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20.2.16

Charlotte Dujardin Thea Jacket

I couldn't be more excited when Kingsland launched their Dressage by Charlotte Dujardin clothing range!! Both Charlotte and Kingsland are two of my biggest loves in our equestrian world and I couldn't wait to order their first two releases; the Thea jacket and ISA training shirt!


Today I wanted to share the Thea jacket on Gee Gee and Me because from the moment it arrived, it's become my second skin.


The Thea jacket is a super smart black fitted fleece with a soft shell outer layer at the front, this shields the body from the cold and protects against dirt - including hay from sticking to us...why does hay love fleece so? - and is fully breathable. I confidently ordered a size small (I am an 8-10 and comfortably fit in this size from Kingsland) and when the Thea jacket arrived I was in two minds whether to change it for a medium, I expected more of a 'jacket' as per the title but it would be better described as a close fitting fleece...once I'd gotten over the fact I couldn't wear any bulk underneath it, it instantly grew on me. The Thea is snug to my skin, it does a fabulous job of keeping out any drafts and wraps around my body helping to keep the heat in and we all know, it wouldn't be Kingsland if it didn't have a beautiful design. The Thea jacket is professionally presented in black with silver stitching, Kingsland logo and decorated with sparkly CD initials.


I wear the Thea jacket to train in, to hack out in under my coat and whilst doing yard chores, it's lightweight, comfortable and all importantly keeps me warm. I have often thought...it's far too smart to be doing this in, but in reality it's performance is so perfect for me that it outweighs my vanity of wanting it kept pristine. 
My only criticism with the Thea are it's washing instructions...the list of DO NOT's is a little overwhelming, but once I focused on the DO's it washed wonderfully and came sparkling!

A little dark but worn jumping on Thursday and super comfortable in all disciplines

I ordered my Thea jacket from the Tack and All That Facebook Page and it retails at; £79. I can't wait to see Charlotte's 2016 Kingsland Collection...I don't think my bank balance will be as enthusiastic as I....

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx

16.2.16

The Crystal System Book Review

The Crystal System by Patricia Pitt, more famously known and bowed down to as; The Dressage Tipster is the writer of the thought provoking blog I have followed for many years, so when the opportunity arose to read and review her newly released book, to say I was excited would be an understatement! Those of you who follow Gee Gee and Me on Facebook will know how much I loved every page of the engaging read, I never picked it up without my notebook and pen by my side and it has more post-it's sticking out, left, right and centre, than my favourite cook-book!


Image result for the crystal system book

My nickname at the yard is "sponge" because I love to learn and have a genuine thirst for knowledge, as soon as The Crystal System arrived I declared "I can't wait to get schooling tonight"...then I read page 7 and halted. 

The Crystal System asks me (the reader) to read the book cover to cover before beginning my crystal clear journey...and this is what you will all embark upon when you read The Crystal System. Yes, it's a book but my goodness it's personal, I am competing, training and learning more than ever before in my equestrian career but have never undertaken such self evaluation until now. I'd almost call it, self help!


You will fall in love with this lady, she is named Crystal 
and based on a cartoon version of Mark's (Patricia's partners) Lusitano mare.

Recently I had a lesson with someone I have trained with for many years, the trainer is an acquired taste but one that has suited us in the past, due to finances I hadn't been to a clinic in some months. The trainer paused the lesson after my first walk around the arena and changed everything about our picture, the "new and improved" position made a muscle in my back pull (as a pilates geek I was overly aware of this, therefore Oscar will have known my discomfort), I felt like a mannequin, unable to use my legs I asked for my whip, a-ha, couldn't use my whip, doing so affected my hands, then guess what, they were wrong too. I got off in despair, the trainers comment " that's called riding", well it sure didn't feel like freedom, one of the main reasons I commit my entire life to my horse for!?

This session has played on my mind ever since because I consider myself a competent and knowledgeable rider, I am not afraid to ask why, I like to understand processes and ride to the best of my ability, taking notes and doing my homework in-between lessons, I felt like Patricia related to me in this first chapter and agreed, various methods and theories are good, but which is The One the follow? It is so very easy to get lost.

Chapter two moved onto our personal drive, page 15 has a post-it with a big hand drawn love heart, pointing to this sentence;
"I was surprised to learn that the vast majority of successful people feel like imposters from time to time; it's actually a positive sign"
Oscar and I joined British Dressage in December as associates, warming up in my tweed hacking jacket I wear out hunting made me feel like the poor relation, the twice we have competed we've scored 60%+ and walked away with a third and second placing in very competitive classes...both times I have driven home wondering did I deserve this? I find self praise challenging and give myself a hard time for anything I do that in my opinion is less than perfect! Chapter two certainly helped me as it made these "faking it" feelings acceptable and not to dwell on them.

Chapter three was to dream...chapter two made dreaming a little easier, yes we did score 60%+ in our first two d├ębuts!! And The Crystal System got my bottom into gear to read the British Dressage rule book 2016 and learn where Oscar and I could fit in that world. Had the chapter been titled Goal Setting, I'd have probably groaned and flicked past...I do enough of that in my 9-5, this is my hobby,  I do it for fun, yes? The Crystal System is motivationally written throughout, avoiding any of these feelings.

"Simplicity is the key 
to brilliance"

This theme continues throughout the twelve incredible chapters! I work in a professional environment were appraisals are regularly conducted and SMART goals are set, yet my personal life is such a busy blur that I never made the time to sit down and assess my aspirations against reality, never mind put a crystal clear plan in place - maybe I was what I'd call in the office, a busy fool?! 

The Crystal System includes templates to be used to our hearts content and because of the privacy - it is just me with a book, notepad and pen I felt encouraged to be really honest and transparent with myself and scribbled away...when prompted to put in order of priority, reality kicked in and I focused my energy on key areas, but it felt fabulous to address all the little things, even if they are priority number 574, Rome wasn't built in a day

Personal insight; after discussing this picture with my coach, aka The Crystal System book I positively want to address where my weight is, how this is affecting Oscar's shoulders...why my shoulders and eyes aren't looking up, up and away? Why have my arms drifted from my torso? Not to mention how much more powerful this image would be with increased forwardness? 
A month ago I'd have probably just said, I don't like the picture. Today I have a crystal clear plan of how Oscar and I are going to improve it...exciting times!

Reading The Crystal System has been like having my own private performance coach, the author Patricia talks about getting excited, I personally need to be within an atmosphere of growth to feel fulfilled and this book encourages my growth therefore makes me excited about my next ride on Oscar, no matter how wet, windy or cold the weather is! Tomorrow I am planning to open The Crystal System back to page one and re read with a less busy head than I started a few weeks ago, a change of mind can alter how we interpret things and I am sure this is a tool I will continue to grow with...

The Crystal System has made me self evaluate my hobby like never before, a truly inspirational book, available from The Dressage Tipsters website for £21.85.

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx
A huge thank you to Andrea of Andrea Sexton PR for allowing us the opportunity to review The Crystal System.

7.2.16

Back on Track Mesh Rug Review

The Boxing Day sales saw me put all of my Christmas money towards a Back on Track mesh rug with an attractive 20% Bank Holiday discount! Back on Track products have been on my wishlist for some time, but with their price tag and being relatively new to the equine market I needed to know, are the products worth the money?

I chose the Back on Track mesh rug because of it's multifunctional uses, Oscar can wear it underneath his stable or turnout rug, as a blanket alone, to travel in and in Summer, as a fly sheet (the only purpose not put to the test for obvious reasons, it's February). 



T. & W. Healthcare Products t/a. Back on Track - UK are an official stockist here in the UK and have been supplying alternative and holistic goods since 2004. The Back on Track products are increasingly being recommended by vets, physiotherapists, masseurs, chiropractors and are successfully used all around the world, therefore it is no surprise the brand is becoming increasingly popular through repeat clients and excellent word of mouth.

...what is special about Back on Track technology? 
Every product is manufactured using the unique Welltex ceramic infused fabric, this reflects the wearers body heat as FAR infra-red energy - be the wearer, human, equine or canine (FAR infra-red is warm energy in our bodies). This energy is a proven therapy that penetrates through the skin to the subcutaneous tissues (tissue beneath the skin's surface) and joints, warming up the muscles and connective tissues, thereby reducing the risk of strains/injury and in rehabilitation helps to heal injuries by increasing circulation and reduce pain, swelling/inflammation. With the exception of certain fittings and attachments, Back on Track products do not incorporate any metals, chemicals, electrical devices, plastics nor magnets – they work constantly (while being worn) are completely natural and can give greater benefit than that of the basic neoprene, fleece, electronic, chemical or magnet merchandise. Wow!



The research I did sold Back on Track to me, who wouldn't want all of the above for ourselves and beloved pets? The question is, does it work?

Yes! Back on Track recommend gradual introduction of their products, due to increased circulation and bringing blood to the surface of the skin the products can cause slight discomfort, swelling or tingling of the skin. Because Oscar can't tell me he is tingling I introduced the mesh rug for two hours at first, gradually increasing the wear time to overnight over a period of ten days. The only difference I noticed in the first ten days was his body temperature, he was toasty warm underneath the rug, yet comfortable and content never hot, sweaty or bothered.

Due to work commitments riding in a morning is difficult, I choose not to leave Oscar's Back on Track rug on under his turnout, although it is perfectly fine to do so, he is a mud monster and I don't want the rug to get trashed or pulled apart by his friends in the field - boys will be boys! Therefore Oscar had been wearing the rug overnight for five consecutive nights before I had the opportunity to ride immediately after use, I tacked up and off we set for a long ride out on a cold, foggy January morning. The best way I can describe the feeling is...(don't laugh), clenched bum cheeks, Oscar's, not mine, is how he often feels when I first hop on, short striding, like he has his knickers scrunched up, it came as a surprise to feel a rounded, soft, lifted back.

Was this a co-incidence? Well just to be sure I have continued it's overnight use and also some afternoon wears prior to evening rides and Oscar is noticeably more relaxed, soft, round, and supple when schooling after wearing the rug overnight, a few hours before riding hasn't made a dramatic difference therefore I have to say it is a case of the longer it is worn for, the better.

Eyes closed...great picture of me!!

The mesh rug is extremely lightweight, Oscar has also worn it to travel in, once in minus temperatures therefore a Thermatex was worn over the top of it, and after a bath to dry. The neck of the mesh rug is strengthened with polyester and soft quilting around the withers, double chest buckles and criss-crossed belly surcingles, there is a lovely large tail flap, tail strap and loops for leg ties. Oscar wears a 135cm rug, he is normally a 5'9/6'0. Once it came out the packaging I did a quick 'tour' of the rug below, I am clearly more excited than Oscar.



I am certain this is only the beginning of mine and Oscar's Back on Track collection and I look forward to seeing more improvements from longer term wear of the mesh rug.

Please note if you order from Back on Tack - UK you can apply for a loyalty discount card, rewarding you with 10% of each shop plus free P&P.
RRP £190

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx