Hello! Sorry I haven’t been active on here my senior year has been chaotic! So of course school and my health come first! For those of you wondering a few weeks ago I was up at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to find out more answers about my health. I developed chronic pain and fatigue in fall of 2015, and I took over a year and a half off of riding, as well I suffered a brain injury from my accident this past February. I finally got some “real” answers as to what is wrong with me! Doctors up at Mayo say I have Autonomic Dysfunction meaning my autonomic nervous system is messed up affecting most of my organ systems, (such as my heart rate, digestion, memory, breathing stuff like that) it can be manageable which is good! I also have hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid), post-concussive headaches and anemia and a few other things. Sadly there is no magic pill to cure all but I can manage it. I am still happily riding though!
Now, next Sunday I will be heading back to the Mayo Clinic to endure a three week long Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Clinic, this will help me get back on track with my life! I will be doing physical and occupational therapy, group work, psychiatry and more.
Edit; I am now In the program I started monday and so far has been pretty rough first week but inside I know this is what I need to get myself back on track with my life
This means that I won’t be active much on the blog, and as well my store will be closed. I would like to get a holiday shopping post in but who knows if that’s possible!
This is probably one of my favorite posts I’ve written to date! In this post I’ll show you my favorite sites and tips to find inexpensive riding clothes, tack and gear! Who doesn’t love that! Because like many of use young equestrians we have a limited income (if you even have one!)
Here we go!
This place is a hit or miss, I’ve found many steal on this site! (if you don’t mind wearing used stuff!) I usually just type in the brand I’m looking for look at whatever pops up! I’ve bought 2 expensive Asmar pieces off of eBay ( both items retailed for well over $200) and only paid for less than $100 each on them! I also just bought a pair of almost never used Le Fash NY city breech off of eBay as well for under $100! Who doesn’t like that! (I also buy a lot of my lululemon off of there too because there is always a ton for sale on there!
I you have a Facebook I recommend you joining the many riding apparel and tack sales groups if you don’t already. People sell TONS of stuff on there! I’ve boughten many shirts on there plus usually people accept offers on their stuff as well. Also it’s a great place to sell your stuff too! Also what a lot of “ISO” post on the groups as well, (means “in search of”) which is another easy way to find something you are looking for
Tack Hunter App
This app just came out a few weeks ago and I love it! If you know what the poshmark or mercari app is it’s just like that but for equestrians. I haven’t found anything I’ve wanted to buy yet on the app but I have already sold tons of stuff on there! I app is still new so there may be a few glitches but it’s such a great idea!
Tack Store end of season sales / clearance (both online and in-store):
Most tack stores have a clearance/closeouts on items plus end of season items. This is a great way to save $$$, shop for items at end of season to wear for next season! I just got a Noble Outfitters jacket super cheap from my tack store because it was from last years collection (who cares if it was last season’s!). SmartPak and Dover constantly have stuff in their sale/closeout/clearance section! Sometimes it’s a hit or miss for finding items in the size you need but it’s always great to look!
USEF and other Organization discount
SmartPak offers a 10% discount on items if you are a member of USEF or other organizations! Dover just announced that they too will be adding a 10% discount for members as well
Brand Ambassador Discounts
Many small business owned companies have brand ambassadors who have codes for discounts to promote the company, usually the discounts aren’t “huge” but will always save you a few bucks! I am currently am an ambassador for a few companies listed below
K. Marie Equestrian use code KateR10 for 10% Discount
C4 Belts use code C4RUA7Q for a 10% discount
Ellany Equestrian use code KateR10 for a 10% Discount
Usually on social media such as Instagram people post their stuff for sale on their accounts or even have pages made specifically for selling such as BNJ Tack Sale page
Barn Tack Sales
Sometime barns or other horse organizations have local tack sales to go and buy their used tack
Once in a while you can find people selling their stuff on your local Craigslist, it usually a long shot but it’s defiantly worth a try! (also if you do buy and have to meet in person please do it at a local police station to be safe)
You can always find great clothes to ride in or stuff to use at the barn at non-horse brand stores! I like Target, TJMaxx, Nike, gap etc.
Have Other ways you use to save money? Comment your’s below!
As our thoughts go to difficult math equations and dry literature, remember that horses de-stress and relax us!
Here are a few ways to keep involved with our four-legged friends, whether you’re leaving your best friend at home while you move states, live an hour away, or live a few minutes away. This also applies to middle and high school students or college students living at home as schooling is distracting and stressful at any level, from any place.
Ride as Normal After School This is the most obvious option. If you are close to your own horse or still in middle/high school, this is probably the option for you. This also works if you are blessed with the funds and means to drive to a lease horse or lesson barn near you!
Start an Equestrian Team or Club
This is what I did last year at my school a few states away. This club had less than 10 members, but it was a fun way to meet other equestrian people and motivate each other.
Join an Equestrian Team or Club If you are serious about riding as a career or part of a career, seriously consider going to a college that already has a club or team.
Ride Your Horse/Lease Horse on the Weekends This may seem simple, but it’s a good idea. If you’re a partier, ride in the early afternoon to give yourself plenty of time to recover from the night before and to give you time to get ready to have fun again in the evening! (If you’re not, like me, go whenever you want!)
Working Student If you are organized and able to handle multi-tasking, becoming a working student may be the job for you. In exchange for cleaning stalls, turnout, or feeding, you can ride for free! This will usually give you lessons (free or discounted) and a variety of horses. (Warning: this is not an easy choice!)
Volunteer Volunteering for therapeutic stables or rescues is a rewarding way to work with horses for free. Often these positions are non-riding, or you may have to work your way up to riding. Grooming and loving on these horses is very important!
Let me know what you do with horses during school!
Balancing work, school, and a job in horseback riding is difficult at times. Sometimes you feel that you almost can’t juggle so many tasks at once. I’m here to tell you that it is possible, and I’ve been doing it for over 10 years.
One important thing about juggling so many different activities is that you need to know how to be organized as well how to prioritize your tasks. I work over 40 hours a week as well as riding horses 4 times a week. I also go to school which I study about 10 hours a week for, and I also have a social life.
What I found to be the best way to keep everything organized, as well as prioritized, is to have a planner. Usually on Sunday night I sit down for half an hour and write down what needs to be done the following week. If I have any major projects at work, I’ll write them down in one color; if I have a paper to write for school, I’ll write it in red pen; if I have any horseback riding lessons/riding just for fun, I will write it in a purple pen. When I do this, I can see what I have to do and how close activities are together, and then I can see if I need to change anything or if I need to move some activities around.
Dos and don’ts of organization:
Do you make sure that you leave enough time for yourself – it’s really important to have time for yourself because you don’t want to feel overwhelmed.
Don’t squeeze everything into one day. Make sure that you don’t overlap activities because you will need to finish one activity before you start another.
Don’t I learned the hard way that there’s no point in procrastinating on projects or assignments that you need to get done. Try to get it done ahead of time!
Do make sure that you still have fun!
Do make a schedule to know what you have coming up that week, for appointments, or activities.
Do make sure that you dedicate one place to keep your things. You don’t want to be running around in the morning before school looking for your book. When you keep all your things in one place it will make life easier.
Anyone who’s been riding horses will tell you that they have fallen off before, but how do you actually prepare for a fall? There’s no guarantee that you will fall without injury but the following tips may help you reduce the impact from the fall while riding.
Why would you fall?
There are some reasons why you could fall, including but not limited to: the horse could refuse a fence; they could be naughty and buck you off; they could fly over the jump and throw you out of the saddle; they could trip or spook.
Before you get on:
Before you get on a horse make sure that you and the horse match each other’s skill sets. Make sure that you aren’t riding an advanced horse that you can’t control. Make sure that are riding in a safe environment for your skill level, for example, if you’ve never ridden outside, make sure you don’t go outside. Make sure that your stirrup lengths are correct and that you have the right size saddle. The most important part is that before you get on, you should make sure you check your girth so that it doesn’t slip when you are riding your horse.
What should you do when you do fall?
When you do fall it’s going to be very fast; everything will be happening in milliseconds. What I learned from riding is that what you do for make sure that you follow almost into a ball. When you do fall into a ball you’ll be less prone to injuries because you are in a smaller, confined body position. For instance, if you did fall and try to spread your arm out or legs out you put more pressure on that certain body part which could cause injury to that arm or leg. If you do fall into a ball this will give less of a chance for your horse to step on you.
*You should always try to land on your feet or back, but if these are not an option, falling in a ball will protect you as much as possible. Think “Tuck and Roll.”
Should I grab onto the reins?
This is a huge debate. Should you grab onto the rains when you are falling? Not everyone agrees with holding onto the horse once you have fallen off. If you do hold onto the horse this increases your chances of your horse landing on you or stepping on you. It can also painfully the horse’s mouth or nose, depending on what type of headstall you are riding in. Not only could the horse injure you, but it could also injure itself if it feels threatens or too confined. If you do decide to try and hold onto the horse when you fall, never wrap the reins around your hand. This is extremely dangerous because your horse could start running with you, dragging you by the hand.
*Every rider should practice emergency dismounts to prepare both horse and rider. This means dismounting at a moving pace, usually at the walk or trot. Be sure to drop your stirrups before dismounting so that you don’t catch your feet and make an emergency dismount into an actual fall. This is a good time to teach your horse to immediately stop and stand after their rider falls.
How can you prepare?
You’ll never know when you are going to fall, it might be at a lesson, a hack, or even at a show. There are a few ways that you can prepare:
Make sure that you have an approved helmet, and make sure that it fits you correctly. Don’t use someone else’s helmet, a helmet is supposed to fit you.
It’s very important that you check the girth before you get on. When you check the girth, this will make sure that the saddle is sitting properly and that it won’t slip if something were to happen.
Have a cell phone on you. This is why I always have it on me, just in case something were to happen so that I can always call 911 right way. If you do decide to carry it make sure that it is on vibrate or on silent so that you don’t spook the horse. Invest in a good armband or breeches with deep pockets to carry it
You can also practice falling off a small stool onto some mats. This will give you the feeling of a fall. This way you can practice how you will fall and protect your self.
Practice emergency dismounts. Every good rider should know how to do these. Start on a steady horse and eventually work up to any type of horse.
Saturday, June 17th, we took Beau to his second off-property schooling show. I’m not sure what his previous owners did with him, but it certainly feels as if it was his second ever, not just with us.
Here’s how the day went:
(Note: Times are estimated, show times get blurry. In addition, we found out that our bit was controversial the night before, so we showed him in a D-ring single joint snaffle, which I’d ridden him in for a ride or two a year ago, which did not end well. He loved it at the show, though, and I haven’t switched it back since!)
6:30AM: Leave home barn
7:30AM: Arrive at show property
8AM: I school Beau. This consisted of some hasty lunging in the show arena before being nicely kicked out so that riders could school under saddle. Beau definitely had plenty of energy and excitement, hopping around and half rearing and running and more.
8:30AM: I school Beau under saddle. He surprised me with his attention. We only had one small buck, and he went straight back to work. My trainer helped us by having us rate our gaits, which means using my post to go from a small, short trot to a long, strong trot. It seems to calm us and get our heads in the game. We also popped over a few verticals at 2′. We had one refusal, because I’m lame and didn’t commit, but I made sure that didn’t happen again.
9AM: I get off, Beau gets hay and water. I leave his saddle on to keep him in the “riding mindset” (which I’d end up half regretting later but hunter shows are all “hurry up and wait”).
9:30AM: My leaser arrives. Her first hunter show (above x-rails)!
11 to 12PM: I get on again. We school about a half hour before my classes. He is fantastic, soft and adjustable. I’m loving it!
1PM: My rounds! I do three 2′ hunter rounds, which are the best jumping rounds I’ve had on him ever. I don’t know what got to us, but we were on. We placed 1st in schooling, 2nd in the 2nd round, and 2nd in the third round. Our flat classes were okay, not bad but not fantastic either. It was super windy and hard to hear the announcer, plus there was a flapping tent that Beau wasn’t too happy about either. We placed 6th in under saddle (aka I have a giraffe for a horse) and 4th in equitation because I cannot freaking get my diagonals.
2PM: My leaser rides in the 2’3″ class. Beau is, again, perfectly amazing. I am now completely befuddled as to who this quiet, well-behaved horse is. She places well in all 5 of her classes, and is ecstatic to have shown so well in her first big class (her words, but I love it!). Beau is now super sweaty and tired.
3PM: My dad rides in the 2’6″ class. My concern is much higher for Beau than for my dad, as he is super tired and sweaty at this point. He still has plenty of energy though, and it doesn’t take much to get him to go. My dad has nearly flawless rounds, except leaving out some of the strides. He places in 4 of his 5 classes, and 2’6″ is definitely the most competitive division.
Enjoy my commentary, by the way!
4PM: Beau is super sweaty, huffing and puffing. Later, we realized that this is probably at least partially due to his medical condition. He has a normal secondary AV block in his heart. What this means is that when he’s not in hard work, part of his heart shuts off. It’s somewhat common in racehorses. I’d assume it’s even more common because he is a descendant of Secretariat, who is known for his huge heart. So, it’s logical that when his heart turns on, his breathing would increase.
As soon as my dad is off, his saddle is pulled off and I sponge him down with as much water as possible, sweat scraping as I go. I then squeeze plenty of liniment on his lower leg tendons. By the time his cooled off and eaten some grass, it’s time to go home.
We load up, and head out. I feed him and give him a dose of bute for good measure. He had a long, hard day. He gets the next day off and the day after is a quick, chill hack. My barn friend/caretaker informs me he’s slept most of the day inside (he goes out at night to avoid the heat).
Last notes: Two years ago, Beau was an underweight, undermuscled, super green horse who liked to go up and down more than forward (well, unless it was running forward). One year ago, at his first off-property, he spooked and ran and had all the wiggles. Two years ago, I never could have kept up with him. One year ago, I was nervous. This show, I was the most calm I’ve ever been. It wasn’t just that I was a better rider, it was that I knew we could do. I knew that we had become a team, a partnership. And once I realized that, there was no stopping us.
“Be My Beau” gave us fourteen ribbons. Like an old schoolmaster, he carted around three people for fifteen classes. And just like that, the student, my pride-and-joy project, became the master.
Hello! Sorry for my absence! Everything has been super crazy with my life!
Here today, I’m going to talk about my summer riding must haves! Ready to beat the heat!
Smart Water: Whenever I work out I alway use smart water or any type of electrolyte water to keep me hydrated. We lose electrolytes when we sweat so we need to replenish them!
Kerrits Ice-fil Tights: These are my favorite riding breeches I use in the summer, I hate wearing my thick breeches during the summer heat and they make me extra hot. These tights are thin and have Ice-fil brand technology to keep you extra cool!
Helmet Visor: Using a helmet visor is great during the summer to keep the hot sun out of your face as well as being able to see better without having the sun blinding your eyes!
Katherine Cosmetics: Katherine Cosmetics is one of my favorite makeup brands, I especially love their K-Sport line, which doesn’t make my makeup sweat off or feel gross from the heat and they also have SPF to protect our faces!
Ecolicious Equestrian: My favorite fly spray of all time is the So Fresh and So Green body spray which is all natural and smells amazing, I love using it on myself as well. It also protects your horse’s coat from the sun rays!
Nobel Outfitters Mesh Gloves: These gloves are great for hot weather as they have mesh ventilation to keep your hands cooland not all hot and sweaty.
Herbal Horse Aloe Vera Lotion: I forever will love their aloe vera lotion! Aloe vera is great for sunburns and to keep your skin hydrated in the summer. It’s completely organic which I love a ton. They have different kinds of aloe vera lotion to choose from! My favorite it the muscle soothe great for sore muscles after riding!