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16.2.14

A Girl Can Never Have Too Many Ariat's...continued

This is a follow on from my hugely popular post...A Girl Can Never Have Too Many Ariat's (hear, hear, all you horsey girls cry out in agreement; http://geegeeandme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/a-girl-can-never-have-too-many-ariats.html), and it makes perfect sense to discuss with you what I wear with my Ariat jodhpur boots when riding, and that would be...Ariat Close Contact Chaps in waxed black.

I have owned my Ariat Close Contact Chaps longer than my current Ariat jodphur boots and prior to being converted I had always opted for washable, suede chaps costing around £30/£40 a pair with no desire to upgrade to leather. 


That all changed on the day I read the dress code requirements for my BHS Stage 1 exam...which included full leather boots or chaps, no suede or synthetics allowed! Great, perfect, more expense! This was back in Summer 2010, and I figured if I was going to invest in a leather pair, they might as well be decent. 

Back in 2010, I remember they cost me £99.00 as I winced at the price tag and looking at them online, they now retail for around £135.00 - I just made a mental note to take extra good care of them, to avoid the need to purchase a new pair, take about inflation! Which leads me nicely onto Ariat customer service; after owning my chaps for a year, the popper came off, I e-mailed Ariat with my negative feedback and they asked me to return the item and fixed the popper free of charge. Only to find the same thing happening a couple of months later, again I returned my chaps to Ariat to be fixed free of charge and they returned them to me with a free leather balm and a cute little note with a smiley face...what is it about a smiley face that makes the world a better place :o) and 'touch wood' they've been perfect ever since.
For me, customer service is everything and again another reason why I would not hesitate to purchase from Ariat and recommend their products.

So, I have covered off cost, customer service...do I really need to talk about style? Mine often appear a little worse for wear but below is a series of images of them being worn...the last one shows how well they scrub up when needed. 
Next...sizing and wearing in - I am 5'7 and of a slim build, I wear size small, height 17.5 inch, calve 14.5 inch and they fit beautifully, I did find my trusted old suede chaps easier to wear in than leather chaps, but circling your feet, bending your ankles, oiling them regularly helped them feel more at one with my leg when I rode - be aware of the squeaky new leather, terribly embarrassing during my BHS exam, I felt like a member of the Household Cavalry in the odd jackboots that give them stiff legs..you know which I mean!!

I hope I have helped if you're looking for a new pair of chaps, what do you love about your chaps and why...?

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xx 

11.2.14

Beating The Bad Weather Blues



I am overwhelmingly fortunate to have an indoor arena, which makes riding in the current weather conditions doable. However, the inconsistency in Oscar's routine hasn't done us any favours and I seem to have a horse with a mood matching that of a grounded teenager. Because of the insane amount of rainfall in Great Britain at the moment (not to mention gale force winds), turnout has been hit and miss, interrupting Oscar's daily routine which I work hard to keep consistent. He is a horse that thrives on turnout and would happily live out 24/7 if I let him, this makes days munching hay, staring at his stable walls, (occasionally attempting to bite his neighbour), followed by an evening of being ridden by floodlight, round and round an arena, feel torturous for my little pony!
Not to mention my ever decreasing bank balance due to the loss of shoes from; 
a) kicking the stable door in boredom
b) running around the field like a loon, throwing them left, right and centre
c) Oscar sat picking the nails out one by one while I am at work, due to the boredom of being stabled
...is it February pay day yet?? Needless to say, Oscar isn't the only one feeling a bit sour.

Therefore when a space in my friends trailer came free with an invitation to Willoughby On The Wolds Equestrian Centre, I jumped at the chance to take Oscar out for the day, pushing the worries of the driving wind and rain to the back of my mind....will the trailer blow over?
http://www.wlf-eq.co.uk/
Willoughby On The Wolds Equestrian Centre is home to the UK's first all weather cross country venue, to hire, it costs £18.00 per hour, per horse (please note website still shows £15 per hour but this has now increased)
The arena surface was excellent, no puddles or 'pot' holes and rode beautifully, with a mix of flamboyant poles and fillers aside wooden houses and brush fences, not forgetting the fun water complex, steps and ditches! Thankfully we managed to keep dry (yes, that includes no falling into the water), but the wind stayed with us, reaching gusts of 40 mph, often taking my breath away I rode into it. The arena was booked in advance, I would recommend this as we weren't the only ones blowing away the Winter blues, the hour slots before and after us were both taken! 

Oscar was a dream, we only began jumping together in November and so far that has only included the odd pop over one or two fences that have been left in the school, so it was a huge deal for us, but a great opportunity to get out and see things, and although it was out of our comfort zone, we let go and both loved it...here are some pictures from the day...not bad for our first attempt :o)
This fabulous day out has inspired me to make the effort and find more facilities local to me, I don't have transport but I have already found 3 other equestrian venues/liveries in hacking distance from my yard and even though they are not as impressive/purpose built as Willoughby On The Wolds, it's a great confidence boost just going somewhere new and refreshes your horses brain. How are you banishing the Winter blues?

Thank you for reading, Jessica & Oscar xx




5.2.14

Be My Valentine

Love is in the air and Valentines Day is just around the corner, so as we think on for creative ways to express to our equine partners just how much we love them, I expect my Valentine to be doing the same...but about me!
And, the perfect gift from my Valentine this year would be a horse hair bracelet, and I doubt I am the only horsey girl who lusts after one of these keepsakes. However, please note gents, this gift is not for the faint hearted...you have to physically cut a piece of tail hair, from the longest part, the width of a pencil...without any of the following happening;
  • Getting kicked...you aren't mum, and you're cutting their tail - it won't be easy to cover up the hoof print on your face...arm...thigh? Or a broken hand for that matter.
  • Failing to conceal the area the hair was cut from...don't cut from the top boys!! Go underneath...or else you may not have a girlfriend for Valentines if you ruin that perfectly pulled tail.
  • Even worse, you could have an hysterical girlfriend as bad people often mark horses to steal in this way!! Then you'll have to own up. Sharpish.
  • DO NOT cut the dock! (And before you ask, you'll know what a dock is once you feel it).
  • Being caught by anyone at the yard who might tell your girl...a cover up explanation could be difficult..."hey, what are you doing back there? errrrmmm".
  • Don't forget to take something with you to transport the hair in, a rubber plaiting band or rubber band is best to keep all the hair together, then a clear sandwich bag to send it off in.
  • Ordering too late..these are personal gifts, so hot foot it down to the yard. NOW!
  • And if the above sounds all too risky, ask one of your fine ladies good friends to collect the tail hair for you :)

My favourite bracelets are by Tails of Fire because their bracelets are so stunning, these cost around £30-£35 plus £2 for P&P.

Aren't they dreamy? I don't know what my Valentines will bring but I will definitely be ordering a bracelet soon for my Mum as her Mothers Day gift this year. 

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xx

2.2.14

Saddle Slippage Solved...Acavallo Gel Pads

Oscar was on the slim side when I first bought him home, even though I had a saddle fitter out his saddle slipped back when jumping...and due to a confirmation issue, a little to the right. I tried a few things, a breast plate, a vast array of numnahs, of various shapes, sizes and fibres (even a piece of carpet underlay) and eventually I took the plunge and invested in an Acavallo Twin Sided Gel Square, costing £74.05 from Horse Health.
http://www.horsehealth.co.uk/acavallo-gel/acavallo-pads/acavallo-twin-sided-pads/acavallo-twin-sided-gel-square-black
images/twin Sided Gel SQ BLK:BLK.jpg
I chose the Gel Square for convenience, a numnah and a half pad in one that looks smart and is fuss free, I can't be bothered with layering up pads for a quick hack out or schooling session before/after work and it doesn't even have any of the fiddly velcro tabs so it was an easy choice for me - the gel is double sided and the pads deliver the benefit of Avacallo's unique shock absorbing therapeutic gel to the horse and saddle at the same time. The non-slip gel means the pad doesn't move on the horses back, in any direction, and the saddle once positioned won't move on the pad. The low profile gel also ensures there is no excessive bulk between horse and saddle to distort the fit, and overall is a really smart pad - comes in black, brown and white.
Some notes from the above paragraph are taken from Acavallo's official product information statement and having used this pad since May 2013, I agree with every word and they're worth every single penny. I wish I'd of invested in one straight away as my saddle moving and slipping around affected my confidence when I rode, I didn't want to jump, avoided opening and closing gates as hanging from the side of a wobbly saddle isn't fun, not to mention riding up steed hills..."how did I get back there...please don't buck". If this sounds all to familiar I recommend Acavallo Gel Pads 100% and will always have one in my tack room.
Please note, this is Oscar modelling, not Valegro (always getting mistaken)
And now could be the time to buy, as Horse Health are running a...'It's Acavallo Gel week!' with 10% off all products until 6th February 2014, I'd love to buy a Just-Gel Lambskin Half Pad so I can have the same security when using other numnahs i.e. in dressage tests, I think I need to raid my piggy bank!!

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xx