Riding Conditions Bleh? – Time for a Longe Lesson…

Riding Conditions Bleh? – Time for a Longe Lesson…

IMG_6475It’s been a rough couple of months for those of us not lucky enough to either live in the South or West where riding is doable most of the year. We’ve had snow, ice, freezing rain (as differs from ice, go figure), below zero wind chills and frozen ground. Not very fun (or safe) for riding. I haven’t even seen the trail since fall, and our ring space keeps shrinking in size as the snow accumulates. It’s hard even getting my butt to the barn on days that I can barely get out of the house it’s so cold.

This past week, while the sun briefly peeked out though the thick cloud covering, and my little leased horse rested (growing a big belly) my trainer had the idea to take advantage of the crappy conditions and do something that I only see the up/dowers do – the longe line lesson with another sweet lesson horse. I thought, cool – I’ll take a break from aching thighs and let her drive for a while.

Wrong.

I’m sure most of you barely remember doing this as kids. Going in circles, no reins, and letting your trainer walk the pony around and around – all you had to do was stay on. This was different. Snow and ice covered the ground; we began at a walk. Cool, easy peasy. No reins today! Post the walk. Ugh. Okay, keep going. Up to a trot and post. Constant trotting, arms up, down, out to the side, behind me and then no stirrups. Try and sit the trot. Oops, quick spook, panic canter, then back on track. Post the trot. I regret thinking my thighs wouldn’t burn that day. After what seemed like a long time, we switched direction and did the whole routine over. She then asked me to close my eyes. This was a crazy feeling for me! Taking away my vision helped me pick up the correct diagonal easier, and helped me feel little Rocket underneath me, silly, but I actually felt closer to him. I also learned that I may depend on my hands WAY too much, and taking them away forced me to balance correctly.

It’s a great lesson in many ways. We helped my seat and balance, which need CONSTANT attention; helped my thighs, which get soft in winter; and helped my attitude, getting my horse fix even in the cold weather always gets me out of the doldrums. This was a great way to take advantage of what little riding we can do – give it a shot 🙂

Thank you Trainer Lisa!! Thank you!

xo

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Icy Ride, Safe Ride – Winter Riding Safety

Icy Ride, Safe Ride – Winter Riding Safety

Looking out the window at all the ice from this weekend, I’m again wishing for better riding weather.  Those of us who can’t ride in warmer climates (and especially without covered rings) are faced with making the decision to not ride at all or try to take short rides as safely as possible. I found this article in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News, which has some great advice for we northern tundra riding folk ;).

I’m going to take her advice and try bareback with my little Cuervo – want to keep my butt warm!

xo

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Winter horseback riding can be fun, but special care is needed

Posted Nov. 18, 2011, at 11:49 a.m.
BangorDailyNewsHorse
Courtesy of Jesse Schwarcz | Schwarcz Photography Shadow, a 37-year-old Arabian owned by Heather Robbins, enjoys the snow at Wild Ivy Farm in Bangor.
Courtesy of Jesse Schwarcz | Schwarcz Photography
Shadow, a 37-year-old Arabian owned by Heather Robbins, enjoys the snow at Wild Ivy Farm in Bangor.

It is inevitable. There will be snow, cold and ice. For some horse owners, this means hanging up the saddle and giving the horse some time off. Others forge ahead. With careful preparation, riding in the winter can be enjoyable and safe.

Some riding stables have an indoor riding arena, which eliminates the concern of icy footing and biting wind. For those not so fortunate, riding can be done outside as long as there isn’t ice or deep, crusted-over snow. Horses are very capable in the snow, but when it gets that frozen layer over the top, it is difficult for the horses to break through and they may even lacerate their lower legs. It also impedes their movement which could result in a fall of both horse and rider.

For the winter months horses should either go barefoot, with no horseshoes, or have special snow-tire-like shoes with caulks and a pad between the hoof and shoe that keeps snow from balling up. Horses’ hoofs are cupped, so snow will pack in if horses wear typical metal shoes, which makes hooves like bowling balls and the horse very unsteady. Disaster is eminent.

With a barefoot horse, or one fitted with winter shoes, riding outside through snow-covered trails is a most enjoyable outdoor activity. Some considerations are important, however. In order to carry a rider through deep snow, a horse has to work extra hard, so be aware of horses’ fitness and exertion during an outside ride. If a horse has a full winter coat, it can quickly become very sweaty with the extra effort required to plow through snow, and care must be taken to keep that horse warm after a ride until its coat has dried. The drying process can take hours. It may be a better idea to limit physical work to avoid having a horse sweat a lot. They can’t shed layers if they get warm the way riders can.

For the rider, wearing appropriate gear can be a challenge. Riders can’t wear slippery snow pants or chunky boots to ride in. One will make it hard to stay on, and the other makes it hard to get your foot out of the stirrup should you not stay on. While a fall off a horse into the snow isn’t a bad way to land, it can be an awfully long walk home should that horse decide that he has urgent business to attend to back at the barn.

One of the more comfortable ways to ride in winter is going bareback — the horse’s back, not the rider’s. A horse with a broad enough back can be lovely to sit on in winter. They are natural seat warmers. A narrower horse, while still warm, isn’t as cushiony to sit upon.

Riding should never be attempted on ice. Horses do not handle ice well. Occasionally, there will be a horse that can figure out how to safely negotiate an icy patch, but the majority of them play out the Bambi scene from the Disney movie. Except in this case, Bambi weighs a thousand pounds or more and it isn’t cute when he comes crashing down, limbs all akimbo. Horses can easily fracture a leg falling on ice, so not only should ice be avoided when riding but if your paddocks are icy, horses may need to stay in the barn until there is sufficient snow to cover them or it melts. Some horse owners will outfit their horses with studded horseshoes just to avoid an accident at pasture. In general, horses will avoid ice naturally, but sometimes, they get goofing around and don’t pay attention to the footing.

Horses are quite adapted to cold weather and as long as they don’t get wet from rain, snow or sweat, they are very comfortable being outside. Wintertime in Maine has its challenges for keeping horses, but the opportunities for some spectacular riding should not be missed. If a horse — not a rider — is barefoot and bareback, riding amongst the snow covered pine trees is a dreamy way to get through the winter.

Polar Vortex Riding

Polar Vortex Riding
MustoSynergyJacketNavy
Musto Synergy Jacket in Navy

As we get pommelled by the first real cold snap this winter, I’m reminded how hard it is to force myself to get outside, take off the horse’s blanket (must be so cold for him), tack up and ride in the outdoor, uncovered ring, freezing boogers forming icicles at the end of my nose while keeping my ride to a walk/trot over the icy terrane.

Once I’m out there and we’re finally working up a little heat, I’m so happy I’m riding, but I need motivation to get my butt out there.

Call me shallow, but sometimes, the chance to wear a new outfit gives me just enough motivation to brave the elements.

Net-a-Porter has a new brand in their Equestrian Sport category, which I originally associated with sailing, Musto. They have an awesome winter jacket perfect for layering. It’s a little thin, but with a couple layers underneath, after warming up in the saddle, I’m sure it will be the perfect weight for riding in the cold. It’s part equestrian, part moto jacket, so right on trend in fashion this season. I love the blue – very cool. At $300, it’s not cheap, but it should last a LONG time.

Here’s my pics for this jacket and the nordic winter we’re starting to get:

This should keep you warm for a while while mounted!!

Don’t forget the fleece helmet cover with ear flaps and snug infinity scarf (oh, and some tissues to wipe away all those frozen boogers…hhaha)!

xo

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 stuubenrider@yahoo.com

The Ebony Horsewoman

The Ebony Horsewoman

EbonyHorsewomanLogoSince I’ve been around horses, I’ve known the wonderful things they can do for young people. Some of the most responsible, talented, polite and hardworking boys and girls I can think of, work around a barn for lessons, for themselves and for their ponies and horses. Horses, sometimes intimidating but always a mirror to ourselves, can also reach even the hardest to reach humans. I witnessed this myself when I worked at a small urban barn in Queens, NY (Lynne’s Riding School) whose gentle lesson horses participated in Gallop NYC, teaching autistic and children with downs syndrome the joy of riding.

Patricia E. Kelley, a top Western equestrian and former marine (wow), has known this since 1983 when she founded The Ebony Horsewoman. She has been working with inner city kids, teaching animal care and science (including Western and English riding) to over 300 Hartford, CT kids per year.

“We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing,” said Kelly, 66. “They learn that they have ability. They just have to unlock it.”

By exposing kids in Hartford to horsemanship, she hopes to give them an alternative to the hardships that they may endure every day. They can escape street stress and spend time and energy in her 693 acre park with 14 horses, a Shetland pony, and a number of other animal species, which are taken care of by her students.

Really innovative is her Jr. Mounted Patrol – a group of young riders charged with patrolling the park and reporting back with what is going on in the park. How wonderful is this??

I want to highlight her work and perhaps drum up some dinero for her efforts. As winter descends upon the farm, they could use some money for feed and hay, and I’m sure any number of other items for her non-profit.

Way to go Ms. Kelley! I’ll be on your donor list 🙂

All photos are from their web site – I just thought they were too cool not to feature.

http://www.cnn.com/video/api/embed.html#/video/topvideos/2014/12/05/natpkg-cnn-heroes-tribute-kelly.cnn

Ebony Horsewomen, Inc.
337 Vine Street | Hartford, CT 06112

Phone: (860) 293-2914
Fax:    (860) 293-0039

Email: info@ebonyhorsewomen.us
www.ebonyhorsewomen.us

xo

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Tack and Tweed’s Holiday Gift Guide for Winter 2014

Tack and Tweed’s Holiday Gift Guide for Winter 2014
Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide Cover
Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide Winter, 2014

Wondering what to get your horsey loved ones? We have some ideas to help you out!!!

We feature some of our favorite brands, as well as some new ones, most of which can be purchased online simply by clicking the link in the guide. For items sold by Ride Bedford, please give Courtney a call – she will personally help you with anything you need and will be sure to give you the best product at the best value.

By the way our very own Tack and Tweed limited edition cell phone covers designed by Beatrice Bulteau and made in France, may be purchased here, or by emailing me directly (Lisa@TackandTweed.com)!

Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Happy Holiday Shopping!!!

xo

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There’s a bun (or two) in the oven…

There’s a bun (or two) in the oven…

No, I’m not with child, but we’ve been busy here at T&T! We’ve been collaborating with renowned Equestrian Artist Beatrice Bulteau to create a gorgeous new product just in time for the holidays – will launch tomorrow….

Also, we’ve put together our annual Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide which will be published in less than two days….can’t wait!! Okay, back to work….

xo

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Equus Film Festival NYC

Equus Film Festival NYC

FilmFestival2I’ve lived in and around NYC for almost 20 years now and I’m a little sad to say I’ve never participated or attended any film festivals. I’ve thought long and hard about getting my butt to the Tribeca Festival, but never actually made it. Last Thursday, when I heard (last minute) about the Equus Film Festival at MIST in Harlem Friday and Saturday, I called in a last minute babysitter, grabbed my notebook and jumped on Metro North. Quite clearly, hours of horsey films take priority over a DeNiro (my favorite actor, by the way) sighting ;).

It took me a couple minutes to find MIST, but once inside I felt very much at home. Three theaters playing equestrian cinema, world-renowned artists and horse activists all convening to share a drink and a bite at the delicious bar of Madiba, and the 7 or so obligatory protesters (anti-horse and carriage types as there was one short film being screened that defended NYC’s horse carriages) out front all conspired to make a wonderful and entertaining evening. I had a bite to eat at the bar, and I realized that this was of the same Madiba of Fort Greene Brooklyn fame, right down the street from where my husband and I lived years ago. It was one of our favorite haunts, so I was happy to see them thriving. Not to mention, the food was amazing. My little hand meat pie and truffle fries were perfect, as was my husbands dish of Chicken Durban Bunny Chow (spicy curry-like dish served in a hollowed out organic bread loaf). DELISH.

Okay, so I grabbed another glass of South African chardonnay, and sat through some evening flicks. First, some shorts. A short about Dr. Maria Katsamanis, who specializes in classical horsemanship, then a quickie about the Festival of the Horse and Drum, which looks to be a fun event scheduled for next August 15th and 16th in St. Charles, Illinois.  Sorry to report that the Asmar Equestrian (my regular readers know I love this brand) ad wasn’t aired at this point, but was seen on screens across the lobby and perhaps at another point in the festival. We then screened Free Rein, a glimpse into the life of a natural horsemanship trainer in Cananda named Jessica Fobert. She teaches us to listen to horses, and gives them a voice – they also happened to win the “Best Equestrian Series” award – congrats!  Next was the talented and artistic Riders of McCrae Farm. Specializing in French Classical Dressage, movements are given by, not forced from, the horse. Not the best cinematography, but a great performance and fun to see.

The next film was a treat. Animaglyphes, a labor of love by director and creator Manolo Bez, creative mind behind the Theatre du Centaur along with his wife, Camille. The film takes us on a journey of animals and man, so that we cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. They bring together a collage of hundreds of people, sheep, horses and onlookers as they undertake an epic journey across many miles through the south of France, ultimately parading though the un-barricaded streets of Marseilles. A piece of art, his objective was to demonstrate the oneness of man and animal while capturing different points of view, the most striking being one of birds as they witness hundreds of sheep being herded behind a female “centaur” (actually Manolo’s wife riding standing up on anywhere between 1 and 3 horses). When I asked what were some of his largest challenges making the film, besides securing the necessary bureaucratic permits, the largest challenge was the massive amounts of animal and human waste and how it was to be controlled and kept clean. Poo above all. 😉

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After this, I took a break to see what was happening in the lobby. I wasn’t disappointed as there were some protesters trying to cause a ruckus over the screening of a 10 minute movie named Save the Horse Carriages by Mary Haverstick (narrated by Liam Neeson). Eh, what’s a good event without some rabble rousers to bring in some media attention :)? I’m posting it here – reason for protest? I’ll let you decide.

Anyway, on the lighter side of life, I also met a wonderful artist named Beatrice Bulteau, who specializes in equestrian art and the celebration of movement and capturing the essence of the horse. She also happens to be the artist behind this year’s festival poster. As much as I wanted her beautiful watercolor mural (and everything else I saw), I only walked away with a signed festival poster and a beautiful iPhone 5 case. Hailing from Paris and now living in Portugal, Ms. Bulteau has been at her art for decades. I am sure that any piece of hers is a wise investment; tasteful art that will ad beauty and class to any room.

If I had more time and less children, I would have attended Saturday – all day. Alas, I had to call it quits after Friday. I’m anticipating next year, and will absolutely make time for the train ride back to the city to attend. Well worth it!

xo

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