Battle of the Winter Warming Shirts!

I hate the cold weather, so anytime I find riding clothes that advertise they will keep me warm using some type of thermo-technology, I am up for trying them. This year I have tried three different shirts that all claim to keep you warmer in the cold winter weather: the SmartPak UnderArmour Coldgear Infrared Crew, the EIS Heated Shirt, and the Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top.

I am going to rate the shirts on a scale of 1 to 3 stars, with 3 obviously being the best.

EIS Heated Shirt, available in adult and youth sizes.

EIS Heated Shirt: This is the one I liked best out of the bunch. EIS just released this shirt, and it has heating and moisture wicking properties. It is advertised as keeping your body 5 degrees warmer which is awesome when it comes to winter weather. The shirt itself only comes in black and has a different material on the underside than the other EIS shirts. I wore the shirt on an extremely cold day, and it definitely kept me much warmer than a regular shirt would have. I also wore it during a riding lesson to test out its odor wicking properties, and those did not disappoint either. I didn’t feel like I smelled bad after riding (though I do also wear deodorant), and I also didn’t get that icky feeling when I’ve cooled down from the lesson and realized how sweaty I am, thus making me cold. If you are going to get just one of these shirts, I would definitely purchase this one. Also, this is not a shirt you can wear alone on a 15 degree day. It keeps you warm but not that warm. That being said, this plus a good jacket will keep you warm, cutting down on the bulky layers.

Pros: Definitely keeps body warmer; wicks away sweat and prevents that icky cold feeling after you’ve cooled down.
Cons: Won’t keep you toasty on a bitter cold day, but will decrease the layers needed.
Rating: 3 stars

 

SmartPak UnderArmour ColdGear Crew

SmartPak UnderArmour Coldgear Infrared Crew: This shirt uses special technology to reflect your body heat and keep you warm, much like the Back On Track products (except without the ceramic particles). I really love this shirt. It’s very flattering and warm. It is also a great layering piece. In terms of warmth, it takes second to the EIS. I found myself needing more layers with this and not staying as warm in colder weather if I didn’t have those layers. The good thing is this shirt is not bulky and fits very well under or over other clothing so it does not add to any bulk. The shirt also has moisture wicking properties, which I found to work but not as well as the EIS. However, it does have anti-microbial technology that helps keep the shirt fresher, longer, which I have found to be very effective.

Pros: Flattering fit; not bulky; moisture-wicking; don’t need to wash as often.
Cons: Not as warming as other shirts; still need to layer.
Rating: 2.5 stars

Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top.

Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top: I love this shirt. It’s very flattering and fits extremely well. However, I found it to be the least warming of the winter shirts I tested. It is a compression shirt so it is supposed to keep muscles warm while exercising, which it did, but the material is thin, and I personally would never wear this without layering. The material is stretchy and soft, but thin and not enough to withstand bitter cold. The thumb hole is great for covering your hands, but I found it actually irritating to ride in with gloves over the hand part. I definitely love the shirt, and it did serve its purpose when I was riding by keeping my muscles warm, but I had to layer a lot, and I could never wear this alone in the bitter cold – unless I had an indoor, maybe. It is flattering, and it does keep you warm, but only while riding. I like shirts that will be effective before, during, and after riding. I spend a lot of time at the barn, riding or not, so if I choose this as my outfit, I better be prepared to layer or bring my heavy winter jacket.

Pros: Very flattering fit; made of great material; does the job when you’re riding; not bulky.
Cons: Doesn’t keep you very warm while not riding; material is very thin; thumb holes to keep hands warm can be irritating.
Rating: 2 stars

Overall, any of these picks are a good fit depending on what it is you’re doing. If you want to be warm before, during, and after riding, then the EIS Heated Shirt is probably for you. Looking for something to keep you warm, but don’t mind layering? SmartPak UnderArmour ColdGear Crew! And, if you’re just riding and that’s it, the Asmar Active Compression Top will definitely do the job.

Have you tried another similar type shirt this winter and loved it? Let me know in the comments below!

What to get the teen equestrian for Christmas

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

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

SmartPak Piper Breeches in emerald/navy.

Annie’s USA Tardis breeches.

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

Tredstep Symphony No. 3 breeches.

 

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

Ogilvy MemoryFoam Jumper Half Pad.

Ecogold Jumper Flip Half Pad.

EquiFit ImpacTeq Half Pad.

 

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

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

EquiFit Ear Bonnet.

 

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

Higher Standards Leather Care saddle soap.

 

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

Beauty Treats Green Tea face wipes.

 

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

Hunter Seat Equitation by George Morris.

 

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

EIS Shirt.

 

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

Deux Chevaux “Ride” Belt.

Tailored Sportsman Quilted “C” Belt.

Tory Leather Clincher Belt, available at SmartPak.

SEREIN Custom Belts, available at Equestri LifeStyle.

Nocona Western Rhinestone Belt from SmartPak.

 

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

CWD saddle.

Harris saddle.

Butet

Butet.

 

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

Luv Inspired Bit By Bit Ring.

Luv Inspired Bit By Bit Ring.

 

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

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

Personally Preppy monogrammed polo wraps.

 

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

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

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

SmartPak Gift Card.

 

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

What to get your barn child for Christmas

This is the first in a three part series of what to get for an equestrian for Christmas! We will be doing something for the child rider, the teen rider, and the adult rider. To finish the series off, I will let you know what was on my Christmas/birthday list (my birthday & Christmas are both in December). We know shopping for an equestrian can be difficult if you’re not a horse person and even if you are, but we hope these ideas will give you some inspiration!

ps. For those of you that don’t know, “barn child” is an affectionate term for a younger rider that we have taken under our wing. However, it can also be a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, etc.

– My Barn Child: MBC is the newest trend in “cute” stuff for child (and even teen/adult riders). They have recently come out with a line of apparel, including an adorable infinity scarf for those cold winter days. Their tack charms are super cute and something that every child rider can appreciate! Their stuff sold like hotcakes at the Royal, so it is suggested to buy what you want quickly before it sells out online. They have a ton of cute pony themed things as well, including hats and t-shirts that say “Stop staring at my pony” or “Your pony loves me more.” The t-shirts can be found here. Below are a few items that we think would be great gifts! Note: It’s totally appropriate to get MBC items for a teen or adult rider too! I have one of their belly button rings, a few items of their jewelry, including their newest horseshoe industrial bar, and a few of their tack charms that I proudly display on my horse’s bridle and on my saddle.

My Barn Child knit infinity scarf.

My Barn Child knit infinity scarf.

My Barn Child 18k rose gold pink pearls for the hunter or eq child rider!

My Barn Child 18k rose gold pink pearls for the hunter or eq child rider!

"Here comes trouble" charm for the girl with the naughty pony ;)

“Here comes trouble” charm for the girl with the naughty pony 😉

My Barn Child has a TON of options for Christmas gifts. They even have a page of gift ideas that includes some princess-themed wallets – the perfect idea for any pony princess in your life!

– Show bows: These are extremely popular in the pony hunters, and any little girl would love to have more! A lot of equestrian outlets sell them, so I can’t list them all, but there are also some adorable options available on Etsy.

Show bows from BowdanglesShowBows on Etsy.

Show bows from BowdanglesShowBows on Etsy.

Show bows from BowstotheShows Etsy shop.

Show bows from BowstotheShows Etsy shop.

Show bows from JustForPonies.com

Show bows from JustForPonies.com

 

Rosie Bowsie Pony Bows available at Equestr LifeStyle

Rosie Bowsie Pony Bows available at Equestr LifeStyle

 

– Annie’s Equestrienne Apparel: Colored breeches are super adorable for schooling! Annie’s Equestrienne Apparel has a wide variety of colored breeches, including pink and Tiffany blue. These would be a great gift for a child rider, especially because they often love to color coordinate everything they have with their pony’s or horse’s colors.

Annie's Equestrienne Apparel Sticky Buns Breeches in Razberry.

Annie’s Equestrienne Apparel Sticky Buns Breeches in Razberry.

 

– Horse hair bracelet: This is a cute gift for any age, but something like this would be great for a pony kid that may eventually outgrow her beloved pony and have to sell him or her (it happens)! You don’t have to give the gift with the caveat that the child will be selling her pony one day soon, but the child will certainly appreciate having this when/if that day comes. Not every child is lucky enough to be able to keep their childhood mount when they outgrow it, and a horse hair bracelet is the perfect way to keep her first love close to her heart even if the pony has moved on to another child! There are tons of companies out there that specialize in making horse hair jewelry, but we are a fan of Barn Queen Accessories!

Horse hair bracelet from Barn Queen Accessories.

 

– Package of horseback riding lessons: Some barns offer the option to buy a gift certificate that can be put towards a lesson package at that particular barn. This would be a great gift for a horse obsessed child that just can’t seem to get enough riding. Plus, it’ll help his or her parents out a lot! Owning a horse and/or taking lessons can be is super expensive, so this gift is one that will definitely be appreciated.

 

– Padded leather nameplate bracelet: This is another cute way to honor your child’s favorite horse or pony. I have three of these – one for each horse/pony I’ve had/have! They also come in different color combinations, so if your child’s horse has a color, you can customize the bracelet with the horse’s color.

Padded leather bracelet with engraving from SmartPak.

 

– Brown Charles Owen/Samshield Helmet: I’ve noticed a lot of pony kids rocking brown helmets in the show ring lately, so this is a great item to get a child that will be showing. They’ll be right on top of the newest trend! Charles Owen also has several models available in brown depending on your budget.

Charles Owen AYR8 in chocolate brown.

Samshield Premium helmet in brown alcantara.

 

– SmartPak Kensington Grooming Tote: When I was growing up, one of the “cool” things you first got when you really got into riding was getting your own set of grooming tools. This, of course, was if you didn’t have your own horse or pony. I love the SmartPak line of Kensington items, and I personally have the Kensington Grooming Tote in SmartBlue to match my pony’s SmartBlue items. Their grooming totes come in SmartBlue, SmartPink, SmartPurple, red, and black. Even if who you’re buying for already has their own horse or pony, this is a way to set his or her grooming tools apart from the rest. You can get one to match your child’s favorite color or the color of his or her horse or pony. Note: Grooming tools not included.

SmartPak Kensington Grooming Tote in SmartPink.

 

Back In The Saddle pajamas: This is for the very young child equestrian, but Back In The Saddle has some super cute pajamas. I’m a huge fan of the ones that say “Pasture bedtime.” (Get it???) They also had a set that said “Foaling to sleep” that had a foal on it which I can’t seem to find on their website anymore. They also have a selection of onesies for the horse loving infant. You can see their pajama selection for kids here.

Back In The Saddle “Pasture bedtime” pajama set.

 

-Equestri LifeStyle Spur Belts: Earlier this year, Equestri LifeStyle debuted their line of spur belts for teens & adults. Well, now they have spur belts the perfect size for kids! These belts have been super popular, and they came in all different colors and materials. There is something for every child to love. It’s a welcome change from many other belts out there that seem to all look the same.

Equestri LifeStyle's is launching its new line of Spur Belts for kids on November 11. Photo Courtesy of the Equestri LifeStyle Facebook page.

Equestri LifeStyle’s is launching its new line of Spur Belts for kids on November 11. Photo Courtesy of the Equestri LifeStyle Facebook page.

– Fancy pony: And then we have the ultimate present for any child equestrian, a pony! There’s some very nice one’s on BigEq.com (my favorite site to peruse when I am avoiding doing everything else I should be doing). Sure, the price tag may be a bit much, but isn’t your barn child worth it?

Maddie Schaefer & Armani at the Capital Challenge. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography

Why you need the SmartPak SmartBlanket app

For those of you that don’t know, SmartPak released their SmartBlanket app a few days ago. Some have said “why should you need an app to tell whether to blanket your horse?” While this is somewhat true, I also find the app to be extremely handy. Here’s why.

When you download the app, it asks you to input some information about your horse such as where he or she is located, coat length, turnout schedule, weight, and whether the barn is significantly warmer than outside. After entering this information (and providing a cute picture), SmartBlanket will give you the weather/temperature predictions for the next 7 days and nights and the 8th day. Along with the predictions is what type of blanket your horse will need based on what’s being predicted. Below are the predictions for my pony, Tempo, and my horse, Luther. Luther is currently on stall rest because of a bruise on his hoof, so he is currently inside both day and night.

Tempo’s SmartBlanket recommendations.

Luther’s SmartBlanket recommendations.

I tweaked the profile of each of my boys to show how the SmartBlanket recommendations will change depending on the horse’s coat length, weight, and turnout schedule.

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Luther’s SmartBlanket recommendations based on tweaked characteristics. I changed his coat length and his turnout schedule.

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Tempo’s SmartBlanket recommendations based on tweaked characteristics. I changed his coat length and weight.

One thing that I think is awesome is that it differentiates between a turnout sheet/blanket and a sheet/blanket. Obviously, if your horse is going to be outside during the day or at night when there is precipitation, he or she should have a turnout sheet or blanket because those are waterproof. If you notice, for the nighttime recommendations where I put my horse and pony would be inside at night, a sheet is just recommended because they will not be exposed to the elements.

While it is not yet cold enough here to differentiate between the different weight blankets, I am sure the app will recommend medium weight and heavy weight blankets based on the temperatures and the wind.

I also placed one of my boys on 24/7 turnout, just to see what happened, and a turnout sheet/blanket is recommended during the day and night depending on temperatures and the chance of precipitation.

The app also has a few other handy features, such as defining each type of blanket/sheet you can buy for your horse, blanketing tips, a glossary of blanket features (what is denier anyway?), a measurement guide, and tips on fitting a blanket properly to a horse, including when a horse has different conformational features such as high withers or a stocky build.

It is important to note that the SmartBlanket app is just a guide, and that you (or your barn manager/trainer) knows your horse better than the app does. For example, if your horse is ill, it might not be the best idea to turn him out on a cold day, even with a sheet or blanket. Your horse also might require a sheet when it gets into the 50s whereas the SmartPak app may not recommend that. The app does not replace yours or your barn manager/trainer’s knowledge of your horse, but it can help you plan ahead given that it will give you the weather and blanket predictions 8 days in advance.

This app is also handy for first-time horse owners. While some of us may think we shouldn’t need an app to tell whether our horse needs a blanket or sheet, there are some people who are leasing or owning a horse for the first time and may not have all the knowledge an experienced horse person does. This is a great way for a new horse leaser or owner to learn when and what his or her horse needs and when. When I first bought my pony, I didn’t know anything about blanketing – mostly because I had ridden at facilities that didn’t believe in blanketing for the most part. My pony had lived outside – even in the winter – with no blanket before I bought him!

A good rule of thumb: It is better for a horse to be too cold than too hot! It’s easy for your horse to shiver to warm up, but he can’t take his blanket off himself! (Well.. most can’t anyway..)

Overall, I find this app to be very handy, and I recommend any horse owner or barn manager to download it. Inputting each horse’s information is simple, and it’s also very simple to switch from horse to horse.

If you’re curious about what blanket or sheet is required for what temperatures, SmartPak also has a handy temperature guide on their website.

To download the app, you can find it in the iTunes app store under “SmartBlanket” or click here from your cell phone!

ps. Don’t worry Droid users, SmartPak is working on a Droid version of the app to be released soon.

Must Have Equestrian Fashion Items for Fall 2014

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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.

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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.

Staying Cool When It’s Hot: 10 Summer Riding Tips

Currently, it is 93 degrees outside with a heat index of 102. The humidity is 54%. What does all of this mean? In one word: Disgusting. In a few words: It feels like a sauna outside.

Thankfully, it isn’t this hot everyday – otherwise I would never be able to ride! Nonetheless, here are some tips you can use to keep you and your horse cool on a hot summer day.

1. Wear light-colored riding apparel: Dark colors absorb sunlight more easily than light colors. Light colors will reflect the sunlight and keep you cooler. You can also keep this in mind for your horse. If the sun is beating down, and it’s hot, you might want to go for the lighter color saddle pad rather than the dark one.

Ogilvy Memory Foam Jumper Half Pad & Ogilvy Baby Pad.

Ogilvy Memory Foam Jumper Half Pad & Ogilvy Baby Pad.

2. Invest in some baby pads: If you use a half pad while riding, you may want to invest in some baby pads to put under the half pad. Baby pads are just like saddle pads except they are made of lighter material and thus will keep your horse’s back cooler when riding. If you do not use a half pad, then you should not use a baby pad with just your saddle. While baby pads are thinner, lighter, and cooler, they do not provide cushioning when used by themselves, so you will end up making your horse more uncomfortable. If you use just a saddle pad, I recommend the Lettia CoolMax Saddle Pads or the Ogilvy pads which have moisture wicking fabric on the underside. If you are looking for a good quality baby pad, I of course recommend Ogilvy profile baby pads, which also have moisture wicking fabric on the underside.

SmartLytes Pellets

SmartLytes Pellets

3. Make sure your horses are hydrated: At an absolute minimum, your horse should drink between 5 and 10 gallons of water a day. If your horse is a good drinker – great! If your horse is naturally a poor drinker, you will want to encourage water drinking on hot days (and on cold days too). There are several ways to do this. First, keep your horse’s water supply cool. Most of us don’t like to drink water that has been sitting in the sun, and neither do horses. Second, you can invest in an electrolyte supplement. Electrolytes will not only encourage your horse to drink water but also replace any minerals and electrolytes he or she has lost during exercise and sweating. I personally love SmartLytes by SmartPark. SmartLytes encourage healthy drinking, do not have unhealthy sugars, and mimic the the minerals your horse loses in its sweat. SmartLytes come in pellet or powder form, and you can even create a nice hot weather treat from the powder if you would like!

4. Focus on hydrating yourself too: We all know the importance of hydration for our horses, but oftentimes we don’t think of ourselves. When it is hot and you are engaged in physical activity, it is essential that you stay hydrated. Not drinking enough water can lead to fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and passing out. When full dehydration hits, you can suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, as your body is no longer able to cool off. Keep a refillable water bottle with you throughout the day and make sure you drink before, during, and after you are riding or doing barn work. If you don’t like water, you can put some lemon or lime in it to make it tastier and more appealing. Sports drinks can help replace lost minerals and electrolytes too, but make sure you choose a drink that does not have a lot of sugar content. Additionally, don’t confuse energy drinks with sports drinks. A drink with too much caffeine can actually hurt you in the heat more than it will help you.

5. Alter your riding time: During the summer, it might be a good idea to choose a different time to ride on hot days, if possible. For example, riding in the early morning or in the evening is more desirable than riding at noon when the sun is at its highest and strongest in the sky. If you are going to be doing heavy work or jumping, early morning lessons are much better and healthier for you and your horse.

6. Give your horse a bath: A cool bath after a ride can feel amazing to your horse. After riding, hose or sponge your horse off while scraping him off with a sweat scraper. Keep doing this until the water that is coming off of your horse is a normal temperature. Bathing your horse and letting him get hot while he is wet can actually be more uncomfortable than when he is dry and hot. Additionally, after bathing, walk your horse or graze him until he is dry. Putting him back in his stall while wet can cause him to overheat because of the confined space and already hot temperatures.

7. Get a stall fan: Stall fans are a great way to keep air circulating while your horse is inside. However, you should research the fan you will be buying and make sure it is appropriate for use in a barn. Using a stall fan can increase the risk of starting a fire if the wrong equipment is used. As an added bonus, increased airflow will decrease flies.

8. Consider night turnout: Some barns will actually turn the horses out at night when temperatures are cooler and bug frequency is lower. This may not be a feasible option for your horse or your barn, so it is important that you talk with your barn manager to see if this would be okay. However, there are some important things to keep in mind for night turnout. You will want to keep an eye on the weather, especially if thunderstorms will be moving through the area. If your horse does not have adequate shelter in his or her pasture, night turnout may not be the best option, especially if there will be storms. Also, night turnout means that horses will be unsupervised outside for a long period of time. If a horse gets hurt or sick, odds are that no one will discover it until the next morning. Finally, night turnout makes it a bit harder to monitor a horse’s vitals. For example, unless you are REALLY good at identifying which manure pile belongs to which horse, and will be willing to walk through the field each morning, you might not know if your horse’s poop has changed or if he or she pooped at all. This may be on the extreme side, but it is something to consider.

9. Wear sunscreen: This is a tip for both horse and rider! We already know that unprotected exposure to the sun can increase our risk of getting skin cancer, but did you know that it is beneficial for horses to wear sunscreen too? This is especially important for horses that have exposed pink skin or white hair. There are even sunscreens made specifically for horses, such as Healthy Haircare Sunscreen. You can also use baby sunscreen. For noses that are extremely pink and vulnerable to sunburn, you can get a fly mask with a nose protector: SmartPak Kensington Fly Mask with Removable Nose.

Le Fash Short Sleeve Show Shirt.

Le Fash Short Sleeve Show Shirt.

10. Buy summer-appropriate riding gear: There are many types of riding gear available for hot weather riding including shirts, breeches, socks, and gloves. My favorite summer weather riding apparel includes: Kerrits Ice-Fil Shirts; Le Fash Show Shirts; Heritage Pro-Flow Summer Show Gloves; Ovation CoolMax Zocks. Vented helmets are also available, like the GPA or Samshield. The Charles Owen AYR8 is also vented.

SmartPak Haul!

As most of you know, I am graduating law school later this month, and my parents have gotten me quite a few things as graduation presents. One of those things was originally going to be a GPA Speed Air. I tried it on a few days ago, and the helmet did not fit my head right. I tried several different sizes with my hair up and down. With the GPA helmet out of the running, I decided I would just get a bunch of stuff from my favorite tack stores. I am still waiting on a few things, including a brand new Ogilvy half pad cover (yes, I’m addicted), but my SmartPak order came in today!

SmartPak Items

SmartPak Items

Clockwise from top left: Bradley Performance Short Sleeve Show Shirt in white with blue lining; SmartPak Piper Breeches in black with white lining; Back On Track hock boots; Kerrits Ice Fil Mesh Tank in coral; Ariat Prix Sleeveless Polo in cherry; Heritage Pro-Flow Summer Show Gloves; Tailored Sportsman Full Monty Belt in orange.

I also got a pair of EquiFit T-Boots for my green bean who LOVES to jump and will be doing the jumpers this summer to start off his show career! They are not pictured because I tried them on him this evening to make sure they fit.

If you do not already own a pair of Piper breeches, you must get them. They are amazingly comfortable, fit well, and are very durable. They also come in all sorts of awesome color combinations. I own several pairs of Piper breeches including the maroon ones, the emerald ones, the coral ones, and now the black ones. They run a little big, so if you are in between sizes, I would size up. I’m the smallest size available, and they are still a bit large on me, but just in the leg area. It’s not so much that I can’t wear them or that it’s noticeable.

I also own the Kerrits Ice Fil Mesh Tank but in purple. It actually does keep me cool in the summer. The cool technology does not get lost once it is washed either. I usually let the shirt air dry. I really love the coral color! I like to ride in sleeveless shirts when it gets super hot. I am very sensitive to the heat, so tank tops work best for me when it gets really hot. I also hate having a farmer’s tan. Along with the Kerrits tank, I own the Ariat Prix Sleeveless Polo in navy, so I got another one except in the cherry color.

I got the Back On Track hock boots for my lease horse who has some arthritis in his hocks. He requires hock injections every 6 months if he is not on a joint supplement. I currently have him on SmartFlex III, but I will be using the hock boots as a special treat, especially after jumping lessons. I also already own the Back On Track back pad, which has been AMAZING for his sore back. He really loves the Back On Track products!

If you are interested in any of the items in my haul, they can be found below: