MASAR – British Racing School

After seeing how interested you guys are reading journal updates on my MASAR journey (thank you <3), here is entry number 2.

This will be based on our time at the British Racing School  (BRS) where we spent a good 5 weeks there learning about SO MANY THINGS!

The BRS’s mission is:

As a Centre of Excellence for training in the horseracing world, we aim to provide a range of training of the highest standard to meet the needs of the racing industry, and to meet the needs of our learners.


We had two wonderful instructors, names AGGIE and RAY who took us through not only riding lessons, but also academic lectures, and processes of the racing industry.

 


We started off on the simulators to learn and get a feel for the post position and learning how to stop. Riding race horses is extremely different than riding jumpers! In order to hold the post position throughout the whole ride, you really need to be physically fit. Therefore, the BRS organized a whole fitness program for us to enhance our strength and endurance.


Since my accident, I barely rode another horse other than Tofino and Alinn, so getting on a race horse made me rather anxious. I was lucky enough to get an amazing ex race horse called GEE MAJOR who was the sweetest and looked after me very well ❤ I did have to ride multiple other horses after him, but he initially gave me the confidence boost I needed and I am forever thankful.


After riding in the indoor, we managed to get into the outdoor ring which was bigger, allowing us to go faster, encouraging us to use the techniques we used in controlling the pace. Deviation was one of the horses I rode who is a big gentle giant that is a lazy bum, but always makes you feel safe.  I loved him too!


We were assigned a horse each which we had to look after for the 5 week period. I got a thoroughbred pony named THERE SHE GOES who is so cute!, sassy, naughty, and super sweet when she wants to be especially when you have food :p


We had to clean our their boxes, monitor our horses Temperature, Pulse, Respiratory (TPR), their behaviour, their feed intake, pedigree, special tack they use, research their history in racing, their health and basically become best friends! This part was a great experience, getting to know the horses characteristics and how unique each one is. So meet THERE SHE GOES:


Our horses were not the only ones we had to take care of. Yard management is a big task, and thus, we were also assigned other horses and boxes to clean out and look after, making sure they have clean water and bedding. Let me tell you, it really is a workout! But also soothing especially when you blast your music up as you’re mucking out 😀


Within this time, we also had multiple lectures on different topics. These included paddock care and management where we had to identify different types of poisonous and non poisonous plants, taking care of horses in the field, equine anatomy, motions of a race horse, equine dentistry, pedigree, breeding, nutrition etc,

   


We also got to dissect a horse leg which was so amazing to see how strong, yet fragile these amazing beasts are! Getting to see how they move and work from the inside really allows you to understand not only the anatomy, but also the functionality of a horses leg. They literally do not have any muscles under the knee, and rely on the frog in the hoof to pump circulation back up the leg. Amazing huh?

  


Long reining, which is a technique used for younger horses in the “breaking in” process,  helps to get them used to commands, moving forward, back, left, right. This was the first time I had ever tried it and it looks easy, as this horse in the video is older and experienced. But imagine doing it on a young horse who would spook from everything >_<


Presenting your horse for racing is big part of a barns reputation. We had a Best Turn Out competition where we were separated into three groups of 3. My team and I selected our horse carefully (KINGS-GATE NATIVE), checking for a good baseline coat, good movement and confirmation. We then had to get working on cleaning his tack, grooming him, plaiting his mane, cleaning his nose, ears, tail, hooves and shining them, and applying his turn out gear.

And guess what? My team won :p all thanks to great teamwork that we were able to communicate well to each other and assign tasks according to our strengths.


Attending Tattersalls and understanding the process of selling a racehorse works was very interesting and surprising I must admit. Firstly, the venue is historic, which was within itself beautiful to see. Secondly, it was fascinating to see how bidders bid on a horse and what they look for: pedigree, conformation, character, gate, etc.

We also attended The Craven Meeting with our trainers and learnt how to read the racing cards here in the UK as they are different from back home. It was super exciting when the first race was a win for Godolphin with AURUM.

  


Although it was hard work, we always spent our break times either laying on the grass, or with the horses. It was truly therapeutic ❤

    


All the while, Tofino has been out in the field enjoying the mud 😀


It has been such an amazing adventure, I can never stop saying that! We finished from the BRS temporarily and head back there mid year in order to do our level exams.

In the mean time, we have other exciting things scheduled in so stay tuned to get the updates ❤

MASAR Entry 1

The results of my Instagram poll showed that you guys are interested in following my journey through the MASAR by Godolphin program.

Firstly, MASAR is a program established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It is a 10 month program concentrated on the Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding Industry in Dubai, UK, and Ireland, in order to create influential leaders in the UAE.

This is delivered through different modes of education, from academic classroom lectures, to experiential training, shadowing, and work experience.


The recruitment process was rather stressful, as it is a process of elimination. It starts off with an online application which includes an essay, then an online interview, an assessment day, which consists of team exercise, test, presentation and a one on one interview.

Once we were chosen, we had some time to get to know one another, jumping straight into team building exercises and positive dynamics. After a tour of Godolphin stables and getting to know the team, we started attending the races at Meydan Racecourse, where we were all assigned horses to report and officially introduced to the media as the MASAR 2018 batch.


Aside from our weekly races, we attended academic lectures on Equine behaviour and nutrition in order to get a slight understanding of horses before heading to the UK. Research topics were established for us in order to prepare different papers and presentations on a variety of topics related to the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. These research papers are consistent throughout the 10 months in order to further enhance not only our academic writing skills, but also our knowledge on the topics, and our presentation skills.


We also went through a rigorous fitness test which put a benchmark on each of our fitness levels as riding is very a strenuous sport. This also means that our diets had to be adjusted in order to get the best out of our bodies and keep them healthy and fit.

A riding assessment held by the British Racing School was done in Dubai, in order to see where our levels lie as riding thoroughbreds is part of the program.


With the endless support of our great mentor and manager Ali Al Ali, we have made it through the first two months and are currently freezing in the UK 😜 , just ending a month now here, and will update you soon on what we have done so far 😉

As hard as it was to say goodbye to Tofino, it has truly been a great honor and an amazing experience so far, and I cannot wait to continue to grasp what is yet to come ❤

Thank you #teamgodolphin

GIVEAWAY ft @alya_meshar_almheiri + @equestriansolutions

Hi guys!

So decided to do a giveaway in honour of Tofino’s happy retirement, featuring @alya_meshar_almheiri and @equestriansolutions

RULES❗

1️⃣ follows all 3 accounts: @TofinoTack + @alya_meshar_almheiri + @equestriansolutions

2️⃣ Tag 3 people

3️⃣ Repost this photo on your account

4️⃣ Use #TAEgiveaway

🔒 ends 16 March 2018.

🔓 open only to UAE residents sorry 🙈

❗big thanks again to the giveaway sponsor @equestriansolutions

Good luck 😄

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

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.