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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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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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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Just some fun ;) and oh yeah, a new web address….

So a domain squatter stole TackandTweed.com right out from under me, so I had to switch it to TackandTweed.net. Sorry for any inconvenience – but our content will remain the same, just have to switch your browser cookies :).

Otherwise, during this holiday week (Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!) with the kids home from school, it was time to get them out. The weather has been strange here in Westchester, and we don’t have an indoor at our barn, so the ice has been accumulating. Before this all happened (including us catching the evil flu – never missing a flu shot again), we were able to have a little fun while we had a bit of snow. Enjoy and Happy New Year!!! I’ll have some new fashion tips and product reviews in the new year.

xo

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(goofball was wondering why this strange human wasn’t moving, but his arms were so scary).

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

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.

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 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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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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Fall Talls

Christian Louboutin Cate Chain Riding Boots $1295
Christian Louboutin Cate Chain Riding Boots $1295

It’s fall and there’s no shortage of wonderfully equestrian inspired tall boots. I’m so happy that we can wear tall boots year after year; they are basically timeless. English or Western, these will be sure to please the pony princess or cowgirl in all of us little ladies.

No riding in these boots, purely for pretty, so keep them away from the poo pile 😉

What I love about real Western riding boots, they can be worn as fashion. It’s pretty clear that I’m wearing real riding boots when I go to the store in my dirty Ariat Challengers. I have a pair of Tony Lamas, and they look just as great with my skinny jeans out on the town as they do in the ring doing work. These riding boots (except the Tony Lamas) haven’t been approved in the saddle, but will look cool with a skirt, skinny jeans, flair jeans (the newest old trend making a comeback), and shorts (if you’re under the age of 35).

 

 

Many of these boots are rather expensive, so think of this an an investment piece. Tall riding boots are classic.  With proper treatment (care for them like you care for your riding boots) and you can wear them for years to come.

xo

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“My Pony”

“I want a pony. I want a pony more than anything else in the world.” The artist and children’s book author and illustrator, Susan Jeffers opens her book, My Pony, with these words. What little (or big) child bit by the horse bug hasn’t uttered this phrase? This is a book about a little girl, who dreams of having her own pony. Her family cannot afford one, so she draws a beautiful dappled grey mare named Silver, who becomes her dreamy equine companion.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Jeffers this past weekend at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival this past weekend, (the CCBF is one of the most notable of book festivals in the NYC area). A rider herself (in fact, she used to have a horse not too far from where my son and I ride), Jeffers’ love for horses and children’s imaginations shines through in her beautifully illustrated books.

Jeffers has been writing and illustrating picture books for over forty years. She received the Caldecott Honor for Three Jovial Huntsman and has been honored with many other awards, including the Golden Kite Award for Forest of Dreams. Susan says she realizes now that she has always done the same things. When Susan was little, her best moments were spent drawing pictures, reading stories with her parents, playing with friends and sitting by the Ramapo River dreaming of horses. This has not changed. Being a children’s book illustrator has combined all of these things.

I read it to my daughter, Annalise, yesterday and she, even at three years old, loved it; she keeps flipping through the pages, perhaps dreaming of her own pony. I’m excited to read the next pony installment, My Chincoteague Pony.

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Susan signed a copy and made a pony sketch on the inside front page especially for Annalise. We’ll have to be careful not to beat it up too much, but it will be a book that she and I will cherish for years. Click here to see a list of her other selections available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Susan Jeffers with her now retired “pony”. 🙂

 

 

 

 

xo

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And another classic…..

Okay EventionTV, you’ve done it again….LOVE it.

Just love the Schramms!

xo

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A “Shout Out” to the Schramms – Q & A

ImageAs a relative newcomer to riding, I find myself voraciously consuming anything equine-related to help me get to the next level. One of my newest go-to places is EventionTV.com. Originally on YouTube, founders Dom and Jimmie Schramm, professional three day event riders and owners of Schramm Equestrian in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, shared their endless knowledge of all things equestrian. It took off. After my first view, I too, was totally hooked. Now in their second season, the adorable Dom and Jimmie combine expert advice, real riding examples, humor and loveable personalities into digestible horsey segments on their very own newly-launched webTV channel EventionTV.com.

Their warmth, caring and expertise is a welcome addition to the equine airwaves. I especially love that every episode includes a “Schrammo’s Shoutout” where Dom and Jimmie bring much needed attention to equine-related charities around the globe. Consider EventionTV a horse treat for us humans.

I recently caught up with the super busy super couple to ask a few questions:

lb: What is your riding background? How did you guys meet?

dom: I grew up in outback Queensland Australia. I had the typical ‘bush’ start, tearing around on ponies and being a boy. My mum was the one who got me started competing in the show and dressage ring bit. It was when my father was on a military posting in the UK when I discovered eventing at age 11 and I never looked back. Since then I have ridden track-work, broken in lots of horses, and re-trained problem horses to fund my eventing habit.

jennie: I am originally from Dallas, TX and went through pony club which is where I learned about eventing. I rode with Chrissy Allison who also happens to.be where Tex aka Mellow Johnny came from. I went to college at Auburn University where I had the opportunity to work for Mike and Emma Winter who taught me the ins and outs of upper level eventing. I then spent a few months in California with Tamie Smith and that is where I found my current mount Bellamy and have been striving to make it the the top with him ever since. Dom and I met through our good friends Ryan Wood and Jennie Brannigan. We did the long distance thing for a little over a year and then got married and the rest is history.

lb:  What is EventionTV and who is your main audience/ who are you trying to reach?

d&j: EventionTV is a FREE web based how to tutorial series that presents practical information for horse enthusiasts in a fun, fresh and easy to digest way. We target any one who enjoys horses, wants to learn and likes to have a laugh!

lb: Why did you guys start this channel/ what prompted you to start making your show?

dom: To be honest it actually started as an idea to write a book, but I realized living in a digital age, online and visual made more sense. We try to answer simple questions people may have in the least condescending way possible as we thought a lot of what was out there was making people feel stupid. We also realized being broke ass event riders that we didn’t have mom and dad with the never ending checkbook that we were going to have to differentiate ourselves if we were ever going to get off the air mattress and pay the bills!

lb: What will be different about your second season? What is “new and improved”? Any spoilers to share with my readers?

d&j: We have put a tonne more effort and money into this season. Viewers can expect more in depth explanations. Visually it will be broadcast quality and revamped.  We will be trying out new technology to do things that have never been seen before in equestrian videos so it is a really exciting time. As far as spoilers, well, you can expect some more humorous segments as well as some special guest appearances!

lb: What is your favorite riding gear – what do you guys use on a regular basis (I know you use Stubben saddles…anything else)?

d&J: Really all of the Stubben gear is fantastic. Not just the saddles but the bridles and all the accessories as well are such great quality. My new favorite piece of tack is a Stubben jump bridle with fancy stitching. I like that sort of thing.

lb: What is your recommended show clothing? Hack clothing? Does it really matter?

j: For me it always matters, you want to look professional and put together. It obviously helps if you ride well too: ) I wear Pikeur breeches in competition and I have been searching for new competition jacket and tails and really like the Charles Ancona ,their stuff is beautiful. For every day in the summer the EIS sun.shirts are a staple. In the fall and winter I like polo shirts and rugbys. Ralph Lauren makes some really fun ones as well as Joules. As far as breeches go I like Pikeur and Cavallo. Yes they can be expensive but for someone that rides a lot of horses every day, they last.

lb: What is the best advice you have for an adult beginner rider? Is it worth their time working towards a show?

j: The best advice.I have for an adult beginner is to make yourself a realistic schedule and most importantly STICK to it. And by schedule I mean daily rides, lessons working up to possibly a competition. I also think it is worth aiming for a show because it gives you a goal you can work towards and a reason to improve your horse and your riding.

lb: What was/is your biggest challenge putting this show together?

d: Two things, finding the time on top of running a busy barn and second, paying for the production!

lb: Will we get to know some of your staff better in any upcoming episodes?

d: Steph, our barn manager/superwoman of all things is crucial to everything we do. I really want her to be more visible on the show but I know she will groan when I ask her. Hopefully you will get to see more of her.

lb: Where/when can fans come and cheer you on (your show schedule)?

d: Things are actually quieting down for us however we do have our biggest show of the year coming up in Fair Hill MD Oct 16-19. I will be in the CCI** on Cold Harbor and Jimmie will be contesting the CCI*** on her superstar Bellamy. We love seeing Evention fans at the shows so come out and say G’day!

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Personally, I would love to cheer them on in Maryland this October. I may need to use some of their horse loading tips to load my kids into the car for a road trip – so we’ll have to see 😉

Check out these pics – I wish I could do this!!!!

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xo

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