minus an old stifle injury as a colt, he’s been sound. He’s not going to any grand prix competitions any time soon (neither would I, by the way), but he has gotten in shape enough to “compete” in some regional hunter paces. My son rode in last weekend’s Rombout Foxhounds Hunter Pace up by Hyde Park, NY.

The hunt club did a wonderful job setting up the jumps (all decorated beautifully), tabletops and food. Catering was delicious (pumpkin soup, chili and desserts too numerous to count)!

I love hunter paces. From beginners to super-competitive riders, all are welcome. Dane (my son) and Chance had lots of fun and Team Beech Hill (our group of three riders/horses) did great! Not in the ribbons, but there were many teams and their time was pretty darn good.

Have any of you done hunter paces? How do you like them? Post your pictures/videos here or on our Facebook page!

xo

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…and they’re off!

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