HorZe Blaire Long-Sleeved Functional Show Shirt [REVIEW]

Looking for affordable sophisticated riding shirts that are functional and breathable is pretty difficult until I came across the HorZe Blair Long-Sleeved Functional Show Shirt and fell in love!

They can be purchased from DubaiPetfood or TackShop.ae for only 150AED and come in a number of great  colours:

Features:
  • Breathable high quality show shirt
  • Can be converted to a more casual training shirt
  • Nanotex® fabric has UV protection SPF 30+
  • Metal press buttons at chest and cuffs
  • Piping lined inside
  • Crisp white collar for show when neck area is closed
  • Fitted sides and arms for a custom fit

Main fabric: functional 100% polyester Nanotex® fabric, UV protection UPF 30+. Mesh details: polyamide/elastane, woven details: 100% cotton.


I have been using my Blaire shirt for training for the past few months and absolutely love it. It not only looks neat and elegant, but is also breathable and lightweight. The material has UV protection, making it great for the summer. The arms are very slightly too long and a bit baggy, but I prefer to have that freedom of movement. I do find the top to be slightly short, coming out when tucked in while wearing low rise breeches. They are fine on mid or high-rise breeches though.

  
Worn with the B Vertigo Kimberly breeches


The detailing and structure is impeccable, with pearl like buttons on the cuffs and an elegant cut. The collar can either be worn as a high neck for shows or a collar for training. This versatility allows for the usage of the shirt in the show ring or riding arena. The inside of the collar has blue lining for all the shirt colours. I am personally a big fan of the metal press buttons rather than the traditional ones as these are much easier to open and close.

  


The inside of the arm is includes a mesh material which allows for air flow and quick dry. I have been using this for months and the mesh is still very intact. The good thing is that the mesh is hidden and barely shows unless someone is really paying attention. This I find is positive as it gives it a more professional look. That being said, sweating is inevitable in UAE’s heat so even though this does keep me cool, sweat marks still show on the baby blue colour but not the navy.


On the other hand, I realized there was a difference in size with my Navy and my Baby Blue colour. The baby Blue came somewhat wider and bigger than the Navy even though they are the same size.

  


This makes the baby blue colour more a more boxy shape and a bigger fit than the navy. This is disappointing honestly as it shouldn’t be the case. Especially when it comes to riding, you feel every difference in riding and moving around. Generally I wouldn’t mind, but it really does feel less comfortable and the fitted navy especially on hot humid days.


Pros: Cons:
  Elegant

  Affordable

• Breathable (mesh)

  Durable

•  Comfortable stretchy material

•  Great detail

•  Multipurpose

•  Metal press buttons 

•   A little long on the arms

•  A little baggy on the arms

•  Size is not consistent 

•  No dark colours available (eg. black, maroon, grey)

Verdict: I would recommend this shirt as it is truly great value for money. Absolutely love it and I am planning on getting them in additional colours. HOWEVER, I would suggest trying them on before purchasing, even if you already know your size.

Hope this helps 🙂

Teuton Germany Protection Vest [REVIEW]

Riding protection vests are not only used for eventing and cross country, but can also be used for jumping or even beginner riders.

I have been using mine for the past 5 years whenever I am jumping. I use the Teuton Germany Protection Vest which I found years ago in Tack n Track.


Although the vest is bulky, I find that it doesn’t alter my movements while riding. It has velcro on both shoulders and the waist, allowing you to open it on one side or both, making it easier to wear and remove.

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The vest is perforated for better breathability, however, I still do find myself sweating, but nonetheless, never overheating. You can easily remove the lining for washing by opening the velcro on the back and simply sliding it off.

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The vest is in line with the old European standards: EN 13158:BETA2000 which have been stopped in 2011, with the current standards now being EN 13158:BETA2009. However, since I do not do cross-country or eventing, this one suits me just fine for now. If I were to get a new one, I would definitely recommend getting the up do date standards.


Pros: Cons:
  Easy to put on/off and move with

  Great adjustability

•  Easy to wash

•  Lightweight

•   Bulky

•  Currently out of date with standards

 

Verdict: I would definitely recommend this vest, although it is bulky, I have been greatly satisfied with how it held up and how easy and light it is. If you plan on buying a new one though, make sure it the latest standard.

Saddle Pad Collection

I have written a few reviews of some saddle pads but have decided to show you my saddle pad collection. It isn’t very versatile at the moment but here it goes:


1. Cavalleria Toscana Technical Saddle Pad:

I have 2 of these in both white, and Navy which I have reviewed previously. Both were purchased from Cavalos Equine Care & supplies and I absolutely love this saddle pad as it is lightweight, antibacterial and cooling. I use the Navy most of the time (sorry it’s a little dirty as it needs to be washed), and the white, I obviously keep only for shows 🙂

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2. Veredus Jumping Pad:

This saddle pad has also been reviewed previous, and is one of my favourites. I use it mostly for the cooler months as it is a little thicker, but it does have moisture wicking properties that do work. It grips well and doesn’t allow the saddle or the pad itself to slide.


3. Horze ChooZe Saddle Pad:

I used to use this for shows before I got my CT pad. It was a sudden purchase as I needed a white pad and it did not disappoint. It is very thin and sturdy, but has no special features, however, it is well worth the price.

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4. Anna Scarpati Jumping Pad:

This is the first saddle pad I ever purchased. I used to use it on a daily basis for the first 6 months and it did hold up somewhat okay. The material is a little heavy and clumsy for my liking, and scrunches up a lot. I absolutely love the colour and design though.


5. Fouganza Schooling Pad:

Very simple saddle pad for a great price which I have reviewed previously. This is an all purpose pad, but I found that it is a little small for jumping saddles with forward flaps as mine is. I do like this as an extra pad, but i don’t use it often anymore.

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6. Bridleway Jumping Pad:

To be honest, I have literally only used this once! I love it, and the way it looks, but I cannot speak for durability or performance. It is a thin pad that has wither clearance with sheepskin protection for your horse. I got it custom made with Tofino’s name as you can see below.

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So as you can see, I am into very neutral colours for Tofino, however, I am eyeing the Cavalleria Toscana Red Hot saddle pad ❤

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What’s your favourite saddle pad?

Ariat Barnyard Belle H2O Boots [REVIEW]

I was looking for boots I can use around the stable that are waterproof for the longest time! I was using the Ariat Heritage III (reviewed) but they are not waterproof.

I came across the Ariat Barnyard Belle H2O that were on sale from Riding Warehouse last year and decided to order them.

   

Ariat gives the traditional barn boot a makeover with the Ariat Barnyard Belle H20 Boot!  The Barnyard Belle gives every day stable boots a dose of equestrian style while still maintaining comfort and incorporating performance features.  Imported.

Features:

  • Exclusive Ariat® Waterproof Pro™ Construction
  • Stylish Easy Pull-On, Mid Rise Design
  • Durable, Waterproof Full-Grain Leather Foot
  • Molded Heel Clip for Added StabilityAriat ATS Technology Image
  • Exclusive ATS™ Technology EVA Midsole offers optimal
    stability and all day comfort for performance you can depend on
  • Slip-Resistant, Non-Marking Duratread™ Outsole
  • Drawcord top for custom fit

Color: Dark Brown

Sizing: Women’s 5.5 – 11

The boots have spur holders and therefore, can be used for riding, however, I do not find them supportive whatsoever for riding and they are too clunky so won’t fit on all stirrups. They are breathable and great for hot days as they are not insulated. The bottom grip is great I don’t slip on wet areas.


I do use them around the barn 99% of the time except for riding. I naturally have slim feet so my foot did move on the inside of the boots causing rubs, even though length wise they were good. So, I did have to place insoles in order to avoid my foot from moving. It took about a week to “break them in” with the insoles.

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Waterproof technology works great in the wet grass and while showering Tofino. Comfort however is only there when I place insoles. The drawcord mechanism is hard to adjust as it is stiff but it does tighten eventually. They do do drop a little and this is with 3 months of use. I hope they don’t go down fully. They are easy to put on and take off as they have a pull on piece.

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Pros: Cons:
 Waterproof

 Good height

•  Good grip

•   Spur holder

•  Easy on and off

•  Breathable

•   One colour

•   Wide & Clunky

•   Drawstring mechanism needs improvement

•   Takes time to break in

More comfortable with insole

• Drops

Verdict: For everyday stable boots these are good. My feet don’t get wet at all and I can walk in the grass, mud, sand, arena without worrying about ruining my boots 🙂 If you’re looking for working barn boots then i would recommend the barnyard belle, HOWEVER, you can just go about wearing regular rain/rubber boots which are cheaper, but with less comfort.

Basic Noseband Types

There are many, and I mean MANY noseband types in the market today. However, today I will be only briefing you on the basic ones.

I have personally used a Cavesson, Flash, Grackle, and a Drop noseband, and a Micklem on Tofino. When looking for one that suits your horse, no matter what kind it is there are always the basic rules which are:

  • All nosebands should NOT press on the nostrils or cheekbones as that restricts airflow.
  • All nosebands should be fitted to have space for 2 fingers on the under straps (horse must still be able to open the mouth and chew).
  • Every horses reacts different to different nosebands, and fits differently.

So, lets get started!

Cavesson

The Cavesson noseband is the basic noseband used to not only for aesthetic purposes, but also prevent the horse from crossing over the jaw, and for the use of a standing martingale. It is mainly used in the Hunters and Dressage, but can be used in basically any discipline.

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Flash

The most common type is the Flash Noseband which is used for most disciplines, from jumping, to eventing, to dressage. It is designed to hold the bit in place and the horses mouth low and prevents the horse from opening the mouth or crossing the jaw.

This was the first noseband I ever tried on Tofino. And he seemed to flick his head whilst using the classic flash noseband. So I was on the hunt for something else.

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Grackle (Mexican / Figure 8)

The grackle is what I find best suits Tofino as he doesn’t fuss with it whatsoever. It has a front crossover point which is the pain pressure point. This noseband helps clear the horses airways, allowing air to pass easily, without cranking the nose and mouth.

It can be used from Jumping and Eventing, but is not allowed for Dressage unfortunately.

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Drop Noseband

The drop noseband sits lower on the horses face and restricts the horse into lowering their head. The pressure is on the lower parts and groove of the noseband when the horse tries to open his mouth. Once the horse relaxes their jaw, the pressure is released. Many use this type of noseband for young horses to teach them to “accept” the bit.

It is important to note the placement of the noseband as it should sit where the bone is and not the flesh so as to not interrupt the horses breathing.

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Micklem

I know this isn’t exactly a “noseband” but a bridle, but I thought I should add it in there. The Micklem was created to fit the horses skull and prevent uncomfortable pressure points. The straps are placed in a way that they avoid fragile facial bones, nerves, and both upper and lower molar teeth. It is FEI approved and can be used for Jumping, Eventing, and even Dressage.

I have written about it before (Micklem review), as I use it for dressage and find that Tofino has responded well to it (same as grackle).

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I hope this helps! If you have any questions or inputs please do not hesitate to get in touch xx

Which noseband do you use?

11 Common Horse Feeding Mistakes

This post is one of the longest posts I wrote as a lot of research and time went into it. These notes are crucial and may prove to be very useful for those around horses. As the title says, here are the 10 common horse feeding mistakes:

  1. Wrong Diet
  2. Poor Forage Quality + Quantity
  3. Over/Under Feeding
  4. Not Feeding by Weight
  5. Overloading on Nutrients/Supplements
  6. Lack of Salt in Diet
  7. Lack of Fresh Water 24/7
  8. Not Feeding Little & Often
  9. Lack of Feeding Routine
  10. Overloading on Treats
  11. Not introducing / Not Changing Feed Gradually

..Continue for more details:

1. Wrong Diet 

Every horse should have a diet catered to them specifically, due to the difference in breed, age, workload etc. The type of feed in the diet should vary according to your horses needs. Choosing the right brand for your horse’s feed is crucial too.

A horses diet should always be adjusted according to these factors:

  • Workload
  • Health (ulcers, teeth, digestion, insulin resistance etc.)
  • Weight (measure your horse)
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Weather

It took me a few tries to get the appropriate diet for Tofino. I am personally loving Reverdy feed which we started in February. You can contact the very friendly team at Cavalos Equine Care & Supplies for more information on Reverdy. They are very kind and easy to work with, thus, you always feel welcomed which, I love. Tofino is currently on the Adult Specific Energy which has the complete nutritional values he currently needs given the above factors.

cavalos reverdy 2


2. Poor Forage Quality + Quantity

Hay is a large sum of a horses diet. It is important to note that their diet consists of at least 70% of hay/forage. Therefore, giving your horse the ultimate hay quality is crucial. Poor quality hay has less nutrients and less digestible fiber, which means that a horse has to eat much more to derive the same amount of nutritional value.

The quality of hay depends on the following:

  • Smell(Hay should smell fresh and a bit sweet. If smell is pungent, acrid or musty, the hay is probably molded or has other quality deficiencies).
  • Texture (Good hay feels soft and pliable, bad hay is coarse and will stab your skin).
  • Weight(Good hay bales are lightweight and springy; if you drop one, it should bounce).
  • Consistency(no sticks, wire or dead insects/animals or animal droppings within or around).
  • Leafiness (the more seed-heads, the better a90% of plant’s protein in seed-heads). Orchard-Timothy-Fescue-500x374
  • Color (light to medium green for grass hays and darker green for alfalfa. Some yellowing is natural if the hay was sun-bleached, but too much yellow likely indicates that the grass was overmature when cut and contains less digestible fiber).

3. Over/Under Feeding

A horse should eat 1.5-3% of their body weight. The majority of that diet should consist of forage. Total % of Body Weight feed for horses vary with different conditions. For example, a horse that’s obese would be in the lower % whereas a horse underweight, or lactating mares, would be on the higher % (not exceeding 3%).

Expected Feed Consumption in Body Weight Percent:

Maintenance: Forage (1.5-2.0%) + Concentrate (0-0.5%) = 1.5-2.0% total

Light work: Forage (1.0-2.0%) + Concentrate (0.5-1.0%) = 1.5-2.5% total
Medium work: Forage (1.0-2.0%) + Concentrate (0.75–1.5%) = 1.75–2.5% total
Intense work: Forage (0.75–1.5%) + Concentrate (1.0–2.0%) = 2.0-3.0% total

Yearling foal (12 mo.): Forage (1.0–1.5%) + Concentrate (1.0–2.0%) = 2.0-3.0% total
Long yearling (18 mo.): Forage (1.0–1.5%) + Concentrate (1.0–1.5%) = 2.0–2.5% total
Young 2yr-old (24 mo.): Forage (1.0–1.5%) + Concentrate (1.0–1.5%) = 1.75–2.5% total

Source: NRC 1989. 

To measure a horse’s weight without a scale, you can use the following formula:
In Centimeters & Kilograms: [Girth (cm) × Girth (cm) × Length (cm)] / 11,900 = Weight(kg)
OR
In Inches & Pounds: [Girth (in) x Girth (in) x Length (in)] / 330 = Weight (lb)

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Note: Even if your horse is obese, you should NEVER go below 1.5% of body weight per day. You can control their feeding by using slow feeders hay-nets/muzzles. ALWAYS feed little and often.


4. Not Feeding by Weight

Giving your horse feed according to the weight rather than volume is a safer, more accurate way of feeding. This is for both hay and cereal grains. Hay bale and flakes weights vary depending on brand, type, water etc. and the same goes for cereal grains. Therefore, taking the time to place a scale (hanging scale) in your hay storage unit would be handy to not only know how much to give your horse, but also know how much you’re paying for.

Product name:Handle scale Product specitication:25kg 50kg 100kg 150kg 200kg Size of outer carton:60*41*21.5cm Package quantity:20pcs Packing weight:23kg    WS60330K

As for feed, I started using a manual kitchen scale that can read up to 5kg. You can get them for very cheap prices at the supermarket. They range from about 20AED-300AED depending on the level of technology. I use a manual scale (50AED) as it can read more accurately the lightest of things, whereas digital scales read a minimum of 1g.

item_XL_7074945_5040158    41DEukROunL._SX300_


5. Overloading on Nutrients/Supplements 

Over supplementing can cause mineral or vitamin imbalances for horses. There are vitamins and minerals that are toxic if consumed in large quantities. Only use them if necessary and in a short period of time. Make sure you calculate the nutrients your horse is getting from his basic feed ration before adding a vitamin or mineral supplement.

vitamins table
Source: BASF. 2000. Vitamins – One of the Most Important Discoveries of the Century. BASF Documentation DC 0002. Animal Nutrition 6th Edition.


6. Lack of  Salt in Diet

Salt consists of Sodium and chloride. These are the only essential nutrients not naturally found in grass. Horses, like humans, lose both elements in sweat, therefore, they must be replaced from the diet. Horses have a natural appetite for salt and consume what they need if given the opportunity.

Horses will lick the salt block when they feel the need to, which is when they are lacking in salt. If they do not use the salt block at all, then place electrolytes in their feed.

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You can place a salt block in the paddock if that’s where your horses stay most of the time, or in the stable. Even better if you place two in both areas. I personally use both electrolytes (only a little) and place Himalayan salt blocks just in case. I have previous written about the Importance of Salt in Your Horse’s Diet HERE


7. Lack of Fresh Water 24/7

Fresh water should be provided to horses continuously, whether they are out in the field, in the stable, in a sand paddock, etc. They can drink up to 5-10gallons a day depending on the weather. In the winter months, if the water gets cold, horses will stray away from it and avoid drinking. Therefore, it is recommended to use water heating methods.

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There is myth that you should not offer horses water after exercise, however, current studies have indicated that in fact, ensuring that horses have access to fresh, clean water, is one of the best ways to reduce the risks of impaction colic.


8. Not Feeding Little & Often

Horses are grazing animals, used to eating little and often in the wild. Whether your horse is only on a forage diet  or a mixed diet, they should have access to food at least every 4 hours. Horses can develop bad habits if not fed continuously (wind sucking, crib biting etc.), and can also develop digestive problems. For grains/cereals, horses are only able to digest a maximum of 2kg per meal, therefore, it is better to fraction their feed off throughout the day.

For example, Tofino is currently on the following schedule

  • 04:30am = 1/2 kg of feed
  • 06:00am = grass paddock
  • 07:30am = 1/2 kg of feed
  • 10:30am = 1.5 kg of hay
  • 02:00pm = 1.5 kg of hay
  • 05:30pm = grass paddock
  • 08:30pm = 1/2 kg of feed
  • 10:30pm = 3kg hay (in small hole hay-net to keep through the night)

Total = 1.5 kg of feed + 6 kg of hay + grass paddock


9. Lack of Feeding Routine

A horses internal clock is what they thrive on. They are very accurate and should be kept on consistency especially with feeding schedules. Horses are more content with a regular schedule and are less likely to develop bad stall habits, e.g, kicking, pawing, chewing etc. Having a routine will also allow the horse to be more efficient with their feed.

It would be useful to place a big white board in the feed room where you can write all the horses name and the feed they get at a united time. If your barn doesn’t wish to invest in one, then perhaps get a mini sign and stick or hang it on your horses stall with the schedule (e.g, as shown in #8). This makes it easier when grooms rotate and you can also add any medication specified or supplements, etc.

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10. Overloading on Treats

Treats should only be given as rewards to your horse and not given in large sums. Always in moderation. Feed your horse treats sparingly, as they are only special when they are not available all the time, if they were available all the time, it defeats the purpose and allows your horse to “work” for it.

There are many commercial horse treat brands that are full of sugars! I would suggest looking into natural sugar free treats, or even DIY recipes that you can follow in order to make sure your horse at least gets healthy treats.

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Fruits can also be given as rewards, but be cautious of knowing what to give and what not to give. I have written a previous post on safe vs hazardous fruits and veggies which could be helpful in knowing what to feed.


11. Not Introducing / Not Changing Feed Gradually

With the very delicate digestive system horses have, quick or sudden changes in diet may cause major disturbances in the gut. This could lead to a number of different issues, from diarrhea, to colic, to toxin buildup, and so on. I do have a post already on safely Transitioning / Switching Your Horse’s Feed, which has the necessary information.

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Hope this helps! If you have any questions or clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact me 🙂