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.
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.
Make sure your horse is standing square.
Have a soft tape measure or a long string available (having a friend to help is always nice!)
Start measuring at the center of the chest (between the two chest muscles).
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.
Keep the tape measure tight and level for the best measurement.
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.)
If you are between sizes, order a size up for the best fit.
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:
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.
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!
I ordered Catch Rider by Jennifer Lynefor 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.
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 Festivallocated 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
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.
I’ve only been riding for 4 years now, but I’ve tried just about every breech out there, and loved none. Each pair had their limitations. I heard about the equestrian riding apparel company Asmar Equestrian from one of my favorite sites DappeledGrey.com. I was in love with the brand at first glance. Soft colors, warm and quality materials, I wanted everything on the site. Alas, they are rather expensive, so I had to wait. Finally, Asmar had a sale, including my size in their Signature Knee Patch Breech. Still not cheap at $152.00, I took the plunge and bought a pair.
I love them. The nylon/spandex material is comfortable, breathable and still holds up to hours in the saddle. They are the only breeches which aren’t too low in the waist or too high; like baby bear they were “just right”. I love that they can be dressed up or down.They looked great with a simple t-shirt and amazing with a show jacket. I also love the fact that the bottom of the legs are comfortable. I have other breeches that irritate my calf because of velcro, or because the bottom elastics are too tight. Before I had these breeches, I tended to wear mostly the pull up riding tights; I can finally wear a belt and have roomy pockets for my phone.
While you are looking at their breeches, check out their amazing Boyfriend Sweater. Cashmere (oh joy) and comfy, with reinforced contrasting elbow patches, I would wear this sweater every day when the fall chill starts to blow. Some sweater colors (like my favorite grey) are also on sale, so perhaps for my anniversary, my husband will surprise me – psst: size large please (I like my sweaters over-sized and cozy). I’m so excited that Asmar has a new blog called “Horses and Lipstick”; right up my alley! I look forward to reading their posts.
I know these breeches are a pretty penny, but trust me, invest in one great pair and you won’t have to shop for any others for a long time. It’s time to donate my other breeches :).