Saturday, January 29, 2011

The simple first aid kit.

First aid kits have always been one of those things we argue over.  What exactly should go in a first aid kit? Over the years various books from the Pony Club manual to the BHS have tried to define the perfect kit.  Now I won’t pretend to be a vet so please don’t have me struck down by lightening if I get things a bit wrong.  I’ll only try to highlight some of the things that really do come in helpful rather than perhaps the “medical essentials”.

For starters if you’re in a lorry it vital you keep several ice packs in the freezer.  If a limbs swollen no one not even a vet can make a decent diagnosis so ice is the first step.  If you’re in a trailer you can get instant ice packs that you submerge in water to make go cold.

Following that having lots of Gamgee, dressings and poultices are a must.  These must be kept clean and replaced if they aren’t used within a couple of months as they begin to go off.  Wound creams are also a good plan as they can help keep things at bay and stop problems developing before the vet can asses things.

A hoof boot is also very helpful if shoes are lost or for holding poultices on.  Certain hoof boots also allow horses to be worked if they’ve lost shoes but I’m not aware of the feasibility of using these across country but it has been done in desperate circumstances.

Sharp scissors are also vital.  The biggest cause of accidents are blunt scissors and knives so sharp is definitely safer.  Sharp scissors also mean you’ll be able to cut things rather than hack at them in an exasperated manner.

A little known fact is that poultices can also be used for cooling legs like ice packs if they are wetted and put in a freezer.  They also have the advantage of containing various salts so have pulling properties for thorns etc.

Vet wrap is a life saver as it allows even the most incompetent bandager to put on a bandage that could potentially save a horses life.  On a more day to day basis its the quickest way to do medical bandages for things like tendons if bandages are being put on and off constantly.

A box of disposable gloves will also save you a lot of hassle and mess, plus they’ll help keep any dirt on your hands out of wounds.  Antiseptic wipes also go hand in hand with gloves especially if there’s deep wounds about.  The last thing you want is infections getting in etc.

A roll of cotton wool is a great idea.  A more expensive make is probably better as it’s denser and holds together better so won’t leave strands of wool in any grazes.  Cotton wool is really good for things like Hibi Scrub as you can use it plentifully and use clean pieces each time.

Hibi Scrub is a good general purpose product to treat all manner of ills.  The info on it is on the bottle with clear instructions so you feel confident using it as well.

Tweezers are really useful as well.  From taking out thorns to taking stones out of stud holes I’m sure you’ll find a use for them. 

Although, that covers quite a lot if in doubt ask your vet who is far more qualified than anyone here at Equishopping.   However, whatever they suggest, Equishopping’s wide range of first aid supplies should be able to supply it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stable entertainment for your horse

We all know the scenario when either it’s wet or horses have hurt themselves and have to stay stabled which is generally bad news... However, Equishopping are here to help with our range of entertainment features coming to a stable near you!!

The feed ball is a classic stable toy and there’s a vast choice so check them out here.  Some are easier to roll than others so work better in a stable or harder to roll ones in the field so they aren’t rolled under fences quite so quickly.  The best feed to use in them is “pony nuts” or any other feed that comes in a pellet, nut or cube format.

Vitamin licks are good but shouldn’t really be used for general purpose entertainment.  Salt licks are better and usually take horses a while to get enough salt for the day out of.  They come in blocks that can be fixed to a wall in a dispenser or can be hung from the ceiling on a rope with a large know in the end.  With all licks though it’s important to make sure horses and especially ponies don’t take chunks out of them as they can choke on the large pieces.

A suede or turnip with a hole in hung from the ceiling can work well but not all horses like them.  Some have been known to bite them off the rope and fling them at innocent bystanders who walk by...

Stable mirrors are brilliant.  Did you know? – Horses can’t recognise their own reflection.  This means that they think they have company from their mirror image.  It is important that the mirror is plastic in case they take offense to their new found friends and give him a boot.  Glass and horses doesn’t mix.

Leaving the radio on is also quite entertaining for them.  Recent research into animal behaviour has shown that cats spend about 2 hours a day watching TV so a horse listening to a radio isn’t to far fetched.  Personally I think they prefer Radio 1 but when the likes of “Lady Gaga” or “The Prodigy” come on others on the yard beg to differ.... Opps!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Making this season easier and less stressful - part 2.

Hello. Welcome to the next instalment of the double bill of blogs looking at ways to smarten up your act and make your life easier. 

Most eventers tend to show jump in their XC hat with a black silk on.  The easiest way to neaten things up is to replace your silk.  As silks get older they lose their elasticity which means they’re more likely to fall of (embarrasing!) or they simply look tatty.  Equishopping has a range of traditional silks and also has a range of XC silks if you fancy jazzing up your XC colours. 

Also thinking on the elastic front.  The elastic in number bibs has a habit of stretching leaving you with a number bib which would fit a small rhino.  When you get a new number bib our top tip is to get some black electricians tap and adjust the bib to your size then tape it to that size.  That way you’ll have to high speed loose ends to smack you in the face. 

Chances are your first aid kit will need replenishing but I’ll do a separate blog on that in more detail.  For now though check out our first aid range for treating mud fever to scratches. 

It may seem like a strange idea but get a new torch for the lorry.  Torch technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years so you can pick up super bright long battery life LED torches for reasonably prices.  They make life so much easier at early season events when you’re leaving in the dark and leaving in blackness. 

Another small but highly significant item.  Spur straps.  If you’ve got leather ones and haven’t cleaned them over the winter they could be fairly stuffed.  If you’ve got webbing ones they might be coming to the end of their days as the do begin to fray after a while and no longer hold your spurs securely. 

It might not be relevant to everyone but by the end of the year your buckets might be looking a bit manky.  Either get a bucket and brush or pressure washer on them or replace them.  Rubbishy buckets aren’t a good start. 

Finally – Don’t forget your lucky pants!! 


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Relieving stress and making your life easier this season.

The new season’s coming up and chances are your packing the lorry for the first time this year.  If you’re anything like us they’ll be a few things that either need replacing or have simply disappeared off the face of the earth.

First off, there’s all those bits of tack like breastplates and stud girths that chances are won’t have been used through the winter.  Plus, some off the stuff may have only just lasted till the end of the season so are crying out to be replaced.  On that note have you checked your stud kit recently? If you haven’t stored your studs properly they’ll be rusted and anyway they’ll probably be worn down from use.  The easiest way to wreck your farrier’s carefully crafted stud holes is to use rusty, beaten up studs. Equishopping has a range of studs but our top tip is to shell out that bit more for the better studs.  You get what you pay for with studs.  Also getting self tapping studs will save you lots of hassle but only if  you can put studs in straight and are well practised or you’ll mess up your stud holes.

How about whips.  We all have our favourite stick and they’ll never be another one like it but sometimes you just have to let go... Sticks fixed up with duck tape really don’t good so check out our range of sticks.  From short jumping sticks to long elegant gold schooling whips we’ve got it.

Going down the body we come to over reach boots.  No I seem to have ended up with lots of right foot boots and one left foot one – I think some replacements could be next on the list.  Whether it’s XC boots that have served you well for years but have finally given up the ghost or your white dressage wraps that no longer shine so brightly we can help.  Just check out our selection of horse boots.

With the first dressage test of the season fast approaching there’s that minor issue of plaiting...ARGGHHH!!! However, we’ve got some quick tips to save you from the horror – or a bit of it at least... Buy some new plaiting bands as they will have perished over the winter and will snap when you try to use them.  Then BIN the old ones.  Whatever you do don’t keep them as “spares”.  Next step is to properly pull your horses mane.  Either using a metal pulling comb.  Seriously, don’t use a plastic one because the spines will snap off!  We also know that some horses totally abhore having their mares pulled so have a browse of our mane pulling range which includes products such as the “solo comb” that we think could make your life less stressful.

One final finishing touch.  Quarter markers are an easy way to make your horses apperance a whole lot smarter.  Some people somehow manage to do these with just a brush and a bucket of water but if like me this a step too far have a look at our quarter marker stencils that save you the hassle.

Next time we’ll have more ideas for smartening up your act and making your life easier but for now that’s it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A lazy man’s guide to grooming.

The bottom line is who on earth wants to stand there brushing a horse for hours when you could be riding it? Read our guide to EFFECTIVE grooming without the fuss.

For starters.  Use a hosepipe.  Anything from the belly down I think is OK. Anything above that might be a bit harsh.  Plus, it’s actually safer as you can clean their belly without getting your head near their hooves.  From there on up a quick body brushing works wonders.

Moving to the tail.  For any light coloured tails use neat whitening shampoo and rub into the tail dry.  Leave for 5 min then wash out with copious amounts of water.  Then take human Tesco value conditioner or LOTS of mane and tail conditioner and rub into the tail.  In the case of human conditioner this needs washing out.  Not only does this clean the tail but it should detangle it as well.  If all the knots aren’t out under no circumstances attempt to brush the tail when it is wet – wait till it’s dry as it’s easier.

When it comes to pulling manes do it properly don’t cut them if they need to be plaited.  When I was younger I tried it and it doesn’t work – FACT.  So don’t for heavens sake go there.  If you don’t need to plait cutting does work but it has to be straight which is easier said than done.  It’s easier to cut a little too long and then pull the rest to get a better line and fall of mane.

Feet are best scrubbed with a stiff brush –not wire.  Hoof oil works well as an instant lift to presentation.  Faces or bums can be cleaned with “wet wipes” - the ones designed for babies!!

Fetlocks are best trimmed with a set of hand clippers and not cut too short.  Also when you’ve got the clippers out trim the base of the mane that would otherwise be under the saddle.  “Coat shine” also works –spray it all over then rub over in direction of coat with hands.  Quarter markers can be done with templates and when your plaits are done they can have any stray bits of mane smoothed down with hair gel out your bathroom cabinet.

With plaiting either find someone competent to bribe and muck out for them in return or learn.  No short cuts here.  Don’t put elastic bands at the bottom of the plaits though as they stop the horse stretching their neck.  DO use elastic bands (expensive ones that won’t snap) and don’t even contemplate sewing them.

Also the bottom line is that sparkly clean white numnahs and bandages  distract from all manner of sins.  Clean travel rugs help as well.

I’m now prepared to face the wrath of the BHS and Pony Club as I’m sure I’ve overlooked some of their golden rules.  Gulp. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rodi continues his life story.

Before I got hooked up doing the news we had got to the point in my breath taking autobiography where I'd been labelled a future star.  This time I'll recount my first experience of a show and that "horse bus" or lorry as it's more usually called.

So by now I was jumping what and when I was supposed to and the humans deemed it appropriate that I show my skills to the world.  The big wide world - YAHOOO!!! Unfortunately this meant going on the lorry.  Despite being a superbly balanced little tike I really didn't like the lorry.  Everyone was crowded together and if you stood in the wrong place the big guys gave you the evils.  I mean the evil evils - the kind that turn your insides to stone.  Plus, the humans said I was a messy eater so tied my hay net up really high.  It was great for them as I couldn't pull my hay all over the floor but it meant I couldn't see out the window!! All the others stood there chatting away about the M25 and how we'd just driven past the Dartford tunnel etc etc but I couldn't see any of it!! This not only meant my journey was incredibly boring but meant my sense of direction was totally confused.  Any how, on arriving the ramp was dropped and well, it was wicked.  In all senses of the word.  There were jumps everywhere and horses all over the shop, not to mention a lot of very swish people.  Apparently I'd been brought to quite a big show.  The bigger lads were doing their "big walk" trying to look good, personally I thought they looked a bit silly but they kind of pushed me a bit and told me to pick my feet up.  I did for a bit and did the walk and talked the talk, then of course I went and tripped over.  Just brilliant.  Now they were all laughing at me.

It wasn't long though before the humans had me all tacked up and I was trotting round the ring with lots of other young horses.  They all looked quite posh so I just jumped a bit, cantered round and then we were in.  OMG!! Where's all the others gone.  I'd gone into the arena and there wasn't just scary stuff everywhere but there weren't any other horses - I was  on my own!  Boy gave me a pat which by this time I'd realised meant a mixture of "get on with it" and "you'll be fine" the proportions of which depended on how much of an idiot I was being.  I cantered up to the first fence bold as brass but with my shoes in my mouth I was so nervous - the poles all fell down.... I gave most of the fences a good bit of breathing space just to be on the safe side.  I was coming to this doubly thing and jumped in perfectly then saw this dude with a camera pointing at me - I thought it was a gun!! I dived sideways but luckily boy kept me reasonably straight which left me right at the bottom of this rather chunky spread.  I did the only thing a super talented genius like me would do -  jump and hope for the best.  I launched myself upwards, flying like a super sonic squirrel and stretched as far as i could forward.  Unfortunately, Boy wasn't quite on the same wavelength as me so I gave him the bum shove to get him in the right place.  Tragically this pushed him rather too far forward so when I landed and flew through the finish in style the photo was ruined by him being on my ears... the plus side was though that I hadn't lost him.  I trotted out the gate very pleased with myself and got lots of pats from the humans - Boy even got told off for getting it wrong.  I felt a bit sorry for him  as I was a bit of a twit... I even got this strange blue flappy thing put on my bridle and got to gallop round the ring at top speed - gallop, gallop, buck, gallop, gallop, boing, bounce ping!! This is actually quite good fun.

I thought the others would be very pleased with me.  Instead when I tried to tell them about my exploits they laughed at me and said I had only done a baby class.  I am not a baby!! Apparently Toby had won some CSI thingy (apparently an international) so was staying the night there which everyone was quite excited about.  I wanted to say hi to him but he kept getting rushed away by important looking people and fancy horses flanking him... That's what I want to be like when I grow up... Rodi's name in stars!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rodi gets his teeth into the news.

Rodi decided that he wanted to put the life story on hold for now and bring you the latest news.  Who better to bring you the news from the horse world than a horse?!   

"Hello humans! Basically, the news is pretty scant at the moment.  I mean you give us our "holidays" over the winter which I must stress are vital but then you expect lots of news and happenings as well. you can't have it both ways... However, using my contacts across the globe I thought I'd bring you up to date with the horse version of the news.  So listen up - I've got a lunge session in 20 minutes followed by a physio booking - Im an athlete don't you know.

First off, you humans have changed our carefully designed dressage qualification system.  Now you want to do it on points instead of who wins what.  I'm sure the stables will be full of opinion at my next outing.  Come to think of it I don't know where my next outing is... personally I'd like to be on the Sun Shine Tour but perhaps I can dream on....

Plus, old Totilas has gone and got himself sold again. I did tell him when I saw him at WEG not to be so charming... all he had to do was stick his tongue out at the judge or decide he didn't like standing at stud... predictably he didn't take up those suggestions and was his usual goody to shoes.

While we're on the celebrity front, Monet Garden's really quite ill so we're all rooting for him to pull his socks up and get out there again.  The last I heard about him was that he was wearing some fancy shoe that he thought was rather ugly but still he feels comfy so its for the best.

Meanwhile, the hunt season continues after that abhorrent white stuff came down.  We also heard something about a Fernie hunt trial but we horses can;t be doing with human antics.  Before you ask, yes, us horses love hunting.  It's jolly good fun jumping those hedges and it's good for the horse banter as well.  The only trouble is that some of us get a bit exuberant.  I mean as a horse you have a set amount of energy so if you're not allowed to go for it you either have to vibrate or jump up and down to let it all out.

Oh and I have yet another example of humans taking all the credit for our success.  Marcus Ehning goes and announces he designed a new set of boots for those posh Veredus people.  What he failed to mention was the amount of input his entire yard gave! I mean they were actually trying to tell you something when they knocked fences down with those wacky initial designs you made them wear!

For now though that's it.  I'm off for my lunging.  Or alternatively I could bronck round the school and get his lunge line all twisted then pretend I'm going to eat him.... hehehe, most amusing!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rodi's life story part III...

We catch up with Rodi's life story so far: 

"Well, I needed a new jockey.  That was for sure.  The thing is though  it's not that easy just to swap them. They have this pride thing and it just won't go away. So, I set out to find Toby, the resident human expert, who promptly told me to strut my stuff round the field in front of a rather skinny boy.  So off I went round the field, a bit of canter and a few bucks here and there.  He still wasn't looking so I hopped a bit then charged and stopped, charged and skidded, charged and couldn't stop... BANG! I made the unfortunate discovery that trees are rather solid.  Boy as I shall call him laughed so I trotted over to him rather wonkily feeling rather dizzy.  He couldn't stop laughing, which when you're trying to impress someone is fairly disheartening... Then girl came out and joined in! I did the only thing I could do - I jumped the fence to go and sort them out and ask them to explain themselves.  Rodi, future super star, is not to be laughed at. On jumping the fence I realised it was significantly bigger than it looked on first inspection.  Fortunately there was no electric along the top so slithering over it with millimeters to spare looked cool rather than being exceedingly painful.  Much to my surprise boy and girl started arguing! Over me!!! "No, he's mine", "Well I backed him", "and you fell off him" well it went on like that for quite some time. In fact they were so busy that they forgot I'd just jumped out the field.  Seeing as they weren't bothered about it I wondered off to show the two colts my new found freedom.  I spent a good afternoon wandering around the fields - on the outside! That was until both boy and girl came running up to me and started hugging me and giving me carrots.  Things were looking up.  Apparently they'd been worried about me...

The next day, things were truly splendid.  Girl had to get me ready and actually cleaned me for once.  Then boy got on me and took me for a spin.  He then told the whole yard I'm talented and a future star - well thankyou.  That was until I saw one of the colts run round the field with it's rug over it's head which  looked really scary.  He called me a moron for being such a scardy cat and started telling me about the horrors I'd experience at a thing called a "show".  Sounds terrifying but it involves the lorry and Toby said if they put you on the lorry you've been good. Cool beans.  I had a roll to celebrate.  Well, I actually had a roll in the dirtiest bit of bed I could find.  Girl then saw me and declared me a delinquent.  Boy laughed and put me out in the field.  Apparently I couldn't get any dirtier - so this is how they treat super stars is it?!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rodi's life story continued... I'm getting the hang of this!

In our previous blog we introduced Rodi the talking (and very lively) horse to you.  Of course he couldn't wait to get his next epic adventure out onto the web so we let him loose with a laptop once more....


"My last installment saw me left in a stable with 2 mad colt looking things and a bucket of water.  Things improved slightly when someone took pity on "the cute little one" as they called me and threw some hay at me.  By this point I was a bit concerned as things weren't looking up.  That was until a small human thing wandered in and attempted to put a noose round my head - no chance! Next thing I know she gives me a carrot so I let her put the noose or i suppose "a halter" on my head.  Girl then decided that she'd try and pull me with said halter.  I don't know if you've ever had it done to you but next time you have a rope round your head and get pulled along by it you won't be too happy either... So I bit her.  Girl then smacked my nose.  Of course the 2 colts thought this was hilarious and roared with laughter.  In actual fact my nose was really sore.  I didn't try that one again.  After much pulling and tugging I realised that she actually wanted me to follow her.  Fast forward our story a bit and you end up with the situation of said girl trying to sit on me.  

    This time they had me on a long rope in a sand fighting ring with tall sides and scary pole things everywhere.  I didn't find out till later that this was actually not the case and that I happened to be in a jumping arena.  Well, anyway, she sat on me adorned with her chunky helmet and body wrapper that made her look somewhat portlier than normal.  Of course I removed her with immediate effect and deposited her in a neat pile at my feet ready for inspection.  Next thing I know there's lots of screaming and shouting and I'm back with the colts.  This time tied to a wall.  Great, things weren't looking up.  

I like to think that I showed tremendous talent that day but apparently I was just a rude piggy as girl called me.  That night the humans put a large bay horse in next door to me.  They threw the 2 mutleys (aka the colts) out in the rain which was most amusing.  The two of them fought with each other for a bit then decided the rain wasn't that warm and tried to hide under a tree.  It turns out that the big bay was called Toby and he'd been to this strange place called Geneva.  He spent all night trying to explain to me what these human people wanted.  They didn't half want much did they!! To walk and trot AND jump.   He was proper good at the jumping business I reckon, he'd been all over the world.  That week he told me stories about so many different places.  It all seemed so tricky though especially this dressage business but thankfully Toby didn't like dressage horses so he didn't talk about that much.  Then of course Toby was gone one morning and the 2 rapscallions were back.  They said they'd been chased by lions and bears and told me how they'd fought off goblins in their water troughs.  I listened for a while, personally I think their imaginations were running away with them.  

Any how, girl came back for round two.  This time wearing even more funny clothing and she had a big man with her. The big man was really nice though and patted me etc. and did all the stuff humans think make you feel better.  This time she sat on me and I walked off then trotted and then did a bit of cantering stuff.  I tripped a bit but she seemed pretty pleased with me.  She was awfully tense perched up there though, I mean anyone would think she had something to worry about! I remembered what Toby had said about jumping and started eying the fences up a bit.  The big man laughed at me and told me I wasn't ready for them.  I decided to prove him wrong.  I got in line with a big square one and charged! Girl seemed to scream a bit so I went a bit faster and launched myself into the air.  The good thing was I cleared it.  The bad thing was I seemed to have lost girl again.  This time I wasn't even trying to!! The big man ran up to me laughing which I suppose is a good thing and said something about being over keen and being like my brother - I have a brother!!?? Girl mean while got up and walked off limping.  I decided I needed to upgrade my jockey."  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rodi the talking horse.

For a while now Equishopping has had a talking horse called Rodi.  He's given you updates on everything from his new stable mates to his best buys for 2010.  However, the time has come for Rodi to gain his voice.  He's been nagging us for ages about writing his memoirs and since the highly successful launch of his very own company Rodi inc  we thought we'd let him have a bash.  Here goes!!

"SO.  These blasted humans have been writing about me for ages! Rodi this and Rodi that, yadee yadee yada etc etc. Well I think it's about time I spoke up a bit! I'll start with an introduction. 

I was born a few years back when the grass was greener and it didn't snow so much.  I grew up like most young foals in a field and in absolute fear of my mother - a fearsome beast! Thankfully I was sold soon after that and headed off over the green hills in a strange contraption with wheels.  I must confess that I found the "lorry" business really rather tricky.  For starters standing upright while going round this large circle of trees in the middle of the road without clinging on with your teeth isn't easy.  When I did try to use my teeth I sunk my little knashers into something nice and fleshy with a good bit of grip -oops!!.  Next thing I know I get a mouthful off this big bruiser next to me who I'd mistakenly bitten... It turns out he's some kind of important geeser in the showjumping world, not that that meant anything to me at the time.  I suppose I got my own back though when I set up "RODI INC."  and gave him the job title "the hefalump".  Personally I think the name hefalump suits him.  In my humble opinion he wasn't chosen for his good looks but insted someone decided to put a saddle on him and see if he would jump.  Tragically he's rather good at it- as he reminds me daily.  

Then we were there! The back of the lorry came down and I stumbled out into the biggest yard I'd ever seen!! There were horses everywhere, all dressed in fancy saddles and bridles and some of them were doing some very strange dancey things in this rubber rectangle with fencing round.  They kind of pushed me into a stable and then left me... cheers guys. 

That was it.  I suppose this is home then.  No, "welcome, welcome, have a carrot and a hug" just a stable, a bit of dirty broken up wood powder stuff on the floor and a couple of hooligan colts for company.  That's when Rodi inc. started but more on that later.  

Now I suppose you're wondering what Rodi inc. is.  Rodi inc. is my personal company, or shall we say, moderately large global business run by a small army of horses and ponies across the globe.  With me, Rodi, at the helm.  We have various branches.  Ranging from international horse trading - you think you decide to buy a horse? I think you'll find that you just happened to find a suitably graded horse within its allocated transfer window with the correct national branch position.  It's not an easy job you know.  Our latest business venture is a more personal one.  These humans decided to use me as a front for their company, and they've been writing about me for rather a while.  It turns out that they're a bit mule ish at it and can't sell much - humans hey!  I decided to get involved personally - for a price of course.  Plus, when my memoirs are published  I'll be able to pay off my debts to the Zangasheide brothers after that night at Olympia.... that's another story though.  

Equishopping's sponsored rider Oli Lawrence's latest blog.

Equishopping catches up with the latest news from their sponsored rider Oli Lawrence.  

"Wow! My parents let me have a party on new years eve! The faith has been tested and come out the other side unharmed.  Well actually, I think going hunting after a party on new years eve with all the clearing up to do may have been pushing my luck a bit... 

The snow has only just departed so pretty much everything has been on hold.  However,  the usual activity is back better than ever and things are in full swing again.  The plus side of the snow meant I was imprisoned in the house with revision as my only source of entertainment.  I do have quite a few exams in January so perhaps someone up top had my best interests at heart...  Zooming back to the beginning of this month I had a break from was the South east eventers league (SEEL) ball with its bucking bronco and the predictable entertainment that brings! Big congrats to the organisers - a great evening.  

The usual pre season plans are beginning which as predicted results in mini arguments left, right and centre over issues from transport through to the origin of the HGV test... Before you ask, yup, that's the next mission - to pass my HGV test...gulp.  Mind you I have been driving a truck since I passed so the jumps not as bad as from a Mini! 

All the horses are back in work now and Grays for sale as my brother has stopped riding.  They've all been very well behaved coming back into work with the odd bounce and boing here and there but apart from that they've been very focussed, well apart from the terrifying snowmen that didn't melt for a few days!!"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Years Resolutions and top buys for this year!

First off. HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Here at Equishopping we've got some great ideas to get 2011 off to a fabulous start.  

We've all made new years resolutions before, but do they really make a difference.  Here's a few of ours to get you thinking. 

Do 10 minutes of pilates a day.  Pilates is great for riding and really helps your core strength.  Alternatively, skipping is good intensive exercise.  10 minutes a day, every day adds up.  We spend hours getting our horses fit so it seems only right that we spend a bit of time getting ourselves up to scratch.  

Another suggestion of ours is when you're out hacking to put your stirrups up as far as they'll go.  Then do an entire hack out the saddle.  This really builds up your lower leg stability and strength.  There's nothing worse than seeing people's legs flapping all over the shop at the end of the course when they're tired.  

For those of you who are already fit and raring to go we've a suggestion.  Give your horse a hug for 10 seconds a day.  Not just a pat but actually give his or her face a rub etc etc.  It's all to easy to forget the emotional side of things when you're pushing for performance all the time.  10 seconds will seem like a veerryyy long time....

We've also selected a number of products that we think will make a difference to your 2011.  

Comfy protective gear is first on our list.  Body protectors don't have to be like wearing a straight jacket that weighs you down.  Check out the How's Racesafe RS 2010 with it's flexi panels and extreme light weight.  New eventing rules also mean that body protectors must have been produced since 2000 - if you're riding in an older one it needs replacing.  Sorry to break the bad news if you hadn't heard...

Following that theme a new hat thats both lighter and cooler will be great for summer.  Plus, its looks unbelievably better going showjumping in a proper hat rather than the beloved "egg head" hats eventers stick silks on to attempt to improve the look of... 

The next suggestion we borrowed from a rather exasperated dressage judge.  What she wanted was people to tie their stocks properly.  However, after judging prelim dressage all day with no lunch break this request was phrased slightly less eloquently and with far more french! Equishopping't top tip to solve this problem is not to painstakingly practice tying your stock but to buy a new one.  Certain stocks are easier for certain people to tie.  What one person hates another will love.  

Well what about the tack room? Check out Equishopping's range of tack room fitments and accessories. You could well be surprised at the difference made by a couple of rug heaters or a set of drawers.  AHA! Another news resolution.  To keep the tack room tidy.   (much much much easier said than done.)

Finally, we've got a slightly unconnected suggestion.  Equine online dating.  Put it into google and you'll be offered a vast choice from expensive services to free ones from the local paper.  Now there was a time when online dating or anything like that was only for people with social and communication skills similar to the Disney character "Goofy" and looks to match other less attractive  comic characters.  Fear not, times have changed and it might just work.  Plus, if it works out I won't have to write anything about Valentines day which would be a great relief! Once again, happy new year!