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29.11.14

Equilibrium Massage Mitt Review

I purchased the Equilibrium Massage Mitt in the sale last year (RRP £95), I love pampering Oscar and the idea of giving him a massage, improving his flexibility, muscle condition and encouraging him to relax with his head dropping and bottom lip wobbling sounded perfect...but things are never that simple with a spooky pony!


The Equilibrium Massage Mitt comes with a re-chargeable battery and charger, neatly packed away in a plastic case. After charging I popped my hand in the mitt and tried the settings, low, medium and high, I placed the mitt on my tight shoulders and it felt good, it was lightweight and an easy to clean material - all great so far! 

Now to introduce the mitt to Oscar, I groomed him first to ensure he was nicely relaxed, got the mitt out, placed it on my hand and allowed Oscar to sniff, snort and jump at it - he is a serious pansy - I then stroked it down his neck, shoulder, quarters and hamstring (switched off) so he could get a feel for it...his body was as stiff as an ironing board at first. 

Once he realized it wasn't going to kill him I switched it on...thankfully the mitt is quiet and once on, each session lasts 10 minutes then will automatically power off. Oscar didn't fully relax the first, second, third time I used the mitt and even now sometimes looks at it like he has never seen it before when it comes out my grooming bag, because of this reason I never got into good habits of using the mitt on a regular basis until this Summer. After Oscar's quarterly physio session, I asked the physiotherapist how the Equilibrium Massage Mitt could help Oscar and to show me exactly where I should be using it...my physio highlighted areas on a sheet for me to work on, and this gave me the focus I needed to start using the mitt effectively. This completely changed my view on the product and I would like to see Equilibrium provide more guidance of how to use the mitt effectively, as I was lost before, just stroking it over his body as instructed by the YouTube video.



I now use my mitt weekly, usually on a night off, I find it too much hassle to use before I ride - my time is limited and after an early start to muck out, a busy day at work, then back to the yard I am realistic about what I have time to do, before I shower and cook dinner ready for it all to start again! I use the medium and high settings most and spend 10 minutes on the neck, shoulder area alternating sides and another 10 minutes on Oscar's back end. I think this goes some way towards helping soften and relax his muscles, he is in great shape and finds bending easy, this has improved in recent months. The mitt would also be great to take to competitions to help prepare muscles after being stood on the box.



Overall I feel the mitt is a luxury item, not essential and that the Equilibrium Masssage Pad would be more useful and suit my lifestyle more, I could pop it on before/after I ride and continue with my jobs at the yard. I would love to try one ...I am keeping my eyes peeled for one in the coming New Year sales as they RRP at £225.

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx


22.11.14

Keeping Up With The Unicorns...ShowSheen Hair Polish & Detangler


I have had ShowSheen products on my 'to try' list for some time and when I saw the Hair Polish & Detangler on sale at the British Dressage National Championships with 25% extra free, I read it as a calling and purchased it immediately!

As you know, I own a grey meaning a sleek, glossy coat you can see your face in is near on impossible, therefore coat shine was not my sole purpose of purchasing this product, the reason I opted for it was one powerful statement...
"Can reduce grooming time by up to 80%"
Who would say no to that...? 

ShowSheen Hair Polish & Detangler is described as a multi-purpose grooming aid, uniquely formulated to coat each hair shaft ensuring manes and tails stay tangle-free and keep your horse cleaner for longer by repelling dust and dirt, it includes pro-vitamins to nourish the coat, added silk proteins to strengthen hair and is mildly scented with calming jasmine and soothing sandalwood...and credit where credit is due, it smells rather nice. Thanks to recent weather conditions, I have been putting ShowSheen thoroughly through it paces because the mud sticks everywhere, especially in Oscar's forelock, to his face, around his ears, the top of his neck...not to mention his legs - a full neck rug can only protect so much!


As a minimum each day I flick through Oscar's coat using a dandy brush and have then been spritzing the ShowSheen with one pump over an area, the pump is powerful and covers quite a large surface and doesn't leave a damp spritz patch in one area (who else hates it when that happens with a spirtizy bottle?) instead it delicately coats a large area - perfect - take care not to spritz to close to the saddle/girth area as it could make this area slippy! I then slide my LeMieux Lambskin Grooming Mitt over Oscar's coat in the direction of the hair. It makes him feel baby soft, and 100% helps with mud, I find he comes in from the field with less stuck in his coat but I have to disagree that it repels stains as I still sigh when Oscar struts out his stable each morning having yet again rolled in his own poo! No polish will repel that, only elbow grease!


Overall I enjoy using the ShowSheen Hair Polish & Detangler, I can't remember how much I paid but have found it online for £13.67 at Viovet. I would definitely re-purchase and would choose this product over a separate mane and tail spray as having everything in one bottle makes life much easier.

Thank you for reading,  Jessica and Oscar xxxx

18.11.14

Haynet Equestrian Blogger of the Year 2014

Thank You
Oscar and I are proud to announce that we have made it to the final twelve for the
Haynet Equestrian Blogger of the Year Award 2014

I am honoured to be amongst such fantastic equestrians, writers and generally wonderful people in the running for this prestigious title. And if you think Oscar and I are worthy of such recognition please follow the link, input your e-mail, click begin to be taken to the final twelve, please click GeeGee and Me, I would be truly grateful.


Haynet was launched in September 2011 by Sam Hobden, the owner of Zeb a beautiful Belgium Warmblood and driven by the love of sharing her own personal highs and lows of horsemanship. Sam's passion has developed Haynet into a thriving community of like minded enthusiasts sharing everything equine and it's one of my favourite past times to log in and read the latest posts, it's one to bookmark for anyone who loves horses.

Fingers and hooves crossed...as always thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx

16.11.14

Your Horse Magazine

I can't remember when I first bought Your Horse Magazine, it's been a regular purchase throughout my teens and on entering into adulthood, I did what any responsible adult would do and subscribed to it via direct debit to ensure I never missed an issue - and got my hands on it before everyone else!! I am careful with my money, I don't have it to throw away but I can honestly justify the £11.15 per quarter it costs, averaging at £3.72 an issue, a saving on the £3.99 retail shop price. And here is why...

My love of Your Horse Magazine comes from the practicality of it, I learn something from every single issue,  many people have sniggered at my subscription (me, geeky...never), but I am always a go to person when someone needs inspiring with a fresh idea to liven up their schooling session, and that is thanks to the motivation I get from the magazine.


Your Horse Magazine always runs a series, 2014 has seen Total Confidence Training with advice from the legendary Lucinda Green, the awe inspiring Sylvia Loch, the brilliant role model Natasha Baker and many more. The second half of the year saw the launch of the Training Academy 2014 with top coaches Laura Tomlinson and Jay Halim. This was perfect timing for me, as after having a difficult start with Oscar due to our very different backgrounds, with very different understandings of what we were asking of one another in our relationship, every time I schooled (and I continue to do this) I tick off the scales of training in my head before asking any more of Oscar - this can mean I sometimes trot and trot and trot and trot and trot, just until he realises he doesn't need to be running, relaxes and then we find our rhythm - so you can imagine when I saw the Training Academy Planner, I had a hallelujah moment:
Relaxation
Rhythm (my trainer also uses the word, tempo)
Contact
Impulsion
Straightness
Collection
The magazine series' aren't a quick fix, for example December 2014 saw Laura and Jay discussing collection and my gosh I'm nowhere near, the only time I have collection is when I am on the cross country course, holding Oscar back feeling determined and then I smile and soften and the beautiful bouncy canter, that is then lost the moment after I realise I have it! But, it has given me another perspective on the scales of training and inspires me in my schooling sessions, I know Oscar and I will get there!!!! One day....


The 30 minute expert work out from the best trainers across the land is often a page I take to the yard with me, they're always really easy to follow and are from varied and well respected trainers. And Your Horse Magazine also tackles some of the simplest issues we face, that are never easy to resolve on our own, such as standing the be mounted....a horse not respecting our space, the things we often overlook and work around, when we should be addressing the problem, we just need a gentle push in the right direction. Again, the insight into private lessons is also priceless as it shows everyone else isn't perfect and it isn't just me with bad habits and I take so much from the trainers feedback.

Your Horse Magazine also celebrates the beautiful breeds (i.e. every breed, I wonder if they need a Connemara to model for them?), showing off an enchanting imagine over a double page spread and expanding our knowledge that little bit further, this month I learnt about Fjords while enjoying a cup of tea...easy reading! And now you're all dying to know what a Fjord is, go on, Google it! And a page encouraging us to "Get Out There" with a calender of popular events happening in the coming month across the UK. And on a more serious note, my veterinary and general horse care knowledge has been boosted thanks to the monthly feature of the Your Horse Open Clinic including a Q&A session with a panel of professionals and an insight into mud fever, kissing spine, grass sickness and all those other issues that weigh heavy on our minds, for me knowledge is power.


I could go on all day listing superlatives for Your Horse Magazine, however if you're in need of some inspiration and ideas, £3.99 is much cheaper than a lesson and something you can keep referring back to, and it isn't all about ridden work either, there are articles on groundwork, lunging, long-lining and in-hand training, perfect for the Winter nights! What are you waiting for...? 

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx

10.11.14

Thermatex Quilted Leg Wraps



It never rains...it pours, and as a result the gateway to the horses paddock already resembles a mud bath...and it's only November, therefore Mud Fever Maintenance has already begun and although last years blog covers the preventative measures I take, I have a new tool in my box; Thermatex Quilted Leg Wraps.

I religiously towel dry Oscar's legs once they've been washed down, and although this ensures they're not soaking it doesn't leave them 100% dry, and after doing a lot of homework on the Thermatex Quilted Leg Wraps, I decided they were the next best thing to a horsey hair-dryer and I made it my mission to source a second hand set, just in case they didn't live up to the hefty £64.95 price tag! I found mine on eBay, second hand for around £40, including P&P and although used, they arrived washed and in a good condition and I have been excited to try them out ever since...and by gosh I didn't have to wait long - mud, glorious mud! 


I have been using the Thermatex Quilted Leg Wraps regularly for over a month, they're always applied to clean, damp legs and they're designed to "dry off legs, provide warmth and protection for your horse in the stable" they're made from Thermatex' technologically advanced wicking fabric, comprising of woollen inner and outer layers knitted together with a middle insulation of polypropylene. The wool and yarns used are of the highest quality and are spun specifically for Thermatex - and even though my wraps are second hand, the quality is exceptional.


The wraps are light to handle, warm and comfortable and Oscar doesn't even walk funny in them! Their unique ability to wick moisture from the inside of the fabric is second to none, it allows moisture to evaporate into the atmosphere without being absorbed into the fabric and after applying to towel dried legs it only takes 20 minutes for Oscar's legs to be completely dry after wearing his wraps. The first time I was astounded, the wraps were slightly damp but his legs were dry, moisture free and toasty warm and I've put them to the test again and again, every time they put a smile on my face! 


My Thermatex Quilted Leg Wraps are a size large (to fit any horse 46 x 41cm) and at first I did find them a little too long to wrap and velcro in place, with the velcro tabs over reaching the velcro slightly on Oscar's tiny pony legs, but I soon mastered the art - however I still don't feel confident leaving them on overnight in case they slipped down his leg and he hurt himself by kicking to get it off - therefore if I purchased a brand new set I would consider a size smaller for Oscar, and that is something I would definitely consider, at £64.95 they're worth every penny, I consider mine a serious bargain - thank you eBay! - and if you're really in the money, the Courda design prevents straw, hay and shavings from sticking to the wraps (convenient) and is a stronger material, costing £83.95.

Thermatex

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx

PS...Oscar and I have the Thermatex Original Cooler and Quarter Rug on our Christmas list now, I hope we've been good in 2014 :o)



8.11.14

Evison Equine English Leather Hunting Breastplate



Autumn 2014 officially started on Monday 20th September for the UK...and while I've enjoyed scrumping apples until late October, I have been desperate to dance in crunchy fallen leaves and wake to a fresh morning frost...finally this week the temperature has dropped and Autumn has arrived. Better late that never and by far my favourite season of the year, bringing with it an intense buzz of excitement as the hunting season kicks off. 

This easily turned my attention to my hunting breastplate, that I love and it's about time I shared it with you! Again it's from Evison Equine, the same brand as my bridle and crafted from beautiful English leather using a traditional design to compliment your hunting attire perfectly. Alongside this is ticks all the practicality boxes too, it has elastic inserts around the shoulders for movement and comfort with a sturdy leather neck strap (my favourite feature!!!).  The soft sheepskin chest pad is attached by velcro, making it easy to clean after a muddy days hunting and something I always use to avoid rub marks on Oscar's chest. There are many buckles so you can alter the breastplate for the perfect fit, with quick and simple D-ring clasps ensuring ease of use with the classic running martingale straps clipping on too (really important to me, Oscar can be quite sharp yet I don't like using a martingale for flatwork therefore when we go somewhere new, or we're feeling excitable I will often use the breastplate for security, minus the martingale). Oscar is a 15hh Connemara and wears the cob size comfortably, with the martingale straps being a perfect length, it also comes in sizes pony and full at the reasonable price of £65.00.

Today's review is definitely a case of less is more, the breastplate is simple and perfect in every way, therefore the pictures can do the rest of the talking and finish with this special poem that I love dearly...


The huntsman's horse, whether brown or bay,
or brightest chestnut, or sober grey,
whate'er his colour, a hunting day
is all the same to him, come what may.

When other horses, too full of beans,
unship their riders by artful means,
or kick each other to smithereens,
he takes no part in such ugly scenes.

He never bucks, or attempts to shy,
or play the fool if a car goes by,
or roll, or bolt, as do lesser fry,
on Monday mornings, when tempers fly.

He knows his job, and he's well content,
to leave the frills to the 'sporting gent'
whose hunter-chaser was never meant
for long slow hunts on a failing scent.
The Huntsmans Horse by Edric Roberts

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx

1.11.14

Keeping Up With The Unicorns...NAF Love the Skin he's in, Skin Wash


I purchased the NAF, Love the Skin he's in, Skin Wash in April 2014, along with the Skin Salve (click on the link for the Skin Salve review - May 2014), but at the time felt I couldn't give this product an honest review as I'd only used it as a cold wash - a mere one of it's three purposes, and finally six months later I am sharing my thoughts having tried all three...better late than never.

The NAF Skin Wash is a natural wash created from herbal ingredients, including aloe vera, a scent I can really smell as soon as the cap comes off, a beautifully clean and refreshing smell. The wash is designed to help support damaged or challenged skin affected by lumps, bumps and mild irritations, as a rule Oscar doesn't suffer with any of these but I love the healing properties of aloe vera and felt comfortable leaving this on his skin as a cold wash due to it's gentle properties, here are the three uses;


  • Cold wash - I have used the Skin Wash throughout Summertime, diluting half a capful in a small amount of cold water and applying it with a wrung out sponge to lift dirt and sweat after riding - the bottle has lasted all Summer, albeit there is only a small amount left therefore very economical if used for this purpose solely. I found it hugely convenient as the Skin Wash does not have to be washed off, so it's literally wipe down and done, it smells great, caused no irritations for being left on either. 10/10.
  • Deep coat clean - I tried this only once, I diluted a capful of Skin Wash to 5 litres of hot water (x2) as instructed and it just didn't do it for me. I think this could be down to Oscar always having a good covering of hair/coat, for example it takes a lot more to deep clean his coat than it would that of a thoroughbred. And I like to lather up a lovely bubbley foam when I "deep clean" - I can't be on my own with this one, I am the same with my own shampoo, it has to lather up! And bubble bath, it isn't bubble bath unless it bubbles-up in my opinion - and due to it's natural ingredients the Skin Wash doesn't lather. Therefore I wouldn't choose it if I wanted to deep clean Oscar's coat. 0/10.
  • Hot towel wash - This is the bad boy I've been waiting for! Oscar had his Summer coat coming through in April 2014 when I bought this product so I've had to wait until now to use the Skin Wash after clipping! I also held off using my deep cleansing towel that comes free with the wash too for this day, I have never in my life been so excited about hot clothing!! Again I diluted one capful with 5 litres of hot kettle water, dunked it my NAF towel, put my hand in...wincing at the temperature, wrung it out and worked it into the coat in circular motions. The cloth is luxurious, much nicer than the old flannel I normally use and a great size, it's much bigger than I expected, I worked this softly into Oscar's coat and it bought out all the grease, clipper oil and loose hairs perfectly, leaving him sparklingly clean! The wash 7/10, the cloth 10/10.
  • Finally...it can be used directly on an affected area that require specific attention.
Overall it's been a useful item in my tack room and I haven't struggled to get my use from the product, so much so it's almost empty, it cost £17.96 from Viovet for 1 litre, great value for money considering the towel included. I'd recommend the purchase for the towel itself & I would consider repurchasing the Skin Wash but only if I'd ran out of all other leave in cold skin washes as this was it's main use for me, for hot towel washes, it was luxurious but a couple of drops of Dettol, baby oil or even washing up liquid do just as good a job in my opinion when hot clothing/towelling.

Oscar after his hot towel wash with NAF Love the Skin he's in, skin wash...
he is doing his best spook face at his turnout rug on the floor...pansy!


Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx