Re-Introduction

Well, It has been over a year since I have last posted and I would love to get back into it again. For those of you on here for the first time, my name is Kate and I am a 19 year old college sophomore (interested in pre-med studies). I have been riding since I was 10. I just again took a break from riding as this past winter was crazy for my health and dealing with a new diagnosis plus college. (See my about and conditions page for more background on my health problems and history) Near the end of winter I had a bad flare of my runner’s knee so I am still hesitant to start back and especially with jumping.

My current summer plan is for me to shareboard/part-lease a dressage or event horse to work on my dressage and possibly show, I am still trying to make my way back to my lesson barn as I still want to do some jumping but I really want it to be slow and relaxed since I don’t want to ruin my knee. I am hopefully soon going to try another horse at the same barn a tried the last horse at. I am also on Job hunt mode and taking one online class to help with my credits.

I hope to over the course of the summer share reviews of some of my favorite items, be able to also talk about important aspects I see in riding and share the adventures of me and my future lease horse!

One thing is with me is that my health is very unpredictable due to the nature of my conditions so I may be stable today, or in bed (or the hospital) the next. So I may not be consistent with all my blog posts but I do the best I can. I would always love to hear your input for future blog posts and ideas.

Thanks!

Kate, The Midwestern Eventer

How to Ride a Sensitive Horse

Written by: Sarah Lewandowski

We ride many horses- green, spooky, extra fresh, but how do you ride a really sensitive horse? This is my experience riding an extra sensitive fresh horse that I started to lease. The process starts way before you get on, and that is being calm, and relaxed. If you get on that horse and are stressed or worried, or freaking out, the horse feels that and it will be freaked out.

Take a few minutes before you get on to clear your mind, don’t think about anything that’s not related to your ride. You have homework to do? Think about it after your ride. Did you have a bad day at school/work think? Think about it after your ride. Thinking about dinner? Think about it after your ride. Once you can clear your mind of all the thoughts that aren’t necessary to your ride not only will you have a good ride but also you’ll stay calm for your horse.

When you get on your extra sensitive horse, remember no squeezing, try and stay genital, and relaxed. When you do that see how the horse is reacting. Is it a good response? No response? When you’re trotting around make sure you’re not hanging too much on the horse’s mouth, and using too much leg.

Stay relax as possible, what helps my legs become lose is I think of them like wet noodles, when I do this my legs then wrap around the horse with no pressure. When I am go around the ring I am making sure my horse’s trot/ canter is the one that I want, and that they aren’t running away with me. I bend my horse into the corners; they need to always have a shape into/ around the corner in a trot or canter. To relax and feel the canter what I do is I take my inside hand lay it on my

If the horse isn’t listing to you, or going way to fast, or too slow, think about what you are currently doing with your body. Are you using too much leg? Are you pulling on the reins too much? Are you not using enough leg? There always needs to be a balance between hand and leg.

When you’re jumping the same thing comes into play see how they are jumping some ground poles, if they start to speed up before the jump, sit down, NO LEG, and pull on the reins to tell them to slow down. If they still don’t slow down after the jump/pole make them stop so that they know they can’t run off with you.

After sometime you will start getting used to the horse, and how they behave. Remember like George Morris said, your leg can be there and the horse just needs to get used to it being there, but remember don’t use pressure and don’t grip with your leg.

Getting Back into Things

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!

Thanks for keeping up with my crazy life!

 

Steals and Deals!

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!

  • eBay
    • 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!
  • Facebook Groups
    • 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
  • Social Media
    • 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
  • Craigslist
    • 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)
  • Non-Equestrian Brands
    • 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!

 

 

Back to School: Keeping Horses in Your Life

Written by: Emma Knight

I go back to school in three weeks. THREE weeks.

Where has the summer gone?

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!)
  5. 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!)
  6. 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 A Life with Horses

 

Written by: Sarah Lewandowski

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.

Learning to Fall

Written by: Sarah Lewandowski

How do you prepare for a fall?

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.

Stay safe!