Holiday Wish List Picks!

November 28, 2011

It’s that time of year again. Time to hang up the lights, pull out the stockings and prepare those holiday wish lists! I’m fortunate to get to try tons of great products and services in the horse industry and have some definite opinions about what is innovative, hip and functional around the farm so in the spirit of giving this is my gift to you! Even if a pony is at the top of your list, you should take a look at some of these great items for you and your animal family.

FITS Laura Breech

FITS has been leading the path for high tech innovations in the apparel industry for quite a few years now and they really outdid themselves with the FITS Laura Breech. I love that I can go seamlessly from the sandbox to stable to market with a simple boot change and each look is comfy, stylish and completely functional! Watch the episodes with FITS innovator Sheryl Rudloph HERE and HERE.

Mountain Horse Stella Polaris Winter Boot

Here’s another winner in the fashion meets function world – the Mountain Horse Stella Polaris Winter Boot. I’ve ridden, done stable chores AND farm work in these and in all they are comfy and toasty warm beating back even the most severe winds the eastern shores can throw at you! Stepping in and out of these with winter layers is super simple with the back zipper. My favorite accent is the faux fur peeking out of the top! Weatherproofed, traction controlled and tested with 1 million flexes at -10 degrees make these rocking winter boots!

Perri’s Soft Padded Leather Halter

I’ve always been a fan of quality leather halters, leads, leashes & collars for the safety and longevity they offer. Perri’s Leather takes the traditional leather halter & spices it up with bright & fun colors. Of course I got the padded turquoise for HorseGirlTV®. Picollo looks dashing in his collar/leash combo + it even matches his diaper for his cart! The leather is SO supple & the Amish, Made in the USA, craftsmanship is hands down some of the best I’ve seen!

Back on Track Therapeutic Quick Leg Wraps

I’m über keen on innovations to improve both human and horse athletes so when Bo contacted me this past fall I was wicked excited! The Quick Leg Wraps are brilliant! They are easy to use, easy to wash and I’m now applying them to my gelding overnight with GREAT success in the sandbox! They are a fabulous choice for riders who are not super stealth in their wrapping skills too! These are a definite must for under the tree!

Dublin River Tall Boots

These are a true classic and should be part of every self respecting horse girl’s wardrobe! The Tall River Boots have an unmatched versatility with the traditional good looks! You can even hop on for a hack if you’d like and the RCS (Rider Comfort System) makes each step with cheer. When not wearing them at the stable, I’ll give them a quick brush off, tuck a pair of stylish jeans in and head to town! The path to many a horse girl’s heart is through fashionable footwear that functions.

Weatherbeeta Orican Freestyle

Hands down the best blanket I’ve ever had! Snap front closure is super fast. The neck cover is a quick velcro on and off. The wither relief coupled with the gusseted shoulder points is a guaranteed no rub with a proper fit and the blanket itself is terribly kind to the eye. Great colors! Great fit! Your horse will thank you if you stuff his stocking with one of these! I used it for the HorseGirlTV® “How to Fit a Blanket” episode. Plus they have matching dog rugs that are just TOO cute!

Books, books, books!

I couldn’t pick just one so… I’ve really enjoyed the Canterwood Crest series by Jessica Burkhart (Watch the interview). A little over a month ago, I couldn’t put down Georgina Bloomberg’s (Watch the interview) The A Circuit and I just started and am fast spinning through Believing In Horses by Valerie Ormand (Watch the interview). I’ve been fortunate to be able to interview each of these lovely horse ladies and can tell you they are great peeps but likewise super talented writers too! Get them all and fill your stockings to the top!

FITS Bump Fleece

The absolute MOST COMFY fleece ever! The FITS Bump Fleece is toasty warm, offers a zip front that goes over a helmet with ease, rich winter colors and a silky touch you’ll seriously not be able to stop petting yourself! Beyond the silky smooth texture of the fabric, the cut is such that it is very easy to tuck in even. If find myself wearing mine daily this time of year and it goes great with trousers for a biz casual look. It’s definitely a recommended item for all scribes, judges to look and feel great sitting for long hours in or out of the saddle.

Jumpline Designs Polo Rings

Between a series of world class events and HorseGirlTV® shoots I’ve been fortunate to spend some time with the Jumpline Designs designer, Mollie Wolfe. Mollie’s vitality and personality sparks show through in her designs. I’ve proudly wore my Jumpline Designs ring these past few years. It’s great quality, easy to clean and is a wonderful educational tool (SEE the dressage court ring). The Polo Rings are equally as dashing adding crisp color to your hand all year round. Horse partners & BFs, you can never go wrong with a tasteful piece of jewelry as a gift!

Draper Equine Therapy Cooler

I’ve been using my Draper Equine Therapy Cooler now for several years and it still looks as great as the day it arrived and it even made the trip across the pond with me to train in Holland (SEE picture)! It’s easy to wash and I’ve found that folks sitting ringside tend to quickly gravitate to it and next thing I know they are bundled up toasty warm in their chair. It’s made in the USA by super folks so whether you’re looking to keep yourself or your horse warm at ringside, this is one to add to the list! You can watch the interview with the Ladies of Draper online.

Do you have a favorite high tech, innovative or super comfy and fashionable item on your list and would like to share? Please feel free to leave a comment below! 🙂

Training Notes With Geoff Butler

November 21, 2011

One of my BFFs and an amazing colleague Geoff Butler was kind enough to come back to Eastern North Carolina for another clinic at the farm. It was a full weekend of rides and I think everyone had a great time. Looking back at my June clinic notes ( from working with Geoff I realized we REALLY have come a great distance in a short time. Hansel is a very sensitive horse which makes him challenging but oh so very fun when things are correct!

Just four months before we were working on in front of the leg and coming into the hand and while with most horses this is a lifetime work in revisiting Hansel really got it. Since June we have our change, have worked the passage to improve the throughness in the trot (wow did that work!) and are ready to delve into half pass. I’m not one to think there’s only one path or one series of steps one should take to get “there” but likewise I don’t think you should push a horse when they are not ready. That said, Hansel has an excellent passage and we even touched on piaffe one day so it’s in there. The passage to trot transitions recently has improved in front of the leg immensely! Here’s a few notes from my training journal with Hansel from our October weekend working with Geoff.

Going to the right try to sit deep into that inside leg and not be throw outside. This is not all me but I take the blame. I’m definitely stronger with my left leg and because of Hansel’s way of going it’s even more challenging but this sitting into that right leg especially when going to the right has helped with our balance together tremendously!

Counter flexion feel going to the right to keep him from dropping on the left shoulder. All gates. Again this is my weaker side and Hansel does like to drop or push into his left shoulder. Just the thought of counter flexion and I was able to keep him straight!

Bring the trot back a bit more especially to the right so he doesn’t take those crazy big steps and almost go into the canter. So bring it more back and up in the shoulders and neck. A mere 4 months ago and we were working on activating those hind legs and now he’s so active that I am riding the trot more conservatively. You’ll notice in the clip of him going across the diagonal away from the camera how expressive his trot (once the strength is there) will become.

Either direction shoulders to the right with left flexion and to keep haunch from swinging and ask a little more forward with both legs. Again we’re back to the arch nemesis that left shoulder. It’s a no brainer to say keep them straight and in front of the leg (the key here being active off both legs) but when straightness is compromised, a little fixing of the straightness coupled with activity off both legs is just a miraculous thing!

Here’s a few clips from one of the rides that address the work mentioned in these notes.

[jwplayer config=”Blog Player” mediaid=”2487″]