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)!

What NOT to Say to Someone That Just Lost A Horse

It’s unfortunate, but I was inspired to write this post based on what was said to me in the days, weeks, and even months after I lost Rascal. Not everyone understands the bond between a horse and rider, but that isn’t an excuse to say insensitive things out of a lack of understanding. I’ve put together a handy guide for those of you who are at a loss of what not to say to a friend, family member, or someone else you may know that is grieving over a horse. Each situation is different, so I certainly can’t give a one-size-fits-all script of the right things to say, but there are a few things that no one should ever say to anyone who is grieving. To be frank, it makes you look like an ass.

1. “It’s just a horse.” This is just incredibly insensitive, and it delegitimizes someone else’s grief which is not okay. Ever. Also, would you like someone else to say “it’s just a football game,” or “it’s just a concert”? I know those things are quite different on many levels, but a football game or a concert could be just as important to someone as a horse could be to someone else, so just do us all a favor, and don’t say it.

2. “Why are you still upset? It’s been (insert timeframe here) since he or she died.” I actually had someone say this to me the day after Rascal died. They were confused as to why I was still upset and barely able to make it through the day without crying because Rascal had died the day before. Do not try to put a timeframe on anyone’s grief. We all grieve in different ways, during different times. If I want to be upset a week after or a month after, then I have every right to be. If my grief isn’t affecting you, then why does it matter? I still cry at least once a week about Rascal, but I don’t let my emotions affect anyone else. I rarely talk about it with anyone, and I never let it affect my responsibilities or obligations. So really.. what does it matter to you?

3. “But the horse wasn’t even yours.” Someone said this recently about my still being upset over Rascal, and I was slightly livid about it. Not all of us have the ability to own a horse, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still bond with a horse we ride a lot. Rascal wasn’t my horse, though he was going to be, but I was pretty much the only person that rode him aside from one other little boy. I cared for him almost everyday, and I bought him things too. Ownership doesn’t give anyone the right to grieve. You can own a horse and not give two you-know-whats about it (I’ve seen this happen).

4. “You shouldn’t be upset about it. You have a (insert other pet, horse, friend, significant other here).” A horse is a unique animal just like a dog, cat, or other pet. At the time of Rascal’s death, I had two other horses. Someone said to me “well, you have two other horses, you shouldn’t be so upset about Rascal.” All of my horses have different characteristics and personalities, and they all have done different things for me. Having two others doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t be upset about another one dying. That’s like saying someone has three other grandparents so they shouldn’t be upset about the death of their fourth one.

5. “Things die, it’s a fact of life.” I think we are all aware of this fact. However, being aware of it doesn’t make death any easier. Don’t state the obvious. Just be supportive of your friend/family/loved one, and let them accept death on their own terms in their own time.

If someone you know loses a horse, please think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Words can be hurtful, especially in a delicate time like death. You may not understand the bond, but that doesn’t mean you have to be insensitive about it.

Has someone ever said something insensitive to you about a horse’s death? How did you deal? Let me know in the comments!

Ogilvy Half Pad Review #2: L & His Love for Ogilvy.

If you haven’t read Part I of my Ogilvy review, please do so now. If you want a quick synopsis, Ogilvy is amazing, and you should buy one ASAP.

I recently began leasing a new horse. For privacy reasons, I will refer to him only as L. L is a 16.3 hh Trakehner/TB. L came to me with a very sore back and needed some major conditioning as he had not been in regular work for a while. For the first couple of weeks, he was very reluctant to use his top line. He would throw a major protest when he was asked to go in a frame, and he loved to go around with his head up in the air. He is also extremely girthy and throws a major drama fit when he sees me or my trainer coming with saddle pads or the saddle. I am talking major – like biting the air, shaking his head, swishing his tail, pinning his ears fit.

Note: L was fully vetted by my veterinarian before I committed to leasing him. She stated that his back soreness was probably due to poor saddle fit over the years and that proper conditioning and riding would help him get back into shape. I did all my homework to make sure that he would have everything he needed while I leased him. My trainer and I worked with my vet to put a plan into place to help his soreness. Along with being ridden properly and having a properly fitting saddle and equipment, he is on a joint supplement and a digestive supplement – all of which were recommended by our vet.

L's first week at my barn.

L’s first week at my barn.

Right off the bat, my saddle was not a good fit for L. My saddle was tailored to my greenie, who needed a wide tree. L does not need a wide tree, but since I only have one saddle, I knew immediately I would be using my Ogilvy memory foam jumper half pad to help the saddle conform better to L’s back.

When we first tried my saddle on L, without the pad, it was an awful fit. However, when I showed my trainer the saddle with the half pad, she commented on how “amazing” the pad was because it completely changed the fit of the saddle. It no longer looked too wide, and it conformed in all the right places. I also mentioned to my saddle fitter that I would be using the Ogilvy pad with the saddle, and she commented on how awesome the pads were.

My saddle with the Ogilvy jumper half pad.

Everytime I ride L, he goes in the Ogilvy half pad and in the Ogilvy baby pad I bought to go with it. It has now been two months since we have been working with L, and I have noticed a lot of changes.

First, L no longer puts his ears back and throws a drama fit when I bring the saddle pad and saddle over. I am dead serious. I noticed this the other day. For the first few weeks, when I brought the saddle pad and the saddle over, he would pin his ears and start shaking his head and swishing his tail. The other day, I noticed that he was calm when I brought the half pad and saddle pad over. He remained calm when I brought the saddle over, and he did not throw a fit when I put everything on him. The only time he gets upset is when I do the girth (Ogilvy memory foam girth anyone?) I think his reaction to saddling now versus how it was when he first came is HUGE. And I really do believe that it has everything to do with the Ogilvy half pad. I think that because of the pad he no longer associates being saddled with his back hurting. He seems to be much more comfortable. His demeanor when being saddled is one part of that.

Second, his muscling and conditioning have dramatically improved. I actually sent a photo of him to my vet, who sadly moved away shortly after she performed the pre-lease exam on him (Side note: HUGE win for Illinois equines – Jersey’s loss was your gain), and she said he looked great! A lot of hard work went into getting him conditioned, and he is much more willing to use his topline and look “fancy.” Before you look at the next photo, scroll back up and look at the photo of him during his first week with me. Now scroll down.

L a week ago.

L after 1.5 months with me.

I personally think he looks fantastic, but I may be a bit biased 😉 And this is only after a month and a half of working with him!

Third, he no longer protests when I do the sitting trot, which I think is because the memory foam helps keep his back comfortable.. He takes shape willingly at the walk, trot, and canter. He loves being in work, and he definitely uses his back – I can feel it when I’m riding. He is happy and loves being ridden!

I am lucky enough that my parents will be buying me another saddle for my graduation from law school. While this saddle will fit L’s back a bit better (it will be a medium tree, as recommended by the saddle fitter at Beval), I will still be using my Ogilvy pad. Several people, including my vet, told me that based on L’s conformation, I probably would never find a saddle that would 100% fit L’s back. Thankfully, I have this pad to help ease any pressure points on L caused by a saddle that isn’t completely made for his back. I know that has made all the difference in his soreness and in his attitude.

So, if you couldn’t already tell, I LOVE my Ogilvy Memory Foam Half Pad. I highly recommend it for everyone. It not only has helped my horses, but it also has drastically improved my back soreness. I am no longer sore in my back after I ride, no matter what type of lesson I’ve had. I am able to use my saddle on a variety of different horses, even though my saddle is really made for horses that need wide trees. It prevents slipping back and wiggling back and forth. It comes in awesome colors for the jumpers and eventing, as well as conservative colors for hunters, equitation, and dressage. It also comes in several fits including jumper, hunter, and dressage. I originally purchased my pad with a white cover so it was show appropriate. However, I recently purchased a custom half pad cover so that I could add some flair while I ride. I also got a baby pad in matching colors.

Ogilvy Memory Foam Jumper Half Pad & Ogilvy Baby Pad.

Ogilvy Memory Foam Jumper Half Pad & Ogilvy Baby Pad.

The half pad covers can be purchased for $125. They are not yet available on the website, but you can order one by emailing Kristy at sales@ogilvyequestrian.com. You can also contact her on Twitter – she’s super nice and amazing!

I will recommend this pad to anyone over any of the other half pads on the market today. It seriously works. No BS sale tactics. I have seen results from it in every single one of the horses I ride, and it has improved my back soreness after I ride. I can’t wait to see how L improves as I keep working with him.

L modeling his new Ogilvy jumper half pad cover & Ogilvy baby pad.

L modeling his new Ogilvy jumper half pad cover & Ogilvy baby pad.

So, if you haven’t bought an Ogilvy yet or even looked at their products, what are you waiting for? Ogilvy products are also now available at SmartPak, but if you want awesome colors, I would order directly from Ogilvy!

L & I jumping.

L & I jumping.

Happy riding!

Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form, paid, sponsored, or endorsed by Ogilvy in any way. This review is 100% truthful and based on my own experiences.

Equestrian Must Haves for Spring 2014

If you’re anywhere in the Northeast, you’re probably counting the days until spring arrives. This winter has been brutal and probably one of the worst in a while. Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of my unwanted downtime lurking around on the internet racking up a list of things I need (okay.. maybe want) for when my riding life can go back into full gear.

TS Color Chart.

TS Color Chart.

1. New Tailored Sportsman Breeches: TS has added a few new colors to their line of breeches. My favorite is “ultraviolet,” which is available at Dapple Grey. They may not be ultra-conservative or show-appropriate, but they’re fun for schooling! TS breeches are some of my favorites. They fit me perfectly, are comfortable, and do not stain easily – can’t really ask for more!

Piper Knee Patch Breeches – Merlot
Photo Credit: SmartPak.com

2. SmartPak Piper Breeches: I got a pair of these during a sale that SmartPak was having on their Piper breeches. I love the color selection, and I couldn’t resist 20% off. I got the merlot color. These are super comfortable, warm enough for colder days, but not too warm that they will be uncomfortable on hotter days. The sizes do run a bit big, so I would advise sizing down if you’re in between two sizes. I unfortunately couldn’t because I wear the smallest size they make, so they are slightly baggy in the legs, but not too bad. I threw them in the washer and dryer to shrink them a bit. Their charcoal and blue jean colored breeches are also really sharp. Also, if you get SmartPaks, you automatically get 10% off the breeches.

My saddle with my Ogilvy Half Pad.

My saddle with my Ogilvy Half Pad.

3. Ogilvy: Okay, so I may be overdoing this to death, but seriously if you haven’t invested in anything Ogilvy by now, you obviously haven’t been paying attention to anything I say on this blog. I have a MemoryFoam Jumper Half Pad, a Hunter Contour Pad, and a soon-to-be custom Baby Pad. If you have never heard of Ogilvy, then go here now. If you have, and don’t know what the big deal is, then check out my review of their half pad. Their products are top notch, worth the money, and most importantly, good for you and your horse. Saddle fitting issues be gone!

4. Le Fash NY Short Sleeve Show Shirts: A brand new item from Le Fash NY for Spring 2014. They are currently available for preorder if you are lucky enough to be at WEF and will be available for preorder on the website soon. The shirts feature all the awesomeness of Le Fash’s show shirts without the added heat and discomfort that accompanies summer showing. Currently, there aren’t any pictures of the shirts except for this one tweeted by Le Fash and Ms. Lauren Mahoney, an up and coming show jumper, but I imagine the shirts will come in many of the same patterns and colors that are currently offered in the long sleeve version.

5. Ecolicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo: Ecolicious Equestrian is a natural horse care and grooming products company. According to their website, their products are 100% free of nasty chemicals, parabens, and silicones; natural and organic; earth friendly; biodegradable; and packaged in 100% recyclable bottles. In other words, they’re good for the environment and for your horse. Spring does promise a warm-up, but that doesn’t mean it will always be the right temperature for a bath that your horse may so desperately need. Luckily, EcoLicious EQ has a Squeaky Green & Clean Waterless Deep Cleaning Shampoo. I purchased the shampoo, and you can read my in-depth review here. It retails for $27.95 and is super effective. This is a must have for anyone who likes to make sure their horse looks his or her best at all times. It’s easy to use, all natural, and really works! It also smells amazing. I also recommend checking out their other products. They offer everything from mane & tail shampoos, to hoof oil, to shampoo for use with an actual water bath, and even stuff for equestrians. Definitely check this new company out!

6. Feed through bug supplement: With the spring and summer obviously comes flies, ticks, mosquitoes, and other lovely biting and stinging insects. My pony is super sensitive to gnats and flies that bite his sheath area. I decided to try a feed through bug supplement, specifically SmartBug-Off, and it worked amazingly. He no longer bit his sheath until it was raw, bloody, and swollen. SmartBug-Off is in pellet form and can be bought in SmartPaks or in its own bag. I prefer SmartPaks because they’re pre-measured, sealed, and I know my pony is getting his supplement everyday. I also only give the supplement to him in the spring, summer, and early fall. I have found it to be very effective, and I will be using it again this spring and summer, starting next month. Also, for full disclosure, my pony and I were featured as a SmartPak Success Story for SmartBug-Off last March.

My Barn Child Clover Charm.
Photo Credit: My Barn Child

7. My Barn Child earrings & charms: This suggestion came to me from a Twitter user. I have to confess that I actually do not own any My Barn Child products currently, but they have super cute earrings and charms that can go on your horse’s bridle or on the zippers of your tall boots. Personally, I like the four leaf clover charm. I also love their belts and all the colors they came in (and they’re the perfect width for TS breeches!)

EquiFit D-Teq Boots.
Photo Credit: EquiFit.net

8. EquiFit Jumping Boots: This is also a suggestion that came to me from a Twitter user, and I love love love these boots. I actually put them on my list of things an equestrian should splurge on. I actually just saw now that they have a new product called D-Teq Boots that can also be customized, which is right up my alley, and might be something I need once I get my fancy jumping horse. The custom ones are a bit expensive ($378), and the non-custom ones go for around $200. They sound like a definite must have, and they offer amazing protection and shock absorption for your horses’ legs – what more could you want? EquiFit even made a pink version of their D-Teq Boots to support breast cancer! Here’s Ronan McGuigan’s horse, Chapeau, sporting an all-pink ensemble including the boots!

De La Coeur Bonnet.
Photo Credit: DeLaCoeur.ca

9. De La Coeur Ear Bonnet: I am just becoming familiar with this brand (quell your gasps of shock), and I love them! Something I am definitely going to invest in for the summertime. They have bonnets in all sorts of color combinations, as well as ones with “bling.” I got a blingy ear bonnet for my horse last summer, and it fell apart within a few weeks. I also have a purple and blue one to match my horse’s and pony’s respective colors, but I definitely would love a more conservative one with some bling on it. You can also order a custom bonnet. If you haven’t heard of or seen this brand before, definitely check it out!

A REAL money tree! Seeds & money not included. Photo Credit: MDMProofing.com

10. A Money Tree: You mean these don’t exist? Well, regardless, this is a must have for any equestrian because let’s face it, this sport is not and never will be cheap.

Do you have anything on this list, or do you think I missed something? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

As always, I can be reached on Twitter, @legaleq, on Facebook, or via email!

Product Review: Ecolicious Equestrian Squeaky Green & Clean Waterless Deep Cleaning Shampoo

Waterless shampoo is probably one of the greatest beauty inventions for humans. I know I certainly love being able to wash my hair without actually getting it wet. But did you know that waterless shampoo exists for horses also? If you haven’t heard by now, Ecolicious Equestrian has a waterless shampoo for our equine friends that love to get dirty. It’s called Squeaky Green & Clean Waterless Deep Cleaning Shampoo. When I found out about Ecolicious Equestrian and the waterless shampoo, I had to try it. It’s been quite cold in New Jersey, so none of our horses have been getting baths (no luxurious heated wash stalls here). It finally got near 40 degrees today, so I was determined to use it.

Now, my horses don’t usually get particularly dirty during the winter because they are usually blanketed, but my pony has a little quirk that gives him what I like to call poopy butt (a very scientific term).

Tempo, before his waterless bath.

Tempo, before his waterless bath.

What is ‘poopy butt’?

Poopy butt, as it is known here at The Legal Equestrian, is a condition where your horse or pony’s butt always has poop on it. You brush it. You wash it. You do everything you can to keep his butt from being poopy, but it always comes back. It also has an unpleasant smell.

How does poopy butt happen?

Poopy butt can happen for a variety of reasons. Some horses or ponies have wet manure while others like to smoosh their butt up against the stall wall before they go to the bathroom. Then, they make sure that as they are going to the bathroom, they get it all over the wall (and their butt), while getting little to none in any of the walking space in their stall. While my barn manager thinks that my pony is extremely neat and loves mucking his stall where all his manure piles are one on top of the other against the wall, he also doesn’t have to groom him on a regular basis. My pony also does have a wet manure problem, which he has had for years and has cleared up significantly thanks to SmartDigest Ultra and Sand Clear. When the weather changes and when new spring grass comes in, he also tends to get the “squirts.” Obviously, this isn’t an ideal situation for keeping away poopy butt. Note: My pony has been checked out by a vet multiple times for the wet manure/squirts issues. We think it is partially tied to weather changes, new spring grass, and something he just has for some reason.

Ecolicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo. Photo Credit: EcoliciousEquestrian.com

The waterless shampoo itself comes in a 100% recyclable plastic bottle. Also, it may be a bit tricky figuring out how to use the spray nozzle. There is a small square underneath the nozzle that can be pushed in or out to lock and unlock the nozzle. Once I figured this out, I decided this was a super ingenious idea. The other spray bottles I have require the user to turn the nozzle left or right, but this always causes some of the product to squirt out onto my hands and down the bottle – this may seem stupid, but getting nasty smelling fly spray chemicals on my hands isn’t exactly my idea of a party.

To use the shampoo, you spray it all over your horse, leave it in for a short period of time, towel it off, and then allow it to dry before brushing your horse. I did this all over my horse and put a little bit of extra on his poopy butt. Here is a before picture.

Note: If you are eating, easily grossed out by horse poop, or just don’t want to look at horse poop, don’t look at the next photo. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Before using the Ecolicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo.

Before using the Ecolicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo.

As you can see, my pony’s butt is quite .. disgusting. Since he has his winter coat, he had some poop matted in as well. After about two minutes, I began to towel off my pony. I used a white towel to see if dirt was really coming off – it was! It also didn’t make his coat too damp, which is great for cold temperatures, especially because I don’t clip him in the winter. The dirt lifted off of his fur, and he looked much cleaner and shinier. I also really loved the smell, as did he! He didn’t make any funny faces when I began spraying it or when he had to smell the towel I had to make sure it wasn’t edible.

After doing both sides of his body and his front legs, I tackled the poopy butt. I used some elbow grease for this part, but the poop came off really easily. His hind legs cleaned up very well also. I was super impressed that this product made his butt look clean. It removed the poop and most of the stains, and I got most of the matting out also. Best of all – I could go back there and smell wonderful citrus rather than nasty poo!

After using Ecolicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo.

After using Ecolicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo.

For clarification, my pony is a black blanket appaloosa. He has black hair mixed in with his blanket, so sometimes his white blanket doesn’t look clean even though it does. The black streaks you can see in his blanket are his black fur mixed in, not poop stains.

After using Ecolicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo.

After using Ecolicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo.

As you can see, his butt looks MUCH better. I LOVE this product, and I’m so glad I discovered it. This is definitely something I will be keeping around, and I’ve also recommended it to my friends / offered to let them use mine so they can try it out for themselves.

Best of all, it’s all natural. There are no harsh chemicals or parabens. The shampoo contains:

  • Coconut-derived cleansers
  • Witch Hazel
  • Honey
  • Aloe Vera
  • Shea Butter
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • Sweet Orange Essential Oil

I love that this product has Tea Tree Oil in it. Tea Tree Oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It also calms and protects all types of skin. This is fantastic for use on my pony’s butt. As an appaloosa, he has sensitive pink skin under his tails and between his legs, so a product that isn’t going to be harsh or irritate him is a must have for me.

I did a quick brush with a hard and soft brush as directed on the shampoo bottle. His fur was super soft, and he had a very pleasant smell to him. He also normally rolls in his stall after I groom him, and he didn’t do that when I put him back, so I guess he liked smelling like an orange too!

I loved this product so much, I had to try another Ecolicious Equestrian product. In full disclosure, Ecolicious Equestrian sent me a free minis set of three of their products with my order: De-Stress Intensive Restructuring & Detangling Treatment, Squeaky Green & Clean Shampoo, and Silky Rinse Out Moisturizing Conditioner for Coat, Mane, & Tail. Since it was relatively warm out compared to the 20-degree weather we’ve been having, I decided to try the Squeaky Green and Clean Shampoo, just on my pony’s hind end and back legs – an unfortunate side effect of poopy butt is poop running down the hind legs.

To give my pony a “winter” bath, I filled a bucket up with very hot water and then added in cold water to make the temperature more friendly to his skin. I also had a few towels so that I could use one to get out the dirt and the other to rinse. I put a very tiny drop of the shampoo into the water – just enough to notice there was some soap, but not enough to work up a lather as I would not be able to do a thorough rinse job without getting him super wet. I put a cooler on his front end while I washed his back end. I really wanted to make sure I got out what little stains he had left as well as make sure none of his fur was matted with poop anymore.

After using Ecolicious Equestrian Squeaky Green & Clean Shampoo.

After using Ecolicious Equestrian Squeaky Green & Clean Shampoo.

His butt is much cleaner, though the waterless shampoo had already done an amazing job of getting out the manure stains and crud that was in and around his hind area. Once again, the shampoo contains Tea Tree Oil which is great on sensitive skin. It also has silk powder which will make your horse’s coat super shiny; is biodegradable so it won’t harm the environment; and has a scent that does not attract bugs, which is a huge plus since my pony is very bug-sensitive.

As an added bonus, this shampoo is gentle on human hair as well! You can save money and share beauty products with your horse – what a great concept!

Overall, I am very impressed with these two products, and I can’t wait to use the other two that are waiting for me. My pony’s tail is a mess right now (another poopy butt side effect), so that De-Stress Intensive Restructuring & Detangling Treatment is just what he needs! All of the Ecolicious Equestrian products are environmentally friendly, using no harsh chemicals, silicones, or parabens.

By the way, sheath cleaning time is a-coming. I’m definitely going to toss my Excalibur aside and try Ecolicious Equestrian’s sheath cleaning product out. Once again, it’s all natural, and that sounds like the perfect combination for our geldings’ and stallions’ most sensitive areas.

The shipping time was super fast. I received the package within 3 days and paid for regular ground shipping. They’ve got great customer service as well – I turned to their twitter for help with figuring out how to use the Waterless Shampoo nozzle, and they answered me right away!

Haven’t tried Ecolicious Equestrian products yet? Check them out! They can be found here. They are also are on Facebook and Twitter!

By the way, after my pony was all day with his spa day, he promptly pooped against his wall within 5 minutes of me putting him back in his stall. Oh well, at least I know I can easily combat his poopy butt, hot or cold, rain or shine.

Silly pony!

Silly pony!

 

Product Review: Ogilvy Memory Foam Half Pad

Drum roll please!

The product review that you all have been waiting for – okay, maybe the product review that I have been waiting to write – is finally here!

Ogilvy MemoryFoam Jumper Half Pad.

Ogilvy MemoryFoam Jumper Half Pad.

After weeks of seeing equestrians rave about the Ogilvy half pads, I caved and ordered one from their website. I never really thought I need a half pad because my saddle is custom fit to my horse, and it fits my pony perfectly, but here are the reasons I was swayed into splurging.

  • The half pad allows your saddle, even if custom fit, to fit ANY horse. According to Ogilvy: “[t]he MemoryFoam acts as a buffer that fills any voids between the saddle and the horse, stabilizes the saddle, and provides shock-absorption for the backs of both horse and rider. This half pad will have your saddle fitting perfectly on every horse, even with custom made saddles.”
  • It is good for my back as well as my horse’s back.
  • It comes in different styles. If you’re a hunter, you can get one appropriate for the hunter ring. If you’re a jumper, they have that too. Dressage? Yes, they have that too!
  • It’s anti-slip. I had to search far and wide for an anti-slip pad to use under my horse’s saddle pads because despite the custom saddle fitting, his back is still developing, and it’s damn slippery up there sometimes.
  • Um.. everyone was raving about it. I’m an equestrian, of course I want to be in on the trendy riding equipment.

For my first pad, I ordered conservative white with customization on the withers – it says my name (Jessica). I waited about six weeks (can you say torture?) for it to come in. But I did order it right around Christmas, which is probably when everyone else was ordering it. Custom orders take a longer amount of time, according to Ogilvy’s excellent customer service department, and they didn’t get annoyed at me for my tweets and emails asking how much longer I had to wait :p

When the pad finally arrived, I was super excited. For those of you living under a rock, the Northeast has been transported into the set of Disney’s Frozen. My barn also doesn’t have an indoor, so I couldn’t wait for nice weather so I could use the pad and see if it really lived up to what everyone said it did.

I was too excited that it arrived that I couldn't wait to take it out of the packaging to take a picture.

I was too excited that it arrived that I couldn’t wait to take it out of the packaging to take a picture.

I ride a lot of different horses at my barn. I have two of my own, and sometimes I am asked to school some of the lesson ponies. I also ride a school pony in lessons sometimes as well. I was getting pretty sick of not being able to use my saddle on all the horses I rode because I have a pretty nice, comfortable saddle, if I may say so myself. On two of the ponies (read: chubby-wubbies), my saddle felt like it was about to roll over, no matter how snug the girth was, so I felt more comfortable using the school saddles that fit them (read: my lady parts were NOT happy about the years old lack of padding in the saddle seat).

So, what’s the verdict?

If you don’t want to read the whole post, I’ll get to the point right here: Buy one. Now. You need this in your life, I promise you. Just do it. Go to Ogilvy.com and order one. I’ve even put a handy link in this post three different times so you can just click-through and order this wonderful piece of half pad heaven with minimal effort.

For those of you that want to hear the details…

Tempo & Me with our new Ogilvy MemoryFoam Jumper Half Pad.

Tempo & me with our new Ogilvy MemoryFoam Jumper Half Pad.

I can really use this pad on every horse I ride. My pony loves it. My horse loves it. I don’t need to use the half pad and the anti-slip pad on my horse. I just use the Ogilvy now. The first time I used my saddle on my barn manager’s son’s pony, my saddle was going EVERYWHERE. I rode for maybe 15 minutes because I was afraid my saddle was going to just slide off the side at any moment – yes, my girth was tightened. The second time I used my saddle on the pony, I used my half pad. No slipping. No rolling. No saddle tilt. I felt comfortable. The pony felt comfortable. He was trotting around like a little hunter pony with his head nice and low. He was giving and using his back. It was marvelous. I made that pony look damn good, er.. well, Ogilvy helped too. The lesson pony I ride had the same roly-poly back that made me feel completely insecure when I rode in my saddle. I used the Ogilvy on him – I was determined to ride in my saddle. Same results. No slipping, rolling, or tilting. He seemed a lot more comfortable too. I also used it on a horse I had to school a few weeks ago, and she behaved perfectly. She can be a little bit.. mareish at times. No issues. Was it really, truly the Ogilvy? Well, I’m not saying it wasn’t the Ogilvy. And, if you think about it, the half pad was the only thing I changed about any of the equipment I was using.

My back does feel better. So, I have a habit of not using my stomach muscles when I jump, which means I’m quite sore after a hard jumping lesson. I also am getting back into jumping, which means muscle memory hasn’t exactly set in yet. Since using this pad, my back has felt a lot better in terms of soreness, especially after a jumping lesson.

The horses I ride seem much happier. Like I said, the ponies seem more comfortable with my saddle. My pony loved the half pad. My horse loved the half pad (and the Ogilvy contour pad I got for Christmas). The horses I ride were giving through and using their back. I feel confident using my saddle on any horse now, and I intend to do so.

Now to the nitty gritty. The half pad is $199.00 unless you opt to get some extra custom details. Like I said, I only got embroidery done. If it’s customized, it will take a bit longer to ship than a stock one (but it’s well worth the wait!) I have not washed my pad yet, but the cover is easily washable, and for mine being white, it hasn’t gotten too dirty. When I first used it, the saddle seemed a bit high on the horse’s back, but that is only because you need to actually sit in the saddle to allow the pad to conform to the horse’s back and your saddle.

If you’re torn between ordering a conservative pad for showing purposes and a pad that has awesome colors, don’t be! I found out that Ogilvy allows custom cover orders. You can order a cover that has the colors you like, or that is white/black, and switch it out with the pad you currently have so that you can easily go to a show and then go to the schooling ring at home. The custom covers are $125, and one of those will be my next purchase. If you have NO idea what colors to order, check out the Ogilvy Instagram account where they regularly post photos of the half pads and saddle pads their customers have ordered (provided by the happy customer, of course).

Their customer service is super helpful and friendly, and I love interacting with their Twitter account. They also sponsor Lillie Keenan, Reed Kessler, and the Phillipaerts brothers (among other top equestrians).

I also saw today that SmartPak is now carrying select Ogilvy products! Talk about the ultimate equestrian company mash-up. Note: You’ll have to order through the Ogilvy website if you want something other than white or black.

So, what are you waiting for? Have you ordered your Ogilvy yet?

Reader’s Choice: Who would YOU like to see below?

I recently asked this on my Twitter page and wanted to open it up to everyone – what up and coming rider would you like me to interview?

Obviously we know the big names in horseback riding – McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Brianne Goutal, Lillie Keenan, Reed Kessler, Eric Lamaze, and the list goes on. But before they became the “big timers,” they were starting out in this sport, just like many of us are.

So, what young rider do you admire most? They could be a junior rider or an amateur. Of course, the person needs to be accessible. I do like to think one day this blog will be hugely popular, but I’m not the Chronicle of the Horse 😉

There’s tons of ways to get in touch with me. Let me know who you’d love to see on this blog! And, if you’re feeling ambitious, what’s one question you would love for me to ask?

Comment below.
Twitter: @legaleq
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Email: jess@thelegalequestrian.com