In January 2020 we looked forward to spring here in
Maryland. After a milder than usual
winter we thought we had skated thru the worst months as the temps moderated and
the spring birds arrived early.
Then Covid19. In what
seems like a flash our horse world stood still. I am blessed my horses live at
home but many were faced with boarding barns closing and not being able to
visit their horses.
Of course, these are first world problems and many have
faced huge sacrifices across the globe. But
for the horse person it really has an extra sting as our beloved steeds provide
more that riding for us. They are our therapists
Our state is beginning to relax things this week and hopefully open up in phases over the rest of this month. Although Riding Right has remained open since we ship online and our sister company Emge Equine Services supplies many barn builders with stall systems and rubber flooring there has been some extra time.
My barn is a bit cleaner, same can be said for my
tack. My horses are all staying pretty
fit but my legs may fall off soon LOL. Really
looking forward to my friends that help me with keeping my horses fit to feel comfortable
enough to come ride!
We hope you have all stayed well and look forward to
whatever this show season will become.
Winter will be back and you need to decide if you should blanket your horse. Many things influence this decision. Does your horse have a shelter from the weather when outside? Is your horse barn kept part of the day or night? Do you clip your horse in the winter for faster drying after showing or training?
Most horses can tolerate moderate winter temperatures without a blanket if not clipped, in good health and have a shelter. My horses fit all those things but I just feel better if they have at least a light blanket during the colder months. Here in Maryland our temps can turn on a dime and my horses are older. I find a light blanket works for most of the winter and I think it helps them save a few calories that would be spent keeping warm. I also have a heavier blanket I can use if we get some unusually cold days, but you can also layer with something under the light weight blanket in an emergency.
My horses love to be out as much as possible and I believe it is better for them to be outside and moving around then standing in a 12×12 stall when its cold.
Feed and nutrition are also important because a horse generates body heat through digestion. Most importantly provide good forage, usually hay. As your horse digests hay gut activity warms the body.
Another overlooked issue for winter is water. Horses are mostly eating dry forage and feed over the winter months, please be sure they have access to good clean water 24/7.
Please be sure dental care is up to date as they will be eating dry hay instead of fresh grass all winter.
If you are not sure what types of blankets are best for your horse and climate where you live I invite you to give us a call. We are horse people too and have decades of knowledge to help you make the best decision.
You’ve seen those commercials talking about replacing your mattress after every eight years—after all, that’s a lot of dead skin cells, dirt, dust mites, etc., that gathers every night. And when it comes to your favorite pair of riding pants, you don’t think twice about replacing them when they’re starting to be worn thin, or maybe showing a little too much wear and tear. But do you even think about how old your helmet is?
Go ahead, take a moment from reading this to find your helmet and look at the tags inside. We’ll wait…
Did you see the date? Or is it so faded you can’t tell if that’s a three or an eight? Can you even remember when you purchased it? It might just be time to buy a new helmet.
As we prepare to celebrate the eighth annual Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day, we want to applaud everyone who don’t think twice about putting on a helmet before swinging their leg over a horse. They are the ones that know that wearing a helmet can help reduce the chance of a lethal head injury.
But if you’ve worn helmets most of your life, you might be the type to just pick up the same velveteen-covered helmet that has gotten through your junior rider years and onto your adult classes because…well, it’s “broken in” and more comfortable. But wearing a helmet that’s passed its limit of effectiveness might not fully protect you in the way an updated helmet can.
Did you know that helmet manufacturers generally recommend that you replace your helmet every four to five years (this cam be sooner depending on level of use)? Think about all the time you spend in the saddle—the liters of sweat, the coats of dust, and drenching from the rains all take a toll on your helmet and causes the Styrofoam inside to break down, reducing its effectiveness at protection.
If you’ve had an accident while wearing your helmet, no matter how minor it was (i.e., your head just barely hit the ground), that can reduce the effectiveness of the helmet’s protection. Damage to the helmet might not be visible to the naked eye, so you can’t assume there is no issue after a fall. Of course, any catastrophic incident can render a helmet useless and cause for an immediate replacement.
And when you do go to purchase a new helmet, take precautions when it comes to proper fit and ensuring the date of manufacture. When trying on helmets, be sure to wear your hair the way you would any time you ride—if you prefer a bun, wear a bun, if you prefer a ponytail, wear your hair in a ponytail—then go shop.
Also, check the manufacture date on the inside of the helmet, no matter if you’re purchasing new or used. Take caution when considering purchasing a used helmet, since the helmet may have sustained damage from a previous incident that you can’t see.
Don’t think that only children or novice riders should be the ones to wear an approved helmet—there has been no statistical correlation between skill level and the likelihood of an injury when it comes to equestrian sport. You can even have a catastrophic injury from falling off a horse that’s standing still.
If you like to think with your head, take a moment to consider your head first and wearing proper protection.
WHY A RIDING HELMET IS BETTER THAN A BICYCLE HELMET FOR HORSEBACK RIDING!
The ASTM committee members work hard to develop standards that provide protection for specific sports use. The equestrian helmet committee includes equestrian professionals, end users, manufacturers and test lab personnel. The equestrian helmet standard is developed specifically for horse riding events and the testing is specific for hazards that may be encountered during horse riding. Of course, no helmet can protect against every possible hazard that may be encountered.
The main differences are the helmet head coverage and the type of test anvils. Based on the test line in ASTM F1163, equestrian helmets need to provide more head coverage, especially in the back of the head. Bicycle helmets are mainly designed to provide protection during a forward moving event, so there is more protection for the front and side of the head. Equestrian helmets provide the same forward and side protection but also lower protection to the rear of the head for a rear fall, which is likely during a horse riding event. The equestrian helmet standard includes a hazard anvil test, which would simulate a horse’s hoof or a sharp rock. The hazard anvil is very sharp, and is the reason most equestrian helmets have a harder outer shell as opposed to the micro shell on most bicycle helmets. Most bicycle helmets may not survive a horse’s kick, but may break apart.
Safety Equipment Institute
An Affiliate of ASTM INTERNATIONAL
The weather here in the Mid Atlantic has offered us mood swings since early February. Weeks on end of wild temperature swings. Here we are in early April and we are seeing 3 chances of frozen mix interspersed with days of over 60 degrees. This is a very challenging time for blanketing our horses. Did I mention mud? Plenty of that here too. A good way to transition your horses in this weather is by using a Bucas Sunshower Sheet. This light weight sheet offers protection from the chilly rains and mud. Too much mud or rain can lead to serious skin issues.
Spring training for you and your horse
Did you have a place to ride all winter and keep you and your horse fit? Many of us do not have that opportunity. As the warm spring days do arrive we need to be sure to gradually work up to our in season fitness level. Lay out a good fitness schedule for both horse and rider over at least a 30 to 45 day time frame. This is a good time to review your horses feeding program with grass coming back in the picture. If you are feeling a little sluggish coming out of winter you may want to find a good nutritionist to consult about your diet and supplement program as well.
Mud Mud and more Mud
Our sister company Emge Equine Services can help you with those high traffic areas that become mud pits. Check out some of their erosion control products like this Earthhorse Grid below.
With a little patience i think we will soon enjoy some wonderful riding temps and weather..just in time for fly season LOL.
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!