Riding Gymnastics Exercises

Gymnastics in riding is very helpful when it comes to jumping your horse. It not only helps develop your horses muscles, but also help the rider to better understand and play around with striding.

Benefits of Gymnastics Exercises:

  • Develops confidence in both horse and rider
  • Gain better balance
  • Learning to stay on a consistent rhythm
  • Corrects drifting/improves straightness
  • Helps in understanding/controlling striding
  • Helps in developing¬†equitation

Generally, there are 3 phases, which include trot poles, cross pole, vertical and an oxer. This gives you a variety to work with and better understand the feel over the jumps.

You mostly start with trotting over the trot poles, however, there are some who prefer to just canter straight towards the cross pole. It depends on your riding and training.

Here is a video that helps to explain the 3 parts:

I personally need to work on this a lot! It is a good exercise to do at least once a week, even if it is only poles on the ground.

Hope this helps ūüôā

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.

img_7017  img_7019


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.

img_7020  img_7021


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:
‚Äʬ†¬†Easy to put on/off and move with

‚Äʬ†¬†Great adjustability

‚ÄĘ ¬†Easy to wash

‚ÄĘ ¬†Lightweight

‚ÄĘ ¬†¬†Bulky

‚ÄĘ ¬†Currently out of date with standards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.

Q & A replies

Hello lovely people!
So a few of you managed to send through some questions which I greatly appreciate  As promised here are my answers:

How old is Tofino? 16. Born 2000

How long have you had your horse? Since 2011

Did you have experience with horses before getting Tofino?¬†Yes and no. I had a few lessons at riding schools but it is completely different owning a horse, than just going for lessons. I would suggest leasing first or making sure you have someone with you who knows what they’re doing. I was lucky to have @popthepony by my side .

What got you into horses?¬†I’m not so sure, once I hopped on, I couldn’t see it any other way. And I love the fact ¬†that there is no age limit, there is no gender¬†separation¬†when it comes to competing too. It is more than just a sport, it is a relationship with your horse ‚̧

Why did you chose to continue after your accident?¬†It’s a passion, and if you’re passionate about something, you don’t allow any obstacles to get in your way.

Would you buy another horse? Not yet. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to overcome with regards to my injury. Perhaps in the future, but I would rather ride for someone to be honest.

Why did you start your website? I wanted to share the information and knowledge I have within the equestrian world, and include reviews on different products to be able to help riders out there to invest on items that are worth it as everything is so expensive when it comes to horses >_<

Do you do any other form of exercise outside or riding? Yes, I try to workout at least 3x a week, be it power walking, or strengthening exercises such as push ups, pull ups, lunges, squats etc. This helps keep myself balanced.

Do you consider riding cruel?¬†Yes, and no. I am against many many things in the equestrian world that’s for sure, but it all depends on the rider, how they treat their horses and listen¬†to them.

What are your goals for this season?¬†Honestly, just to try our best at shows every now and then and have fun doing so. Although I cam very competitive with myself, I don’t want to push Tofino unless I¬†completely¬†feel like he’s up for it, especially with him losing his vision we have to take it slow.

Favourite brand? This is a tough one!
Clothing: I love Cavalleria Toscana and Kingsland Equestrian as they have classic designs. I also like Equine couture as they are cheaper, and mimic other brands and are innovative with their breeches.
Tack: Prestige Italia
Horse items: Veredus

Favourite equipment?¬†I’m a little obsessed with Saddles ūüėõ

Favourite discipline? I personally love jumping and dressage, but I also love watching western riding.

Favourite Show jumper/idol? Also tough! I love how Michel Robert really tries to educate and teach, I love Marcus Ehning’s riding, he’s so gentle; and ¬†I love¬†Luca Moneta’s relationship with his horses.

Favourite riding breeches? Kingsland Equestrian.

What boot would you recommend for barn chores? Ariat Barnyard belle h2o boots. I wrote a review on them and I love how durable and tough they are.

Would you ever sell Tofino? NO! He’s my baby boy worth more than a million dollars.

dsc_0040pc:@popthepony

If you have any more questions I would be happy to add them to the post ūüôā

 

Surviving the Summer Heat

Summer in the middle east is completely different than that of the rest of the world. It is not only hot, but humidity levels are insanely high, making it difficult to continue regular riding sessions.

I have a few tips below to help get though the summer, along with some signs you should watch out for with regards to heatstroke:

1. Water 24/7: Access to clean cool water for your horse is so important in order to avoid dehydration.
horse_drinking_water


2. Fan/AC: Keep the air moving round by placing a fan or having your stable Air Conditioned to avoid overheating.
Hi Hopes Farm in Weddington, North Carolina uses 3 different Big Ass Fan models for specific purposes throughout their successful horse farm.


3. Choose cooler turn out/ riding times: Make sure you check the weather forecast on a daily basis to insure temperature and humidity levels.


4. Electrolytes: You can use a lick, powder or liquid salt form. If your horse is sweating too much, you can place some electrolytes in their water. (importance of salt in your horses diet).
supplement-in-container


5. Clipping: Even though the coat tends to adjust to the seasons, it would be cooler to clip your horse short (clipping machine review).1845-ecw_v01


6. Sunscreen: For those who have horses with pink skin, make sure you apply sun screen lotion or spray on those areas in order to avoid a sunburn.
sunscreen


7. Less work: Your horse won’t be able to continue regular exercise in the heat so make sure you lower your workload and extend the after riding cool down time.


8. Reduce feed: Due to less exercise, it is best to reduce your horses feed to avoid weight gaining and overheating.

Tofino is sponsored by Reverdy feed from Cavalos UAE ‚̧


9. Hose down: Run water over the horse’s chest, the jugular grooves of his neck, and the lower legs. These areas have many superficial blood vessels that can be rapidly cooled by the water and will carry the cooled blood to the interior of the horse.


10. Go for a swim: Take your horse to the beach or lake, but again, make sure you check the weather forecast to insure humidity levels and wind.IMG_9474  IMG_9715

 ft. @Eddiesgun91


Some horses take a while to adjust to the summer heat and therefore, it is crucial to know your horse and the signs of heatstroke.

When your horse can’t handle exposure to heat, their body starts to sweat,¬†their breathing becomes heavy, and their pulse increases. This can happen at while riding, turn out, stall rest, or even in a trailer too.

SYMPTOMS OF HEATSTROKE:

  • An elevated heart rate that does not return to normal in a reasonable period of time;
  • Excessive sweating or lack of sweating;
  • Temperature that persists above 39¬įC / 103¬įF;
  • Depression and/or lethargy; and
  • Signs of dehydration: dry mucous membranes, poor capillary refill, and poor skin turgor.

Knowing the horses vital signs range: Adult Horse (resting values):

  • Temperature: 37.2-38.3¬įC¬†¬†(99-101¬įF)
  • Pulse: 28-42 beats per minute
  • Respiration (breathing rate): 8-16¬†breaths per minute
  • Mucous membranes (gums): Moist, healthy pink colour

Hope this helps ūüėÄ

Tekna Ergonomic Girth [REVIEW]

After selling my Prestige a10 Girth due to it being big on Tofino, I managed to get my hands on the Tekna Ergonomic Girth which was meant to be a quick temporary solution, but I ended up loving it!

The Tekna ergonomic girth is a leather look girth made from a superb synthetic material for ease of care. This Tekna girth is anatomically shaped with elastic at both ends for even tension, with straps for draw reins or a martingale or other aid. The underside of this synthetic tekna girth is waffle for increased comfort and airflow. Roller buckles make it easy to fasten. Tekna leatherwork is made with the design and attention to detail you would expect from top quality leather tack, but with the convenience and lower price of modern synthetic materials. Easy to care for, tekna synthetic tack just wipes clean!

Tekna Ergonomic Girth features:
  • Shaped girth with elastic on both ends
  • made of QUIK-CLEAN material
  • stainless steel roller buckles provide more security and ease of use
  • The look of leather, the convenience of synthetic

I have been using this girth for about 8 months now and I am absolutely loving it, especially that it is on the cheaper side (approx 275 AED/ 75$US). It is wide (evens pressure), padded, and has a classic look. The girth however does not have side D rings for those using additional aids.


The inside is a breathable waffle design with great padding. It does get hair stuck on the edges, but it is somewhat easy to clean (I use a pin). Due to its synthetic materials, it is easy to wipe down with water after riding to avoid any sweat or dirt building up.

Tofino sweats a lot and generally gets girth stain after riding but I find that he doesn’t get them as intensely anymore, and I guess it’s due to the air flow.

IMG_9555  IMG_9556


The elastics do stretch a bit which is great for when your horse is in motion as it doesn’t restrain. The stretchy part did start to pill though, only on one side. It is only aesthetic and hasn’t disrupted the functionality of the girth.

The buckles are roller buckles, therefore, making it so much easier to tighten the girth. They haven’t shown any sign of rust thus far.


The stitching is very well intact and the quality is honestly surprising, again for the price. There is a small D ring and a buckle for any additional attachments. I personally only use the buckle for my Passier Breastplate. Personally, I prefer carabiner hooks rather than buckles as they are much quicker and safer, however, this does the  job just fine.

IMG_9553  


It matches my tack nicely which is always a bonus ūüėČ

IMG_7148  DSC_0455Photo by Axelle Talma (@popthepony)


Pros: Cons:
‚Äʬ†¬†Great quality¬†

‚Äʬ†¬†Ergonomic¬†+ Wide

‚ÄĘ ¬†Affordable

‚ÄĘ ¬†Durable

‚Äʬ†Breathable

‚Äʬ†Easy to clean

‚Äʬ†Two attachments

‚ÄĘ Roller buckles

‚ÄĘ Padded

‚ÄĘ ¬†¬†No side D rings

‚ÄĘ ¬†¬†Buckle closure rather than carabiner

‚ÄĘ ¬†Pilling stretch material

Verdict: I would hands down recommend this girth! I did not expect it to last this long whatsoever, yet here we are, still in tact, still tough, and does the job perfectly well. I am really glad I came across Tekna.

5 Ways to Engage Your Horse’s Hind

One of the important muscles that a horse needs for a healthy body is strong hind quarters as they act as a “spring box”.

The first factor to consider before trying to develop your horse’s body is to make sure they are receiving a proper diet with enough nutrients to help develop and maintain muscle tone. Tofino is luckily sponsored by Cavalos Equine Care & Supplies for Reverdy Feed which has been working amazingly for him thankfully ‚̧

Here are some 4 tips to help engage your horse’s hind:

blog-11-1

  1. Hill work: As mentioned above, this is the easiest way to help your horse gain hind strength. Going up and down hill in walk and trot is enough without having to canter (safer not to).
  2. Transitions: Try transitioning often and smoothly while being active. This helps the horse control and balance their body.
  3. Cavaletti/Ground poles: Raised poles or even ground poles not only help to better balance your horse but also allows them to strengthen their body by lifting up and down. Concentrate on the action rather than the height, making sure your horse pick themselves up.
  4. Rein Back: Try going back in small steps between exercises, and even up a hill to help engage the hind. Make sure your horse properly reins back without dropping their back so they use themselves correctly.
  5. Stretch: Movements that help to lengthen the back limbs help create the subtleness to work well, balance, and develop strong muscles.

IMG_6746Hope this helps ūüôā

Essentials to Keeping Your Horse Barefoot

Tofino transitioned to going barefoot about 5 years ago due to the fact that his hooves were too short. My farrier suggested removing his shoes and letting his hooves grow out. This did take time¬†and proper care but we managed to get them to a good state to the point where my farrier said he actually doesn’t need to be shod again.

Note: Some horses medically need to be shod and is not safe for them to go barefoot. Check with your Vet & Farrier beforehand.

1. Diet

I was recommended by the farrier to put Tofino on Farriers Formula (double strength) which is a supplement you add to the feed in order to get the right nutrients for hoof strength and growth.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.32.09 PM

Once we started using Reverdy Feed (Adult Specific), I stopped using the above supplement as the feed covers a lot of nutrients that are enough to maintain not only his hooves but his full body which makes it a lot easier as I do not need any additional supplements. The general rule for the barefoot diet is low sugar, high fibre and forage.

sac_adult_specific_energyadult_specific_energy


2. Trim & Maintenance

As hooves got stronger and bigger, I decided to keep them as is and just trim them every 6weeks as the hooves are naturally shock absorb and flex with your horses movement.

Every horse needs to be trimmed a specific way depending on how they move and and naturally shaped. Tofino gets a regular “Mustang roll” but he also used to get a “white line trim” as he had white line.

6196207

 


3. Desensitize

Always expose your horse to new grounds whether it be gravel, asphalt, sand, rubber etc. This helps the hooves to “desensitize” and get used to multiple surfaces. That being said, if you are still at the beginning stages, I would avoid gravel and allow your horse to wear a hoof boot if you need to cross in order to prevent excessive breakage and cracking.
IMG_2436


4. Exercise

The more your horse moves around, the better blood flow there is to the hoof and the body. This enhances growth and healing. Turning out your horse as much as possible would help not only for movement but also exposure to surfaces.

DSC_0474
(photo by Axelle Talma/@popthepony)


5. Protection

Wet hooves = brittle hooves = prone to fungal infections.¬†It is best to avoid turning out your horse when it’s wet and muddy, but if need be, then look for a water repellent.

There are a number of hoof protectors out there that repel water, but I personally use Plus Vital which not only is a water repellent naturally, but also helps the hooves grow strong and I have noticed a major difference while using it.

  plus vital

If your horses hooves are very brittle I would suggest you try Keratex Hoof Hardener which also really helped the transition.

KHH-250-Web-240-H

Hope this helps ūüôā
Is your horse shod or barefoot?