There's literally 100's of products that we all use everyday, ranging from the common same item in every equestrian kit, through to the unusual & unexpected non-horsey products pulling their weight in the tough equestrian & yard life...
So, for the next 26 days, I'll be posted a different item from my "everyday equestrian" - stayed tune everyday to see what I've given to each letter!
Today's letter is Z!
Let's get started...
A is for... Ariat!Anyone who knows me, will know that I have a mild addiction to this brand... Some would say more than others.
Ariat produce some beautiful items of clothing & footwear. I swear by my Ariat tall Bromont boots - they wear really well, they have a good quality of leather, and the one & only time I had an issue with them, Ariat's customer service was first rate!
Clothing is the same - I'd have my Ariat coat for nearly 8 years, wearing it almost everyday in the winter, along with its gilet, and it washes great every time. It's still waterproof, wind proof, which makes it really warm.
I recently got their soft shell jacket too - I wear this with a base layer out hacking, and have yet to be cold or wet when out wearing it.
B is for...Baler Twine
C is for.... Carrots!
...& of course, carrots make us feel good when we add them to a feed as a bit of a treat when our horses have been good!
D is for.... Dengie Alfa A Oil
E is for... Equilibrium Massage Pad
F is for... First AidHopefully, you'll never need this, but it is an important set of everyday equestrian items that you should always have access to should you ever need it.
And...make sure you have a human version as well as a horsey version! Buying a first aid kit for either is fairly easy now - human versions can be picked up pretty much anywhere you'd expect. More and more vets are starting to create kits - my vets, Robson & Prescott at Morpeth have just started doing so, & there now even a company specialising in it, EquiMedpak.
However, I still prefer to make my own first aid kit for the horse - from bandages, wraps, cremes and sprays, through to salts, arnica & tape. Taking this photo reminded me that I need to buy new vet wraps!!
G is for... Goal setting
- ALWAYS be honest with everything, from capability to the time you can dedicate
- Write your goals down, whether it is a blog, diary or simply notes on your phone - something that you can refer back to at any given time
- Devise a plan to reach your goal - mentally think through & visual how you will reach your goals
- Take regular reflection, especially if it is a mid-long term goal. If it is not going to plan, be adaptive and make sure you evolve your plan
- Take your learning from the previous goals into the future ones - even if they seem unrelated you can continually learn
H is for... Horslyx
I is for... iPhone
|Going through a video frame by frame to assist improving your riding|
Similarly, in flatwork, if there is something I'm finding more difficult, watching it back, looking at my body & Louie's way of going during that movement, can really help to figure the problem out and work toward achieving the goal.
J is for... JHL!
JHL offers great value equestrian products whether it is a pair of rubber reins you need or a new saddle pad, JHL is a place to start looking when you don't want to break the bank. My experience of the products is that they are of reasonably good quality, and can offer a practical and affordable product good enough for everyday use.
I recently tried the faux fur headcollar and was really quite surprised by the quality overall, and especially of the fur. The only downside was not being able to remove the fur to wash it, but at such a low price, I can afford to buy another when it's just too dirty to use anymore!
The only downside is that they don't have their own website, so you need to purchase through another supplier. I've come across a couple of places that you can buy online, including Equestrian.com, although the down side, is their site can be a bit slow...
If you just want to browse a selection of products, take a look at the Westgate FEI JHL brand section.
It's a thumbs up for everyday items when you've a budget to consider...
K is for... Kavalkade HO
L is for... LeMieux
M is for... Magnetic therapy
N is for... Neue Schule Turtle Top bit
O is for... Outdoors
P is for... Premier Equine (mostly rugs!)
Q is for... Quality coaching
R is for...Riding clubs
S is for...Safety
Hats.I will never understand why ANYONE of any level would want to sit on a horse without a hat. Even the best behaved ones that are "a donkey" can still have their moments - they are, at the end of the day. flight animals. My opinion is hard hats should be worn all the time when riding a horse, and that includes one with a chin strap...
They are also essential when clipping a horse, especially with one that is a bit trickier but even if not - you might make a mistake and make your horse jump. Hats offer safety when turning out, when we all have seen the incident with Serena Flower while turning her fresh horse out to the field...
Visibility.So many times do I see horses & riders out on the roads, tracks or fields with not a single piece of hi-viz clothing on. Why not? Most likely because it isn't "cool" or matchy-matchy... Well, stuff that, I want to be as visible as I possibly can to all around me. Why in the fields? Simply, if I come off, it's easy to spot me!
We asked Sarah from Twitter account @GlowMeansSlow about the importance of wearing hi-viz:
Glow Means Slow stands for standing out and being seen but SLOW DOWN.
HiViz is there to keep you safe. Not only does it make you stand out on the roads, but If you come off in an open area it makes it easier to be seen by the emergency services. We take our lives into our hands when we use the roads and lanes, so it's important to stand out. HiViz isn't expensive and it could save lives!
What means more? A life or breaking bad news to your family?
Wear HiViz and Be safe!
1) light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight
I often find myself at the yard after work on my own. If anything happened while I was riding, who would know? (Well, I'd like to think that eventually Andrew would come looking for me!!!) It's important to always text someone when you're about to get on, and as soon as you're off - someone at home is easiest. They will soon get to know what is a normal length in between & I'm sure they too would rather know all is OK.
T is for… TopSpec!I’ve used TopSpec balancers now for 10 years – basically since I got back into riding as an adult. I’m a big believer in the product, and think it works very well for overall well-being, health & condition. TopSpec’s balancer should be fed all of the time, and doesn’t work instantly – it’s a long term product. I also used to feed TopSpec’s Joint supplement, until in the last few years they’ve brought out Joint Balancer which is a much better solution.
There were a couple of years where I didn’t feed the Balancer, and notice a difference in the horse’s condition – coat shine, winter condition and overall healthy glow. I also put Thomas on it when I bought him, and saw a noticeable difference in his coat. It was a good supporting product for me in the winter to help maintain a balanced diet while grazing was restricted, as well as when you need to pop your horse on a bit of a diet to keep their internal health strong.
In October, I attending a feeding clinic with TopSpec and it was fascinating to listen to the nutritionist talk through their product ranges, and what is best fed to horses in certain levels of work as well as considering their type and breed. They also went into detail about the way in which a horse’s gut and digestive system, and put this into context as to why you should feed certain products.
There have been times with all my horses when I’ve needed a bit of advice about what to feed to help with energy, condition, growth & strangely, how to slow a horse down when eating – Louie! 🐷) TopSpec offer a nutrition help line with vets and equine feeding experts to talk to where you can talk to them about your needs and requirements, and they can offer advice. The great thing I’ve found is that they advise you on what your horse needs, rather than only advising by product. I’m never convinced when a brand is too keen to push their products to you without listening to the needs and explaining why that product is best suited.
Great news too - TopSpec offer a token system. So their products all contain a token which if you collect can buy either TopSpec branded goodies, or you can redeem against feeds, balancers and supplements. So if you already use TopSpec - START COLLECTING!
U is for... U!
V is for... Vets!
I'm a big advocate for finding anything that could cause an issue later on or cause a decline in Louie performance. Don't get me wrong, I'm an amateur rider, but as Louie grows and develops, I have always given time (& money!!) to making sure he is as comfortable and correct as he can be!!
I take the same approach with physio, teeth, saddle check and farrier visits.
W is for... Weatherbeeta Thermo Cell
It's thick enough as a cooler to keep Louie warm (warmer than a standard fleece) while it still allows him to cool down and wick away.
I've got a 6'6 from a previous horse, which although Louie is almost a 6'9 in rugs now, I've found the fit good. It's had a lot of use over the last 9 years, and has barely any signs of wear.
As Weatherbeeta don't seem to make this exact rug anymore, I'm not able to say where you can get your own from, but what I will say is, that if you can find a similar one, with the double layer pocket design - BUY IT! You'll get your worth of it in the first winter (it's a bit too thick for the Spring & Summer, & is a bit warm to wear as a cool down).
Take a look at our full review of the Weatherbeeta Thermo Cell from a few years ago.