What to get the teen equestrian for Christmas

In Part I of our Christmas series, we named some awesome items to get a child equestrian for Christmas. In Part II, we will give you some ideas to get a junior or youth rider! Part III will be dedicated to adults, and then I will let everyone know what was on my personal Christmas/birthday list.

– Breeches: You can NEVER have too many breeches, and there are tons of styles and colors out there so the possibilities are endless. Popular brands right now include Tailored Sportsman, SmartPak Pipers, Annie’s Equestrienne, Tredstep, and Le Fash. Each has their own price range, so there is truly something for every budget. Tailored Sportsman recently released two tone breeches that have been coveted by many Twitter equestrians. They are available at Willow Equestrian.

SmartPak Piper Breeches in emerald/navy.

Annie’s USA Tardis breeches.

Le Fash City Breeches in Central Park; available November 15.

Tredstep Symphony No. 3 breeches.

 

– Half pad: There are many half pads on the market, and there are quite a few ones that stand out more than the others.  Ogilvy & EcoGold half pads are the two that come to mind. EquiFit has also broke into the half pad market with its newest product, the ImpacTeq half pad. Each half pad has its own distinct following, so it’s probably best to consult with your teen rider before purchasing one. Each of these half pads also comes in different colors and models. As everyone knows, I am a personal fan of the Ogilvy half pads (who will be coming out with a line of pads for western and polo riders!). However, that’s not to say the other options aren’t just as good. Do your research and select what you think would best work for your horse! This is the perfect gift for a rider that spends their time riding a bunch of different horses or ponies. Each of the half pads mentioned will help fix minor saddle fitting issues, allowing the rider to use his or her own saddle on a bunch of different horses!

Ogilvy MemoryFoam Jumper Half Pad.

Ecogold Jumper Flip Half Pad.

EquiFit ImpacTeq Half Pad.

 

– Fly bonnet: Custom fly bonnets are very popular especially in the jumper ring, and like most other equestrian products, there are many companies to choose from. If you are looking to go high end, there is De La Coeur. Custom Fly Veils is another popular company that doesn’t sacrifice quality even though their bonnets are less pricey. Custom Bonnets is yet another great company. You can also find other fly bonnet vendors on Etsy, as well as at tack stores. This is perfect for the rider that is getting into the jumpers and starting to come up with his or her own look for themselves and their horse!

De La Coeur fly bonnet in chocolate with blue & white trim, & double crystals.

EquiFit Ear Bonnet.

 

– Tack cleaner: It is never too late to get a rider into the habit of cleaning his or her riding equipment on a daily basis. Keeping tack clean and well-oiled keeps it lasting longer, looking like new, and prevents the build-up of mold, dust, and other environmental substances that will eventually eat away at the leather. Taking care of leather boots – that most likely cost a small fortune – is also imperative. No one wants to go into the show ring with dirty boots! There are many types of tack cleaner on the market, but my personal favorite is Higher Standards Leather Care. The best part about this saddle soap and leather balm is that it comes in different scents, which is quite unique for a leather cleaner. My personal favorite is the vanilla and lavender scent, but they have a ton of different options on their website. They even debuted a Christmas-specific scent called Sugar and Spice. This leather cleaner really cuts into the grime, softens the leather, and keeps it look conditioned, shiny, and new. Best of all, it doesn’t have a sticky after feel. I highly recommend it and use it to clean all my tack, including my paddock boots and half chaps!

Higher Standards Leather Care saddle soap.

 

– Skin wipes: These are amazing to keep in a car or travel kit, especially when a long day has been spent at the barn or at a horse show. These are useful both in the winter and summer as there are many skin care wipes on the market that control oil and shine and/or moisturize. I am a personal fan of these skin care wipes which I get from my favorite store at the beach and can also be ordered from the face wipes company’s website by clicking here. They have five different scents, each of which has a specific benefit for your skin. Pro tip: Keep face wipes in the refrigerator during the summer. Using them cool is a refreshing way to cleanse your face and cool down at the same time!

Beauty Treats Green Tea face wipes.

 

The Bible Hunter Seat Equitation, by George Morris: Every equestrian must read this book. This book, written by George Morris – the king of our discipline – goes through everything a rider needs to know from the very basics to more advanced jumping and riding techniques. He even includes a part at the end that discusses appropriate turnout for showing which is a must for every rider that eventually wants to make it to the higher level hunter and equitation classes. This book has helped me understand concepts I wasn’t quite getting on the first try, and I’ve also found that things my trainer had been trying to drill into my brain for years were endorsed by Mr. Morris himself. This book is a must have for any horse junkie. You’ll quickly see why it’s sometimes referred to as “The Bible” in our sport.

Hunter Seat Equitation by George Morris.

 

– EIS Shirts: I love these shirts. They are functional, come in awesome colors, and are versatile enough to be worn on warm or cold days. On a warm fall day, I can wear this shirt alone. On a colder day, I can layer it. The sleeves have a mesh underside to allow air flow, but they’re not so airy that one will get too cold. EIS also just released a heating shirt that keeps your body temperature about 5 degrees while you are moving around. I have one on order and will be doing a review on how effective this shirt is, but I have high hopes. It seems like it is going to be a cold winter, so shirts with heating technology built in are a must have for winter riding, even if your barn has an indoor. Whether you buy the heated shirt or the regular EIS, they are a must have for any fashionable equestrian.

EIS Shirt.

 

– Belts: Wearing breeches or jeans with belt loops but having no belt is a major equestrian fashion faux pas. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to look professional and trendy. There are tons of belts on the market, each catering to a different price range. From Tailored Sportsman to Deux Cheveaux to Tory – there really is a belt style for everyone. Nowadays, belts are starting to come in different materials and colors making it possible to always match one’s belt to one’s riding outfit. I don’t think any rider would say he or she has too many belts. Here are some of the most popular styles today that you could get for your favorite junior rider! There are many places that sell belts that any western youth rider would love to. Check out It’s A Cowgirl Thing, SmartPak, and Harris. Note: There are way too many popular belts than I have space for this article, so Googling “equestrian belts” is sure to give you some good and varied options.

Deux Chevaux “Ride” Belt.

Tailored Sportsman Quilted “C” Belt.

Tory Leather Clincher Belt, available at SmartPak.

SEREIN Custom Belts, available at Equestri LifeStyle.

Nocona Western Rhinestone Belt from SmartPak.

 

– Saddle: By now, the junior/youth rider is probably finished growing, and they are probably yearning for that one special saddle that makes them drool. There are many high quality saddle companies out there, and different riders have different tastes – but one thing is for certain: we all would love a gorgeous saddle to call our own. Some of the most coveted English brands include CWD, Antares, Voltaire, Hermes, and Butet. Some of the most coveted Western brands include Harris, Dale Chavez, and Blue Ribbon.

CWD saddle.

Harris saddle.

Butet

Butet.

 

– Snaffle bit jewelry: Snaffle bit jewelry is super popular lately, and I personally love this ring by Luv Inspired. It comes in three different metal types: sterling silver, gold, and rose gold (which is my personal favorite). There are many other equestrian-themed pieces available at Luv Inspired, so definitely go check them out. If you don’t have the money to spend on a Luv Inspired piece, you can also check out these other snaffle bit jewelry makers that are a bit more affordable: Etsy and Snaffle Jewelry.

Luv Inspired Bit By Bit Ring.

Luv Inspired Bit By Bit Ring.

 

– Personally Preppy Monograms: If you don’t monogram your equestrian items, do you really own them? Personally Preppy makes it easy to monogram just about anything – your helmet, horse’s boots, and even breeches! You can customize your monogram with different colors, font styles, and sizes also. Personally Preppy recently launched their brand new website, including a few new items like Samshield monogrammed gloves. This is one of the latest trends in the equestrian world, and there are many different businesses that offer monogramming services, but what makes Personally Preppy unique is that you are simply buying the monogram sticky and can put it on whatever you want! Personally Preppy is also used by some high profile equestrians, including Lillie Keenan. Trust me – this is something your favorite equestrian would want, and it’s super affordable too!

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

Personally Preppy monogrammed polo wraps.

 

– A spa day: This is out of the ordinary – or is it? Riding horses takes a toll on our bodies. We often end up developing issues we shouldn’t develop until we’re about 45. But, we make sacrifices for this sport. A spa day is a wonderful thing in an equestrian’s world. This can mean a massage, a facial, a mani/pedi, or all of the above. Massages are great for getting the knots out of our tight muscles. A facial will definitely help with the gunk our skin endures on a daily basis – you know, dirt, dust, horse boogers, etc. A mani/pedi… well, they might not last long, but at least our fingers and toes will look cute until we go to the barn again.

Check out this super awesome equestrian themed manicure from Nailed it NZ!

– Money: This might seem a bit shallow, but equestrians can always use more money, whether its for lessons, showing, an unexpected but much needed new horse item (can anyone say ‘my horse shreds his blankets’?) or an emergency vet fund (which is something we should all have, if possible). If you don’t know what to buy your favorite horseback rider, giving them cash or a gift card to their favorite tack store is just as good as getting them an horse-related item. That way, they can use the cash or gift card the way they want to, and you don’t have to risk buying them something they might not like and/or use.

SmartPak Gift Card.

 

Every equestrian is different, so these are just a few ideas for the youth or junior rider in your life. Make sure to ask them for their Christmas list – they might have thought of something they want that isn’t on this list! And, if you’re really stuck, a nice horse in the rider’s preferred discipline is always a safe option – happy shopping!

Spotlight on… Ashley Harvey

Today’s Spotlight On… features Ashley Harvey, a 22 year old eventing rider who is currently based out of Aiken after spending some time as a working student in Florida.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

Ashley began riding when she was four.

“My dad decided I needed more to do with my time than school,” Ashley said. “I wasn’t very interested in soccer or basketball. He had always wanted to ride horses when he was young, so he put me in a lesson program at a local barn so I could have the opportunity to ride that he never had.”

From then on, Ashley competed on the A and B Circuit in hunters, jumpers, and equitation, much like many of us. Growing up, Ashley looked up to Laura Kraut and Little Big Man. However, two years ago, Ashley made a big riding change and switched to eventing.

“Ever since I attended my first Rolex when I was 11, I had wanted to switch to eventing. At the time, there had been no barns in my area that evented. By the time there were barns, I was close to being aged out,” Ashley said.

Unfortunately, when Ashley did age out, she sold her horse and attended college while working full-time. Ashley did not ride much while she was in college. In addition to taking classes full-time, she worked 80 hours a week.

“It is tough, but it teaches you hwo to manage your time which has been a great asset in my riding career now. In high school, I did not have a huge social life due to the barn. My time management skills weren’t the best, plus the barn was over an hour away,” Ashley said. “It definitely took me some time to adjust my social skills in college as I wasn’t used to spending a lot of time with others who weren’t horse people.” (Editor’s Note: I think that’s something to which we all can relate :p)

Ashley received an Associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences. She does have plans to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree one day, but right now, all of her spare money goes into horses.

“I fully believe in having a fallback plan when you pursue a career with horses. As my farrier says, ‘it’s not a matter of if you get hurt, it’s how badly and when.’ If one day my world is turned upside down, and I’m in a wheelchair, it would be ideal to have a degree to fall back on instead of being older with no back-up plan or way to make a living,” Ashley said.

Ashley currently has her own business with her mother and step-father called “HD Eventing.” The HD stands for her last name and her parents’ last name, as a way of paying her respects to them for being such a huge part of her riding and becoming a businesswomen.

Though Ashley sold her horse to attend college, she currently has an 8 year old OTTB named Donatello, or Donnie. Donnie raced for a few years unsuccessfully and then found his way into Ashley’s life.

“From a young age, I fell in love with OTTBs and the immense amount of heart and grit even the average one has,” Ashley said. “I had turned many into jumpers and even hunter horses. I was excited for the challenge of not only learning eventing as a rider but also bringing a young horse up the levels as I went up them. It was a huge challenge that I was excited for.”

While Donnie is currently Ashley’s only horse, she would like to expand her string of horses one day. But, she added, Donnie has set the bar high for what she is looking for in a young horse.

Donnie and Ashley recently suffered a setback. After two “less-than-stellar” runs along with a refusal at the Rocking Horse Horse Trials, Donnie was checked by the vet and found to have aggressive arthritis in his lower neck along with some minor bone spurs. Donnie is on a treatment plan and is expected to have about two to four years left in upper level competing until he will have to be semi-retired.

Fortunately, Donnie is doing much better.

“The injections have made him so comfortable,” Ashley said. “I know he’s feeling much better as he’s been very wild lately. I’m really optimistic about the future and keeping him comfortable for as long as we can!”

Ashley is just as busy as she was in college. She currently rides every day, even when Donnie has the day off. And, even on a “day off” for Ashley, she still goes to the barn and catch rides as many as she can. She credits her ability to balance her riding life with her non-riding life to her time management skills and ability to sacrifice sleep to be social.

“Thankfully, most of my friends now are a part of the horse world so our social time is usually between 6 and 8 p.m., in bed by 9.”

Or, as Ashley terms it, “the exciting lives of working horsewomen.”

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

Just like every rider, Ashley has her own strengths and weaknesses. She loves the cross country phase of eventing, but finds that her weakest phase is dressage because of a physical limitation.

“I have a hard time controlling my right side due to an old injury,” Ashley said. “Plus, I’m just not as naturally talented in that phase. It’s always a struggle, even though I love learning it.”

To deal with her physical limitations, Ashley makes a habit of trying to stay loose and even in her body.

Ashley said that her greatest strength is her ability to work with young horses.

“I’ve been blessed to have opportunities to work with young horses for most of my career,” she said. “I believe my greatest strength is bringing young horses up the levels and training them well to have bright futures with amateurs and juniors.”

She also doesn’t let disappointing rides get her down. If she has one, she focuses on what went right and rerides it in her mind to make sure she knows what she will do next time to work on any issues she or her horse had. Most importantly, Ashley tries to let the ride go once she’s taken away what she needs to improve.

Ashley recently left a working student position she held in Florida. For those of you that follow her on social media, you know that she has been extremely gracious and professional about the parting of ways with Hannah Burnett. Ashley credits a wealth of knowledge she has gained to her working student position and describes it as a “huge blessing” for her resume.

Ashley has this tidbit of advice for those who want to be a working student for a big name rider one day: “Work hard and be humble.”

Ashley has a large social media following that she said “honestly just happened.” Ashley’s social media account is one that most riders can relate to. Ashley is honest about not having all the money in the world, how hard she works, and stays optimistic even if curveballs are thrown her way.

Currently, Ashley looks up to riders like Lauren Kieffer (for whom she hopes to work one day), Alexa Perkiel, Hannah Sue Burnett, and Jessica Phoenix.

Ashley’s notoriety has led to her becoming brand ambassadors for several well-known companies, such as Ogilvy, My Barn Child, and Ecolicious Equestrian. Most importantly, Ashley believes in every product she recommends or represents, and she encourages young riders to feel the same about any brand they partner with.

“Don’t take something you aren’t fully interested in just to tell people you’re sponsored,” she said.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

Speaking of, Ashley’s ‘must have’ items for her horse are an Ogilvy half pad and saddle pad, a My Barn Child bridle charm, Custom Fly Veil bonnets, and Ecolicious Equestrian shampoo. Ashley also put together a schooling outfit for us which consisted of black Pikeur breeches, a royal blue polo, Tredstep tall boots, black and grey C4 belt, and a Charles Owen Ayr8 helmet.

As many of us know, having a large social media presence can mean a lot of negativity comes our way. Ashley said that negativity never really bothers her because she concerns herself with the opinions of her trainers, sponsors, and those closely involved in the program she is in.

“If David O’Connor tells me my horse and I are doing well, what someone on the internet says means very little,” Ashley said. “If Sara McKenna says that she’s ecstatic with the quality of work I produce, someone saying I’m lazy or spoiled holds no weight. It’s all a matter of placing your self worth on yourself and those who deserve to have influence.”

Ashley hopes to one day have a thriving business and become a professional in this sport. On a smaller scale, she hopes to qualify and compete at Fair Hill 2* North American Championships. She also would like to be competitive at intermediate level this fall and complete a 2* before Donnie’s winter vacation.

“It would be excellent to accomplish my goal of Fair Hill, but I won’t run the legs off Donnie to get there,” she said.

Ashley has already accomplished a lot with Donnie. She took him off the track up to preliminary level in less than two years. She said she feels extremely proud when she reflects on how far Donnie has come.

Overall, Ashley is hardworking, determined, optimistic, and humble. She encourages other young riders to be the same.

“The best advice I can give is to work hard and never give up. There is nothing that can hold you back,” she said. “Hard work will beat out talent over time. If you lack funds, get a part time job or work off what you can at the barn. There is never a reason to give up and those who work hard will always get noticed eventually, especially in eventing.”

If you’d like to keep up with Ashley, Donnie, and their journey through the eventing world, you can find her on Instagram (HD_eventing); Twitter; and on her website.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Harvey.

Did you like this spotlight or know an up & coming rider we should interview? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter, or shoot me an email!

Stay tuned for the next rider in our “Spotlight on…” series!