Retiring Tofino

I keep getting a lot of questions on why I am retiring Tofino even though he looks a lot younger than his age and is still fit.

  

Making the choice to retire Tofino has got to be one of the hardest decisions I had to take.

Thankfully, Tofino is rather healthy and fit for his age (18). The only reason I have to retire him is due to the fact that I got the honor of being chosen to participate in an amazing 10 month program by Godolphin, set up by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Keeping Tofino here in Dubai, while I would have to leave the country would be somewhat selfish of me. I do not have an individual I can rely on to take care of him for the 10 months. Thus, choosing to retire him in the Netherlands would be  what is best for him. Being out in the fields and enjoying the nature.

Tofino and I have had our ups and downs, but never once did I ever regret having him in my life, or chose to seek another horse instead of working through our troubles. We have come a long way together and he has been the most patient and best horse I can imagine.

I am not selling him, he is still fully mine, and I will visit him as often as I can. Since he would be 19 by the time I am back , it would be very difficult to rebuild his muscles again and get back into work, so a full retirement is the selfless way to go.

It is a very bittersweet separation and I will miss him every single day, but putting Tofino and his happiness before mine has always been my priority. I am sure he will be happy and safe ❤

I will be jumping again, that is for sure! And hopefully purchase another horse to keep here in Dubai. I just have to wait and see what the future holds, but Tofino will always be my #1.

Surviving the Cold Winters

Winter here in the UAE isn’t very cold but can reach as low as 10 degrees C at night.

Since it’s mostly hot throughout the year, the horses still feel the difference this weather causes.

In the summer, I wrote about surviving the summer heat, and decided to write one up for winter.

1. Increase food intake: The more they eat, the more of an internal furnace they have. Horses expend significantly more calories keeping warm in the winter, thus, are likely to lose weight if food intake is not increased.


2. Plenty of water: Make sure water is not freezing  if the horses are staying outside

 


3. Winter coat: allow their coat grow out to warm them naturally


4. Shelter/warm stables: Make sure your horse has a spot to get away from harsh weather

  


5. Increase exercise: This will help them stay warm and keep their muscle mass.


6. Long warm up: Take your time warming up, especially with older horses (warming up & cooling down your horse)


7. Blankets: Get rugs (waterproof is better): and layer them if necessary

 


8. Hoof care: Clean hooves daily, and apply water repellent to protect from mud fever. I use PlusVital.

Hope this helps 🙂

B Vertigo NEW Kimberly Breeches [REVIEW]

Last summer, I reviewed the old version of the Kimberly Breeches., which I never knew were the 2012 model, until  @Bvertigo_UAE contacted me in order to review the newer model which they kindly sent to me 3 months ago.

They currently only come in two colours: Navy or Black.

Specs:

  • 4-way stretch
  • Medium/high waistband
  • Quality-made for durability and long lasting use
  • Improved knee patch shape
  • Breathable
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Improved calf fitting for great comfort at the bottom of the leg
  • Elegant back pocket embroidery
  • Classic grey contrast stripe at the leg
  • Optimal comfort

Material:

  • BV Opti-Pro fabric: 92% polyamide
  • 8% polyurethane.

The design of the breeches is very simple with some minor details, which I personally prefer. It has a wide waist band, with two vertical buttons. Simple back pocket with Euro Seat, and a metal plate on the belt loop.

  


There is a vertical line on the sides of the breeches which gives it that extra touch. I did realize that the waist is actually lower than the older version. I personally liked the way the older version sat on my waist as it felt a little more comfortable while riding, but not a big deal.

  


Both versions have moisture wicking technology that work well, but this newer version works better as the water droplets stay as droplets and do not seep through even though the material feels lighter and stretchier. (click to enlarge photos)

 


The knee and calf area has definitely been altered to fit better. I had an issue with the older Kimberly where the knee and calf area was too baggy. The newer version is a lot better and fit nicely under my tall boots.


Pros: Cons:
  Breathable 

•  Stretchy

•  Moisture wicking 

•  Lightweight material

  Durable

•  Only comes in 2 colours

•  Mid not high waist as older version

•  Sock ankle ( I prefer adjustable velcro)

Verdict: I would recommend these breeches as they are very lightweight and stretchy. Their moisture wicking is a great asset especially for someone as clumsy as me. I can’t decide which version I like more as the older kimberly was more comfortable on the waist, but not the knee and calf, whereas this new version is the opposite (more comfortable around calf and knee, less comfortable around waist). I guess it depends on your body shape and personal look preference.


Big thanks again to @Bvertigo_UAE for sending through these awesome breeches ❤ ❤ ❤
If you wish to purchase them, you can contact them directly through their instagram account or order through http://www.pets-delight.com

Horse Show Anxieties

I am just going to take this time to blab on a little on our Anxiety issues. Yes, both Tofino and I suffer from it unfortunately.

This week, Tofino and I had a really bad show. The worst so far. Normally we have an okayish round then come back strong in the second round.

This time however, both rounds were horrible! Included refusals, crashes and elimination.

I myself have been diagnosed with having an anxiety disorder and do get treated for it. So come show day, I always make sure I am up to date with my medication and feeling calm.

Tofino however, only has anxiety at shows. Even though I do put him on SoZen by Cavalor

SoZen is a calming supplement that is useful for horses that are constantly battling tension and nervousness in their daily lives. Cavalor SoZen that works to control cortisol levels in horses. When horses are constantly stressed the body creates an abundance of adrenaline and typically not enough cortisol to balance out the hormone levels in the horse.  SoZen is very useful for competition horses that have a hard time focusing on their work.


We do really well at home, from jumping, to flatwork, to hacking with not many issues to be honest. Come show day, he knows, he feels it, and sometimes even backs away from the trailer.

Many people along the way said it is because of me, because I am nervous, I am scared, I transfer it to him, but I promise you my medication works miracles on myself.

That being said, I never take it at home when we are jumping and we do just fine. He does have vision issues, finding it harder to jump in flood lights but that hasn’t held us back drastically.

This type of anxiety that he has is definitely related to shows as he always holds himself back once reaching the show gate.

Generally horses have 7 types of fear according to EquiSearch:

1. Objects. The objects that horses most commonly find terrifying include: rocks, farm equipment, cars, buildings, jumps, garbage cans and pretty much anything they consider out of the ordinary.
2. Situations. Many horses are uncertain about dark or enclosed places (like an indoor arena), and even more are genuinely scared of being alone (they are herd animals). Often this fear will be expressed by being buddy-sour or barn-sour, and sometimes they don’t want to go in a ring, either at home or in a competition.
3. Sounds. Highly strung horses are easily unglued by loud, unexpected noises (a car back-firing, a garbage can falling over). Others can’t stand hissing noises (like from a leaky hose coupling), and others don’t like rustling noises (in leaves or under something). Both probably sound like a snake.
4. Clipping or other grooming/handling. Some horses are genuinely afraid of clippers, either the sound or the sensation. Some don’t like to receive shots, and others are anxious about being shod.
5. New places. This can be as obvious as moving to a new home or going to a competition. Or it could just be moving to a new stall or riding in a new trailer. Anxiety could even be caused by more subtle changes around the barn (the jumps were moved in the ring, for instance).
6. Type of work/type of rider. Horses often prefer a certain type of rider. And often horses with a strong desire to please become anxious because they don’t understand what’s being asked of them, either because the exercise isn’t clear to them or the rider’s aids are confusing.
7. Other animals. Horses are often afraid of birds, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, deer or other wildlife. And some are afraid of other horses.


And 5 Types of Anxieties According to 

1. Separation anxiety: Separation anxiety is caused by moving a horse away from herd mates. Horses who are turned out together may dislike being moved from the pasture into the stable for grooming and saddling. They may try to bolt or return to the horse. Conversely, a horse ridden alone in the riding arena may attempt to bolt and return to the relative safety of the barn, where he knows there are other horses.

2. Performance anxiety: Horses, like people, can become anxious before events. Sometimes, they simply pick up on our nonverbal anxiety cues, like feeling their riders tense or hang onto the reins a little tootightly. Other horses learn to associate the sights, smells and sounds of a competition with anxiety.Thoroughbreds that are used to giving their all at the racetrack may transfer this performance anxiety to their new lives, even though the stakes are much lower. They are unable to distinguish between the noises of the track and the noise of the country fair, where their new owners take them to an unrated show. To them, it is still time to perform, and they tense up in anticipation of the event.

3. Situational anxiety: Situational anxiety occurs when horses associate a particular situation with something bad happening. A horse that may have been in a trailer accident as a youngster may associate stepping into the trailer with the pain and fear of the accident, even though years have passed between now and the time of the accident. Such anxiety can be difficult to diagnose if you have a new horse or don’t know your horse’s history. You may know when he gets anxious, but aren’t sure why.

4. Boredom: Although you may not think that boredom and anxiety are synonymous, horses who are bored may also be anxious. These are generally the stall walkers and weavers. They don’t have enough to do, and this makes them anxious.

5. Change anxiety: Lastly, change anxiety occurs when a horse’s living conditions are abruptly changed. Moving a horse from a big, open pasture into a confined stable and a heavy training schedule without any transition can be stressful for him. Some horses dislike having different riders each day and aren’t well-suited to being lesson or rented-trail horses. These horses react poorly to change and exhibit the telltale signs of anxiety, such as eye-rolling, avoidance and backing, spooking and bolting.


Five Tips For Anxious Moments according to EquiSearch

1. Don’t look at the object or area of fear. Focus your eyes on a spot in the distance and ride to it. This prevents you from acknowledging the object as something fearful and keeps your eyes, head and balance up and forward.
2. If you have a horse who’s perpetually spooky, try riding with a breastplate, racing yolk or grab strap. This will give you something to grab if he wheels or bolts, other than his mouth. Catching nervous horses in the mouth can often send them over the edge.
3. If the horse is contorting its body to look at an object in or near your ring every time you go past it, and thus disrupting your work, instead of fighting to force him not to look at it, force him to look-but keep working. Ride a leg-yield or half-pass (or even a simple outside bend) that puts the horse’s eye on the object, but follow it up with strong leg aids that force him to continue stepping forward and working.
4. If your horse is walking like a tense ball about to explode, pick up the trot and start riding figures like serpentines or figure-eights. Concentrate on the geometry of the figures and the rhythm of the trot. Ignore everything else. Some top riders sing while they’re doing this to force themselves to breathe consistently and release tension, and the rhythm of the song helps them create a consistent rhythm in the trot.
5. Remember, the hardest thing for some horses to do is walk on a loose rein. The loss of contact with the rider can feel like abandonment, and they’re more likely to become anxious or startled. Although being able to walk on a loose rein is a must, be patient with horses and riders who struggle with this concept. Begin by trying brief periods of loose rein between two letters of a standard dressage court, increasing the amount of walk over time.

I think once we check on his eyes again, i’ll  give it another go at the shows. Fingers crossed

Ogilvy Jump MemoryFoam HalfPad [REVIEW]

Two months ago, I managed to get my hands on the famous Ogilvy Jump MemoryFoam HalfPad finally 😀

I did try my friends one for about a month before deciding to purchase one of my own as I was not sure if the price ($200) was worth the product.

Ogilvy pads come in different sizes, colours, shapes, and thickness. I personally got mine in the Jumper style, Regular, and 1″ thick.

IMG_7219

Specs:

  • Anti-slip
  • V-Shape: special protection for the withers and the back.
  • Maximum breathability, moisture wicking
  • Superior Shock absorption
  • No rubbing, no friction
  • Distributes pressure
  • Anti-microbial and anti-fungal
  • Stain resistant
  • Improved saddle fit
  • Quick dry

Deciding the colour was hard in itself as the options are absolutely stunning! I tend to go for neutral colours in order to match and our main two are always navy and grey.

This also matches our DLC bonnet . The reason I went with the 1″ thickness is due to the fact that my saddle is custom made to fit Tofino, so I just wanted a shock absorbent rather than a saddle fix. I was nervous that it might be too thick for him as I am used to the very slim Thinline which I had been using for years!

The 1″ seems to fit Tofino really nicely without altering saddle fit.

IMG_4930  IMG_4938


The material is so soft and velvety I am in love!! The top-line of the pad has free space for the spine, and velcro closures to put additional shims if needed, or remove the cover for washing or changing to a different cover colour. As for the underside, so far, it only comes in black but is super fluffy. I have been using it for two months straight, and there is no sign of wear and tear. My friend has had hers for a year and still looks as new as mine, thus making the quality is impeccable.

IMG_4931 IMG_4924 IMG_4933


Ogilvy’s are VERY customizable. The grey colour I chose does not show dust which is a great bonus.  You get to choose whether you want a single piping with the price or pay for an additional piping. I chose to stick to the traditional white one that already comes in the price and the navy binding.

I did get mine embroidered with my initials so as to not confuse it with other ogilvy owners. I chose to do it the same colour as the pad so it turns out subtle and barely visible.

IMG_7099


Functionality, I can honestly say that it lived up to my expectations and not only does it relieve pressure off your horses back, but also off the rider! All riders generally have back pain; it is inevitable with the sport. Riding with an ogilvy pad however, felt like riding on a cloud. No joke! the relief and comfort felt was amazing! I could not believe I waited this long to get my hands on one. If it does this for me as a rider, I can’t imagine how Tofino feels haha

IMG_9622


Now down to the more troubling parts. I do find that Tofino’s back does get sweaty after a ride while having the ogilvy on, so I am not sure how the breathability aspect falls into place. It never used to sweat much with my Thinline, however it does so with the ogilvy. I am guessing this is due to the memory foam taking form on the horses back? Not sure,… That being said, he does not have a sore back or sore spots, just sweats. This makes my numnah slip a little.

Although the pad is said to be non slippery, which I do agree on, as it stays in the same position you place it on your numnah, however, the numnah tends to slip due to the sweat on the horses back, which I never experienced before using the Thinline.

So now, I close my girth in a certain way where one strap is outside of the billet straps on the numnah, and one strap is inside.  This tends to secure the saddle pad more.

img_7212.jpg


Pros: Cons:
  Elegant

  Multiple colour options

• Multiple thickness options

  Super comfortable

•  Shock absorbing

•  Great quality

•   Expensive

•  Heats the back

•  Not  breathable

 

Verdict: I would definitely  recommend the Ogilvy Jump MemoryFoam HalfPad anytime! I can’t believe it has taken me this long to even try it. I love that it is not only fully customizable, but also actually really works for both rider and horse.