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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Apparently, Bucking IS the Trend

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Many brands are having horsey moments, and the house of Chloé seems to be leading the trend. Their collection is a “bit” whimsical and I really think it’s cute.

Without shame, they’ve covered entire outfits with rearing horse embroidery.  My favorite item of the collection has to be the Chloe Bomber Jacket; 70’s inspired and indulgently “little-girly”. I normally don’t dig velvet (reminds me of the monstrosity I called my senior prom dress), but this just looks fun to wear. At $2750, the price tag is out of reach for normal girls like me, but maybe someday I can buy it off price at an outlet ;).

I also love the bags that they have to match this collection;

which (unlike the clothing) will last more than one season. For horsey people like me, these bags will last a lifetime.

The simple and elegant American brand Derek Lam, has captured equestrian eyes with this amazing dress.  It features a simple cap sleeve suede top, with an elegant horse appliqué on the midi length skirt. I would wear this all day every day! It’s another high ticket item, at $2650. I’m searching for lookalikes for less money,; I’ll post updates if/when I find any. dereklamskirtneimanmarcusDerekLamCapsleevesuedehorseskirtdress

What do you think? Would you wear any of these items (assuming we could all afford them)? Comment 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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Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice…

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…that’s what Love Shack Fancy is made of. I’m obsessed with this brand. In a time where gender neutrality rules the roost, LSF dares to be in-your-face feminine. Any why not? I see nothing wrong with the sweet romantic proclivities of little girls. Flowers and frills in soft pastels and subtle neutrals are just what every woman needs to connect back to her inner little girl. Tea, anyone?

This season’s specials harken back to Little House on the Prairie, one of my all time favorite shows: Michael Landon, the nation’s moral father, teaching life lessons to his all-female brood wearing ruffles, flowers, braids and deliciously modest dresses while digging in the mud and swimming through rivers. I can see me wearing all of these to the barn while I scoop manure…well, maybe not.

These frocks aren’t, however, Little House on the Prairie prices, ranging from the $150’s to the $650’s. Ma would probably have to sew her own. Save your pennies and invest in a long skirt with a slub tee, or a sweet ruffled top to pear with your favorite jeans and western boots.

American midwest meets the Hamptons. Love it.

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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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).

Catch Rider – part 2

CatchRiderCoverI ordered Catch Rider by Jennifer Lyne for Kindle last year, and hadn’t had a chance to read it. When I learned that Ms. Lyne was going got be signing her book at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival (she currently lives in NYC) a couple weeks ago, I decided to break the virtual spine and start reading.  I couldn’t put it down. Sidney, the main character, has such an honest and strong voice. Her view of the world, as described by Jennifer Lyne, comes to life, in detail, drawing in even the most non-horsey of people into the world of a young woman struggling with class issues, personal tragedy and how to escape from her hometown by doing what she loves, riding.

While I didn’t grow up riding horses every day, after reading this book, I felt as though I had. Ms. Lyne’s attention to detail was a master class in equitation riding, the show world and how much effort it takes to succeed for someone who doesn’t have a fortune. Sidney won my heart; I instantly fell in love with her. As a mother, I wanted to take care of her, and couldn’t wait to read what she would do next. I felt as if I were there with Sidney and her uncle at the (spoiler alert) Maclay finals in NYC; found myself trying to calm my own nerves on her behalf.

Sidney’s perspective about her rural Virginia life, and her extreme brevity is compelling, and I will be sure to have both my children read Catch Rider when they are old enough. Kids don’t need to be in the horse world to learn from Ms. Lyne’s themes. Doing what you love, hard work and holding your head up high no matter what your background, are lessons we all need to learn.

Okay, now Ms. Lyne….time to write a sequel.

The Author, Jennifer Lyne
The Author, Jennifer Lyne

xo

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A Great Riding Read – Catch Rider by Author Jennifer Lyne

CatchRiderCover I admit it, I’m an older rider (cough cough), but I love to read anything about horses, especially books intended for young adults. It must satisfy some longing for a younger self, or maybe I never grew up inside, or maybe I’m just reaching mid-life crisis. Catch Rider, by Jennifer Lyne, is a wonderful read! I’m only partially through it, but I can’t put it down, even though I HAVE to because my family does require attention now and then.

I’m posting this before I finish my read because Ms. Lyne, a fellow Chappaqua resident, will be signing her book tomorrow at the great Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival located in Bell Middle School right in town. Any fans, new readers or parents of horse-crazy kids will want to stop by and meet her as well as pick up a copy of her book.

Not only will this support our wonderful festival, but Ms. Lyne has decided to generously donate all her proceeds from the festival to Everytown for Gun Safety – in honor of the victims of our most recent tragedy in Oregon. Thank you Ms. Lyne. I will be buying several copies

I’m going to use the publisher’s description of Catch Rider, as I’m not done reading it yet!! I will, however, get right to it when the kids go down tonight. Watch out A Circuit 😉

Catch Rider is published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt

Synopsis

Sidney Criser, 14, pursues her dream of becoming a catch rider–a show rider who can ride anything–despite her poor background and ferocious competition from more privileged girls. Set in Virginia, Catch Rider is an authentic behind the scenes portrayal of a show barn and the elite, demanding world of equitation.  Catch Rider is not a horse book; it’s a book about horse people. 

xo

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Bridle Bling

I love a little bling on tack; I’m especially tickled silly when I see some bling on English tack as it’s been so basic for many years. There are a number of ways to add some sparkle to your saddle gear (and it’s not all $1K Samshields!). There are cute leather bridles in colors with crystals, custom bonnets with or without crystals, tall boots in all sorts of colors and styles, you name it, you can probably find it.

Here are some of my favorites and links to find out more:

Bridle Bling Premiera “Novara” – my friend sells these from her gorgeous store “Ride” Bedford in Bedford, NY. Now all I need is a fancy horse…hehe.

Premiera-Novara

Custom Bonnets with Bling (or not) Performance Horse and Rider

CustomBonnet

Two Horse Tack has some customizable reins with style….

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And nobody does English bling boots like DeNiro

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And for the select few with green jod boots, here is your half-chap match made in heaven (not quite sold on these)

Haymag Australia 

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Happy Blinging!!

xo

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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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English Western Hybrid

I’ve been stuck between riding disciplines for as long as I’ve been riding. I can’t decide whether or not I prefer the close contact, two hand reins and traditionally preppy attire of the English style, or the saddle security, freedom of having one hand free, and easy to wear (in the barn and after) Western style.

Why choose? I’m not one for limitations, so I like to get a good western trail ride on Cuervo (my cute little leased quarter horse who was Western broke) when I can, and then on other days, when I feel like posting a proper trot, I throw on my little jump saddle and practice patterns in the ring.

I’m pretty much the same when it comes to clothing. Some winter days, I want the clean polished (uptown) look of my non-riding black “breeches” with a slimming black cashmere sweater, black knee high suede boots and small stud earrings. Other days, I throw on my Haute Hippie long horn t-shirt, a pair of embellished skinny jeans, my Tony Lamas and a warm wool southwestern poncho. With regards to actual riding attire, I remember I wore my cowboy boots and jeans with my English tack and it looked equally as awkward as when I wore my tall boots in a western saddle – got lots of looks, but who cares? Cuervo could care less what I’m wearing :).

My pick for a cute hybrid outfit. Maybe this will be my Christmas outfit from Santa –

 

Mixed-discipline for hacking around either Western or English.

 

Some other fun ideas:

So, whatever your preference, mix it up!

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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