The perfect holiday stocking stuffers

As one Twitter user stated, this list will be almost impossible to narrow down, but I’ve picked a few things that I think any rider would like to see in their stocking this year!

– Hair nets: You can never have too many hairnets, really. You can find them at any tack store! Easy squeezy lemon peasy.

One Knot Hairnets from SmartPak. They come in several different colors to match different hair shades.

 

– Socks: This is something every equestrian will appreciate. We can always use more socks, whether they are thicker for the winter or thinner for the summer. Zocks are great too. They come in all sorts of cute colors and patterns and are a great way to express ourselves even when we need to be conservative and clean in the show ring.

Ovation Zocks, available at Dover Saddlery & other tack stores.

 

– Gift cards: Yet another great stocking stuffer. Equestrians always prefer to get some sort of money in place of a present. There’s always a vet bill, a farrier bill, or some other thing our horse/horses may need. A gift card allows us to control what we buy and ensures we don’t get something we don’t want and/or need (hard to imagine, but this does happen).

SmartPak gift card.

 

– Lip balm: Winter weather sucks, and it’s extremely hard on our skin and lips. Chapped lips are more common in the winter, and it can happen even if you have an indoor ring. Getting the right lip balm to sooth your favorite equestrian’s chapped, dry lips can go a long way. It’s also tiny and would go great in a stocking! I love EOS lip balm, Burt’s Bees, and EcoLicious Equestrian.

EOS lip balm.

 

– Gloves: If you do a lot of barn work or a lot of riding, it is easy to go through pairs of gloves quickly. A new pair of gloves is like a pack of hairnets or a pair of socks – they’re always needed and always appreciated. Whether it’s work gloves for barn chores or insulated riding gloves for the winter, you can be sure your gift recipient will thank you! And thankfully for you, gloves come in all sorts of budgets, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money for something like this – though you can if you want to, really.

SSG Fleece Lined Winter Gripper Gloves, available from SmartPak for $8.50

 

– A package of peppermints: Horses love peppermints, and buying a bag of them for your favorite equestrian to give to his or her furry buddy would be great! We go through horse treats very quickly, and having a spare bag of mints on hand is perfect! You can also substitute this with a box of sugar cubes or some other small bag of treats that is stocking sized. Check out Charleigh’s Cookies, Nicker Bait, Pink Pony Bakery, or Pony Pizza Company for some unique and yummy options. Ps. Yum factor has been provided by my horses, not myself. Pps. You could also put these in your horse’s stocking.

Peppermints are a tasty treat most horses love, and they will freshen your horse's hay breath at the same time!

Peppermints are a tasty treat most horses love, and they will freshen your horse’s hay breath at the same time!

 

– Horse-themed car decal: If you know someone who likes to express their love for certain things on their car, a horse-themed car decal would be perfect! There are many companies that make these including SmartPak and a company I’ve used before, Nicker Stickers. There are all sorts of cute stickers out there depending on your riding discipline or the type of horse you have.

‘Got Paint?’ car decal available at NickerStickers.com

Obviously there are a ton more options for stocking stuffers out there – any small horse-related item could fit into a stocking! These are just a few ideas I had, and they are common things a horse lover would want to find in their stocking, especially because so many of them are extremely useful in our sport.

Product Review: EcoLicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Body Butter & Shower Shake

Note: Petra, from EcoLicious, asked me to update this post in regards to the Body Butter. Due to a manufacturing mistake, the wrong instructions for the Body Butter were placed on the packaging. The Body Butter can actually be used as a lotion, so you can apply it post-shower or bath on moist legs, arms, and any other area of the body. I did this and received the same result – total smoothness, hydration, and no greasy after feel! I like using it in the shower as a wash, but it also works great as a lotion which, as it turns out, is its original intended use.

For those of you that haven’t heard of EcoLicious Equestrian, they are a company dedicated to making all natural products for horses and for riders. I’ve reviewed quite a few of their products in the past, and I’ve never been disappointed. Their horse products are free from harsh chemicals, preservatives, and other substances that are often present in many other shampoos, coat whiteners, and horse care products.

EcoLicious Equestrian also has products for riders, such as their Hey Sugar Lip Silk and their hand lotion. As of this week, they have added two more products to their line for riders: Hey Sugar Nourishing Body Butter & Hey Sugar 3-in-1 Exfoliating Shower Shake.

EcoLicious was kind enough to send me the body butter and shower shake to try before it was available to their clients. I tried them both tonight, and I was not disappointed!

If you own the Hey Sugar Lip Silk, then the body butter and shower shake scent will be very familiar to you. They both smell like brown sugar and marshmallows which makes using them in the shower or bath even better. Most importantly, the smell is not overwhelming. I often find that bath and shower products have strong smells that sometimes make me feel sick, but that was not the case with these products at all. I enjoyed the smell, and they left a nice, lingering after scent on my skin.

To start, I used the 3-in-1 Shower Shake.

IMG_5774.JPG

Ecolicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Exfoliating 3-in-1 Shower Shake.

IMG_5775.JPG

EcoLicious Equestrian Shower Shake.

The Shower Shake washes, exfoliates, and moisturizes all at once. It has a more solid feel to it, so when you scoop it out, it isn’t running all over the place. I also liked that the exfoliation element wasn’t harsh and gritty which can actually be worse for your skin and do the exact opposite of what exfoliation is supposed to do. I love to use exfoliating scrubs on my legs right before I shave, so that was the first thing I tried with this product. I also used it as a foot scrub because when I’m not walking around in paddock or tall boots, I’m at an office wearing uncomfortable flats or heels, so my feet could use a break. I also used the product on the tops of my hands as I get extremely dry skin in the winter to the point where it is burning, itchy, and uncomfortable, and on my arms. After rinsing, my skin instantly felt smoother and softer. My legs were extremely smooth and soft as well, and I didn’t cut them while shaving (you’d be surprised at how often I still do this…)

The Shower Shake definitely does its job. It also rinses off clean and doesn’t leave a greasy or oily after feeling which is something I despise about moisturizing products. I am always very weary about using anything that is both natural and moisturizing because I hate having a greasy or sticky after feeling on my body, and this did not happen at all with this product.

After using the Shower Shake, I tried the Body Butter.

EcoLicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Nourishing Body Butter.

EcoLicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Nourishing Body Butter.

EcoLicious Equestrian Body Butter

EcoLicious Equestrian Body Butter.

Next, I used the Body Butter. According to the instructions, you are supposed to massage this on while in the shower – almost like a soap. The Body Butter has more of a lotion-y type feel, but it is still solid enough that you don’t end up losing half of it in the bottom of the tub before you’re able to use it. It is smooth and of course smells delicious. I used it on all the same places I used the Shower Shake and then rinsed it off with warm water.

The Body Butter rinses clean, which again, is something very important to me in any skin product. My skin felt smooth, moisturized, and clean. My hands immediately felt better and not as dry as they did before. They were less irritated and less scaly (sexy, I know).

Of course, I had to wait until I got out of the shower and moved around a little to make sure that the product didn’t leave a greasy, sticky, or oily after feel once I dried off. I am happy to report that it did not. Both products definitely rinse clean, but that doesn’t mean they stop working. My skin feels super soft and hydrated, and my legs are SO smooth. I loved both of the products, and I will be using them in the future (and buying more when I run out)!

I’ve always been happy with the EcoLicious horse products, and I am happy to report that their product line for us humans does not disappoint. All natural doesn’t have to mean less effective, and when the all natural substances happen to smell amazing, that’s even better!

If you’re wondering about the ingredients of each product. Here is a list.

The Body Butter contains marshmallow extract, shea butter, vitamin E, cacao, and coconut.

The Shower Shake has ground loofah, coconut, oatmeal, and brown sugar.

Each of the ingredients is knowing for its soothing and moisturizing properties, so it is the perfect combination for anyone who has dry or irritated skin, especially now that cold weather is starting to take over.

What don’t these products contain?

  • Silicones
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic dyes
  • Artificial fragrances

If you’re interested in buying either – or both – of these products, you can visit the EcoLicious Equestrian website to purchase them. They will be shipping out this Monday! They are also available for sale at the Royal in Canada.

If you are interested in seeing some of my past reviews of EcoLicious Equestrian products, you can find those below:

 

How to be a good equestrian brand ambassador

I spoke with those in charge of some of the most coveted ambassadorships in the equestrian world today to find out what they think makes a great brand ambassador, including:

Whether you are one now or are striving to be one in the future, these words of wisdom are sure to help!

What is a brand ambassador?

For those of you that don’t know what a brand ambassador is, it is an individual chosen by a company to wear and/or promote their product using word-of-mouth, social media, or other avenues of promotion. Some brand ambassadors are given discounts on the company’s products in exchange for the promotion while others are given free products. For those of you wondering whether this would be in violation of USEF’s rules for amateur riders, there is no clear answer. The Legal Equestrian reached out to USEF some time ago asking for clarification of whether being a brand ambassador would jeopardize one’s amateur status, but an answer was never received. Some are of the opinion that it would while others do not believe so.

What makes a great brand ambassador?

Pretty much everyone I spoke to agreed that a brand ambassador should genuinely love and use the company’s products. Because part of being a brand ambassador is creating a positive image for the brand and attracting more customers, using and knowing the product on yourself or your horses goes a long way in ensuring a successful ambassadorship. Oftentimes, a brand ambassador will be asked questions about a product, and if the ambassador can’t answer them, that won’t really sway someone to try the product if they were on the fence.

Averill also said that personality played a huge part in her selection of the My Barn Child Featured Riders.

“What makes them (Featured Riders) all great is their personalities,” Averill wrote in an email. “They are outstanding girls who will be noticed (and liked) in whatever circles they move in. If they are standout girls, what they wear will stand out.”

Kristy believes that a brand ambassador should be friendly, approachable, and helpful. She, along with Petra and Megan, appreciate when a brand ambassador is “creative” in their own way rather than just regurgitating what is posted on the companies’ social media accounts.

Alexa likes brand ambassadors that are “with it” on social media and that are super knowledgeable. She also likes someone that is willing to do anything and who is passionate about riding.

“They [brand ambassadors] are stylish, enthusiastic, and know how to help market your brand, and are always coming up with fun ideas and are game for anything.”

The “no-nos” of ambassadorship

Being an ambassador does come with huge responsibility. After all, you are representing a company that wants to maintain a positive image and keep selling products!

“I would suggest that brand ambassadors steer clear of two common pitfalls,” Averill said. “The first is forgetting that you are representing a company at all times. The second is over-doing your promotion of the business.  A great brand ambassador falls in the middle of the spectrum: They are themselves, they are good examples of the brand‘s image and their promotion of the brand is genuine.”

Petra stated that she is fortunate to not have experienced any no-nos with her brand ambassadors but had a gentle reminder about spelling:

“I know ‘ecolicious’ is not the easiest to spell, but when we get tagged, it’d better be right.”

Kristy had a lot of input when it came to the no-nos of being an ambassador:

“People getting nasty with others, any sort of bullying, too much foul language, lewd photos, directly dissing competing brands, people who beg for an ambassadorship but then never do anything,” she said. “Basically, forgetting that by agreeing to be an ambassador, you forgo some of the ‘personal expression’ on your social media – everything reflects back to the company and if you are not mature enough to handle censoring yourself – you should not be an ambassador. I am not saying that my all ambassadors are perfect, you just learn from the hiccups and move on.”

It is worth noting that none of the individuals I spoke to said they had any negative experiences with their brand ambassadors, which is a great thing!

As someone who sees and interacts with brand ambassadors daily on social media, I find it to be a turn off when I see a brand ambassador bullying another equestrian or using extremely foul language. I have actually tweeted about this issue because I’ve seen quite a few brand ambassadors engaging in this behavior. While we are entitled to free speech, you also must remember you are representing a brand. If you are portraying yourself in a negative light, it does not reflect positively on the brand with which you are affiliated (no pun intended). When I see a brand ambassador engaging in negative behavior, it makes me think poorly of the brand.

Another no-no that Alexa identified is ambassadors that hop from brand to brand and seem to be an ambassador for every company. While it’s great to be loyal to so many brands, it can have its drawbacks.

“I think it’s a little strange when they hop around to millions of different brands and businesses- it’s like at that point what makes you different and how are you going to help all these businesses succeed if you are an ambassador for 10 different places,” Alexa said.

Additionally, if you are a brand ambassador for a few companies, it’s important to be cognizant of what each company sells and whether that will conflict with something another company you represent sells. Say you are an ambassador for two different saddle pad companies or two different equestrian jewelry companies that sell very similar jewelry, how will that look to your audience? Note, those hypothetical scenarios are 100% created by me, the author of this post, and were not brought up to me by any of the individuals I interviewed.

The appropriate use of social media

Using social media appropriately is a huge thing for brand ambassadors, especially because social media is so prevalent, and it is one of the main ways brand ambassadors are expected to connect with equestrians and promote the brand.

However, it is important to utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media websites in the right way. Not using social media properly can do more harm than good when representing a brand.

Averill said that brand ambassadors should be conscious of everything they do. She also gave some advice that she gives to her own daughter: “People can never judge you for what you DON’T put on the internet.” You can share with your audience, but be careful of oversharing, especially if those details may portray you, or your brand, negatively.

Being an ambassador is fun, of course, but it should also be treated like a real job!

“That company spent time and money on you, as well as chose you over other applicants.  Respect them enough to keep your social media on point and drama free,” Kristy said. “If you can’t or find that you don’t want to keep your social media rated G, then step down and let someone else have a shot.  I would personally have no hard feelings if that happened to me with an Ogilvy (ambassador) – it is a mature decision and I would respect it.”

Seamlessly integrating the brand’s values and products into one’s everyday equestrian life is key to good social media use. Don’t make your promotion of the brand tacky or annoying.

“I find the most effective and enticing posts are the ones where brand ambassadors integrate our products and values into their daily lives, through pictures and posts,” Megan said. “Also through sharing our posts about new products, sales or promotions is also a great way to use their social media as ambassadors!”

Alexa thinks that being positive is number one for utilizing the internet as a brand ambassador.

“Nobody likes people who are mean over social media,” she said.

And, of course, if you do partake in a negative post or online drama, you should never promote your brand shortly after doing so. Not only will your negativity and drama be associated with the brand, but you run the risk of turning people off from a brand you’re supposed to be representing! When a company takes you on as an ambassador, they are not expecting that choice to hurt them in the long run. Be respectful towards others and know that everyone can see what you do on the internet – unless your social media is private, though even then, all it takes is a screenshot.

Applying for an ambassadorship

We know you want to know how to become a brand ambassador for some of these great companies!

My Barn Child: Anyone interested in becoming a Featured Rider for My Barn Child can email Averill at mybarnchild@gmail.com. However, My Barn Child is not looking to add Featured Riders to their team during this season and will be looking primarily in the spring. Also be sure to check out My Barn Child’s Instagram account for its Featured Riders.

Ogilvy Equestrian: Ogilvy will not be taking applications for social media ambassadors at this time. Kristy will be approaching individuals she thinks will best represent the brand herself. However, Ogilvy will be starting a “Street Team,” which Kristy described as a “tight group of exceptional equestrian competitors in North America.” The Team will be chosen based on skill and a few other qualities. If you are interested in becoming a social media ambassador or a member of the Street Team, you can send a full riders resume, show schedule, 2014 overview, 2015 tentative schedule and goals, high quality photos, and links to any social media to ogilvymarketing@gmail.com. If you have references, you can also include those in your email to Kristy.

EcoLicious Equestrian: Those interested in becoming a brand ambassador for EcoLicious Equestrian should keep in touch with their social media page. The company will be adding more ambassadors in the spring. They will also be looking for ambassadors this winter at WEF and HITS.

Tack Shoppe of Collingwood: Those interested in becoming an ambassador for the Tack Shoppe of Collingwood should contact them through email at tackshoppecollingwood@gmail.com or through their social media pages. They will also be making a public announcement when they are looking for more ambassadors to add to their team.

Equestri Lifestyle: They are not currently accepting any applications for ambassadors but plan on doing so next year.

There are some other great companies that offer ambassadorships as well, including:

Must Have Equestrian Fashion Items for Fall 2014

City-Breech-Central-Park-SV

Le Fash Central Park City Breech.

1. Le Fash: I finally bought my first Le Fash shirt last year, and I am IN LOVE with it. I since have picked up three Le Fash long sleeve show shirts. I also own one of their short sleeve show shirts and two of their sport polos. Their Spring 2015 collection is being rolled out this month, and their new City Breech colors are already on the website. One of the greatest things about the brand is that their clothes are able to worn in day-to-day life. You could wear one of their shirts to work and only have to change into breeches when you get to the barn (I have personally done this – it works flawlessly). I love the versatility of the brand, and the designs are gorgeous. Le Fash clothes are 100% show appropriate and have already made their way into the show ring with sponsored riders Jennifer Alfano, Maggie Jayne, and Hunter Holloway. The Spring 2015 City Breech colors are to die for, and I will be purchasing the Central Park hunter green for myself. The new show shirt colors aren’t up on the website yet, but Le Fash has posted a preview to its Facebook page, and they look gorgeous!

Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top.

2. Asmar Equestrian: I recently became a fan of Asmar Equestrian, and I have one of their compression shirts on order right now. Not only do they look super cute, but they serve a dual purpose: keeping muscles warm and wicking sweat away. I cannot wait to wear this in the fall, especially during those rides where I get super sweaty and then super cold once I’m done riding due to the cold temperatures. The shirt comes in black  and can be found here or here. There is also a lux compression top that looks amazingly gorgeous. You should also check out their show shirts and their sweaters! I just bought their Merino Wool v-neck in Caribbean, and I. love. it. Super comfortable, super soft, and very flattering! I pretty much love all their apparel.

Rebecca Ray Bit Belt in black.

3. Rebecca Ray Bit Belt: If you haven’t checked out Rebecca Ray already, you must do so. She has a ton of cute equestrian themed stuff like wrist cuffs, handbags, home decorations, and more. I have been wanting the Rebecca Ray Bit Belt. The belt comes in black, brown, or red leather with a silver snaffle bit. The belt can be buckled in the front so that the bit is on the hip or buckled on the side so the bit is in the front. This is a definite must have for the fall. I mean, who DOESN’T need more belts? (Seriously.. if your breeches have belt loops, wear a belt!) The bit belt can be found here or here.

Spur belt available at Equestri Lifestyle

4. Spur Belt: One of my favorite tack shops, Equestri Lifestyle, has spur belts that are super cute and fun. They come in 9 different colors (on the website), including black if you want to remain conservative. The belt buckle resembles a spur. I’ve seen a ton of different color combinations with these belts, and I love them all. Equestri Lifestyle allows special orders, so if you want a color not on the website or a certain material for the actual belt, they can accommodate you! I personally love the aqua, light patent pink, and black colors. These belts would go great with one of the Asmar Equestrian polos, a Le Fash show shirt, or an EIS mesh shirt!

Renard et Cheval show coat in brown. Photo Credit: Equestri Lifestyle Facebook page.

Renard et Cheval show coat in brown. Photo Credit: Equestri Lifestyle Facebook page.

5. Renard et Cheval: This is a fairly new equestrian apparel brand, but their stuff is gorgeous. Alexa Skonieczny who also owns Equestri Lifestyle gave me the rundown on this brand new line created by individuals that spent years making custom show clothing for Karl Cook, Marcus Enhning, and Nick Skelton. They offer breeches, shirts, and show coats. Their breeches come in two colors: pomegranate and tan. Their shirts come in multiple colors and have details such as magnetic collars, printed collars and cuffs, mesh under sleeve, and fun designs in the collars and cuffs. Their show coats (the brown is to die for) come in four basic “off the rack” designs. However, you can get a custom collar or a completely custom coat for extra money on top of the base price. The brand is still new, but it can be found at Equestri Lifestyle, Barrington Saddlery, Allon, and Stirrup Cup.

IMG_3828

My Barn Child Evil Eye charm.

6. My Barn Child Evil Eye Charm: For those of you that don’t know what the “evil eye” is, it is a curse that is cast by a malevolent glare that is given when a person is unaware. It is often thought to cause misfortune or injury to the person that receives it. It has different names in different cultures; my favorite being the “stink eye” which comes from Hawaii. To protect oneself from the evil eye, you can wear evil eye jewelry which is meant to reflect the evil eye back towards the giver and keep you from receiving the curse. While I know this sounds like a bunch of mythical lore, but I really like the concept, and I actually had an evil eye bracelet until I lost it riding one day. Given the stuff I’ve been dealing with recently when it comes to riding (lots of gossiping and competitiveness), I decided to get the My Barn Child Evil Eye charm to put on my saddle and protect me from any negativity and bad karma. Even though we may try to avoid it, riding can be extremely competitive and catty, and the evil eye charm is the perfect way to combat that (if you believe in protective talismans, that is.. which I definitely do)!

Under Armour Authentic Tights.

7. SmartPak Under Armour: Some of us aren’t lucky enough to be at a facility that has a heated barn and indoor ring.. or even an indoor ring. If this winter is anything like last winter, and sources say it will be, we are definitely going to need more winter clothing to keep us from freezing. Under Armour and SmartPak teamed up to make a line suited for equestrians. They have items for the cold and hot days, but I am just going to be focusing on the cold days. My favorites are the Under Armour Coldgear Infrared Crew, the Under Armour Authentic Tights, the  Under Armour Infrared Full Zip Jacket, and the Under Armour Coldgear Infrared Liner Glove. Each of these items uses your own body heat to keep your warm while making sure you also stay dry if you begin sweating. The tights and the glove liners are a great idea because you can wear them under your breeches and winter gloves for those extra cold days. I personally wore leggings under my breeches several days this past winter because it was that cold. We may hate the cold weather, but it’s something we have to deal with, so we might as well do it right!

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

8. Personally Preppy Monograms: I love the idea of monogramming, especially if multiple people at the same barn have the same stuff. Personally Preppy offers monograms for all the essential riding gear: helmets, gloves, boots, horse boots, spurs, and crops! You can also purchase monogrammed polos, a monogram for your show backpack, and a heat transfer monogram to put on your breeches or other apparel. They are customizable, and you can choose from a variety of different sizes, colors, and designs. Plus, Lillie Keenan uses them so what more do you need to know?

Ecolicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Lip Silk.

9. Ecolicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Lip Silk: Winter air is often very cold and very dry which is not necessarily the greatest combination for our skin or lips. My lips tend to get very chapped in the winter, especially because I still ride outside. My solution? Tons of lip balm. The Hey Sugar Lip Silk from Ecolicious Equestrian is AMAZING. Not only does it smell fantastic, it tastes fantastic too (not that I’ve been eating it………..), and it keeps my lips soft and moisturized all day. Just like every Ecolicious product, the lip silk is made from all natural ingredients like Jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and beeswax. It’s great for your lips and great for the environment!

Parlanti Passion Miami boots

10. Parlanti Passion Tall Boots: I love my custom Der Daus, but I ride so much that I wanted to get a pair of schooling tall boots that didn’t break the bank. I decided to purchase a pair of stock size Parlantis over the summer. I got my pair, and they felt like they were broken in already even though I was putting them on for the first time! Mine do not fit me perfectly, but for stock size tall boots, they are pretty damn close which I cannot say about other brands. I love these boots, and they are amazing quality for a stock size boot. A size chart is available here. I have always heard great things about Parlantis, and these did not disappoint even though I did not spend the money to get a custom pair. Tall boots are a must have, especially if you will be showing. Not everyone can afford custom boots, so these are a great alternative. They are available here or here.

Gorgeous custom Samshield helmet featuring Alcantara body, Galuchat top, and Swarovski Zircom trim.

11. Samshield helmet: So, earlier this year I was obsessed with GPA helmets. Then I tried one on. None of them fit my head, and I quickly was over it. It seems as if Samshield helmets have been catching on lately, and I love them. I currently have a Charles Owen AYR8, and I am strongly considering purchasing a Samshield in the near future. Here’s what I like about the Samshield: it’s vented, so it will keep you cool in the summer; it has removable and washable liners; the padding does not make contact with your forehead which is GREAT news for migraine sufferers like myself; and the helmet itself is customizable (though some of the options will run you into the thousands). Samshields are available pretty much anywhere, so I can’t link you to all the available vendors, but you can definitely find them at SmartPak and Dover Saddlery.

Product Review: EcoLicious Equestrian Smeg-U-Later

This will be the only photo I provide for this blog post for obvious reasons.

Sheath cleaning is certainly not one of the more enticing aspects of owning or caring for a horse, but it certainly is something that needs to be done! I clean my horses’ sheaths personally about once a year (my horses’ dentist will do a cleaning when he comes, and that is once a year, making it twice a year in total for my boys), but I have also seen recommendations for an every 6 months cleaning. I’ve also heard of people who never clean their horse’s sheath, so to each their own. I think once a year is the bare minimum it should be done. This advice also counts for mares’ udders.

I actually don’t mind sheath cleaning. When I was still at the barn that my best friend’s mom manages, she would always make me do the sheath cleaning while she held the horse so he could graze. I’m an awesome friend, aren’t I? But for some reason, it really doesn’t bother me. I saw that EcoLicious Equestrian had an all-natural sheath cleaner, and I had to try it. We are cleaning a sensitive area so the less chemicals and irritants, the better!

Smeg-U-Later is made with coconut-derived cleaners and honeysuckle extract. It also has lavender oil which can be calming to those horses that may not enjoy being cleaned in their private area.

I used this product for the first time on my lease horse, L, and it coincidentally was also my first time cleaning his sheath since I’ve only had him for about 6 months. I put a little bit of the product in my hands and got to work cleaning. It quickly dissolved the dirt and gunk that was stuck up there, and it was very easy to see that the product was doing its job. It lathered really well, and I didn’t have to worry about it slip sliding off my hands like Excalibur does when I use it. The Smeg-U-Later bottle says there is no need for rinsing, but I rinsed with a hose anyway after I was done.

L was pretty cooperative during the whole process, so I wasn’t sure if the lavender calmed him at all. However, I noticed that after I had put him back in his stall, I was brushing him and accidentally grazed his sheath, and he swished his tail as if to say “hey lady, get your paws off my junk!” So, he did seem a bit annoyed about me going near the area. Again, since it was my first time cleaning his sheath, and he was so good, I have nothing to really compare against. I will have to try Smeg-U-Later on my baby horse who has not yet been acclimated to all the ways of the domesticated horse, unlike L who spent the majority of his years as a show horse.

Overall, I really like this product. It will last a long time because you don’t need much to get the job done, and you shouldn’t use a lot because it is concentrated. It smells great, and the dirt and gunk come right off and out of the sheath. The fact that it is an all-natural product is what makes it so great. The less chemicals the better, especially when cleaning sensitive areas! Smeg-U-Later can also be used around your horse’s nostrils and around his eyes.

Remember to clean your horse’s sheath or udder at least once a year! It’s important to make sure that everything down there is in good working order. Certain breeds and colors – like pink skinned horses – can get melanoma, and there are other things to watch out for like sores that can indicate a worm infestation or other issue. If you can’t clean your horse’s sheath or udder yourself, you can always enlist the help of your vet or a more experienced horse person. It only needs to be done once a year, and you shouldn’t skimp on your horse’s health – no matter how icky the process may be!

Happy sheath/udder cleaning!

Product Review: EcoLicious Equestrian Blinded by the White

I recently bought a few EcoLicious Equestrian products – the big sizes of the shampoo and mane, tail, and coat conditioner since I only had the minis set previously; the Glossy Gloss Enhancing Coat Tonic; and Blinded by the White Total Body Whitening Treatment.

This past week, I put Blinded by the White to the test on L’s front and hind white leg markings. Because he doesn’t have the greatest teeth, his breakfast and dinner are served very wet, so he tends to get a soup face which he likes to rub all over his front legs. As a result, the white in his coat tends to be.. a bit more colorful.

I applied Blinded by the White to L’s legs when they were dry, as recommended on the packaging. I found that I had to use a lot of the product in order to fully cover his legs where the white coat was. I still have a sizable amount left, so I didn’t end up using my whole bottle on his three legs (his fourth leg is all black), but I wanted to make sure I got the white slathered in the product to make sure all of the white was being treated.

To start, L’s legs looked like this:

Before Ecolicious Equestrian Blinded by the White treatment.

Before Ecolicious Equestrian Blinded by the White treatment.

As you can see, his legs have various shades of brown, yellow, and green stains on them. His front legs were the worst with the stains. His hind leg has mostly green and yellow stains. During our rides, L wears front boots and polo wraps on his hind legs, so he always has sweat and dirt stains. That plus the green and brown from his breakfast and dinner makes for an interesting grooming experience. After applying, I scrubbed Blinded by the White into his legs and let it sit as per the instructions on the package.

After letting it sit, I scrubbed again just to make sure that the product had really gotten into his fur and all over the stains. I rinsed with cold water. This is what his legs looked like after the rinse:

After rinsing Ecolicious Equestrian Blinded by the White.

After rinsing Ecolicious Equestrian Blinded by the White.

As I was rinsing the product off his legs, I saw brown colored water coming off which told me the stains were definitely being removed. His legs looked whiter after rinsing, though there were a few smidgens of yellow on his front legs, but they were much lighter than they were previously. Overall, I saw a lot of pink on his legs, which definitely told me that most of the stains were removed.

I gave his legs some time to dry and snapped these photos after they had dried. As you can see, his hind leg is SUPER white. The product definitely lives up to its name!

L's legs after they dried.

L’s legs after they dried.

His front legs look awesome also. They all were shiny and were reflecting a lot more light than before I used the treatment. I could definitely tell that most of the staining had been removed by the product.

Blinded by the White also has a huge advantage over other whitening treatments and shampoos – it’s natural and chemical free. The whitening effect comes from lemon juice and lemon peel oil. It also smells great, but it didn’t attract any bugs, which was awesome given that it’s gotten super hot out here, and the bugs are in full force.

Overall, what I liked about Blinded by the White:

  • It’s all natural and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals which is great especially because white coats tend to have sensitive pink skin underneath.
  • It smells yummy, but it doesn’t attract bugs.
  • When I rinsed L’s legs, I could see the stains coming off as the water was not clear when I was rinsing.
  • It did remove most of the stains, and his legs were pretty blindingly white after they had dried.
  • It was easy to use. Just pump some into your hands, lather, and scrub into any white areas on your horse’s body.

As for negatives:

  • I felt like I had to use A LOT of the product to make sure that all of the white was fully covered, so if I used this often enough, I would end up having to restock pretty often, but I guess that’s the downside in owning a horse that has significant white markings (imagine if I owned an all white or grey horse?!)

I plan on trying Blinded by the White on my pony’s poopy butt. If you remember, I used the EcoLicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo on him earlier this year when it was still too cold for a full bath, and it really helped get most of the manure stains out. I can’t wait to see how his poopy butt responds to a full EcoLicious bath plus the whitening treatment. I will be sure to post photos.

If you haven’t checked out EcoLicious Equestrian’s products already, get on over to their website! Their products are all natural and smell great. They are also really effective. They even have stuff for us humans – try their lip silk, it smells amazing and keeps my lips from getting chapped when I ride.

Spotlight on… Dani S

We have a brand new Spotlight On… today! Some of you may know Dani from Twitter as @perfEqtionn (and her Twitter handle isn’t far from the truth!) She is also a My Barn Child ambassador, an EcoLicious Equestrian ambassador, and runs her own blog!

Dani & her horse, Celebrity.

Dani & her horse, Celebrity.

To start, we asked Dani to tell us a little about herself, and here is what she had to say:

“I’m not really good about telling people about myself, so bare with me! I ride horses (no duh) and I live in Southern California! I’ve lived in California my whole life (17 years). I am an avid concertgoer, I’ve seen over 100 people live! I am also an adrenaline junkie; I love cliff-jumping, roller coaster, anything crazy. I want to go skydiving when I turn 18. I love going to the beach in my free time, it’s my favorite place in the world (besides the barn). I hope one day to travel the world! I really want to go to Greece, Italy, and Antigua! I am a junior in high school (cries). I also drive a Jetta! I’m a very sarcastic person, but I can be very serious when I want to be. My favorite color is purple, my favorite flower is a tiger lily, and I have too many favorite songs to narrow it down to one.”

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how did Dani get into riding?

“My mom works at the wedding venue that is located on the property of the barn I ride at,” she said. “She always brought me to work with her. I would run away and go watch lessons. My trainer, Michelle, talked to my mom about getting me started, but my mom said I had to wait until I turned 5.”

Like any horse girl, Dani was itching to get riding, so she managed to get herself on a pony name Patches when she was 4. She’s been riding ever since.

While Dani does a lot of jumper competition right now on her horse Celebrity, she is versatile and can go in all three rings. However, she does love the jumpers more than equitation and hunters.

“I love that you get to go fast and take tight turns, but you can’t go too crazy! I think each discipline is tough in their own way but jumpers challenges me more. I have to think about each track very carefully, looking for places to save time, but also keeping my horse in mind. I have to know both Celebrity’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as my own. For instance, Celebrity has a sticky right turn so if there’s one in my course, I have to find a track that will help me execute my turn. I can make up for lost time with his humongous step though. But jumpers is by far my favorite,” she said.

Celebrity.

Celebrity.

Celebrity, who was bred for the jumpers, is a 9 year old bay warmblood. Celebrity’s sire is Sandstone Conway, and his dam was the youngest horse to ever be in the Olympics (at age 7)! Her name is Sandstone Dorina.

According to Dani, Celebrity is a bit quirky, and he is a complete difference from the horse Dani was riding when she first began riding Celebrity.

“When I first started riding him in 2013 I was riding my mare, Summer, as well. Summer was a project horse of mine that I trained to be a push button horse for someone looking to do hunters, jumpers, and eq up to 3’3,” Dani said. “Towards the end of riding Summer I was told to just sit there and let her do the work, making her think for her self, easy for me.. until I had to lesson Celebrity in the next lesson.”

Dani describes Summer and Celebrity as polar opposites. The challenge helped her mature as a rider, and she is super in tune with Celebrity’s needs when they are working as a team. For example, Celebrity is scared of other horses in the ring, so Dani has to be hyperaware of her surroundings when she is in a lesson.

“I’m always on the lookout for him. I am his protector,” she said. “He has a huge heart and loves to jump.”

Dani has only been with Celebrity for about 13 months, but she says they have taught each other a lot, including trust, patience, teamwork, focus, grace, and unconditional love – to name a few.

“I couldn’t ask for a better horse to ride,” she said.

Dani & Celebrity.

Dani & Celebrity.

This year, Dani hopes to continue showing in the 1.10m Children’s jumpers. She especially hopes to qualify for the USHJA Children’s Jumper Finals (which we have NO doubt she will).

Nowadays, a lot of riders are working with equestrian or horse-related companies whether as brand or social media ambassadors or as sponsored riders. Dani is lucky enough to be an ambassador for both My Barn Child and EcoLicious Equestrian (two companies everyone should check out if you haven’t already!)

Being a brand ambassador is a huge thing on every serious rider’s list. Dani gave some advice to those who are itching to become the next EcoLicious or Ogilvy ambassador:

“Research the company before you apply to be an ambassador, just know what you’re agreeing to,” she said. “Also, be yourself! Don’t lie just so you get the ambassadorship. Be genuine and truly love the products you are supporting.”

So what are Dani’s must have equestrian items? Lucky for you, we got a list!

When asked if she looks up to any other riders, Dani has a few, including one she used to ride with when she was younger, Kilian McGrath.

Kilian McGrath. Photo Courtesy of ProEquest.com.

“She is an amazing rider and proves to everyone that hard work pays off! She works her butt off everyday to get to where she is today. She proved to everyone that talent and hard work surpasses how far money can get you. Kilian won gold at Young Riders in 2012!”

Dani also looks up to her trainer’s daughter, Beezie Madden, and Ashley Bond.

Dani experiences anxiety about showing just like many of us, but to combat it, she says affirmations and thinks positively. She also has a lot of trust in her trainer, who she believes would not have moved her up if she wasn’t able to be successful in that particular class.

Manny – er Dani – says her biggest weakness is her shoulders.

“My trainer calls me “Manny” instead of “Dani” my shoulders are so bad! It’s been an on going problem of mine! My trainer always says I have man shoulders! Sometimes I just forget to work on them and put them back because I’m so busy focusing on Celebrity!”

Like many other riders who have a presence on social media, Dani has experienced social media hate. It’s unfortunately a HUGE part of being a big social media presence on the internet nowadays. To deal with negativity, Dani did a few things:

“I responded to it at first, but soon realized that resounding was pointless. I let them send me hate and I just wouldn’t respond, why add fuel to the fire? I changed my ask settings so people can’t ask me questions anonymously, the hate stopped immediately!” She said. “People like to make themselves feel better by bashing others. I see a lot of people, Georgie, Kendra, and other big name riders, getting hate, it’s horrible and a lot is untrue! I just keep in mind that if I wasn’t able to ride successfully in the classes I am in, my trainer wouldn’t put me in them! So forget the haters!”

With all of the riding and showing, how does Dani have time to do anything else?

“It’s a hard task balancing horses and school but I have learned to manage my time. I have a study hall in my schedule at school that I use to work on homework. I also use all the free time in class to finish my work. My teachers know how dedicated I am to horses, so when I do show, I talk to them and we work out a schedule for the work I am going to miss,” she said. “I do bring my schoolwork to shows and I will work on it when there is time available. But between study hall, free time in class, and an hour at home before the barn, I am able to manage riding and school.”

Dani & her team for the costume class. They won first place!

Dani & her team in a Flintridge costume class. They won first place!

And, when she isn’t riding, studying, or at school, she LOVES going to the beach, which isn’t too far from her home in California.

As a junior, Dani is starting to prepare for college. Some riders we’ve spoken to don’t want to pursue riding as a profession after they age out, and others hope to become professional big names in this sport. So what does Dani have in mind?

“I really want to ride in college! I am currently working with Michelle Morris, who rode on University of Georgia’s equestrian team, putting together my video to send to schools! I am hoping to ride on a NCAA team but some of the schools I really want to go to are IHSA!” She said. “I would love to ride professionally but we will see where I end up! As for now, I am just focusing on my current show year and getting into college!”

Ultimately, Dani hopes to be a successful rider that takes the typical riding stereotype (a ton of money with the nicest of everything) and turns it upside down.

“You could say I’m the underdog in this sport. My family isn’t rich, I don’t have the nicest clothes, cars, houses, horses, etc. I don’t get to show that often either,” she said. “I make do with what I have, and I work hard everyday so I can one day prove that I belong in this sport. My goal is to be the rider that little girls and boys look up to. I want them to know that you CAN be SUCCESSFUL and GREAT without having a ton of money.”

Overall, Dani wants riding to be about working hard, having fun, and being herself.

“I work hard everyday and without hard work I wouldn’t be where I am today. I remember to have fun because riding horses shouldn’t be a grueling job, just have fun and do your thing!”

Want to see more of Dani & Celebrity?

Dani & Celebrity showing off their blue ribbon.

Dani & Celebrity showing off their blue ribbon.

Find her on her social media accounts!

She also will be updating her blog more frequently once school is out for the summer. Her blog is on our favorite links to the right of this post and linked above!

Know an up & coming rider that you think should be featured on our blog? Let me know in the comments below, find me on Twitter, or shoot me an email (jess@thelegalequestrian.com)!