I stumbled upon the View Halloo Equestrian Competition Journal by chance. View Halloo was a featured Instagram account in a giveaway I had entered. It was one of those like a bunch of accounts and be entered contests. At first I thought nothing of it until View Halloo’s journal came by my feed.

Anyone that knows me knows there’s two things I love; paper products and planning. I love being organized. I love gathering information and putting it all together with one little bow. I had to get my hands on this journal.

Fast forward a few weeks and my journal came yesterday in the mail. I rushed home as fast as I could to dive into the journal. Unboxing it was the most fun I had had all week.

It came very well packaged and safe. I must say founder Rebecca thinks of everything when she was putting together this journal and she doesn’t ship it cheaply. It comes in a heavy wrapped paper envelope that’s lined and then the journal is wrapped up in a nice, orange tissue paper and sealed and taped.

Opening it up, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful cover. I got the black with silver with my name on it and it came absolutely perfect. When you pick up this journal, it screams quality. Opening up the pages, you can tell Rebecca knew what she was doing. The pages are heavy and smooth and great to write on. It’s some of the most quality paper I’ve felt in a while.

The journal is peppered with beautiful watercolor pictures and includes references to View Halloo which is a foxhunting call meaning something is worth chasing. I love this motto for goal setting!

Leafing through the journal, she thought of everything. The journal has spaces for your registration information, insurance, blanket inventory, horse care, training, goals, shows, travel schedules, etc. It’s truly built for a competing equestrian to keep everything organized.

The journal is very beefy. It’s not a small journal! You get a lot of value for your money ($75 without your name on front or $90 with.) I’ve already started going through it and filling out all of Jim’s information, some of which I had to go into my filing box for! It’s nice to have all of the information all together. I hope I don’t fill out the training pages too quickly though. I might do weekly summaries instead of daily rides since I ride Jim about 4-5x a week. That might save me some real estate!

Overall, I absolutely adore the journal and recommend it for anyone that’s like me and has a busy equestrian life. It’s great for keeping track of all of your horse’s information, show schedules, training, equipment and other important information.

Also, for my wonderful blog followers, use the code EQWIFE10 for 10% off!  

Advertisements

This show season has been a whirlwind ride and I’ve learned quite a lot. I started my year off with a lot of changes – mostly my horse change. We began leasing Jim in February and purchased him in May. Our shows went from end of April to our last 2 dressage shows coming up next month. Needless to say, we didn’t have a ton of time to get used to Jim and figure out his buttons before we jumped right in!

At the beginning of the season, Jim and I hadn’t quite figured each other out yet. I was becoming more confident again and he was learning the life of a show pony. We had varying levels of ribbons, mostly toward the bottom, as I figured myself out. We did have some great highlights though and started achieving, especially on our home turf. That first blue when I went third, first and first and then went on to win ground poles will forever be one of my favorite accomplishments.

The last off property show we competed in was earlier this month. While I still have a lot to work on, our turnaround was pretty fantastic. We scored first in equitation (which had been our nemesis all year and yes, this is all on me) and two seconds in pleasure and discipline. Year end scores are still being calculated, but I think we may have taken some reserve championships. (We’ll find out soon!)

Our experiences at shows changed completely. While I’m still nervous in the warm up ring, I’ve started settling down in the show ring. I’m not quite the level of anxiety I was at the beginning of the year. I’ve started trusting Jim more to take care of me and be my partner.

And while I was learning him, my husband was too. This was his first year really competing now that we had a horse he could ride too. Although he would try and disagree – he’s too hard on himself – he did amazing. He was the first one to score a blue ribbon on Jim out of the two of us and I am so proud of them. It’s been great to watch him accomplish his own goals and go so far. The funniest moment of the show season was definitely a show in July. I had to repeatedly tell him he had won first in one of his classes! He didn’t believe it! I’m very lucky to have the best show partner I could have in Tom. We are always there for one another.

Going forward into our last two shows and the winter, I know things I’ll need to work on. But I also feel incredibly lucky and accomplished. I have a lot to be thankful for, especially my amazing trainers who know just when and how to push me. Hard work, great trainers and a lot of sweat and tears are worth it. Because out of all of that work comes beauty and success.

 

 

The Search for a Saddle

It isn’t easy the day your trainer comes to you and tells you your saddle is no longer working for your body. It’s even tougher when you’re short and curvy and trying to find the perfect jump saddle for your Paint who has a somewhat weird back that also fits you.

I did not want to buy another “starter” saddle. I was committed to riding English and knew a $300 saddle just wasn’t going to cut it. My trainer, knowing this, began having me try different saddles at the barn. I think I went about four weeks not riding in the same saddle. I tried an Hermes, a Devoucoux, one of the lesson saddles, my husband’s saddle – anything that could possibly fit.

I dove onto Facebook. As any equestrian knows these days, the biggest used horse equipment market is on Facebook. Sometimes you can get lucky on eBay, but Facebook is where it’s at. However buying this way also leaves you open to scammers.

Scammers do exist. I had one girl who had an Antares listed that I was talking with – but she wouldn’t send additional photos. I thought it was odd, but it didn’t hit as a red flag until someone commented on the post that she had scammed them. Upon talking to the girl, I quickly forgot about that saddle and moved on. I kept searching.

It took awhile. It wasn’t a search that ended in a day. It wasn’t as simple as walking to the appliance store and picking out a new dishwasher.

Then I stumbled on a post by Christine of Bonjour Tack. Based in Arkansas, her website had a plethora of saddles and many were the higher end used English saddles I was looking for. Finally I hit gold. A 2000 Prestige Hippo Red Fox in great condition. Before Prestige changed their Red Fox saddles, they were calf leather and wool flocked. The saddle had a short flap and the gullet was right for Jim.

I can’t say enough good things about Christine. She allowed me to do a payment plan and if I paid in a few weeks, I could still have the week trial to make sure it fit Jim and I. When I paid it off, it was shipped that day and I was sent the tracking right away. And when it came, it came with a beautiful Prestige saddle cover and a little drawstring helmet bag as a free gift. The saddle was exactly as advertised and it was wonderful.

I was lucky that it came just two days before my horse show. It felt wonderful and I rode the best I had yet, winning equitation and taking two seconds in pleasure and discipline.

And with that, my search finally concluded. Although sometimes I’ll miss the online shopping, it was worth the search and I am in love with my new saddle.

img_3882

Recently I was one of 25 winners who got a sneak peek at a new subscription box service, Tack ‘n Treats. I was very excited to receive my box as Tack ‘n Treats go a step beyond just your normal monthly box. A portion of what you pay for each box goes to horse rescues.

I received my box quickly in the mail in a nice little branded Tack ‘n Treats box. After opening it, I first found a piece of paper detailing everything that was in my box which I found very useful.

img_3864

In my box I got a navy lead rope, a face brush, a large bag of treats, some saddle soap, an electrolyte supplement, a thing of vetwrap, and a horse sticker. The box was also scattered with peppermints!

img_3865

 

Probably the funniest thing about opening my box was just the other day I was thinking how I didn’t have a good small face brush. I have a few bigger soft brushes in my kit that are close, but nothing small enough. And there it was in my box!

I also enjoyed that it was a large bag of treats rather than a small sample because – let’s admit it – Jim gets a good deal of treats. I loved that the Co-Flex wrap was red, Jim’s stable color!

The only thing I probably won’t use is the supplement. I have Jim on a pretty strict diet. However I like that the supplement is not just for horses and since we have other animals at the barn, someone will enjoy it.

Overall it was a nice little box and full of fun surprises. I love getting things in the mail so it was great!

Tack ‘n Treats will begin shipping boxes Oct. 1. If you subscribe before Oct. 1, the box is $39.95 a month.

(I won this box randomly via a Facebook/Instagram contest.)

Recently my husband and I found ourselves in Las Vegas on a work trip. But during the trip we had some free time and had booked ourselves a Sunset Trail Ride with Wild West Horseback Adventures. And we are so glad we did!

If you’ve been following the blog, you know this is right up both of our alleys since our honeymoon was spent on a dude ranch in Pennsylvania. We had never been out West and definitely not on the Old Spanish Trail so this was a treat!

The chef and driver, James, picked us up from our hotel on the Las Vegas strip around 4 p.m. and we were off! It takes about an hour plus picking up others to get out to Moapa Valley where the ranch is. The drive itself is very scenic and enjoyable and James cracks all the bad jokes you need for the month. And it’s perfect.

Arriving at the ranch, we signed the typical waivers and one of our guides, Caesar, went over all of the safety rules and made sure no one was drunk or hungover! It’s great for everyone in the group from beginners to experienced because even though my husband and I ride a lot, every horse has different buttons.

The group is really focused on making sure everyone has water which you have to out in the desert. Every saddle has a little pouch for your water bottle and your phone and you could leave other valuables locked up in the van. James stays at base camp while he cooks.

Don’t worry about mounting from the ground here! Everything is by a large platform so it’s easy for everyone of all experience levels and sizes.

And then the ride began! I don’t quite want to spoil the ride, but it’s absolutely breathtaking. Once you turn to go home, you are riding right into the sunset and it’s beautiful! I’ll post the photos, but they don’t do it justice!

We were at the front of the line and spent a lot of time chatting with the trail guide Brock. He was super nice and pointed out all of the animals and views. We even found a small lizard – with the help of the dogs – that Caesar caught and showed everyone!

After the ride which is at a steady walk and perfect for viewing the landscape, you’re treated to a steak or chicken dinner cooked by James. The best way to sum up dinner was that it was great, wholesome, good food. The steaks were a wonderful cut and very juicy!

Finally before heading back to the strip, Caesar taught a few of us how to lasso which was great for some laughs!

Some pointers if you decide to go: wear jeans and closed toe shoes and bring a wide brimmed hat! It gets hot the first half of the ride in the sun and you will get dehydrated or burnt if you don’t drink water during the ride from your pack.

I would return here in a drop of a hat. It was a great experience and James, Caesar and Brock made it very fun. Five hoofs up!

One of the most hotly debated topics in the horse industry is supplements. Do you feed them? Do you not? How do you choose between the thousands of products that are available? I will admit I’ve only been a horse owner for a short period of time. However one of the things I find most important is education. I’ve taken the time to learn, ask questions and read all I can to be a more informed horse owner and to make better decisions.

When I first started out with Jack, my barn was a SmartPak barn. Almost every boarder in the barn and many of our lesson ponies had a SmartPak bin. I feed meals to the horses frequently on the weekends and the SmartPaks were easy to use and great to have around. At the time I was giving Jack Smart Dark and Handsome and SmartDigest Ultra (with ColiCare protection). But SmartPak began getting very expensive and even though the company had great benefits like the ColiCare program and free shipping, it wasn’t very feasible anymore. Also we had several horses at the barn who would balk at different supplements and refuse to eat them.

About a year ago, my barn owner started learning about DAC products. Our barn shows on the Quarter horse circuit and DAC has become very popular in the Quarter horse world. After starting Jack and then Jim on DAC, I can see why.

I feed DAC’s CoolGut, Bloom and Oil. (The Bloom and Oil together make for great hoof and skin support!) I’ve also fed their Foundation Formula for hooves before. I must say I’ve been impressed. Not only do the products work and really show a difference in my horse, but they smell amazing to the point where even humans want to try it! We really have yet to have a horse who has refused a DAC product.

Price wise you can’t beat it. DAC works through dealers in different regions across the country and you can buy directly online as well. DAC has become so popular that SmartPak began to carry some of the products in their wells. Although I’ve considered doing that, you still cannot beat the price for the DAC tubs. The only headache is feeding them out. You are now dealing with a lot of buckets that otherwise wouldn’t have been around with SmartPak.

It’s not to say that I don’t think SmartPak is a great company. They are and I do occasionally order from them. Just for supplements, DAC fits what I’m looking for in a great product.

If anyone has any questions about DAC or supplements, comment away!

(I have in no way been paid for this review and have purchased these products myself.)

 

Recently I went on the search for a new everyday saddle pad for Jim and I. He sweats a lot (black and New England in the summer do not mix well) and I was looking for something that had a lot of moisture wicking, but would be stylish, stay in place and fit my saddle.

During my search, I came across the Professional’s Choice VenTECH Jump Pad. Retailing at $39.95, it wasn’t a bad price. Attached to my western saddle is a Professional’s Choice VenTECH cinch so I knew I really liked the VenTECH technology that the company puts in their products.

 

I ordered it in red since I decided red would be Jim’s new color. I ordered it on Horse.com with a $5 gift certificate off my next purchase on the site. When it arrived, I was so happy. Along with a wonderful underside which is entirely moisture wicking and VenTECH, the pad features D-ring attachments at the top and the usual girth holder at the bottom. Around the girl is reinforced and the pad just feels well made. It’s also shaped very nicely for a typical close contact saddle.

img_4877

Overall, it’s a great pad and I would definitely consider ordering more colors. For the quality and the price point (I can’t exactly afford a Mattes!) it’s a well-made, gorgeous pad that does a great job.

(I did not in any way receive compensation for this review, I purchased the product myself and the opinion is entirely my own.)

It is officially summer in New England and with summer comes amazing things like more horse shows, long days under the sun, equestrian tans and bathing ponies. There’s also not so pleasant things that crawl on tiny legs or fly through the air and torment both us and our equines.

Here in New England, one of our major issues are ticks. But as the population has changed, it’s not only just New England that is tormented by these eight-legged bloodsuckers.

There are a couple of ways to help protect your horse against ticks.

One – keep tall grasses under control. Watch out for the grass growing tall against your fence lines especially if the fence butts against forest. Ticks love dark, humid places and can survive throughout the winter.

Two – use a permethrin-based fly spray that strictly mentions ticks on the label. You don’t have to spray them all over, but watch out for legs, chest, under the tail and under the belly.

Three – check your horse often. Check them all over for ticks that may have crawled onto them and attached. Ticks love under the tail bone, under the elbows, IN the mane at the base where the skin is thin, and under the jaw. If you find a tick, break out those handy tweezers and a bottle of rubbing alcohol to drop them in after. Be careful not to squeeze them. The sooner you find them the better that they may not transmit diseases.

Four – consider spraying your property with a pet-safe tick repellent. They are a few to choose from and they can be a great option considering how bad the tick population has been recently.

As far as fly control, I have a few favorite methods that I employ once they start flying through the air.

For turnout, Jim goes out in a fly sheet from Schneider’s (sstack.com). I really love their mosquito mesh and the soft interlock. (The soft interlock is a bit heavier than the mesh but has better UV protection.) I also have a mosquito mesh neck cover and a good ole fly mask. I don’t really bother with the leg wraps, but that’s just me. I know some people have had good success with the leg wraps if their horses are constantly stomping at the flies.

For fly spray, I love the Pyranha aerosol or Equiderma’s fly spray. The Equiderma feels like lotion even when it sprays back at you and the Pyranha does have permethrin for the ticks.

While riding, Jim always has on a fly mask or a fly bonnet. The fly bonnet is probably my favorite of the two for style reasons.

Inside the stall, yes fans can be great at keeping your horse cool and keeping bugs off of them. However the benefits do not outweigh the risk of the fires that box fans can start in a barn. Our barn are not huge box fan users and I’m totally ok with that.

This is for the girls that can’t afford the $5,000 saddle or the $1,000 pair of tall boots. This is for the girls that have spent years dedicated to trying to move up a level and just won’t give up. This is for the girls braiding and shining their grade pony for a show because they know he’s just as good as the $10,000 warmbloods.

This is for the girls that cheer on others, that don’t care what other girls are wearing or who they’re riding. This is for the girls that support each other on the sidelines and in a sport based on judging, just wants everyone to succeed. This is for the girls that don’t let winning get to their head because they know the next show they might not do so great and that’s ok.

We are all equestrians.

Part of being an equestrian is also having the tools from going from the barn out into the general public. And what girl doesn’t like their makeup? For me though, I don’t have hours to sit and do my makeup. I tend to have a makeup bag in my purse ready to throw a face on while I’m rushing around doing things. I’m also incredibly picky about my foundation.

While at the store, I found they didn’t have my usual foundation. So I decided to mix it up a bit. I’m not typically a Sephora shopper (let’s face it, that money is spent at the tack shop.) I do subscribe to the Ipsy bag so I can have some fun with new products once a month and it isn’t expensive. I typically use a lot of drugstore brands.

I picked up Maybelline’s Dream Cushion Luminous Liquid Foundation.

I was drawn to it since they had it in my shade and it was marketed as on the go. That intrigues me. Once I got it home, I immediately opened it up to try it. It has its own little sponge with a strip of fabric for your finger. You dab it on the cushion underneath that has the product on it, dab it on and use little taps to blend.

I was really pleasantly surprised. At $15, it needed to be something good. It covered nicely, blending was pretty easy and it’s very light. I don’t feel like I have a whole face of makeup on. And my usual shade came out perfect. It definitely lived up to its name of being a dream.

I’m going to continue using the product and see how it goes, especially when I sometimes do my makeup in the car. For right now, this gets two thumbs up!

(I purchased this product with my own money and did not receive any compensation for this review.)

Maybelline-Foundation-Dream-Cushion-Classic-Ivory-041554482348-C