Its that time of the year when we want to find the perfect gift for everyone on our list. Barn buddies, instructors, and friends that just love horses. I think most of us are pretty busy and struggle to find quality time for all our friends and our beloved pets. Maybe “time” is the answer. How can we find a bit more time each week to share our love of horses with our friends? Or share some extra love with our horses.
Maybe the very best gift would be to give some of our time. Time to ride with a friend we have not spent time with for awhile. Time to savor a nice lunch or coffee with some horse loving friends during the cold weather when you cannot ride.
Time to do a special grooming on your own horse or better yet spend some time grooming horses at a rescue facility. However you spend your time this holiday season we hope it will bring you much peace and joy and hopefully be full of nickers, neighs and soft warm muzzles.
I often say that I am a lone wolf in a sea of estrogen. I am surrounded by the female gender everywhere I go. The barn is filled with women and mares and I’ve heard way more stories related to being of the female gender than I ever thought possible. When I open the big thick equestrian catalogs we all get every 3 months, I always look to see if there is anything more than the one single page of disappointment that is the men’s line. Low and behold the answer is always…. NO.
Now don’t get me wrong, companies have to focus on numbers. There is no argument that women make up the vast majority in the English discipline. If a company is going to survive in a niche industry like ours, they develop products for those that are going to support their company. That being said, I hate feeling forgotten about when it comes to riding clothes. I mean I am pretty sure there are more male riders than myself, Phillip Dutton, Steffen Peters, and McLain Ward.
It seems that we as “Men” are often relegated to the super cheap, ultra expensive or trying to get clothing meant for other sports to pull double duty as equestrian wear. The other option is when we do find that one piece of clothing that magically fits us on the sale rack in the forgotten corner of the tack shop; we buy it and wear it nonstop until the threads give up.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to buy clothing that costs more than my board, and I can’t stand the cheap stuff that feels like a dollar store Halloween costume. So my search ensued for equestrian clothing that was “Just For Men”, that would last more than two rides, be comfortable, and not make me pull out a small loan.
With this personal quest in mind, I set upon the interwebs with extreme prejudice, leaving no page un-scrolled, and no website unsearched, no google…… well un-goolged. In my searches, I found a great website for a retailer that had an amazing tab in their menu. RidingRight.com has a tab that is the golden gates to which I was searching for. The tab, of which I speak, was labeled “Just for Men”.
I clicked with anticipation, wondering if on the next page would be just the typical $500.00 breeches and two show shirts that I have found over and over again. As the page loaded I noticed more than one option and even a second page of to scroll though.
RidingRight.com has many brands that peaked my interest, but I’ll focus on just one for now, Goode Rider. I didn’t even know Goode Rider had a men’s line. And why am I just finding out about this now? The women of the horse world have been raving about their clothing for years, and low and behold….. Goode Rider had not left us men out in the cold.
So like anyone on a serious quest for retail therapy, I purchased three items (because I have no self control) and let the money flow right out of my bank account. Just like that I was the proud new owner of three great items that are “Just for Men”; A pair of the Goode Rider Mens Jean Rider breeches for every day riding. A pair of the Goode Rider Pro Mens Full Seat Breeches, since it’s the beginning of the show season and my current pair of show breeches are not as white as they used to be. And finally a new piece of outer wear, the Good Rider Mens Reversible Vest, since its late winter and some cold days are still with us for a while and really its two different vests in one so I’ve saved money (or at least that’s what I’m telling my wife).
My goal is to put these items to the test and then share my findings. It’s one thing for a company to make items for men, and it’s a completely different story if they stand up to the test of time, especially barn time.
Having already taken all of these items for a few spins around the arena, I can say that Goode Rider is on to something and I can’t wait to share my experiences with a more in depth report of each item from Goode Rider as well as the other brands that offer an option for Men.
The United States has worked hard to create a program geared towards Juniors and Young Riders. The international level tests for dressage riders between the ages of 14-21 years old are the FEI Junior and FEI Young Rider tests. The FEI Junior tests are third level equivalent, and the FEI Young Rider tests are Prix St. George equivalent. The Junior tests can be shown by riders between the ages of 14-18, and the Young Rider tests can be shown by riders from the ages of 16-21. There are two main championships in the U.S. that are either for or geared towards allowing Juniors and Young Riders to compete these tests and gain national and international titles.
Juniors and Young Riders have the option to qualify for the North American Junior Young Rider Championship (NAJYRC), which is an international championship for equestrian disciplines that allows riders in North America to come together and compete as part of a team and for an individual medal title. In dressage, the United States is broken up into different regions, and in order to compete at this championship, one must qualify at shows that are deemed “qualifying” by the USEF. The top four riders of each region are then chosen to represent that region and the U.S.A. at the NAJYRC. In the dressage discipline, the competition begins with the Team test as each team competes to win either the gold, silver, or bronze medals. The next day is the Individual tests, where individual riders compete for their own title and medal. On the last day, the riders who placed in the top twelve compete their freestyles, where each rider is able to coordinate their movements to music, and compete for the freestyle medal. This competition is set up to mirror the Olympics in many ways.
Another championship is the Festival of Champions, where Junior and Young Riders can also qualify for and compete solely as an individual rider. You can qualify at deemed qualifying competitions as a Junior or a Young Rider, but for this championship you only compete for an individual title. This show is also just for the United States, so the medals earned at this championship are national titles. The top twelve riders in the nation are the first invited to this competition once the qualifying season has ended.
After one has aged out of being a Junior or Young Rider, the next step is being a “U-25” rider, which is riding the FEI Grand Prix for those who are between the ages of 16-25 years old. This allows riders who are at the Grand Prix level to compete with others around their age. The national young adult “Brentina Cup”, is a national championship created to encourage Young Riders to make the transition to the senior Grand Prix ring.
The United States Dressage Federation also conducts clinics across the country by the U.S. youth coaches, George Williams and Charlotte Bredahl, in order to help reach and educate more youth across the country as well as talent search for riders who can then be further invited to educational events. The goal is to reach more youth across the nation, and allow more opportunities for private lessons and theory sessions on dressage.
All of these championships and programs were made to help encourage riders of all ages to compete, and have championships where they could compete with the best riders in their divisions. This has also helped create a path for the youth to follow and help them move through the levels of dressage and learn the beginning ropes of competing internationally. The United States has recognized the importance of teaching the correct basics of dressage to the youth in order to produce future international U.S. riders.
Visit my website for more information on competitions I have attended and my own experience at one of the USEF High Intensity training sessions I was selected to attend with the U.S. Youth coaches in my personal blog at gabrielaglumacdressage.net!
Some Useful Websites To Visit For More Information:
Would you know if someone was suffering from a concussion?
Did you know that the average amount of traumatic brain injury-related deaths in equestrian sport is more than seven times that of traumatic brain injury-related deaths in contact sports (such as American football)? That’s an average of 60 deaths in equestrian sports each year.
Much of those deaths can be due to inaccurate diagnosis of a concussion.
According to the Center for Disease Control, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, which causes the brain or head to move back and forth rapidly. When that happens, inside your head your brain will bounce or twist around, damaging the brain cells, thus creating chemical changes in the brain.
Concussions cannot be captured on any imaging because there are no abnormalities, says Dr. Lola Chambless, a neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and longtime eventing rider. “The symptoms are purely a clinical diagnosis—you will not see anything on a CT scan or MRI.
Signs and symptoms of a concussion are:
Appearing dazed or confused
Nausea or vomiting
Balance problems or dizziness
Feeling groggy or sluggish
Is It a Concussion?
Because most falls can happen when you’re not at a sanctioned equestrian event, most concussions can go undiagnosed.
“Things like that happen all the time, and most people generally are not going to seek medical attention unless they are very symptomatic,” says Dr. Chambless.
Dr. Chambless has worked with the National Football League to help come up with a concussion protocol to be used along the sidelines at the games to help diagnose players with concussions. And while the protocol’s questions are football specific, they can be modified for any sport. She strongly encourages trainers, instructors and riders to all learn to ask these questions any time a fellow rider has come off their horse.
The series of questions are fairly simple to essentially test immediate and short-term memory of the person in question. Questions may include: Where are we riding today? What color is your saddle pad? Where did you last show your horse? What’s your horse’s name? If she/he cannot answer one of these questions, it is recommended to have a physician see them to make a further diagnosis.
And it’s the aftercare for concussions that are just as important. Someone who has suffered from a previous concussion should try to avoid taking any unnecessary risks with training, but most importantly prevent secondary injury. Secondary injury is when a rider returns to the saddle before they’ve fully recovered from a concussion, putting them at a much greater risk for long term or permanent issues from a concussion.
Can a Helmet Prevent a Concussion?
While approved helmets do reduce the chance of a lethal head injury and can save your life, they do not prevent concussions.
Helmets are designed to limit the types of forces that cause skull fracture and intracranial hemorrhage, which are things that are going to kill you or leave you with neurologic problems. Unfortunately, they are not designed to affect the forces that generally we believe can cause a concussion.
“Unfortunately, there is no safety gear out there currently that really reduces your chances of concussion from a fall of 6 feet, which is basically what your assuming you’re going to fall from in most equestrian injuries,” says Dr. Chambless. “We can’t prevent people from falling off, but we can make it a lesser risk by wearing a helmet and riding in safe situations.”
Article credit given to riders4helmets. Many thanks for sharing this information!
Bus”y”ness…. do I need to say more?….. It has been said that bus”y”ness is now an epidemic. It is amazing how the “to do list” has shackled so many peoples lives. Can you hear the shouts…”I got to do this! Do not stop to you drop”! It has even become a badge of honor. Ask anyone how things are going, almost everyone says, “Busy”. Yes, we have all fallen victim to this insanity at one season or another.
Stop and smell the horses
Well, there is always therapy,…Farm Therapy. Oh Yah, those of you who are horse people get it already! There is something about being on the farm. Nature’s beauty. It just squeezes all the stress out of you like an orange in a juicer. All the waste from the day is left behind. No scented candles for me. The smell of my horse is soothing to my soul. Most people don’t get it; they just smell manure, or see mud puddles and messes. What we see and smell is so different. We see life, we smell sweat of hard work, and we feel unconditional love that is priceless!
As I pick up the curry brush and start the circular motions to cleanse away all the grim and dirt from my horse, I notice that my “to do list” and worries seem to cleanse away as well. Ok let’s admit it. Life is not perfect and neither is my horse. When I get to the mane and tail, it never fails knots! Yes, always, knots! Some big, some little, some knots with a sticker bush connected. Don’t you love those? So I have to slow down, work through each knot, (maybe cut out a few… don’t tell my horse). How true this is for life! Yes, there will be knots in life. The small ones, the big ones, and even the ones we have to cut out of our life! But one thing I have noticed over the years of combing my horse’s tail is, slowing down, working through each knot with patients, the knot will eventually untangle. One knot at a time. Yes! Farm Therapy for me Please!
Ok, it is now April! Wow, how did that happen so fast? Does anyone else feel like they just celebrated New Years? No more breaking the ice in the water trough, walking through snow drifts to convince my horse it is time to come in. Like it or not spring is here. I don’t know about you but I look forward to not having to put on my 20 layers under my snowsuit just so I can have as much time as possible with my horse. I have to imagine that my horse feels the same way. Ready to get rid of the winter blanket and move on to the lighter spring blanket!
There are a lot of spring blankets on the market, but one of the best blankets you can get for your horse is the Bucas Sun Shower. It was designed with the most up-to-date technology
for the modern horse. Lets admit it, our horses are not shaped as a rectangle with 90 degree angles…… Our horses are modern, stylish companions that have beautiful curves that need to be treated with love and respect. The Bucas Sun Shower blanket honors all the modern horse curves with its shoulder darts to ensure an excellent fit without rubbing. I know that I hate it when my clothes are not fitting comfortable, so why would I want anything less for my pride and joy!
One aspect of that makes this blanket such a gem, is the mesh lining. This is perfect for the unpredictable spring days when the temperature rises higher and lower than expected. I don’t have to worry about my horse getting too hot the mesh lining lets the air circulate underneath the blanket so that I know that my horse is not sweating. Lets save all the sweating for the true workouts and out on the trails! No worries of the bacterial skin disease rain rot. Between daily grooming and an excellent blanket, we can say, “Bring on Spring!” It is great to know that there is a blanket that allows my horse to feel comfortable and enjoy life to the fullest!