Friday, January 29, 2016

Black is Beautiful

I've been traipsing online tack stores looking for show shirts (can't tell you why, it's a surprise, not a big one, but it's a surprise). In those adventures, I have come across a number of black show shirts, mainly from European shops. In my time on the American hunter/jumper scene, I haven't witness a single person wear a black show shirt. I haven't seen it in pictures, either. I don't think I've ever seen a black show shirt in any English discipline for that matter. Tradition has made the color a major taboo.

But like . . . guys . . . look.

RJ Classics Sterling Show Shirt
You can't tell me for one second that white show shirts aren't the most inconvenient part of the horse show ensemble. And yes, you can also wear blue, purple, pink, and even orange, but white is the easily the most popular. I simply wanna know why we're torturing ourselves. There are some nice black show shirts out there.

In last year's post for Valentine Equine, I neglected to include a picture of their black show shirt, and I am so sorry because it's flawless. Since then, they have introduced a new show shirt, which comes in black as well as gold, blue, chocolate, gray, lilac, moss (no but it actually looks like moss), and pink.

Valentine Equine Mechaela Shirt
RJ Classics has three different black shirts, and this one is seriously tempting me. There are purses on the inside, purses.

RJ Classics Prestige Show Shirt
And some with contrast, too, which I'm not crazy about, but they're still elegant and stylish.

Harry's Horse Bright Shirt
Gloockler Golden Crown Show Shirt
There's always the question of how the heck to style these things, but considering the fact that there's a tag on this blog called "Fashion Thursday", please do not doubt me.

Black Is Beautiful

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fashion Thursday: Trainer's Favorite Pants

Trainer's Favorite Pants

1. Hanna Anderson Cableknit Sweater
    no longer available
2. Larsson Jennings Läder Watch
3. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Baby Pad
4. Newmarket Belle Breeches Ladies
5. Tekna CLUB Saddle
6. De Niro Ottaviano croco met veter Koole Ruitersport
7. Mattes Correction Half Pad

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Responsibilities? Ew

Today was the first day of class and also the first meeting of the semester for the eq team. As a new officer, I and three others had to do officer training for the university, then officer "debriefing" with the team president and vice president, then the actual interest meeting for the semester. Literally, holy shit, there is a lot to know. I think I'll maybe understand all of it by the time I graduate.

We did anonymous surveys last semester to evaluate how lessons are going, and I'm happy to say that they're using my idea to have a lesson plan. Score.

We have quite a few ideas down for fundraising and social events. A lot more people are on board with having team work outs, which I was surprised about. We've picked out a bunch of events that the team can go to. Right now it's just a matter of finding out who's interested and what not.  There are also a couple new members, one of whom is black and named Taylor. What are the odds???

Kal and Dia are still the same lovable, large adult children as they usually are. The younger adult child got me a beautiful scarf, and is a complete angel, and is totally the favorite. The older adult child caused me to break a nail, but that's fine. I'm not mad.

I'm mad and you're a poop face

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


How much, you ask? Well enough that move-in was pushed back by two days. Shout out to everyone in this area who is still digging out. On the brightside, I did get to stay home for my dog's birthday yesterday.

nyoom . . .
She likes snow. I'm disgusted.

First day of classes is tomorrow, then I have three back to back meetings for the eq team. Becoming an officer was totally worth it. Stay tuned for updates.

I'm still mad

Friday, January 22, 2016

A long awaited innovation

A number of equestrian items have seen significant changes due to advances in science and technology. Bridles are becoming more ergonomic, we have memory foam everything, there are girths to promote freedom of movement in the shoulder and therapeutic saddle pads, blankets, and boots.

But it seems one of the most important parts of the equation, the saddle, has seen little advancement. That's something that I've personally noticed, so this video came as quite a surprise.

Bua Saddles have come out with a custom saddle that changes the equipment from the base up. I like the design and the ideas behind it, but of course I have my concerns:
  1. As a hunter/eq rider, this saddle does not fit the aesthetic of the show ring. I'd like to see the saddle in a more traditional look with the same benefits, if that's possible.
  2. Others have brought up that the springy tree might affect how you communicate with your horse through your seat. Personally, the people riding in the video seem 100% there with their horse, but this is advertising. I'd be willing to test this out.
  3. I don't buy that it fits every horse.
That being said, I saw this video a while ago, and this post has actually been sitting in my drafts for quite some time. I felt the need to bring it back up because, believe it or not, a new, technologically advanced saddle has come on the market.

Photo from Horse Collaborative

The high end sellier Voltaire has introduced a "smart saddle" as Horse Collaborative. The saddle's flexible tree was studied by UC Davis, where they found that the saddle actually had neurological benefits to the horse. Along with that therapeutic tree, "[The saddle] can tell you for how long you rode your horse, how much time you spent walking, trotting, cantering. It can tell you the length of your horse’s stride and the course you jumped. If your horse goes more to the left or right, it will track that. It can tell you the speed you went and after you ride the same horse five times, it will recognize your horse immediately" (Horse Collaborative, World's First Smart Saddle).

Personally, I was impressed by CWD's flexible panels that allow more freedom of movement. Both of these saddles appear to be major steps forward in creating better athletes, two legged and four legged alike. All I can do now is think of even more ways to improve upon the traditional saddle design.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fashion Thursday: ROOTD 12/18/15

So, that cute outfit I talked about two days ago? This is it. It looked nice with those boots. Unfortunately, I couldn't find cow socks that look like the ones I have.

ROOTD: 12/18/15

1. WearAll Jessie Long Sleeve Jersey
2. Joules Lightweight Vest
    no longer available
3. Equestrian boots
4. She's A Lucky Gallop Scarf
    no longer available
5. Tory Burch Metallic Reversible Logo Belt
6. Ovation Sync Helmet
7. Annie;s Equestrienne Tiff-Annie Blue Breeches

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Stuff!

And not pay a dime. Thank you Equestrian Trend for having an AWESOME giveaway this past holiday season. My Jade Blouse from Bellator Equestrian Style came in yesterday, and wow. I'm stunned. Honestly, the stitching alone is something to gawk over. It's flipping gorgeous.

Ignore my grandma bed sheets

First of all, A++ on the packaging. Presentation is key.

Look at that pattern. It just sparkles so easily. It goes right around the neckline. The fabric all over is so soft and smooth. It's close to your typical show shirt material, but it's thinner, silkier, and more stretchy. Quite nice to the touch.

The top button is this adorable firefly, which I'm hoping will be subtle enough for equitation, but if it isn't, I'll use it for Dressage.

The other thing is the Mondoni Kendal Boots that I received for my birthday . . . nearly two months ago. Hehe, yeah I kept telling myself to get a picture of those before I used them, but then I had a really cute outfit in mind to wear them with, and honestly it was a pretty nice lesson on Abbey, so totally worth it. You'll have to suffice with the retail pic.

I hope to do a big review of various show shirts, so let's see if I can win more free stuff!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

sn-You've Got To Be Kidding Me-ow

You wanna know how to deal with Eastern Shore weather?

    1) Check the weather
    2) Dress for the exact opposite

I took a photographic journey today to get some shots of Lex and Jet. I knew I was gonna be outside, so of course I checked the weather a day early. There was a 50% chance of snow in the AFTERNOON, but lo and behold, I woke up to my mom asking my dog if she was ready to go play in the snow. I gave up WEF this year because I had to do driving school, but whatever, I'm not mad.

I'm mad
There was maybe a quarter of an inch on the ground by the time Lex picked me up, and it didn't get any lighter until well after I got home. Still fun though. I've never actually photographed while it's snowing, only with snow as a backdrop. 'Twas a challenge.

In less aesthetically pleasing news, I am continuing to enter writing contests in the hopes that I'll win something good to help pay for horse shows. As of now, I'm aiming to do three shows next year. I just gotta figure out which three, and, if the funds are there, I might splurge. That being said, I'm somewhat rushing to turn out good short stories that are under 8k words, and this is surprisingly challenging. To make up for the lack of literary quality, I'm being more creative than usual. I hope the judges like killer clouds.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Flash Back Friday: The "Show Season"

So far, I've had two "show seasons" where the goal was to do a lot, but then that just didn't happen. The first was the same year that I started this blog. I had planned to do another full summer on my local circuit, but I think that was the year Miss S's daughter got married or something like that. Whatever happened, she was out of  town during most of the shows, so I only went to two rated shows and one schooling show.

It was a solid year. That was the summer I switched off of Duke, did my first course at a show, last year of long stirrup, and (point wise) got champion at that one schooling show . . . but they weren't giving out champion/reserve ribbons for each division.

Blame Dinkleberg for all your problems

Anyway, so why am I talking about this? Well, I found some new pictures from this show.

I used to think this was the epitome of high fashion: graphic tees & skinny jeans. Also, those are rain boots. For a while I refused to get real riding boots because they're $$$ and those were $50 off of Zappos. Don't even get me started on the helmet. We're also not going to address that right stirrup that's literally living on the edge. Tbh, I clearly recall feeling like such a boss because I schooled two horses that morning #professionalstatus

Also, here is so everlasting proof that my right side collapse is more than a riding flaw. It's a character trait.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fashion Thursday: La Bleu

Don't be fooled. I don't know a lick of French besides their ridiculous numbers.

La Bleu
1. Goode Rider Kneepatch Denim Breech
2. Stella Pop Stud Earring
3. Mango Bay Designs Belt
    no longer available
4. Eugenia Kim Striped Headband
    no longer available
5. SSG Lycrochet Horseshoe Glove
6. Padded Leather Bit Bracelet
7. Rider's International Quilted Cotton Saddle Pad
8. Tekna CLUB Saddle
9. GAP Luxlight Sweater
    no longer available
10. Mattes Correction Halfpad w/ Trim  
11. Horze Elisa Tallboot with Zipper

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Communication between Trainer & Student

Somewhat recently, the topic of trainer to student relationships came up on tumblr, and since we're equestrians there was a strong amount of disagreement. In reality, everyone is different. Some people may never talk to their trainer about anything except riding while others may be their trainer's best friend (though I personally advise against this). I'm more of an in between type, and while I lean towards the "best friend" end of the spectrum, I do intend on staying closer to center.

Regardless of your comfort level with your trainer, I find that an importance must be placed on how you communicate with them. It's easy to nod your head and say "Yes" when your trainer asks if you can feel your horse doing something, and I am guilty of doing this, but it does you no good. If you're confused, ask questions. Never be afraid to ask questions. You're likely to get some more knowledge along with your answer.

A situation that I've heard about quite often (and have been in) is where a student has been assigned to a horse that they either don't feel comfortable on or are consistently struggling to the point where progress is stunted. For the most part, trainers have a reason for putting you on a certain horse, and you should trust their judgement, but if you start resenting riding because of it, tell them directly. Discomfort won't always show up in your riding; my telltale signs of nervousness disappeared after a while despite me still having regular losses of confidence. Be straightforward, and don't let it escalate. This goes for ANY concerns you have.

Related to the last point is being able to communicate your goals to your trainer. Helping you achieve your goals is part of a trainer's job, but they can't help you unless they know what those goals are. Want to find a move up horse? Tell your trainer, they might know of a few. Looking to educate yourself on barefoot trimming? Your trainer could offer some good reads. Your trainer likely has goals and hopes for you too, and it's their job to let you know what those are, especially if they're time sensitive.

Being able to communicate your questions, concerns, and aspirations to your trainer goes a long way in helping you develop as a rider and horseperson. You are under no obligation to tell them your heart and soul, but the job of a trainer is to train you to be your best, and that cannot happen without some openness between you two.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Graphic Design Bug

I've been bit. Ever since I started making the decals for my shop, I've been interested in improving my graphic design skills. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that a friend got me super into it, and I've just been playing around with some stuff.

I started out with this one horse and just did some stuff to it. Things got great once I found the eyedropper tool. It's fantastic, and worked super well once I started using LGBT+ flags and couldn't figure out the RGB codes, but of course I spent a significant amount of time trying.

All (actually a very small fraction of) the gay ponies.

I started to get more into it with editing my own photos, but that's a lot harder than just changing some colors and adding a fading background.

And then I also tried to make some sort of monogram/branding/seal for myself . . . yeah, not really sure what these are, but I like them, and the colors are pretty.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Fashion Thursday: Untitled #20

At this point, I'm amazed that I've only struggled to name 20 out of my 300+ sets.

Untitled #20

1. Michael Kors Beige Cashmere Sweater
2. Mondoni Kendall Boot
3. Goldtone Infinity Earrings
    no longer available
4. Horse Pendant
    no longer available
5. Mango Bay Tan Snaffle Bits on Natural Belt
6. Horze Savanna Breeches
    no longer available

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"A Combination of Things" Barn Layout

Yeah, so this one combines a couple of different elements. If you've ever read the book "The Phantom Stallion", it's partially based off of that barn, but it's also based off of my dad's friend's barn.

It's a logical-ish set up. If I were to change it for myself, I'd remove the large storage room, and have three 12' x 12' areas, two of which would be stalls with the remaining one as storage. I would also change the 12' x 24' stall (below) into two 12' x 12' stalls with a removable partition. Depending on the climate, part of the viewing area would also be enclosed and insulated.

Yes, more detailed views are needed.

Look at that quality office with a kitchen and a desk.

Style: Double Aisle Gable
    (6) 12' x 12' Stall
    (1) 12' x 24' Stall
    (1) 12' x 16' Stall
    (1) 12' x 12' Wash Stall
Tack: 12' x 24'
Feed: n/a
Width: 232'
Depth: 112'

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Day 2 of Miss El's Clinic

I made the mistake of getting to the barn 45 mins early, but that's just who I am as a person. I may or may not have scarfed down unreasonably large amounts of beef dip . . . again . . . also I had two deserts, but who's counting????

The second rider for the day was a beautiful gray pony with a younger rider. I think what they said is that they typically do hunters but have started to dabble in Dressage. They brought him out in a Pelham, which they accidentally thought was Dressage legal. Miss El rolled with it at first, but the curb rein was causing too much interference, so she took it off completely.

There was also an adjustment with the rider form. One elbow back, another forward, turn the shoulders a bit . . . all things I've heard at one point or another. A pencil was used to put the hands into place. All those alignment changes allowed horse and rider to come back together, and, as a result, the horse was much more willing to move forward and come on the bit.

There was one thing Miss El said about the change. Rather than the horse simply putting its head into place―that so called "false frame"―the adjustments created a "full body frame". It's the "full body" thing that's sticking with me. Of course I know that the whole body contributes to the overall picture, but I know I do tend to focus a lot on the front end. Weight in the hands isn't enough. I personally need to be more aware of, well, everything else, especially when it comes to forward motion and rhythm.

If I were to visualize a "full body frame", I like to think of it as a line that starts at the inside hind foot, travels to the hock, around the back end, down the top line, finally stopping at the poll. It creates an image of the horse working and stretching over the entire top line and supporting itself with the inside hind, but that's just me.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Day 1 of Miss El's Clinic

I never had the pleasure of going to one of Miss El's clinics back when Fifi trailered to them, but now that I'm under her wing, I had the liberty of auditing and photographing for free this weekend. This is day 1 (obviously), and day 2 will come tomorrow. I personally consider watching others ride to play a key importance in improving my own riding. It's a good start to the new year.

There was a lot to be learned, but what stuck with me the most was from the second ride. It was a friend of mine and her paint mare, both of whom have come a long way since meeting each other. That being said, the mare has always been difficult, especially when it comes to contact, but it's become worse recently and has led to some more obvious resistance (small rears and bucks). The first reaction in this case is to simply ride through it. Send the horse forward, guide them to the hand, yadda yadda, but of course it goes beyond that. Neither the mare nor Miss El were happy with the whole send them forward thing, so other causes were considered.

There are a number of different reasons as to why a horse would completely resist contact. Tack fit in general was questioned, as well as the type of bit, status on teeth, past training, and also a recent chiropractor who may or may not have known what she was doing.

In the end it came down to a few different issues. Most of the mare's training was done by the girl, and she admits that the problem is mainly due to her own inexperience. The chiro's usefulness was also questioned. Then there was also an issue of stiffness, which I personally saw in the lower neck and lumbar vertabrea/sacrum, but then again, I don't know what I'm talking about and had to look up those last two terms. I'm still learning. It's a process.

Friday, January 1, 2016

January Giveaway!

What's your New Year's resolution? To take every opportunity that comes your way? To spruce up your wardrobe? To give your personal items an equestrian touch? No matter what it is, start the new year off right with a giveaway by me and my Australian cohort, Darcy White Designs! (I don't just do those company features for no reason, y'all)

    - Darcy White Designs Phone Case
    - Darcy White Designs Stickers
    - Two items from The Ambitious Equestrian Shop

To enter, just fill out the entry form below. The winner will be chosen raffle style. Only one entry per person to make it fair. This giveaway ends at midnight AEDT on February 1st, 2016.

As always, best of luck!

Darcy White Designs // Ambitious Equestrian Apparel
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